An invitation to informal dining Design: A pilaster, a decorative grouping or a painted scene will separate a corner from the rest of the room.

April 06, 1997|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

My kitchen has an empty corner, about 8-feet-by-8 feet, where I'd like to put a small table and four chairs. How can I make this area look both informal and inviting? Should I wallpaper the corner's walls while leaving the rest of the kitchen painted?

It's going to be a squeeze to fit four people around a table in an 8-by-8-foot corner. You won't succeed with a standard rectangular table, but a circular bistro-size table, no more than 36 inches in diameter, might just allow you to include four armless chairs.

As for the wall treatment, an applied element, such as a pilaster, has to be added when only one corner of a room is going to be papered. Architectural emphasis is needed for the wallpapered section to be properly demarcated.

There are other options. The simplest might be to hang a grouping of prints or decorative plates. It's not elaborate, but it will give the corner a distinct look.

The photograph shows a more interesting possibility.

A trompe l'oeil artist has painted window frames that offer fantasy views of a Tuscan hillside and a garden. While this is obviously a lot more fun than wallpaper or a collection of prints, it's also much more difficult to produce -- and, therefore, a great deal more expensive.

I'll assume that the setting must already be informal, since you want to give the corner that kind of look. In that case, I might choose ladder-back chairs with mesh seats and an iron-base table with either a wood, glass or marble top. But if you were actually to commission a fool-the-eye painting like the one seen in the photo, a table with an Italian ceramic top would clearly be the best choice.

However, you can create a festive breakfast corner even without a fancy table. A long, decorative tablecloth can make the most nondescript surface look elegant.

The same sort of covering can be used on an expensive table as well -- if only for the sake of a temporary change of decor. The photo features a Motif Designs print in a variety of garden greens. On one of the chairs sits a cushion covered in the same material, while the striped fabric covering on the opposite chair is color-coordinated.

Pub Date: 4/06/97

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