I think this space is great for its modernity. I love the chandeliers (and the use of three of the same light) - their fussiness offers just the right balance for the austere dining room table. Plus, the big window brightens up the whole room.
I'd never think to paint a room this gray color, but in this environment, it's absolutely perfect - formal, but not stuffy. Plus, I love the use of mismatched chairs. It's a great way to add a little pattern without overpowering.
Benches are an interesting choice for a formal dining space, but a smart one. They make the room a little more casual and inviting (think picnic), plus they make for cozy and versatile seating options. You can always squeeze one more in for dinner with a bench.
Designated dining rooms can exist within an open floor plan. This clean, modern interior demonstrates a great way to separate living space from the dining room - a simple post is all the "wall" that's necessary.
I'm on record as a wallpaper-lover - and this room is why. The paper is clean and pretty - not at all fussy - and I love the contrast with the white walls. It makes the dining room feel important.
This chandelier of candles is so cool. I can imagine an intimate dinner party in this room, lit just by the candles - so pretty. (Of course, you would need to watch for wax drippings!)
While this room isn't at all formal, it embodies all that's great about a designated dining space - it's open and pretty but inviting. I love screened porches and I can imagine hours of great conversations (over great food) at this table.