BE OUR GUEST - This dining area in a True-Line Homes show home in Laredo shows that you don’t need a huge dining table to make a space feel elegant and inviting.

Enjoying the various styles in your own home

Red Deer designer offers ideas for the rooms in your home

Do you have an entertaining style?

Are you the formal sit down type who lays out seven pieces of cutlery and a glass for every beverage or do you find more fun in spreading the appetizers out on the ottoman for everyone to dig into?

I’ve been exposed to and have participated in both and while there is a deep satisfaction in treating others to an indulgent experience; you can also have as wonderful a time by throwing food in the trough and letting everyone dive in while the football game rages in the background.

Growing up, I was the daughter of a politician, my dad was an MLA for southern Alberta and we held many formal, table-cloth draped dinners at my home.

As a young lady, I knew how to properly set a table and what fork to use with each course. I knew that cups AND saucers were required for serving coffee from a silver vessel and where to rest your spoon after eating soup.

My mom had china that could not go into the dishwasher and had to be lovingly buffed with a white kitten before placing it in its lit cabinet for the museum tourists to view.

We were a formal family, but we had a dark secret.

The secret was the basement, just below the crystal and the silver tea service lied the bowels of the home. The basement was a dark, undecorated space with a washroom that no one wanted to touch and old red and black patterned carpet which was strewn over the cold concrete.

Walls were (of course) wood panelling which was hastily affixed to cover the crumbling walls of our 100-year-old heritage home and the steps down to this vault required a Sherpa and a pack mule to navigate.

The thing about the basement was that it held the TV, the only TV in the house at that time which invited us kids and teenagers to trek downstairs with our chips and root beer to watch the limited shows we could find with rabbit ears.

It was the only place in the house we were allowed food and allowed to lounge on the furniture. Upstairs was a no feet on the couch zone and it felt good to be able to stretch out and be yourself – a lazy, unmotivated tween.

Did that space seem less desirable than the highly-decorated upstairs?

Nope! It was the second place my friends and I headed when we got home; the first being the kitchen to load up on snacks. As a kid, I didn’t care about aesthetics or place settings or formal parties – I just wanted to be me and be comfortable and that dingy basement was the perfect setting for life.

Not caring that the windows were too small for a human to squeeze out of in case of fire meant nothing to me if I was chillin’ with my dad watching the hockey game.

You could say I had the best of both worlds.

I could step into my party dress and play princess eating h’orderves (we call them appetizers now) and being cute or I could descend into the bowels of the house and let it all hang out.

It was fun to decide which part of life I wanted to participate in and which persona to try out.

Kim Wyse is local freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.