Dining Room Ideas

wooden dining table and dining chairs upholstered in dark grey fabric

Did you know that an average family spends more time at the kitchen table than the dining room table?

Yes – if you have a formal dining room in your house, then chances are it goes unused for much of the week. People like to eat close to the hearth. And this might mean eating breakfast on the fly next to the kitchen stove or having a quick bite in front of the television screen. If you happen to have a kitchen bar seating area then your dining room might be developing a serious cobweb problem.

How can you get your family back to the room where they can concentrate on the food and each other? Can you make the dining room into the “family focus room”, where eating, games and socialising can take place? Take a look at some of our ideas on how to refresh your dining space, whether you have a full dining room, a combination living room or a simple dining nook.

 

Can a dining room be more than just about “dining”?

 

A good way to get people back into the dining room is to make it a part of your entertainment area. This can include things like:

Sound system

You can set up your vintage vinyl collection right here in the dining room. It’s a great conversation starter and it’s just asking for people to join you with a coffee or a glass of wine.

Games

Social games like darts are a great choice for an informal dining room. They make friends and family enjoy themselves in a group and linger over dessert or a pint. Go ahead – keep a collection of board games, cards, and other non-screen entertainment in your dining room cabinet.

 

Creating a dining room drink bar for special occasions

 

There are some sophisticated designs for a drink bar that will match any dining room design, and become the focal point of your dining area. Of course, most drink bars make a lot of people think of Mad Men and the 50’s style working fathers returning home to a martini. And why not?

Classic dining room drink bar

This can be a separate and elegant drink staging area, with room for several types of drink glasses, an ice compartment and several drink ingredients – or just the best quality ingredients to make 3 or 5 basic drinks. You can also make an improvised one using a bookshelf or a side table you already have. If you have a dining room-kitchen mix, it’s popular to make a kitchen island into a bar area, where it directly faces the dining space and the guests can mingle and interact with what’s going on in the kitchen.

Wine refrigerator with a display

dark wine bottles on a wooden shelve

 

If you’re a wine aficionado, one of the best dining room decorating ideas is setting up a wine display cabinet and wine refrigerator in your dining space. If you have a good collection, it can not only be a part of your dining room decor but also a great conversation piece.

Coffee or tea?

If you don’t like the idea of having a drink bar available in your dining area, try a coffee and tea station.

 

Experimenting with lighting

A bright dining room with white dining table and chairs and two sideboards

It is good if in the evenings the natural light is replaced by a combination of different lamps

You have to consider every meal of the day when you set up your dining room lighting design – after all, this is the breakfast room, the lunchroom, and the supper-room in one.

There are several lighting options you can explore, from bright lights that will make the dullest winter morning full of sunshine, and lighting that will make your dining room look like a romantic wine bar on a summer evening.

 

Ambient lighting ideas

Ambient light is usually the light that naturally fills the room – it’s the main source fo light in any space, whether a smart pendant light or a series of well-placed wall lighting solutions. This light is important because it can make the room feel either welcoming and light or dark and dreary. Start with the windows – make the natural light more accessible by getting rid of any heavy curtains that might get in the way of sunlight. If your dining room isn’t naturally bright, consider getting smart lights and tuning them to the natural lighting mode. It will make your family love gathering around the breakfast table in the morning, for the start of a good day!

 

Turning the lights low – dinner time

Supper is the time when you are winding down for the night, and you don’t want to be stunned to wakefulness by bright sunlight imitating LEDs. This is a great time to turn the lights down low with pendant lighting, smart lightbulbs that will dim at the touch of a smartphone app, or scattered lights from side table lamps, discreet floor lamps or creative chandeliers that can really set the mood.

 

Setting the mood with fire

If you already have a fireplace in your dining area then you couldn’t be luckier – open flames create an unforgettable mood during cold winter get-together, or make a rainy autumn breakfast a cosy experience.

If you don’t, there are some great cheating methods to accomplish the fireplace effect. There are modern oil lamps, real candelabras, or faux fireplaces that can hold a collection of candles and give off that warm glow.

 

Colour scheme and art – how to use it for interior design?

There are many colour schemes to choose from – they are virtually unending. We do have a few suggestions for those who are trying to pick the perfect colour and inspiration for your dining room.

Dark

wooden dining table and dining chairs upholstered in dark grey fabric

Dark colour schemes are becoming very popular. They create a mysterious, sophisticated atmosphere in the dining room. This is best when you have a large enough dining room to make it keep it spaciousness. Dark colours tend to shrink interiors quite a bit visually, and if you have a tiny dining room it might feel cramped once you put the dining room and dining chairs into the picture. Dark colour dining room ideas are great if you love entertaining and having dinner parties.

Bright

 

Yellow or light, cold blues can make a small dining room seem bigger, even if it’s not getting enough sunlight. Bright paint reflects the lighting, and you can set the mood by having bright warm colours like yellow or orange accenting your walls. It will make the room feel more playful and fun.

