Whether your style is formal or family friendly, use these design tips and decorating ideas to update your dining room.
Is your dining room in need of a little attention? We’ve gathered some of our favorite dining rooms for some inspiration. From formal settings to family-friendly spaces, we have dining room decorating ideas that are sure to fit your needs. Dining rooms come in all shapes and sizes, and it sometimes takes a creative eye to find the perfect space for one in your home. These dining room ideas will help you think outside the box when it comes to finding the perfect spot. From the bold and colorful, to casual and rustic, you’ll find the perfect inspiration in these stylish dining room decorating ideas.
Coastal Lowcountry Dining Room
In this interior, pairing grays, blues, and pops of bright green with neutrals keeps the color scheme serene. Striped slipcovered chairs are an easy nautical touch. Blue nubbly linen curtains with pretty patterned trim are like the rest of the decor: refined but relaxed.
Make an Entrance
This delicately patterned Idarica Gazzoni wallpaper with a trompe l'oeil chair rail frames the preppy, coral-hued dining room.
Play Up a Fun Color
Just as gold accessories add an on-trend vibe to an outﬁt, the warm tones of brushed gold ﬂatware and embellished glasses add ﬁnesse and sparkle to a casual table.
Layer Neutrals for a Relaxed Look
"To give Country French my minimalist spin, I avoid the expected ruffles and plaids and keep it about the painted antiques and white linens," says homeowner and designer Regina Lynch. She, along with designer Destiny Lynch (who also happens to be Regina's daughter) came together to create this "less-is more" style.
Low-Profile Dining Nook
Even small spaces need a designated dining area. Designer Matthew Bees used the nook below the stairs of this Charleston loft to create the perfect space. The addition of a small chandelier ties the nook together.
This space serves as a library/eating area. The room is casually arranged with a table, sofa, and bench pushed against the shelves.
Give a Splash of Bold Color
The homeowners wanted to have a fresh, bright dining room, so designer Ashley Whittaker helped them pick a showstopping lettuce green shade for the shiny lacquered walls and then kicked it up a notch with bright coral upholstered dining chairs. Painted lantern sconces and a sleek, four-arm, unlacquered brass chandelier play off the casual mood established by the sweet/tart color scheme.
Love it? Get it!
Chair fabric (back): Volpi (custom colorway) by Quadrille. Wall paint: Young Wheat; pantone.com.
Mix Color and Style
Play with furniture styles to achieve a personalized look. Just unify with color. These red lacquer bamboo-style side chairs add a bold punch of color that coordinates with the cabinet interiors of this space.
Soften the Space with Linens
Simple details like the finish of your linens help set the tone of your dining space. This round table and antique chairs are covered in simple linen and checked fabrics. A dainty scalloped edge on the chairs and table topper adds a decorative touch.
Save Space with Built-Ins
Add storage to a small dining area with a built-in china cabinet. You’ll not only save floorspace, but you’ll also have the opportunity to integrate architectural details like decorative trimwork.
Give a Dose of Tradition
Leta Foster has spent the last 35 years designing interiors so well that her three daughters followed in her footsteps, becoming the "& Associates" in her firm. When this breakfast room project in an early-1900s Richmond home came to Leta, she tapped daughter Sallie Giordano to collaborate. Together, they decorated the space to fit a young family while honoring its original architect, William Bottomley.
Create Privacy with Pocket Doors
Get the free traffic flow of an open plan and the intimacy of a closed dining room by using sliding pocket doors. On the left side of this room, reclaimed heart-pine pocket doors can be closed to hide the kitchen.
Create a Calming Palette
Walls covered in subtle blue grass cloth create a serene space that's inviting and warm.
Lighten Up with Windows
Natural lighting makes a dining room magnetic. A clutch of chairs normally found in a living room, including two English wing chairs, amps up this room’s style. Canvas upholstery unites the mismatched vintage chairs.
Add textural depth by mixing upholstery fabrics. These dining chairs sport patterned upholstery cushions, and the backs are covered in a coordinating solid.
Take Your Cue from the Natural Surroundings
Reflecting its forested location, this house is decked out in a variety of natural materials—from rough-hewn beams to rustic furniture made from branches.
Dining rooms can easily be made into multiuse spaces. A large dining table work surface makes this room a perfect place to double as the homeowner’s design office. Books and samples can quickly be stowed in cabinets when guests come over.
Make a Small Dining Room Look Larger
Visually expand a small dining room by keeping the palette monochromatic and furnishing it with a round table and armless dining chairs. This crisp green dining room feels airy and open even though the space is small.
Emphasize the height of your dining room with vertical stripes. Floor-to-ceiling windows also help this space feel lofty and light.
Plan Ahead for Flexibility
Add shelves for greater flexibility. A wall of library shelves in this dining room enhances the cozy cabin feel and offers homeowners the option of converting the space into an office.
Build a Banquette
Built-in banquette seating is a great option if you’re short on space. It not only adds seating, but the space beneath the seat can also be used for storage. Using the same upholstery fabric helps tie together the mixed seating in this space.
