The opposite of bustling, multifunctional rooms like the kitchen, the dining room is a simple space devoted solely to hosting and feasting. While it’s a room that may be used infrequently, it is ideal for large get-togethers, family dinners and celebrations. When perusing dining room ideas, consider what kind of lighting, furniture and decorative accents will transform the space into an entertaining mecca.
Achieving an effective dining room design can be a little tricky. However, one of the easiest changes you can make is swapping out your furniture; as the focal point of the room, your table should be your biggest investment. Take time to consider various furniture pieces and what works best for your needs. Don’t be afraid to splurge — a good table can last you decades! Once you have this cornerstone piece figured out, you can then focus on implementing your favorite dining room decorating ideas and storage options.
What kind of dining room furniture should I get?
Dining areas come in all shapes and sizes, as do their accompanying tables. As you browse dining room ideas, consider a few things. What is your dining room layout? How often do you entertain? How many people usually attend? What kind of events do you like organizing - big dinners or intimate gatherings? What kind of dining rooms are you personally drawn to at other homes? If you don’t host anything because you are hindered by your current dining room design, consider what kind of soirees you would ideally throw and work from there.
If you want a dining table with options, purchase one with a leaf so you can accommodate varying numbers of guests. Keep in mind that to ensure visitors won’t be bumping elbows with their fellow dinner guests, each person needs about two feet of eating space (typically the table manufacturer will be able to recommend the amount of people that can comfortably sit at the table).
In terms of shapes, round tables are optimal for achieving some of the smaller dining room design ideas you might see. They fit into tight areas and have no sharp corners to bump into when you’re serving a hot casserole or pouring a glass of water. Round pedestal tables are also useful alternatives - they offer more legroom than conventional designs. For a larger space, a square table works well, and a rectangular table is ideal for a long, narrow room.
No matter shape, size or material, make sure you measure table-to-wall clearance. To do this, measure the space around the room. Try to leave 42-48" between your table and the walls so diners can sit down and get up easily from their chairs. If there is furniture in the dining space, begin your 42-48” measurement from the edge of the furniture instead of the wall.
What kind of dining room decor should I have?
When looking for dining room decorating ideas, remember that you don’t want to overwhelm this refined space with too much clutter. However, simple does not mean plain, and this is a room where you can take some stylistic liberties. When decorating dining rooms, think about color schemes (after choosing your table, of course!). Usage of color can really make or break dining room designs, and the cohesion of a matching furniture set allows for colorful decor choices. Try light blue or gray walls for an elegant look, or go timeless with a black and white theme. If you want to stick to white paint, throw in some gold or copper accents, or splashes of bright colors to keep it interesting; geometric patterns, custom-painted ceilings and unique wallpapers are also effective at livening up a dining area.
Top off your dining room remodel with a statement light fixture, some inspirational artwork and a large mirror to reflect more light throughout the room. Lastly, don’t forget the dining room table decor! A seasonal centerpiece, table runner or plant arrangement can immediately brighten up the entire space.
How do I add storage to my dining room?
When choosing storage for dining rooms, focus on functionality. Do you want to have a place to lay out food? Do you want more storage? Do you want to showcase any items? Take a look at various dining room pictures to see how others have incorporated storage and pull the ideas you like for your own.
A china cabinet or hutch is a great way to store and display dishes or art pieces. If you need storage as well as a place to lay out food, sideboards - a long, low storage piece with short legs (also known as a “buffet”) - typically are your best bets as they have cabinets. “Servers” tend to be smaller, more formal and lighter in scale than sideboards; they can have drawers and an open bottom on taller legs, or they may have cabinets. Credenzas tend to be long, low cabinets on slender legs, often with sliding doors. Lastly, if you’re going to be using your dining area primarily for cocktail hour (or even if you’re not), consider investing in a rolling bar cart or a permanent wet bar. The dining room ideas you can choose from are really endless, so try not to get overwhelmed and remember you can always change the design down the road!
Whether you want inspiration for planning a dining room renovation or are building a designer dining room from scratch, Houzz has images from the best designers, decorators, and architects in the country, including NOVA Design and Four Square Architects, LLC. Look through dining room photos in different colors and styles and when you find a dining room design that inspires you, save it to an Ideabook or contact the Pro who made it happen to see what kind of design ideas they have for your home. Explore the beautiful dining room ideas photo gallery and find out exactly why Houzz is the best experience for home renovation and design.