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Nichole SamuelVerified Expert in Interior Design

Owner of Goddess Interiors based in the NYC, CT Tristate area. She has over 12 years in the home and design industry and specialize in new construction and virtual services.

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Home » Interior Design » How to Design and Decorate a Dining Room?

Did you know that dining rooms are one of the most impressive factors for home value, only next to the kitchen? Yes, they exude a rich, sophisticated look that wins the hearts of onlookers, in terms of spaciousness, being a thoughtful addition to ease everyday living. Even in 2023, when we dine less formally than yesteryears and family members eat at different times, a dining room can be a powerful factor in reuniting your hustling family members, pulling them away from screens, and helping in having a quiet, warm, intimate meal with each other.

Making your client’s dining rooms shine so bright that their guests rave about it on social media, is one of the ways to make your design services unique. And it starts with getting the basics right. This ultimate guide will take you through all you need to know for decorating the interior design of a dining room, be it for new homes or for those homeowners desiring a remodel.

Assessing Dining Room Space and Client Needs

Before you begin designing the dining room, have a close look at the space, absorb the feel of the environment around you, and gradually figure out what works. When thinking about dining tables, take note of the size, shape, and theme you and the client wish to set for the room.

When you visualize the dining room, consider the space you will need from the edge of the table to the wall, and ensure you leave at least 3 feet between them.

Pose the following questions to your client to get a fair idea of what to plan and design tips to curate for the dining room space:

  • How many people will use the dining room on average?
  • Do you entertain guests often?
  • How would you use the table? For dining exclusively, or as a workspace, game table, craft table, etc.
  • Do you want to dine casually or formally?
  • Will there be kids who use the room?
  • Do you have the bandwidth and the budget to maintain room decor frequently?

Bonus tip: A common piece of advice to communicate to your client is not to go decor or furniture shopping during the holiday season. When they’re planning to have extra people around during the holidays, they are likely to count them in when calculating the number of regular users of the dining room and may go in for a bigger table than necessary.

Popular dining room themes to keep in mind before you start designing

Now, speaking of a theme, you probably need to have that down pat before you start remodeling your home. there are a number of choices from which you can select one that best suits your personality or explore innovative options by combining a couple of design themes.

Here are a few themes for your dining room makeover:

Traditional and modern farmhouse dining room

Traditional and modern farmhouse dining roomImage credits: AI-generated image

Works best with natural colors and wide, claw-footed, wooden furniture pieces. It best combines the country lifestyle with wooden furniture but also features clean edges and neutral colors. To make it more modern, use accent walls, white walls, and inspiring wall decor. Features furniture with clean edges and form follows functionality to the very end.

Read also – 10 Ways To Add Traditional Interior Design To Your Home

Traditional dining room and banquet hall

Traditional-dining-room-and-banquet-hallImage credits: AI-generated image

The classic design trend accommodates the dining table, dining chair, a china cabinet, preferably a chandelier, and table decor featuring centerpieces to create a focal point. To make it a banquet hall, bring in extravagance to meet the essentials in a formal dining room that is big enough to accommodate guests as well as everyday meals. It is always well-maintained and ready to entertain. Features chandeliers, centerpieces, exquisite wall art, and other luxurious objects to befit the expansive space.

The Swedish dining room

The Swedish dining roomImage credits: AI-generated image

The Swedish home decor trend is a timeless appearance that combines old and rustic influences in a refined way. It’s ideal for a dining area and will look like a home in modern spaces like countryside cottages or antique houses. Warmer hues are suitable for creating a hospitable dining area, especially one that faces north and gets minimal natural light.

Open concept layout

Open concept dining room layoutImage credits: AI-generated image

If your client has an open concept room that blends in the dining room in the design, you can still alienate the dining space elegantly, and have a beautiful dining ambiance. Use large area rugs with vivid and attractive seams on them, under the dining table, to demarcate the space.

