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The Best Dining Room Design: Ideas, Tips, and Inspiration

Whether you use it every day or only on special occasions, your dining room deserves as much attention as any other room in your home. After all, it is one of the best places to connect with family and friends, and the right dining room design can make your home more practical, functional, and stylish.

We understand that dining rooms are anything but one-design-fits-all and getting yours to match your sense of taste and design vision can be quite the challenge. But with the right planning, knowledge, and dining room inspiration, it is easier than you think!

Dining room with the Adelaide dining chair
Vienna dining chair with swivel

How to Plan and Decorate Your Dining Room

Plan It Out
The first step in planning out your dining room’s design—or any room for that matter—are two simple questions:

What will this space be used for? While eating may seem like the obvious answer, think outside-the-box. If you have friends that come over for game night, a round table may be in your best interest for easy gameboard access.

How do I want it to feel? If you want it to be energizing, perhaps opt for some bold and colourful wall art. Want it to feel relaxing? Accessorise with scented candles and consider dimmable lighting.

Start With The Three Basics
All dining rooms should have the three basics—a table, chairs, and lighting—but anything beyond that will depend on how much space you have, as well as your personal preference. Add-on items may include larger furniture like a sideboard or cabinet, as well as decorative accessories such as rugs, vases, and wall art.

Pick A Position
Most dining rooms have the table in the centre for two reasons: It allows optimal room for all chairs to pull in and out, and it effortlessly creates a balanced look. However, corner tables can also work great. Just opt for benches along the walls instead or chairs and centre some lighting over the table to maintain balance.

Get In Shape

Granada round dining table

There’s no need to panic; we aren’t talking about going to the gym! But rather the shape of your dining table. A dining table’s shape won’t just dramatically impact the aesthetic of your dining room, but it can also affect comfort.

Round

Great for corner table setups since there are no sharp edges to bump into. Also optimal for small dining rooms, square dining rooms, and lending a room a softer aesthetic or a cosy feel.

Rectangular

If you are looking to create a modern dining room, a rectangular table is a great way to go. They are widely available, their edges are clean and sleek, plus most come with extensions, which are ideal for larger gatherings.

Square

Best used in square dining rooms. Perfect for small gatherings and garnering an intimate feel.

Oval

Similar to rectangular, but visually occupies less space. Great if you want to maximise seating in a rectangular room.

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Dining room
Ceramic table top and the Adelaide dining chair with swivel

Be Seat Savvy

Dining room with Vienna dining chairs and Augusta dining table

Planning a dining room is hard work, so sit back and relax while you find the perfect chairs. Your dining room chairs should fit your style preferences, but they should also be practical for the time you spend in them.

Upholstered

Lends the room a luxurious and cosy feel, plus they can be comfortable to sit on for extended periods. The downside? They are prone to stains and gathering pet hair. Best if you are going for a glam, luxurious, or traditional look.

Wood

Has a warm aesthetic that can feel more akin to nature. Doesn’t stain, but may scuff or scratch. Best for Farmhouse style or Mid-Century Modern.

Plastic

Has a clean feel and can easily be found in bold colours. Great for homes with kids—or messy friends—since they wipe easily and don’t stain. Best for contemporary and modern dining rooms.

What about armrests? Chairs with arms can undoubtedly add a bit of elegance to your dining room, but keep in mind they need more clearance to get in and out of comfortably. This is why they are often only used at the head of the table.

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Stash Your Clutter

Storage helps conceal clutter and will ultimately help your dining room both look and feel clean. Many dining rooms incorporate hutches and side tables for storage, but don’t feel like you are limited to those options. A stylish dresser is also a great storage solution and a shelf fitted with baskets can do wonders for organisation. Don’t have floor space to spare? Think vertically! Mount a few shelves on the wall or go for a floating sideboard.

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Paint Your Way

The colour you choose for your dining room should depend on the mood you want to evoke, but most importantly, it should be a colour you actually like. It may seem easy to copy the latest colour trends, but unless you truly love the colour, you’ll get sick of it pretty fast.

A canary yellow may be just what you need to brighten and energize your space, while a forest green can add depth to the room, as well as a luxurious feel. Want something playful and youthful? Go for a soft pink or a graphic wallpaper. Or maybe you want something soothing? A soft grey or a shade of blue is always a great choice.

Dining room

Try The Simple Fix

Before you overhaul your dining room, try swapping out some accessories. Adding a few plants, hanging new curtains, incorporating an area rug, or swapping out the wall art can have a massive impact on the space. Small tweaks go a long way!

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How to Decorate a Small Dining Room?

Just because your dining room is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be functional and stylish. Here is how to make the most of a smaller space.

Avoid Feeling Cramped

Having a large table permanently in a small dining room can make it feel small and cramped. So if you only require a lot of seating or extra table space on occasion, then an extendable dining table may be just what you need. Worried about where to store the leaf? Consider a table where the leaf stores directly under the table.

If you find that both your table and chairs are the problem, there are also folding versions of both. They are perfect to tuck away when not in use, plus there are some highly stylish folding options available nowadays—so you won’t have to trade style for space!

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Embrace Multi-Purpose

Does your dining room also double as a home office or art studio? You certainly aren’t alone. Multipurpose dining rooms can be great, but they can also be frustrating when you want your dining room to look like, well, just that—a dining room. The best solution for this is storage. You want to create a space where you can easily stash away your office supplies at the end of the day. You can do this with a chest of drawers, a few baskets tucked under your sideboard or even a few wooden crates. Or, if you want something portable, consider a multi-tier cart that you can easily wheel in and out.

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Scope Out The Right Colour

Want a sure-fire way to make your dining room feel bigger? Go white, light, or bright! This will create the illusion of more space in the room. Colours that work well for this are white, light shades of grey, yellows, and light blues. However, if those aren’t for you and you are craving something rich and dark, painting a wall a dark colour can add depth to a room, which in turn, can also make it feel larger. Just make sure that the room gets plenty of natural light if you are aiming for a dark shade.

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Get Professional Input

If you have a jumble of ideas that you just can’t sort through, you need help finding your style, or you just want more advice on how to match your dining room to your lifestyle, seeking out an interior designer may be the route for you.
An interior designer can not only help you find the perfect storage solutions and the paint colour of your dreams, but they can help ensure that the results are everything you hoped for—and more!
Need someone to co-create your dream dining room? Get in touch with one of our Interior Designers today!

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