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Dining Room Decor Designed to Delight

Updated on March 26, 2019
lindacee profile image

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

Turn your overly formal dining room into a comfortable and useful space.
Turn your overly formal dining room into a comfortable and useful space. | Source

Maybe you love to host fabulous dinner parties or are more satisfied setting a casual table for weeknight family dinners. In either case, the dining room should be the heart of your home where family and friends connect.

Sadly, sometimes the dining room loses its identity when saddled with the activities of daily life. Whether overtaken by the kids’ school projects, designated as your home office or recruited to store odds and ends, you can bring your dining room back to its former self by injecting it with a healthy dose of your signature design aesthetic. Use these stylish decorating ideas as a springboard to transform your dining room from drab to delightfully divine.

Create a Welcoming Environment

Transform your under utilized dining room into a comfortable space more like an eat-in kitchen or breakfast nook. Make the most of it by creating a casual, yet stylish environment without all the frills. Nix the crystal chandelier, imported linens and fussy furnishings. Stick with practical furniture, warm tones and easy care fabrics that will suit both dinner soirees or weeknight family meals.

This charming dining room has a casual French Country flair.
This charming dining room has a casual French Country flair. | Source

Draw Your Floor Plan

Before buying furniture and accessories, grab a pencil and paper to create a functional floor plan. Take into account traffic patterns and circulation with pieces that will work within the room's dimensions. A sense of flow is a critical aspect for dining rooms.

Chairs require an approximate depth of 20 inches to fit comfortably under the table. Allow at least 16 inches from the table when the chair is pushed back. Each chair should have 24 inches of side-to-side clearance to accommodate seated guests. In order to create ease of movement allow at least 46 inches between the table's edge and adjacent furniture or walls.

A rough floor plan will give you a general idea which furniture pieces you need and where to place them.
A rough floor plan will give you a general idea which furniture pieces you need and where to place them. | Source

Choose Furniture

There are several ways to select your furniture. You can take your time curating a collection of unique pieces to create a highly personalized space. Or you can take the easy route and purchase a coordinated dining set. The latter is a quick way to get your furniture in place and move on to decorating.

Instead you can choose between quality and budget. Solid wood furniture lasts lifetime and can often be handed down to future generations. The investment is worth the price if you plan on using your dining furniture on a daily basis.

For occasional use consider wood laminate or veneer furniture. Synthetic laminate sheets feature a printed wood grain pattern. Veneer is an thin layer of hardwood. Both are attached to a solid core of medium density fiber or particleboard. They may be less expensive but lack the stability of solid wood.

Inexpensive dining furniture is not as durable as solid wood pieces.
Inexpensive dining furniture is not as durable as solid wood pieces. | Source

Illuminate the Space

One of the main elements critical to a functional and beautiful dining room is proper illumination. Lighting can set a romantic mood or brighten the room for a celebratory event. Use several light sources to create just the right effect. A chandelier or pendant fixture directs light onto the table surface, while recessed fixtures creates visual warmth throughout the space.

Accent lighting such as recessed lighting, wall sconces or even candles creates the perfect mood for evening dinners. A decorative chandelier or pendants centered over the table draws the eye up and adds personality to the space. Install dimmers on overhead lighting to adjust the brightness.

Pendant lighting adds warmth to a dining room.
Pendant lighting adds warmth to a dining room. | Source

Make a Statement

Once you've selected and arranged your furniture it’s time to decorate. Pick an appetizing shade of paint or wallpaper, coordinating window treatments and a rug to bring the room to life. Use a combination of complementary colors and variety of patterns to make a bold statement in your dining room.

Take a look at the color wheel and pick two colors situated opposite each other. This strategy is the perfect way to create a foolproof color palette. As long as you remain consistent with your two main colors, you can have a ball mixing in patterns at will. Go crazy with geometrics, ikats, florals, stripes and plaids on the walls, dinnerware, upholstery and flooring.

Turquoise and brown make quite a colorful splash in the dining room.
Turquoise and brown make quite a colorful splash in the dining room. | Source

Look to the Ceiling

When decorating your dining room don’t forget the ceiling—it’s considered the fifth wall. Details such as beams, corbels or an intricate ceiling medallion will bring your high ceilings down to size and create architecture where there was none. Other ways to add depth and drama include painting the ceiling a deep, rich color, applying reflective gold leaf or hanging patterned wallpaper up the walls and onto the ceiling itself.

The bold blue color on the walls goes right up onto the ceiling.
The bold blue color on the walls goes right up onto the ceiling. | Source

Take Care of Finishing Touches

Choose an impressive centerpiece that won't interfere with sight lines across the table. Tablecloths, chargers, placemats and trivets are decorative additions for special occasions and everyday meals. They add color and texture to the room while protecting the table's finish with a layer of insulation between serving dishes and the furniture's surface.

Green up your dining room with a grouping of small succulents or a potted tree to soften the room's hard edges and add an organic feel to the space. Convert your buffet into a bar by adding decanters, a drink shaker, wine rack and ice bucket. When placed on a lacquer or silver tray these utilitarian items become stylish design elements.

This intimate dining table is dressed perfectly for a casual breakfast.
This intimate dining table is dressed perfectly for a casual breakfast. | Source

More Dining Room Design Tips

© 2012 Linda Chechar

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      3 months ago from Arizona

      Tony Peirce, Glad you enjoyed the dining room article.

    • Tony Peirce profile image

      Tony Peirce 

      3 months ago from Stanbridge East, QC

      Well written article with some excellent advice. Wish I could include some photos of a dining room set I made for a customer (you can see one at https://windsorheritage.com/chairs.html. Thanks

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Oakfurniture, yes, with open concept homes, separate dining rooms are becoming a thing of the past. I am happy to say my last house (new construction) did have a distinct dining room. Trends seem to go in cycles. Hopefully the dining room will not vanish forever!

    • Oakfurnituresol profile image

      Oakfurnituresol 

      6 years ago from Bristol

      Ah yes that's the case in the UK too, with separate dining rooms disappearing altogether! what a shame, as with less space you can have less dinner parties, gatherings and therefore less fun:-) good luck with starting the dining room revolution:-)

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Oakfurnituresol, thank you so much for the compliments. This was a fun Hub to write. Sadly, at least in the US, dining rooms are often only used for special occasions. I am starting a grassroots movement to change that! ;) So glad you enjoyed my Hub!

    • Oakfurnituresol profile image

      Oakfurnituresol 

      6 years ago from Bristol

      This is a useful and easy to follow hub, love the video as well and it definitely raises some interesting points that you might overlook when refurbishing a dining room - such as the ideal chandelier height or the many different functions of a dining area!

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