Read also – Building an Open Concept Kitchen Living Room

Multi-purpose dining rooms

multi-purpose dining room in a small homeImage credits: AI-generated image

In small homes with small spaces, the dining room can double as the children’s study area, a home office, or a space for family meetings in a lively environment without being distracted by electronics. The dining area is a multi-faceted space that allows you to gather everyone in one place. Regardless of the size of your home or how much you actually use the dining room, this living space is a continuum of activities. Depending upon the functionality of the dining area, you can choose to furnish it with a home décor item that speaks of your taste and powers of organization.

Dining Room Furniture and Fixtures Ideas

If your client wants to make the dining room look bigger and brighter, a simple suggestion is to place a mirror on the wall that spans at least 2/3rds of the dining table. When placed behind the head of the dining table with a window on the opposite side, it reflects light and amplifies the look of the tasty dishes on the table.

Another tip to make the room look more inviting, less formal, warmer, and fun, use a large bench at the front, instead of having chairs all the way through. 

A buffet or a bar cart in the dining room

To serve food, and allow people to help themselves, have a buffet that’s waist high, nearly matching the height of the bar, or counter, to make serving easier for the client and their guests. In the same vein, you can add a bar cart that guests or residents can easily move, pass around the room, and serve themselves. If you are working with a large space, a bar cart makes sense. Otherwise, a shelf for storing wine would do the trick.

Read also – How to Arrange Furniture in a Small Living Room

Dining table material options

If your client wants a budget-friendly room, we advise you to suggest a simple wood table with industrial chairs and throw-in cushions for comfort. Go for solid wood, and not veneers, for the table to last long. Other expensive-looking, but durable options are porcelain tile table that responds well to heat, and wine spills, and are easy to wipe. Zinc tables are also a good choice. Installing a glass top takes away all spillage and cleaning worries. If you want a more elaborate, and pricey look, go for quartz tables.

Bonus tip: For a glossy, classy, vintage look spread evenly across the dining room, choose a rustic-style table made from old wood and veins coated, with iron castings, and ornate black metal chairs, illuminated by an iron globe chandelier. Add an electric fireplace with 2 rustic orange chairs and your design is sorted.

If you want to use more space in the dining room for storage, replace the china cabinet with dresser draws, so that they can used for multiple purposes, and give the dining room a sophisticated makeover.

Choosing the right-shaped dining table for the dining room

If you have a square room, go for a round dining table, with a rectangle rug that looks connected to the floor. If you have a round room, blindly choose a round table and it’d fit like a glove. The beauty of round/oval tables is that they aid in conversations, give equal opportunity to talk to everyone, can accommodate more people, and are space efficient as well. An oval table would be ideal for a rectangular room. However, take care to not go beyond 48 inches in width, as if your table is wider than that, it’ll be hard to pass things around.

Read also – How to Arrange Furniture in a Small Living Room: Space-enhancing Tips

Decide dining table furniture depending on the people who use it

For any table you choose, give at least 24 inches between your table and the chairs, so there’s enough leeway to move around. If you have a lot of kids visiting, or unexpected guests dropping by, consider having a banquet seating that looks good, saves space, can accommodate a lot of people, and is comfortable.

If your client wants a bar stool set up for the dining table, get a counter-fit table and counter-high stools with about 24-26 inches in height and an elbow space of at least 2-4 inches on each side. To get a clearer idea about spacing, take the widest part of the stool, add 4 inches, and that gives you the number of chairs you can add to the table.

For a limited crowd, suggest having a pedestal table, or a trestle table that distributes weight evenly. For a magnificent, and elaborate look, go for a concrete top table, but caution your client that it might take a lot of people to move it.

Creating a Balanced Dining Room Layout

All the chairs in the dining room needn’t be the same kind, color, or pattern. You can mix and match, with colors and patterns. But, there’s a caveat. If you have 6 chairs, ensure every 2 chairs are of the same color, so there’s a degree of symmetry in the room. Similarly, divide the number of chairs you’re planning to install in the dining room and have at least two of the same kind. 

If you have a painted table, get stained chairs. They make a great combination. If your client wants to have an eclectic combination, get a diverse range of symmetrical chairs, and ensure at least 2 elements of the chair look similar (legs, color, patterns, etc.)

