For most Bangali households, the dining room is the heart and soul, where everyone gathers around for at least one meal a day and enjoys a hearty and wholesome meal with good conversation and company. Given we love to eat and entertain, it's only natural to wish to do so in style. A well-designed and well-accessorised dining room is thus integral to a household, whether one chooses to entertain or just kick back, relax and enjoy a good meal with the family.
Dining room décor ranges far and wide from a friendly, comfortable family dining space to a glamorous and modern dining area to host creative and inspired dinners in a colourful, dramatic setting. Not to mention the more traditional and formal dining rooms for hosting formal dinner parties that can handle large banquets. No matter what one craves, there's something for everyone out there when it comes to creating that perfect little nook for pleasing the senses while grabbing a bite to eat.
When it comes to accessorising the dining space, one must keep in mind the area and its uses. To get that perfect little table for your dining area, head down to the furnishing stores with a wide variety of designs to choose from where you're bound to find something to suit your taste.
A traditional rectangular dinner table for six found at popular stores like Ethan Allen, Athena's, Otobi, Koncept, Hatil and its likes, will set you back about Tk 30000 to Tk 64000 approximately, going up to a lakh, depending on the design and the material used. On the other hand, tables for four come within the range of Tk 15000 to Tk 22000.
For the consumer with a knack for a more non-traditional and artistic taste head down to stores like Jatra, Aarong and Décor Idée for unconventional dining tables to suit your taste. Also, at the furniture shops around Panthapath selling the very traditional wooden furniture, as well as the scores of furniture stores on the ground floor of Gulshan-1 super market, you're bound to find something to suit your taste and budget.
Once the dinner table has been picked out and set up, it's time to accessorise the table. Taste in tableware varies from person to person like one's taste in clothing. As varied as the preferences are, there is an equally wide range of choices to pick from. If you are more traditional in your choice of cutlery, crockery and other dinner service accessories, the ceramics shops at Elephant road provides a wide variety of dinnerware ranging from Tk 1600 (sets of 30 pieces), going up all the way to Tk 7200 (gold or silver plated dinner sets).
They even sell interesting centrepieces to accessorise the table to suit your fancy. Individual six piece sets of bowls or glasses and complete tea sets are also sold here and start at Tk 1000. Crystal wine glass sets are set within Tk 1800 to Tk 6000. However it must be noted that these shops provide products chiefly from the Monno and Shinepukur ceramics company, selling China and Pyrex tableware.
If you are looking for a wider variety of tableware to choose from, New Market is the place to go. There is a varied range of products to choose from and while roaming through the little shops all crammed in one giant arcade, like a little city of wonders, you often stumble upon something unusual that can be to your liking.
While you can find the traditional dining sets here like Elephant Road, they also sell other necessary dinner table accessories like cutlery sets, ice-cream cup sets, jugs, trays, a variety of serving dishes sold in sets or individually, the oh-so-necessary “hot pots” that keeps the food warm while we wait for the family to gather, fruit baskets, place mats, centrepieces etc. In short, you can find anything and everything under the sun to satisfy your dining room needs and all at an affordable price (and of course one can also haggle a little to get a good bargain).
Worth mentioning here is a little ceramics store called “Kamal Enterprises” that sells handmade clay serving dishes, pots, mugs and pickle jars reminiscent of those that grandma stored her pickles in, all ranged within Tk 500. Shops selling interesting and innovative centrepieces from vases to funky bowls can be found in hidden corners waiting to be discovered.
Moving on to the consumer with a higher budget and a knack for the more “designer” items and less conventional buys one can take a tour of the high end interior design shops like Décor Idée, Bistar, Ethan Allen, Lifestyle interiors, Kinnori and Sally Ann where you can definitely count on purchasing at least one unique piece.
For the more artistic consumer nothing beats the titan of handcrafted items- Aarong. There are a wide variety of products to choose from; made of wood, cane, bamboo, copper, ceramics, etc. The handcrafted wooden trays and spoons, and the little folding wooden fruit baskets are a favourite among many, as well as their wide range of tablecloths, napkins and table runners that come in a variety of designs and materials to dress up or dress down your dining room for the occasion.
Admittedly, there isn't a wide variety of ceramic ware, but that is well compensated for in the clay tableware section. The centrepieces available are stunning and add an element of art to any table. Worth mentioning are the copper cutlery sets that come in a charming box, looking very pristine with an old worldly charm. The wide ranges of placemats come in a variety of designs and are made from bamboo, cloth, cane and wood.
A more fun and funkier taste in handcrafted dining room accessories can be satisfied at Jatra and Aranya. At Jatra one can find innovative placemats, napkin sets complete with little napkin-holders and clay tableware sets, as well as tablecloth sets complete with napkins. Aranya on the other hand offers handmade glassware and beautiful mosaic glass bowls, as well as tablecloth sets in their signature vegetable dye designs. Similarly artistic purchases can be made at other craft stores like Prabartana, Kumudini, Nogordola and its likes.
Another important part of accessorising any room is the lighting. The choices for this are endless. Lighting depends entirely upon the kind of space being decorated or the look for the room you are trying to achieve. Innovative and artistic lamps can be found at the aforementioned craft stores. For more industrial designs one can look into the conventional lighting stores such as Crescent Lighting, Lighting World and its likes for funky and interesting or conventional lamps or lighting fixtures.
So, if you are looking to revamp that dining room or decorate your new dining space, take a tour around the city and its countless gems of shops hiding in every nook and cranny. Whatever your taste, there's something to satisfy every consumer.
By Farah Tarannum
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed