Dining rooms can often be one of the most challenging rooms to style, as their main elements essentially consist of just a table and chairs. Although it is not the room that is used most frequently in your house, it is still an important element in your main floor living area. Mainly used for large family gatherings and special occasions, this formal room shouldn't be overlooked in the design process. It should mirror the special celebrations that it hosts!

A photo of a blue themed dining room.

Here are some helpful design tips to give your dining room a beautiful, stylish and elegant look. When you follow these key elements, the room that you thought was the hardest to work around can actually become one of the easiest spaces to transform! Now you only have to worry about what vino to serve. ;)


1) Switch out the Furniture

A photo of a basic dining room set.

Most dining sets come with a full hutch, as well as a matching table and chairs. Usually the table is the biggest piece, so keep it. However, consider switching out the chairs. Try adding two large chairs in an upholstered fabric on each end of the table, or re-upholster the existing fabric on the seats. Elements of surprise are a great way to make your dining room feel updated, and it also breaks up too much of one textile in the room.


2) Break up the Furniture

Photo of two yellow accent chairs against a deep blue room.

Instead of simply using the traditional furniture sets in the dining room, mix things up a little! Add a custom bench on one side instead of traditional chairs - it adds interest, and makes the room appear much more comfortable for your guests. You can also break up the hutch by keeping only the bottom cupboard part (if it's a two piece hutch), and adding a marble piece on top to create a sideboard.


3) Lighting

A photo of a unique, animal horn lighting piece in a dining room.

Of all the rooms in the house, the dining room light fixture is the most important, as everything else centers around it. It will be your most expensive element to purchase, but definitely worth the investment! Go big, go long, and go impactful! Make a statement with crystals, metals, a huge shade, natural pieces, or a combination of all of the above if you want.


4) Drapery

A retro dining room with neutral drapes.

Drapery is also important in this room, as it helps to introduce some fabric into the space. Unlike a living room or bedroom where opportunities to use fabrics are abundant, a dining room is limited. Silks, taffetas, or beautifully embroidered linens can all be incorporated to add drama and elegance to any dining room.


5) Use the Walls and Ceiling to Create Interest

An exposed brick wall accents the otherwise neutral dining room.

Since there aren't a wide variety of design elements to play with here, every element counts. Use the walls and even the ceiling to help add texture and contrast. Consider adding a beautiful focal point, like a bold wallpaper, wainscoting, applied moulding, exposed structural elements, or an accent colour for a dramatic effect.


6) Consider an Area Rug

A flowered area rug sits below a dark, hardwood dining table.

Often forgotten, an area rug can be the most dramatic aspect of your dining room if you aren't able to utilize the above tips. Select a rug that is low pile, easy to clean and maintain, with colours or patterns that are forgiving. Area rugs help to soften the space, add definition, and make the room feel bigger - much like how drapery help to tie overall scheme of the room together.


7) Artwork and Mirrors

a photo of artwork adorning a plain wall.

Big mirrors with funky shapes and styles, or colourful and impactful artwork above a sideboard are great design elements to add to any dining room, since it becomes the secondary focal point after the light fixture. Another plus about mirrors is that they give the illusion that the space is much larger.


8) Accessories and Centerpieces

A photo of rustic dining plates and unique crystal pieces upon a dining table.

Accessorizing with the right colour palette with your dishes, napkin rings and placemats helps to tie your whole theme together. Don't forget to have a little fun with your accessories, like putting decorative accents inside or around the plates. Flowers, a combination of candles, or a grouping of coloured vases can all be used as sophisticated ceterpieces.

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