Artem Kropovinsky, Founder and Interior Designer at Arsight, a modern interior design firm in NYC says, “Dining rooms are primarily contrast-oriented. Consider going with dark-colored stuff into light-colored wood as it gives a striking entrance yet inviting living room.”

 

If you have a central hall resonating a European theme, and if the dining room will be entirely visible from the hall, recommend that your clients not use the dining room for anything else, or at least not move around furniture too much when they use it.

One way to up your dining room design without having your client spend big bucks is to have a picture window at the foot of the dining table. It allows for more natural light and makes the room look bigger.

Read also – How to Draw a Floor Plan & Top Mistakes to Avoid

Lighting and Ambiance 

Illumination is at the crux of designing a dining room, and a chandelier undoubtedly is the most coveted lighting equipment for it. If your client is a first-time homeowner or has a limited budget, they may hesitate to invest in a chandelier. Demonstrate to them how a chandelier is a timeless piece of design that can transform a normal dining room into a palatial, royal space for tasting rich food.

It can make your client’s haven look social media-worthy, like a historic home with a legacy around it. If you’re installing a chandelier, ensure it hangs 30 inches from the top. If you have a very high, consider installing beams and then hanging the chandelier, so that it’s not too high or too low from the dining table. If you have a very long table, the ideal option would be to install a chandelier right in the center, near the sight line, and support lighting on either side.

Image credits: Pexels

Make sure the chandelier relates to the table predominantly, more than the room. If you have a round/square table, a round chandelier is the apt choice. For longer tables, you can’t solely rely on a single piece of lighting. Go ahead and add multiple pendants to give you an equally illuminated look till the end of the table.

The principal interior designer of V Starr, a leading interior design firm in the US, Sonya Haffey from Florida, says, “Experiment with multiple pendant lights. Imagine yourself seated on every side of the table and what you will be looking at and experiencing from that vantage point.”

 

Bonus tip: Dim light is lovely, charming, and exudes a relaxing mood. Ensure that dimmers are installed and get your clients swooning on your dining room ideas.

Use accent lighting generously to set a royal ambiance and glow. Atop a sideboard, table lamps, and wall sconces perch beautifully. Layered lighting can project a more welcoming look than any other.

Read also – The Importance of Lighting in Interior Design

Styling and Decor Ideas 

Even if you have 50 iconic pieces in a dining room when you enter, you can only 6 items that really stand out. So, it’s important to have a few marvelous items and pieces of furniture than to have many. 

Wall Decor

If you have an overall neutral color scheme and want to spice up the dining room a bit, mural art or a colorful wallpaper might do the trick. It can also be a great conversation starter.

Dining-Room-Decorating-Idea-4-Wall-DecorImage credits: Pexels

Nicole Cullum, Interior designer and founder at Color Caravan recommends you go bold with the dining room wallpapers and wall color. She emphasizes that pastoral scenes with traditional motifs elevate your dining room for a timeless, elegant look. Large-scale florals across your walls add graceful, soft colors with a modern, artistic aesthetic.

She also goes on to say, “One of the easiest and most affordable ways to make your dining room a moment is with a saturated, bold color-drenched over walls, ceiling, and trim. Coastal-inspired blues, deep luxurious greens, dark earthy browns, and intense grays will dominate 2024. Transform your dining room into a jewel box by using an eye-catching color in a high gloss for a mirror-like lux look.”

 

Follow a harmonious color theme for your dining room, and don’t forget to paint the ceiling in a complementary color. If you leave a white ceiling when you have walls painted in flashy colors, the client’s guests will be immediately drawn to the stark difference in colors and will take time to notice anything else in the room.

Artem, the interior designer at Arsight recommends you add different art pieces that will transform the dining room into a history of the resident’s preferences. 

 

Don’t leave out the back wall from your dining room interior design. Have wall sconces, or an oversized, ornate wall clock installed.

Read also – 28 Best Wall Decor Ideas To Decorate Your Blank Wall

Dining table decor ideas

A time-tested way to drive the theme of your dining room all the way through and through is to use picturesque wallpaper, which you can place behind your china cabinet. Enliven the dining table with easy-to-maintain, size-appropriate plants to bring the feeling of groundedness and make the space look and feel eco-friendly.

