Whether you’re completely refurnishing or just updating your space, we’re here to answer the big question on your mind: how to decorate a dining room.
Step 1: Determine Your Dining Room Budget
Wondering how to update a dining room on a budget? Start by determining how much money you have to spend on the whole dining room project. While it’s okay to choose a spending range, you’ll want to make sure to decide on a hard and fast figure you won’t surpass to keep you on track.
Create a Dining Room Shopping List
Once you know the total amount you’re willing to spend, it’s time to consider which items you’ll need to purchase. We recommend writing down each item you’re shopping for along with a general price range for how much each item generally costs. If, for example, you love your dining room table but are looking for ways to update your dining room chairs, you can leave the dining room table off the list and focus instead on how to update your dining room chairs in a way that will help transform the room.
Determine Your Priority Items
After you’ve created your dining room shopping list, it’s time to determine which items are the highest priority for you. If, for example, buying a new dining room table is your number one priority, figure out a budget for your table and purchase that item first. That way, if you need to go a little over-budget on your dining room set, you can adjust the rest of the budget accordingly, spending less on dining room furniture and décor that’s less important to you.
Step 2: Find Your Distinct Interior Design Style
After you’ve determined your furniture budget, it’s time to consider your distinct interior design style. While you may not fall firmly within a certain style, narrowing down your taste can make it easier to move forward in your decisions.
Modern & Contemporary Dining Room Furniture
The modern contemporary furniture style tends to rely on minimalism, metal accents, clean lines, geometric shapes, and a general lack of clutter. When decorating your dining room in the modern contemporary style, you’ll want to incorporate these characteristics in a meaningful way. When it comes to modern dining room furniture, be on the lookout for understated tables made with two contrasting materials, sleek modern dining chairs and benches with natural fabrics, and servers, sideboards, china cabinets, and bar carts with metal accents.
Traditional Dining Room Furniture
The formal dining room is one of the hottest 2020 home décor trends, and nothing pairs better with a formal dining room than traditional dining room furniture. In general, the traditional furniture style features ornate detailing, patterned upholstery, plush fabrics, and rich wood tones, all of which feature heavily in traditional dining room furniture. In general, traditional dining rooms tend to have a large scale, so be on the lookout for substantial tables, ornate chairs and dining benches, classic china cabinets, buffets, and servers, and lustrous bar carts.
Transitional Dining Room Furniture
Also known as casual, the transitional furniture style combines elements from both modern and traditional design to create a balanced, blended look. In general, transitional design pairs the masculine and the feminine by combining the sleek lines of modern design with the ornate curvature of traditional design. Be on the lookout for large scale tables that are elegant, yet understated, unembellished chairs and dining benches with plush fabrics, horizontal buffets and china cabinets, and mixed metal accent pieces.
Step 3: Consider Popular Interior Design Trends
Once you better understand your interior design style, it’s time to start looking at popular interior design and home décor trends from the past few years. This is a great way to get a feel for what type of trends resonate with your taste and what kind of furniture you’ll encounter when you start shopping. Here are some popular design trends you might be able to incorporate into your dining room design.
The Formal Dining Room Trend
Are formal dining rooms coming back? The answer is yes! In 2020, we expect to see a resurgence of the formal dining room concept. While formal dining rooms are returning to popularity, they are moving away from the stuffy, ostentatiously decorated dining rooms only used on special occasions. Instead, there will be a focus on functionality, with people creating rooms that can accommodate dinners with the family, homework help, board games, and entertaining guests. This new iteration of the formal dining room will include some of the mainstays of dining rooms past, including large tables and china cabinets, but with more modern flair like bar carts and mix and match dining chairs.
The Mix & Match Furniture Trend
While dining room sets will never go out of style, more and more people are showcasing their own unique personality with mix and match furniture. The mix and match furniture trend lets people choose items that complement each other but don’t necessarily match the way that full furniture sets would. Someone utilizing this trend might, for example, choose a dining room table first, then choose individual dining chairs and benches that work together to create a distinct and stylish look.