Light

 

Making your dining room light is great for minimalistic dining rooms, large or small. When it comes to dining room ideas, if you have a large open space and want to make it even more airy and open, light colours and as little window treatments as possible are ideal.

Wild

 

There are some people out there that don’t care what the dining room style du jour is and just want to have fun. There are many patterned, creative wallpapers available, as well as patterned stencils, or ideas for an accent wall colour that will blow your guests’ socks off. Bright wild colours that are reminiscent of Mexican design, or Greek Island blue, or even look amazing in a dining setting. Mixing an accent colour of pink dining chairs and a dark navy blue wall will also have a “wow” effect.
What about art? If you’re thinking of still life with oranges you’re a few centuries off. Great dining room art might actually include some amazing industrial design as well.

Think of these dining room ideas feel more eye-catching and artsy:

  • Vintage posters
  • Antique tea and coffee sets
  • Decorative plates
  • Vases
  • Neon signs
  • Vertical edible herb gardens
  • Displays of collections
  • Decorative fabrics for your upholstery
  • A striped rug or colourful flooring
  • An artistic light fixture

 

How should I choose my dining table?

a wooden dining table with grey dining chairs against the dark-green wall

If you want your family to use your dining room more often, you have to make it versatile. The truth is, a dining room has to be ready for traditional dining with a large number of people, small family meals as well as big occasions. Having a meal for two or three can be an awkward experience when all you have is a gigantic oak dining table.

How can a dining table shapeshift to fit the occasion? It’s a piece of home decore that can be matched to what you need, and it’s probably number one on your list when you’re trying to think of dining room ideas.

Start with setting up your dining room for your immediate family, and worry about the guests later.

 

Round tables

There’s a good reason that King Arthur had a round table to seat all of his knights – they could all look at each other in the face and have a great conversation. It wasn’t a dining room table but it was reportedly used for feasts as well. Round tables usually seat up to 6 people, but an expandable round table can turn into a large oval that can sit up to 16. Of course, there are special tables that can fold out even larger if needed. There are some dining table designs that include dining chairs that fold ideally into the round shape of the table – a lot of them are vintage designs from the Art Deco era or as late as the 60s.

 

Square tables

Square dining room tables are ideal for couples who don’t have children, or for those who have up to two children. It works well as a small dining nook by the window. This type of table and chairs don’t take up much room, and they sometimes come with a fold-out option. They aren’t very good at “formal dining”.

 

Rectangular tables

These are the most popular dining room table design. While these dining room tables can fold out in order to accommodate more people, their shape already assures that at least 6 people can sit down to a meal at any time. These are ideal for larger dining areas, whether in a separate dining room or a hybrid living/dining or kitchen/dining room.

 

Mix-purpose table

When your dining room is connected to the kitchen, you have another choice to make – do you really want them to be “together”? Or maybe you want to create a completely different feel for the dining part of the space? A lot of people find their inspiration in country-style kitchen islands that can double up as a dining table when needed. They often use stools instead of dining chairs, and can be a welcome way of making your family or guests involved when there’s cooking going on. One of the design risks here is that this table will become cluttered with kitchen items, not leaving a clean space for eating.

A one-fits-all piece of advice we can give you is this: choose your dining room table based on the size of your room – with some area to spare. A lot of people make the mistake of getting the biggest table they can, but then not being able to fill their dining room with other interior design elements like storage or side tables, or having the chairs be so close to the walls that they end up scuffing the paint!

 

Display and storage in the dining room

oak sideboard and oak dining room with chairs in a spacious dining room

Although modern dining rooms aren’t usually filled with shelves of knick-knacks and trinkets, it’s a good idea to keep some plates and utensils around for when you set the table.

Buffet

These come in just about any interior design style, from modern chic to old fashioned and antique. The reason that everybody wants one, no matter what their taste in style is, is that they are incredibly helpful and convenient. This is the place for extra plates, linens, vases (in case someone happens to bring you flowers!). And they also serve as a display surface for plants, family photos or a pitcher of water on those hot days. They can also hold a few wine bottles and utensils and just about anything that is used in the dining area.

Shelves and bookcases

If you have enough room in your dining area, you can display plates, your collection of pottery or antique bottles here. Not to mention any cookbooks you might own – it makes the dining space feel more interesting and filled with human interest. It’s a great conversation starter and shows your personality.

 

Final thoughts on dining rooms

It’s time to focus on the forgotten area of the home – the dining room. People should get out of snacks in the kitchen and gather around the dining room table. Whether they live with roommates or with family. In these times when large family gatherings are hard to come by, your dining room decorating ideas should focus on bringing your immediate close ones together. We hope we inspired you and provided you with good information and ideas. Now, you are ready to choose the right kind of dining tables, and give your dining space a cosy, inviting feel.