Studies show that the average Joe spends more than 32,000 hours in eating in his lifetime.
Let’s face it. We move into a house, arrange the furniture, eventually get stuff on the walls, and there it sits. For years and years.
If we’re spending thousands of hours over the course of our lives in the dining room, isn’t it time we change things up? Create a warm, rustic inviting space. Or perhaps a clean, cool minimal look. Or a modern space highlighting a few mid-century pieces.
When it comes to decor we get stuck in a rut, and our stuff collects dust. It’s time we think outside the box. Move the pieces that might as well be stuck in concrete. Bring pieces into the dining from other parts of the house.
We’re going to walk through 38 simple ways to spruce up your dining room and make a big difference.
Make A Statement With Wallpaper
The dining room is one of my favorite places to add a bold touch with wallpaper. If you have a lovely wallpaper, the room should not need much else. Lots of trinkets in a room with wallpaper makes it too busy. The wallpaper is the star of the room, and this should simplify decorating for you. And we’re not talking your grandma’s wallpaper. There are great options out there.
If your dining space is formal and rarely used or perhaps used once a week, consider having a smaller table that can have leaves added, and making space for comfy, leisurely seating you can enjoy throughout the year. This way a dining room that is rarely used for dining, can serve double duty by functioning as a space to read the NY times or chat with your spouse.
Make your dining area feel laid-back by gathering various mismatched chairs around a simple table. They add character at a low cost. Slowly collect pieces over time as you’re able, and you’ll be sure to have a dining room that puts your family and guests at ease.
If you prefer a simple dining space, consider bringing color and pattern into the room by adding curtains with visual interest. This is an inexpensive way to change the feel of the room without doing anything too drastic. Once you have patterned curtains you can stick to simpler flatware, dishes, art, linens, and centerpieces without the room feeling barren.
A room full of French traditional and antique pieces can be overwhelming, but starting with a neutral palette of white, sage, and creams is an exceptional back-drop for a few French pieces like chairs, cabinets, and a little bit of glitz here and there.
Pops of Sunshine Yellow
You can never go wrong by when you add a pop of yellow color to a grayscale, neutral room. It’s a bright color, so don’t get carried away. But spots of bright yellow here and there with the backdrop of a white and gray palette will go a long way. Like the sun on a cloudy day.
One way to make a big impact is to paint the top half of your walls black (or another highly saturated color) and the bottom half white (or another light color). Style the varying heights of space in the room in such a way that has a high contrast. For example, a crisp white chandelier with the backdrop of the black wall.
Brick Walls in a Formal Space
Some people have exposed brick walls in their dining room, however, their style is not the industrial type that highlights these features. Make the most of exposed brick by painting it an elegant color: mauve, charcoal, navy blue.
Many are stuck with matching dining room sets that age back to their wedding. A way to liven up a space with a set like this is by adding comfy seating around the perimeter of the room, a bookshelf, and lamps. This will warm up the space and take it away from the stuffy feel of a dining set.
Gray Color Scheme
To achieve a chic, elegant vibe, stick to a gray and white color scheme. This will allow the eye to skim the room without stopping on one particular piece, and will keep the eating area from being busy and distracting. Choose seating and a table that are both practical, but also blend with the walls and art.
Traditional tone-on-tone damask wallpaper on an accent wall goes a long way. Patterns particularly in sage hues of green and grays pair nicely with white furniture and light-colored woods.
A lot of people are moving away from having a formal dining space, and using a space that is more casual instead. If this is you, a wooden farmhouse table is the way to go. A solid, classic piece like this is extremely warm and inviting, but can also be dressed up for holidays and special occasions. A farm table beckons visitors to come, sit back, and stay for a while. Pair it with simple chairs and linens.
A photo ledge gives instant space for decorating on a wall, that can easily be changed out. Consider enlarging family photos, photos from your travels, or pieces of art. You can change seasonally without making a single hole in the wall. The ledge serves to anchor and unify the pieces and fill a wall.
Amp Up the Floral
Start with a neutral palette. Then introduce a soft and feminine floral. Pair the floral with neutral stripes, and you can’t go wrong. Stick to the one floral to avoid going over-board, and it’ll stand out in a good way.
Add One Wow Piece
If you are on a tight budget, consider having one piece that draws attention. This could be as simple as putting a beautiful rug under the table, refinishing an old table and chairs, or choosing a large-scale light fixture.
If you can bring yourself to take the plunge, I highly recommend using a saturated paint color in the dining room. The key to making this work to make sure you don’t add competing hues to the room. Perhaps introduce one additional subtle color to the palette. Allow the bold paint to be the show-stopper.
A white dining room can fit a variety of decor styles. From farmhouse to modern to art deco, there is one key to keep in mind when using white for all the trimmings. The key is to include various textures and metallic finishes in your design. This will create the crisp look you’re going for, without being bland.
