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10 Ways to Dress Up a Dining Room

Updated on June 12, 2017
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Andrew is a design fanatic and DIY devotee. He often gets things wrong (at least once) before he gets them right!

A dining room is one of the most functional rooms in a home, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring by design. By following some simple decorating tips, homeowners can make the dining room a more attractive and welcoming place. People may feel so at ease that they will want to hang around for a long time after finishing a meal just to enjoy each other’s company. Here are some ideas to begin the transformation:

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1. Easy Centerpieces

Use a bowl of fruit as the centerpiece. Not only is this inexpensive, it brightens the room and conveys a sense of hospitality to guests. A wicker basket or a large serving bowl makes an attractive container for fresh fruit. Of course, it’s important to wash each piece before setting it inside the centerpiece. Hosts can let guests know that they are free to help themselves to a piece of fruit at any time.

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2. Fresh Flowers

Flowers make a nice touch on any table during non-meal times. A freshly picked bouquet from the yard works just as well as a professional floral design. Rotating the flowers regularly ensures they stay fresh and changes the look and feel of the room each time. It also leaves a pleasant aroma. Homeowners should be sure to remove the flower vase from the dining room table while guests or family are eating to ensure people can see each other. However, it’s important not to choose flowers with an overpowering smell if anyone who will be sitting at the dining room table suffers from allergies.

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3. Decorative Rubber Bands

Dress up place settings with decorative rubber bands. They should be oversized so they don’t accidentally snap anyone or become cumbersome to take apart. This tip can add a sense of formality and whimsy at the same time. Another option is to choose decorative rubber bands that are large enough to go around the entire plate. This leaves no question about which dishes and silverware belong to each person.

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4. Slipcovers

Add a slipcover to dining room chairs to change the appearance of the whole room. This can be a good alternative to replacing chairs that have become slightly worn. Adding a monogram or design to the slipcovers can create an even greater sense of style. Yet another option is to purchase slipcovers in various colors and to rotate them based on season, food being served, or mood the hosts wish to convey.

5. Cabinet Collections

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Use the dining room to display a favorite collection, such as antique tea cups or a collection of dishes not normally used to serve food. Adding an accent around the collection, such as a different paint color, can help draw people’s eyes towards it so it serves as a conversation starter. Hosts should be ready to talk about why they collect the item, its history, and its unique features.

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6. Translucent Candle Sleeves

For those who already have chandeliers or light fixtures in the dining room, translucent candle sleeves can dress them up nicely. These are one-of-a-kind items that can be pulled down by hand to expose more of the chandelier or light fixture if the homeowner desires. The sleeves are customized by the manufacturer for a precise fit. They add a sense of class and invite questions from people who have never seen anything like them.

7. Edible Napkin Rings

Use edible napkin rings instead of disposable ones. Most people like bread dough or pizza dough, so these both make good options for a napkin ring. To create them, the homeowner should take one-inch pieces of dough and roll them into ropes that are half on an inch thick and 12 inches in diameter. After forming each piece of dough into a ring four inches in diameter, the next step is to pinch the ends so they stay together. They should then go on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and baked for 15 minutes at a temperature of 400 degrees. There should be enough dough in a typical package to serve up to a dozen people. They will keep for up to 24 hours for those who choose to bake them ahead of time.

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8. Decorative Ceilings

Don’t forget the ceiling when decorating a dining room since it can act as a blank canvas. Homeowners who don’t feel especially inspired or artistic can hire a professional to create a unique painting or design. That will certainly get people talking since it will probably be the first thing that catches their eye when they enter the room.

9. Bold Colors

Go beyond the ordinary and experiment with bold colors such as a pink and green combination. That’s not something people see every day and it will make their dining experience all the more memorable. Patterns and contrast are a way to add character to an otherwise boring and functional room as well. A consultation with an interior designer can help generate some idea for those who feel stuck but know they want to do something different with the room.

10. Fantastic Foliage

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Use live foliage, such as branches and leaves, as a centerpiece decoration. Before placing them in a vase, spray them with white coating for a classically understated look. Spraying should be done outdoors or in a well-ventilated indoor space to avoid toxic fumes. Purchasing artificial foliage for a centerpiece decoration makes an attractive alternative as well.

Summing up...

Many homeowners are surprised at what a difference it makes to follow some or all of these tips. They look forward to entertaining more and their guests tend to stick around longer and engage in more conversation. However, dressing up a dining room doesn’t just have to be for guests to the home. Families who eat together several times a week will enjoy the new surrounding as well. It’s a good idea for everyone to have the opportunity to give feedback on the room’s makeover if they are old enough to have a strong opinion about it.

© 2017 Andrew Armstrong

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