Your dining room should serve as the hub for family meals, but when dated decor or built-up clutter causes you to relocate to the kitchen or TV room instead, you end up underutilizing one of your home's most central rooms. Give your dining room the makeover it deserves with these fresh and modern design ideas. Whether you're looking for inexpensive quick fixes or inspiration for a total do-over, these stunning spaces will motivate you to make some big changes — and sit down with the kids or friends for more memorable dinners.
To reclaim your dining room from papers and bills, "you need to figure out the logjams that are creating clutter and handle those with portable solutions," professional organizer Lorie Marrero says. For example, if you pay bills at the table, get a rolling cart; if the surface doubles as a work desk, get a caddy for your office supplies. That way, come dinnertime, you can move your mess out of sight. For a cheap remodel, a fresh coat of paint on the walls (or floor!) can work wonders, or switch out tablecloths, rugs, or other accent pieces for a five-minute update. Quick tip: Before you buy any big furniture, measure and outline its dimensions in painter’s tape to make sure it won’t disrupt the flow of the space. Ready to get started? Check out these gorgeous dining rooms for all the inspiration you need.
Wainscoting or a chair rail creates a perfect base to highlight a favorite pattern. Lining just the top half of the wall also lets a pricey pick go further.
A concise color palette will help your first floor decor flow seamlessly. "Neutrals like grays and natural materials like leather and stone are foolproof together," says designer Amber Lewis. Layer in various textures like a rattan pendant and woven rug to add excitement.
It's hard to beat classic white walls. "It’s bright and clean, and it acts as a blank canvas for the rest of the decor," Lewis says. (It also helps reflect natural light, which can help the room feel bigger.) Pick a shade with a hint of gray to make it feel warm and inviting.
Let your chairs set the scene by picking a set in an unexpected color, like this sunny yellow or an inviting blush pink. Your guests won't hesitate to take a seat.
A room full of boxy pieces can quickly feel cramped, so go with a round dining table for a dynamic element. Plus, it’s easier to walk around in tight spaces.
Instead of redoing the walls, change the color underfoot for a makeover with major impact. A bright aqua color here sets off antique wood furniture.
Swap in statement linens to change the look of your dining room on the fly. A brightly colored floral pattern like this one also hides inevitable stains and spills better than a solid color, too.
Partition off the eating area from the rest of the living space with a decorative folding screen and its own rug. By visually outlining various zones, you can make an open area feel more intimate.
SHOP FOLDING SCREENS
A cushioned bench can help make the most of a small space. You can position the table closer to the wall or the window and fit more people in for family meals. Pop in plenty of pillows to cozy up the little nook.
SHOP THROW PILLOWS
The table and chairs act as the focal point of your dining room, but show the rest of your space some love, too. "Do something unexpected," advises Rachel Bliefnick, founder of the design blog This Is Our Bliss. "Give your ceiling an interesting paint treatment, or put punchy pillows on your dining chairs and then layer a bold rug over your existing one."
If you're short on art, choose a variety of mirrors for your walls instead. They'll bounce light around a small dining room — and make candlelit dinners that much prettier.
Here's another easy option for your dining room walls: Display family photos in a grid of matching frames. They'll look even better in your home than your Instagram feed.
A deep teal takes this cozy dining nook to the next level, especially since it's echoed in plush cushions and cute tableware.
The easiest way to spruce up your dining room based on your mood: Create a neutral design, then keep an assortment of colorful runners around to add a pop of color instantly.
Even though the table and light fixtures in this room steal the show, it's the playful window treatments that bring the space to life and make it memorable.
Just because your dining room is on the cozier side doesn't mean you have to skip on bold light fixtures. This gold globe pendant makes a statement flying solo — and would look just as good as a trio over a larger dining room table or island.
SHOP PENDANT LIGHTS
Gone are the days of matchy-matchy dining sets. Find a table you love, like the rustic one here, then surround it with complementary chair pairings like ornate cane and plush upholstery.
SHOP UPHOLSTERED CHAIRS
Create a clean look with transparent dining chairs (wipeable, so great for kids!). Then mix in a variety of textures, like matte-painted walls, a polished table, and woven blinds.
SHOP CLEAR CHAIRS
Tone down an ornate table with natural-looking seating made with knotted wood. Top it with a plush pillow for added comfort.
Your breakfast table gets extra charming with the combination of metal bistro-style chairs and farm-style vintage seating.
Fill a kitchen corner with a low profile couch (look for one covered in an easy-to-clean fabric like Sunbrella), then nestle in a square table. Genius!
Instead of using the traditional dining room, escape to a more casual sunroom or screened-in seating area for a fresh approach to the dinner party. Guests will feel right at home in the relaxed space.
The always-in-style combo of black and white acts as a great starting palette. From there, pop in playful accents like green and yellow.
Extend a block island to add ample seating, or position a table adjacent to it. Then hang stunning fixtures for elevated dining right in your kitchen.
Give formal seats a playful edge by painting them in a happy hue (orange!) and covering the cushions in a preppy tartan print.
Take a tip from this Connecticut farmhouse by hanging a larger-than-life piece of art. Bonus tip: Hang art low so that it will be at eye-level when your guests are sitting.
This vibrant Utah home's dining room follows a cool color palette, but achieves serious impact with a unique jar centerpiece.
This Toronto family wasn't afraid to mix rustic with luxe decor in their dining room. The combination of a blocky wood table with circular gold pendant lamps is surprisingly polished and fresh.
White Thonet-style chairs juxtapose a dark wooden table in this Hoboken, New Jersey, apartment. The effect? A clean color palette with a timeless vibe.
Our advice: Let beach houses be beach houses. Oceanic influences are obvious in this New Jersey beach house, and how dreamy is this multi-toned blue dining nook?