Go for Durable
Make sure all of your dining room materials and surfaces are spill-proof. These host chairs, designed in a modified Parsons style, are upholstered in durable outdoor fabric to withstand upset cups and plates.
Think Outside the Color Box
Try a nontraditional color scheme. This formal dining room jazzes up a traditional foundation with unexpected color combinations. The graphic green upholstered chairs play off of the distinctive orange-and-gold wallpaper. Gilded accents pick up the metallics in the pattern of the paper.
Hang Plush Drapery
Set the mood with lush window treatments. Luxurious curtains hung near the ceiling give grand scale to this dining room.
Even if you’re not a fan of bright colors, you can still create a striking dining room. This mostly neutral dining room is anything but boring. A variety of linens and rich browns punctuated by small colorful accents gives a warm and inviting look to the room. Lots of natural light keeps the dark brown walls from visually closing in the space.
Splurge and Save
Prioritize your spending. Instead of a more expensive chandelier, a paper lantern glows over the table in this dining room. It adds big style for a low price.
Vary Your Finishes
Use mixed finishes for a casual look. These painted chairs are paired with a round mahogany dining table. The mix of finishes on the room’s various furnishings provides a collected, casual appeal.
Use a formally balanced layout for a traditional dining room. This room highlights the homeowner’s preference for symmetry and clean lines. A new built-in china cabinet looks original to the circa-1920s house.
Design for Durability
When selecting your finishes, think about the wear and tear that your dining room may experience beyond spills. The white oak plank flooring with a limed finish in this coastal cottage dining room is perfect for disguising sand tracked in from the beach. A clear wax on top keeps it sealed and hardy.
Tell a cohesive color story in connected spaces. The wall color in this dining room was custom mixed to match the blue undertones of curtains in the adjoining living room.
Accent with Patterns
Add an unexpected touch to an elegant space by including playful patterns. The jazzy zebra upholstery on these dining chairs keeps the otherwise subdued room from feeling stuffy.
Show Your Age
Instead of refinishing antique pieces, let the natural character shine. Antique iron chairs surround a rustic table in this dining room. These vintage items lend stylish history to the newly constructed space.
Include Family Pieces
Formal dining rooms are the perfect place to display family heirlooms. They make fantastic conversation pieces when you entertain. A portrait of the homeowner’s late mother, who taught her how to entertain, properly presides over this elegant dining room.
Try a Round Table
Encourage conversation with a round table. To keep things intimate, your table shouldn’t exceed 40-inches in diameter. This round table is surrounded by an eclectic collection of hole-caned chairs.
If you don’t have the space for a formal dining room, look for opportunities to leverage another space to do double duty. This center entry hall also functions as the dining room. Built-in seating adds storage, and a narrow table ensures free traffic flow behind dining chairs.
Utilize Corner Spaces
A window-filled alcove in this beach house functions like a dining room with a casual table, two slipcovered end chairs, and a pillow-topped banquette. The built-in bench and wall of windows make this small space seem much larger. Two vintage light fixtures hung with nautical rope instead of standard chains illuminate the space.
Emphasize Architectural Details
Highlight architectural features with a contrasting paint color. The stark white of this mantel pops against the gray-brown of the walls and allows each feature to maintain its importance.
Add Built-In Bookshelves
The repetitive shape of books on a shelf can act as a pattern in your dining room. Rows of books in built-in shelves make a beautiful patterned backdrop for the dining table in this space. These shelves were crafted from gypsum drywall, instead of wood, for a more modern profile.
Take Advantage of the View
If you want to highlight the view outside of your dining space, keep your furnishings and accessories simple. This dining table is centered in front of a large back wall of windows, and the space is softened with simple curtains.
Mix Flea Market Finds with Family Heirlooms
Supplement your family pieces with furniture found at antique and secondhand stores. This homeowner wanted a modern contrast, so he had the flea market find barrel chairs commercially sprayed in a light driftwood color. The color contrasts against the dark oak of his great-grandfather’s dining table and sideboard.
Sloshing and splashing are inevitable in a family dining room. A leopard print rug is very forgiving in this family space. Spills are camouflaged in the spotted pattern.
Pick a Favorite Historical Period
Establish a historic style. These homeowners took inspiration from British colonial style, and they limited their color palette to crisp white and ebony. The furnishings in this dining space are classic American or English shapes.
Create a Casual Look
Just because the dining room is traditionally a formal space doesn’t mean you can’t try a more casual feel. Mixing high-back upholstered seating with low, slipcovered chairs avoids the predictable formula of a table with matching chairs in this room.
Add Character with Salvage Materials
Salvaged wood offers a distinctive warmth and texture that can’t be replicated with new wood. The wood floors in this dining room were salvaged from a local factory.
Highlight the Season
Neutral dining spaces are perfect for highlighting seasonal decor. This dining room picks up the personality of seasonal florals and accents.
Create some rhythm in your space by repeating the shape of your table in the rug. This rectangular rug is large enough that all four legs of pulled-back chairs remain on the rug.