Bring in big urns, candlesticks, or small plates to stack in the center of the dining table. An aesthetic rule of thumb would be to have three statement pieces in the center and keep the entire table free of anything else until mealtime. Keep the glassware and cutlery away from the table during non-meal times. The clean look further enhances the glow of the room. Another unsaid aesthetic rule is to decorate seasonally with appropriate flora and color palettes.

Sideboards and china cabinets when paired with the theme of your dining room can be eye-catching pieces and can be paired alongside your dining table.

Carpets, tablecloths, and rugs design ideas

Regardless of the age group that your client dines with, dishes are bound to spill. So, having a super-expensive, hard-to-clean tablecloth will only be catastrophic. Instead, recommend vinyl, jute, or linen tablecloths that don’t ingest the spillage and are easy to clean. Infact, if there are children in the family, identical carpet mats under the table that are easily removable would make a great choice. 

When choosing rugs, ensure they are not too small or else they might get caught when you move chairs or the table itself. Get a patterned rug or multicolored rug so it looks great even if there’s something spilled.

Dining Room Decorating Idea - 6Image credits: Pexels

If you want an easily wipeable surface, go for umbrella fabric cushions and tablecloths. If you’re going in for a wooden table, be careful to have table/placemats placed carefully. Remember, moisture doesn’t cause wood to deteriorate, excessive heat does. You need at least 24 inches on each side from the edge of your dining table to the edge of your rug, to leave room for chairs to slide in and out. Only carpet when absolutely necessary, otherwise steer clear of carpets in the dining room design.

Read also – How Interior Designers Choose Flooring for Interiors

Dining chair decor ideas

Install cushions of different materials on chairs, to give a unique, fun ambiance. If your client is very detail-oriented and wants to go all in, suggest having ornate chair handles that project opulence. Ensure to have backs and armrests unless your client specifically states otherwise.

Having them will eliminate any uncomfortable moments your client’s guests face if they want to lean back, or rest their arms during a meal or a conversation. Make sure the armchairs neatly fit in underneath the thickness of the tabletop.

If your client is on a tight budget, silhouette chairs are advisable, and if not, go for vintage-styled chairs, or carved ones that they can get upholstered. If your client loves the old-school idea of having the host/hostess chairs, really glam them up by incorporating leather and wood in them. Avoid wingback chairs for host chairs, as they might be cumbersome to get in and out of.

home design by Behin Forghanifar 

Foyr Neo in Dining Room Layout Design

Having stellar 3D dining room planning and design software is a surefire way to ensure your designs are lifelike and can be converted to reality with zero compromise. With a revolutionary tool like Foyr Neo, you get:

  • A mood board to get your client’s ideas together
  • A room planner to create or import your floor plans, and blend your impressions, ideas, and options
  • A user-friendly design tool to simply choose from 50,000+ 3D elements, 10,000+ preset templates and drag and drop into the design
  • An unparalleled modeling tool to visualize, compare materials, textures, and color behavior to different settings and choose the best
  • A swifter-than-bullet rendering tool to complete your design in minutes

How would you feel if all these tools come in one package and built-in in one tool? That’s what Foyr Neo is. Having helped 50,000+ interior designers scale their careers with extraordinary designs, we’re all set to launch your career. Unlike other dining room design apps, Neo comes at a pocket-friendly price for your business. 

Sign up for Foyr Neo’s 14-day trial, inject magic into your design projects and you’ll hear raving feedback from clients about your design ideas, make wishlists come true, close deals, and build goodwill in no time.

FAQs

Not really. You can design a budget-friendly dining room by choosing highly durable and less expensive materials, decor, and furniture.

It’s up to your client, but studies say that having a dining room improves the home value immensely. So, if your client is planning to resell the home in a few years, having a dining room is advisable. If they love spending time with their family, that’s all the more reason to get a dining room.

Just make sure the lighting is proper and the furniture placement allows necessary movement for other activities. With these intact, you can still use the same dining room design.

Vinyl flooring, laminate, polished concrete, linoleum flooring, tile and stone, and cork flooring are a few options you can consider.

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