The Mixed Metals Trend
Whether you’re decorating your dining room in the modern, traditional, or casual style, you can still take advantage of the mixed metals trend. This trend involves combining different metal accents (i.e. silver with gold or brass with stainless steel) in the same room. In a dining room, these different metal accents can come from the dining room table, lighting fixtures, china cabinets, bar carts, and wall décor, and together, they create a modern and stylish look that’s sure to impress your guests.
Step 4: Consider the Size & Shape of Your Dining Room
Before you actually start purchasing furniture for your dining room, it’s important to consider the size and shape of the room itself. While the size and shape of your dining room doesn’t necessarily dictate the style of furniture, it’s important to take it into consideration, especially when choosing larger items like dining tables. A dining room that’s part of an open floor plan, for example, can require a different layout than a large, separate dining room. Not only does the furniture you choose need to fit comfortably within the space, but different furniture arrangements and décor ideas can end up making a room feel larger, smaller, open, or cluttered. These dining room decorating ideas can help.
How to Decorate a Small Dining Room Space
For many people, their dining room is less of a distinct room and more of a space within an open floorplan. If you’re decorating a small dining room space within a larger room, there are certain things you do to make the space stylish and functional. If your small dining room space is part of the kitchen or living room, you might want to consider a folding dining table or a table with extendable leafs so you can keep the size down when not in use. You might also consider a smaller dining table with dining benches instead of chairs, which are a great space-saver, as they can easily be tucked under the table when not in use. If your small dining room space is part of an open floor plan, choosing a rug to go under the table can help create a distinct area within the larger room. Just remember to make sure that there’s plenty of room between your dining chairs and any walls or additional furniture so that people can easily get up from the table.
How to Decorate a Large Dining Room
In many ways, designing a large dining room is easier, as it requires less attention to the size and shape of different furniture pieces. That said, if you’re decorating a large living room, you want to make sure to fill the space in an aesthetically pleasing and functional way. Anchoring the room with a large dining table tends to work well, as does doubling up on items like china cabinets and servers when space needs filled. You can also divide the room visually, with a special sitting area that features a bar cart for drinks, which is especially useful if you tend to entertain guests. To make the room feel cozier, try incorporating a large dining room rug. Just make sure it’s big enough that all the chairs fit completely on the rug, both when they’re pushed in and when someone is sitting on them. You’ll also want to pay special attention to decorating your hutches and walls to give the room a completed feel.
Step 5: Create a Focal Point
A focal point is a specific area or piece of furniture that attracts attention and draws the eye when someone walks into the room. When it comes to dining rooms, many people tend to use the dining table as the focal point, both because of its size and because it is the most functionally relevant item in the room. If you don’t want your dining room to be the focal point, you have other options, whether it’s a highly curated focal wall or a boldly decorated hutch. In fact, you can take this idea even further by having two distinct focal points, which is a popular look in contemporary dining rooms.
Pay Attention to Traffic Flow
Especially if you’re working with a small dining room space, it’s incredibly important to consider traffic flow when designing your furniture layout. Not only should you arrange the furniture in such a way that people have a clear and sizeable path so they won’t run into furniture when walking into the room, but you’ll want to make sure that people have enough space between the chairs and the walls that they can easily get in and out of their seats and pass around others who are seated at the table.
Consider Balance, Proportion & Scale
Scale refers to furniture’s visual size, i.e. how big things look. While you don’t want every item in your room to be the same size, you do want items to be generally proportional to one another. If, for example, you have a large, ornate dining room table, you wouldn’t want small, minimalist dining chairs. Different styles tend to have different scales, but you’ll also want to consider the size and shape of a room. Large rooms with tall ceilings lend themselves to larger scale furniture, including tall curio cabinets and hutches, while small rooms with lower ceilings might be better suited for small scale furniture.