Separate the Space
Separate spaces by using a portier. This dining and living room are adjoined by a large cased opening. Curtain panels make the space more versatile, add softness to the dining room, and provide privacy when necessary.
Focus Your Attention
Highlight a grand focal piece by pairing it with neutral accents. A shell-encrusted china cabinet is the star of this dining space, and other neutral furnishings don’t compete for attention.
Drape the Dining Room
Use draperies to bring texture to your dining room. Curtain panels transverse an entire wall in this dining room. The sheer fabric still allows natural light to filter into the space.
Mix Sleek and Ornate
Don’t feel tied to one style. Modern black dining chairs sit alongside traditional armchairs in this eclectic yet elegant dining space.
Hang a Lantern
Choose a lantern fixture for a more casual look. A standard chandelier would overwhelm this laid-back space, but a wrought-iron lantern fixture is just right.
Set the Tone with Flooring
A brick floor is a great choice when you want a rustic, farm-style look. The various colors of the brick flooring inspired the color scheme in this dining space.
Hang Plates as Art
Sure, you’ve seen plates hung on a wall before, but these rectangular beauties take the concept to the next level. The collection of 10 colorful plates acts as artwork in this dining room.
Repurpose an Unused Room
Turn an infrequently used space into a dining room. This conservatory is part dining room part greenhouse. The open and airy space boasts spectacular views and plenty of natural light.
Raise the Fireplace
This dining room fireplace is raised to table height so it can be enjoyed by everyone in the room.
Select a Signature Style Item
Have at least one unique conversation piece in your dining room. A whimsical light fixture becomes a focal point over this dining table and speaks to the design sense of the home owner.
Highlight with Metallics
Don’t be afraid to use large swaths of shine. A metallic wallpaper acts as a neutral while still giving a glow to this space.
Layer Window Treatments
Mix your window coverings for flexibility. Matchstick blinds and curtain panels control the level of light and privacy in this dining room.
Install a Plate Rail
A built-in shelf breaks up this very vertical space and offers a place to display plates and other accents.
Let a Favorite Collection Take Center Stage
Gray doesn’t have to be sterile. A collection of blue and green dishware pops against the cool grays and whites of this space.
Turn Up the Heat with Color
Warm wood tones, brick, and even books give this dining room a cozy appeal.
Select for Scale
Select a light fixture that fits the scale of your space. A large rustic chandelier fits both the personality and size of this lofty dining space.
Color Your Furniture
Punch up the energy in your dining room with colored furniture. These red chairs are finished with a semi-opaque stain that still allows the character of the wood to show through.
An oval table is the perfect companion for this curved banquette.
Cover Your Chairs
Not only do slipcovers lend a casual cottage look to a space, but they also make a dining room more user-friendly. These monogrammed covers can easily be tossed in the wash in case of spills.
Repeat a Motif
The flamboyant botanical wallpaper in this room is mirrored in the organic shapes of the chandelier, and the subtle zig-zag of the chair upholstery is repeated in the rug.
Be Creative with Corners
Small spaces are often the perfect place to install built-in storage. An awkward corner becomes a built-in buffet or bar in this dining room.
Wrap in Wood
Think beyond drywall for your walls and ceiling. This dining room is completely finished with wood. A warm wood ceiling and floor treatment paired with painted wood walls adds vintage character to the space.
Set Up a Combination of Seating Arrangements
Give an everyday dining space a casual vibe with a combination of seating arrangements, like the wing chairs, curvy settee, and burlap-topped benches that circle this dining table.
Limit Materials for a Cohesive Look
The concrete counters and custom steel cabinets echo this home's industrial chic vibe.
This updated dining room offers a clean, modern look that is both private and quiet.
Add Pattern with your China
Let your china provide a dining room's color and pattern. It's the secret to classic style that's not overdone.
Take Inspiration from Antiques
Pairing antiques with natural curiosities, like the modern gold-lined black shades on the chandelier, gives this room a more personal touch.
Create a Layered Look
Create a laid-back layered look by mixing and matching patterns - from the linens to the stemware.
Get Big Impact with Red and White
You don't need peppermints or candy canes to make a bold statement with this red-and-white color scheme.
Keep It Stylish & Practical
This table is complemented by the slipcovered chairs and French-style bistro chairs that have plastic seats and backs, keeping things stylishly practical.
Mix Shapes and Sizes
A large round table in a square dining room makes conversations easier and most have leaves for extra seating.
Create a Sophisticated Family-Friendly Space
Anchored by a clean-lined Parsons table (left unpolished to stand up to fingerprints), the dining room is both sophisticated and family friendly. Galvanized-metal French Tolix chairs designed in the 1930s and a long bench (which has been known to hold as many as six kids) provide some much needed flexibility and style.
Conical baskets, believed to have once been used by Asian fishermen, are now airy pendant shades over the South Carolina pine dining table.
Rustic Iron and Wood Dining
Surrounded by a set of Queen Anne chairs scooped up at a secondhand shop in Charleston, this iron-and-wood dining room table crafted by Charles Calhoun creates a relaxed, rustic room.