Tropical Tables, Casual Dining

For the most part, tropical dining is a casual affair. Many homes don’t even have a formal dining room, with dining tables often placed adjacent the kitchen or on the verandah. Where there is a special room, you’ll often find it has a multi-functional purpose: it can double up as a place to work from as well as to entertain in.

As such, tables need to be flexible: bespoke, super-long models are highly practical, while the trestle table is easily dismantled and stored when not in use. Folding tables are another alternative. If the table is placed near an open-plan kitchen, the area turns into a social center too: the chef can converse with guests while cooking. Ubiquitous wood is an obvious choice in the tropics. Be it stained a dark mahogany or a lighter shade, it adds warmth to a room. If teamed with white chairs or a bench with white cushions, the look will be fresh and natural. White tableware in organic shapes looks appealing with all tones of wood, too.

If you want to enlarge your dining room, a see-through glass table is a good choice. Glass is increasingly the material of choice for much furniture around the home, as it creates the illusion of more space. An airy arrangement of glass-topped table and an eclectic mix of chairs is a top choice for a small space; it doesn’t block out light and can look very modern.

lowish table set
For an outdoor setting, a lowish table set beneath an umbrella with comfy sofa and lounge chair seating is ideal. Shades of vermilion and orange are suitably tropical, with grey a useful neutral.

Lacquered table
Lacquered table and bench top furniture with stainless steel legs is designed in Vietnam by Quasar Khanh. Khanh was attracted to stainless steel as it is very light; hence, such furniture is easily transported from one part of the house to another.

polished wood table
A colonial-style setting with polished wood table and cane-and wood chairs is a timeless classic. The artwork is by Goa-based sculptor and painter Subodh Kerkar.

a simple table
A bright, airy effect is achieved here with the use of glass, water and light that enters via this shophouse airwell. Adding to the cheerful composition is a simple table with bright toned floral arrangement and earth-toned ceramic tableware. The curved wooden chairs are from Space; note how their wood tone mimics that of the door handles.

small dining room
This deceptively simple small dining room is a study in carefully thought through design details. Wooden slatted walls are painted white and paired with breezy sari curtains in a light beige shade, thereby enlarging the space. The table’s statement-making color is offset by fine high-backed chairs with a leather finish and tableware that sports a delicate crackled glaze. Cute individual purple vanda blooms “wrapped” in Calathea leaves are matched by the pastel hue of light mauve napkins.

The dark stained wooden table
The casual covered verandah in this home in the Philippines is a picture of light, airy elegance. The dark stained wooden table comfortably seats six on light rattan chairs.

Balinese home
A rustic Balinese home built entirely from teak has a large open space that doubles up as both dining and living area. Surrounded by assorted statuary, a long trestle table is set for lunch with pastel-toned tableware from Jenggala Keramik.

Thai lacquerware food containers
Somewhat messy, but cheerful and homey, a long slim table displays a selection of Thai lacquerware food containers. The mismatched chairs add to the general laissez faire feeling.

Thai green celadon coffee table
Thai green celadon coffee table and containers sit before a casual dining area on the verandah of a Thai home. A trellis above casts shade; in fact, the area can be closed off with heavy wooden shutters if so required.

casual table with revolving chairs
An ironwood deck protected by a Plexiglass roof plays host to a casual table with revolving chairs in a Sarawak home. The surrounding garden is a riot of orchids, ferns and anthuriums; at night, illumination comes courtesy of a pendant light encased in a fish trap shade.
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