Incorporate Your Travels
Love to travel the world, but not sure what to do with all the stuff you bring back? Consider displaying the items on simple shelves or enlarging photos from your adventures. Make the room cohesive with a color theme and treasures from your travels.
Bring the Outdoors In
One surefire way to making your living room feel homey is to add plant life. Make sure not to introduce aromatic plants and flowers, as they are a no-no around food. But many succulents and indoor houseplants are odorless. And you don’t even have to have a green thumb to keep them alive!
If you’re low on space in your home, consider housing your wall to wall bookshelves in the dining room. They are low-profile, but will add visual interest at no cost. And this will free up living space in other rooms and keep all your reading material in one place.
Tone Down the Wood
If you find a lot of your dining pieces are wood, consider the overwhelming effect they have altogether. Add a painted cabinet or cushioned chairs to the mix. This variety will keep the room from feeling too heavy.
The dining room is the perfect space to display art. Form a gallery on a wall or walls of the room. This will simplify the task of decorating and add extreme visual interest and conversation topics. If you load up the walls, make sure the rest of the room is simple. This will avoid feeling that a yard sale threw up in your dining room.
Ground the Space
Many dining rooms are not so much rooms as they are spaces. If your dining area is lacking walls, use a light fixture to ground the space. This will also set the tone for the design. Hang an elegant pendant or a rustic fixture, and that will jumpstart the design.
Adding slipcovers to dining room chairs adds instant warmth, texture, and can enhance the comfy vibe you’re going for in the dining room. They can easily be changed out at low cost depending on changing style and holidays, and the biggest pro is that they can be washed.
If you are big on entertaining but low on space, an L-shaped bench is for you. This is a great way to make space for lots of seating while using minimal space. You can have chairs on the other two sides of the table or two benches or even four. Any way you incorporate benches will lessen the real estate the eating area takes up.
To add drama to create formal living room, invest in high quality floor to ceiling curtains, elegant wallpaper, and a jaw-dropping chandelier for over the table. A large mirror over a buffet is a nice touch. You can always add some worn pieces to add variety to this style.
If you are styling an eating area off the kitchen or a space you want to be casual and laid-back, consider using striped linens for the windows. These paired with industrial light fixtures will be sure to achieve that casual mood.
White isn’t the only color that works in a monochromatic scheme. Pull together pieces in a soft brown mocha color that vary in pattern and texture. This cohesive design will be soothing and visually pleasing to the eye. Consider adding flowers, cotton blossoms, or other natural pieces to bring your earthy scheme full circle.
It doesn’t matter how unskilled you consider yourself at decorating, one easy go-to is candles. Candelabras on the table. Lanterns with tealights. This is the easiest way to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Keep in mind that all candles need to be odorless. What’s worse than a guest slicing into a medium-well sirloin with the aura of lavender in the air?
Make the candlelight really pop and take your dining room to the next level by putting metallic leaf wallpaper on the walls. In the evening the reflections will be lovely and will create warmth for your dining experience.
The key to succeeding at a beach-inspired room is moderation. Don’t go over-the-top crazy about blues and teals and shells on every square inch of the room. Start with a base of neutrals. Put up a bamboo roman shade, neutral shells on display shelves, and hints of sea colors.
Consider layering tablecloths for a formal evening of dining. One round one that hits the floor and another accent layer for on top. If you do this, it is recommended that you don’t fully cover your chairs with slipcovers. Allow their legs to be on display for a bit of contrast. We don’t want guests being swallowed by a sea of fabric.
Add personality to a neutral dining room by finding a way to incorporate animal print in a subtle way. This will not only add flair, but the room will feel high end. Think chair upholstery, curtains, or pillows.
Traditional and Vintage
Bring life to a livingroom set that’s been in the family for two decades by throwing in an unexpected vintage piece. A vintage chandelier can bring life to your space and round out the rest of the traditional furniture in the room.
Why not bring Hollywood glamour to the dining room? Start with a white furniture, white walls, white curtains, with black accents. Add some glitz and French movie posters to complete the look.
Embrace Your Curves
If you are drawn to chairs, tables, and cabinets with curved lines, embrace them. Ground them with a floral rug that has a bent toward curves. This way no piece will be competing with another. This room will feel cohesive, calming, and high end without feeling stiff.
Stripes on the Walls
Liven up a dining room with minimal cost and effort by painting one focal wall thick stripes. They can be two shades close in color. Or one shade with an eggshell finish and one with a glossy finish. This will add instant class to your room without breaking the bank. Your eye will have an instant go-to when you enter.
Star of the Show
Draw all eyes to the center of the room by choosing furniture and linens that are crisp and clean and simple, and investing in a Wow lighting fixture. Splurge here! Furniture can be swapped out, re-arranged, style changed, but a show-stopping light fixture will be sure to stand out on that backdrop.
Hopefully these tips will get your gears turning and inspire you to make one small change at a time to make a big impact in the space where you and those you love spend hours upon hours dining.
What about you? What can’t-live-without dining room decor tips would you add to my list?