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Our elegant dining room decorating solutions and expert advice are here to inspire you, whether you're designing a formal entertaining space or creating a distinct zone within an open-plan layout. Everyone knows the best conversations happen over a meal, whether it is with family, a partner, or friends, so having somewhere to sit and eat is an important element to consider when designing your home. Take inspiration from traditional dining rooms in gentlemen's clubs by introducing leather chairs to add texture to the space, but give the style a modern twist with a contemporary shape.

‘Earthy pigments of terracotta provide an authentic connection to nature,’ says Melanie Archer Designer at John Lewis (opens in new tab).

Terracotta evokes feelings of sociability, connection, interaction and happiness creating the perfect atmosphere for entertaining.’ A matching blind completes the look, but make sure to layer with a neutral dining room curtain ideas, both to create a feeling of warmth for winter, and to add a contemporary finish.

Dining room wallpaper ideas aside, touches like the displaying china on the wall feel at home here – play around with similar crockery or even mirrors. Vintage style furniture will set the scheme off, but if you can buy original do; it’s more sustainable and, as Heidi says about the table, ‘it’s a really great choice for families with young kids because it can handle a lot of wear and tear.’ Whether you love entertaining, or use the dining table as an everyday space, consider opting for banquette seating ideas rather than chairs for ultimate flexibility.

‘We love to use upholstered benches around dining tables, and we are careful to use practical finishes like acrylic performance fabrics or faux leathers to protect against sticky fingers,’ says Emma Pocock, co-founder, Turner Pocock (opens in new tab). ‘The feel of upholstered benching is so much more versatile, becoming a place to chat, sit and do schoolwork or linger with a drink after dinner.’ Make the dining table the focal point of the room by opting for an extra large, circular style, which also lends itself for easier conversation during a meal.

To ensure such a classic look sits at home happily in a country home, make sure to layer up textures which add a rustic contrast – like the exposed brick work and tastefully upholstered dining chairs in this design from Sophie Head Interiors. Extending dining tables are a great choice as you can stick to a more compact look whenever you don’t have guests around. ‘When designing a dining space in an addition, I recommend incorporating a skylight into the ceiling paired with solid timber, as opposed to a fully glazed roof,’ advises Emma Sims Hilditch, founder and creative director of Sims Hilditch (opens in new tab).

‘This creates a lovely soft light which falls onto the table and seating area, without making the space too hot.

If the addition has a view out onto the backyard then I advise placing the table so that guests can soak up the natural surroundings while they enjoy a delicious meal.' This pretty dining room draws on classical architecture combining Roman-style columns and detailing with Regency inspired pink walls and would make for an impressive backdrop for any celebration.

Green wicker chairs add a pop of color and would look great as part of any naturally inspired scheme. When hosting dinner parties, it is important that your dining room ideas do not stagnate; elements should change between each event to ensure that the space always feels fresh and new. This design by Birdie Fortescue (opens in new tab) is full of summer decor ideas; from the floral tablecloth and vases of blooms through to the tropical trees which foster an air of privacy, it is the perfect setting for a summer dinner party.

In this formal space, built-in cabinetry creates a warm and welcoming backdrop, displaying treasured possessions and family photographs alongside candles and other decorative pieces. Before committing, research how to style a bookcase for top tips on curating the perfect display to bring personality into your dining room ideas. If looking for bookshelf ideas for an unusually shaped alcove or wall, then it's important that you know how to commission bespoke joinery as this will help you to make the best use of the space available.

By employing the tenants of gallery wall ideas, these mirrors have been treated as though they are works of art, with their shapes and patinas being as much a feature as their reflective qualities. Wooden flooring laid in the same direction as the wall paneling helps to lengthen the room and creates a cohesive look. A simple navy blue and white color scheme with weathered wooden accents channels coastal decor ideas, harkening back to family holidays by the sea. 'We wanted to emphasize the original charm of the house in this dining room and mix both contemporary yet traditional design elements. Our client had several family heirlooms and antiques so we sought to integrate those pieces into the space in a fresh way, as seen here with this beautiful cherry wood dining set accented with a more modern, polished nickel chandelier. The home of designer Liz Caan (opens in new tab), the space features a teal velvet dining sofa is paired with lime green upholstered chairs, while the Gucci wallpaper introduces gold and pink accents, echoed in the mauve table lamps.

Chiefly entertaining guests, dining rooms are spaces where you have the chance to really showcase your personality to visitors. In this dining room by designer Sarah Stacey (opens in new tab), white walls make for a chic backdrop to a monolithic oak table, abstract artwork on the walls, modern metal chairs, a candle chandelier with a contemporary twist, a Persian-style rug and blown glass vases heading up the dining table decor ideas.

Designer Ginny Macdonald (opens in new tab) looked to northern European design when planning this open-plan kitchen and dining space, including direct inspiration from Noma chef Rene Redzepi’s personal kitchen in Copenhagen. ‘The dining room has become the social hub of the home,' explains interior designer, Emma Sims Hilditch.

Try adding bright patterned cushions to a dining room chair, or colorful artwork to a bare wall.' When working out how to dress a dining table, choose a centerpiece that’s either lower than or well above the eyeline, as visual communication is essential at dinner parties.

‘Almost anything can work, from floral arrangements to existing ornaments, but ensure there’s a common theme, such as animals or birds,’ advises Clifford Williams, Display Manager at Thomas Goode (opens in new tab). When it comes to dining room color ideas , the world really is your oyster – depending on the formality of the space you have licence to be dramatic, soft or somewhere in between. Their comforting nature and maternal connotations provide a cozy environment for dining, imparting a sense of nourishment and tender loving care unto guests.

If you have a large windowed area like in this example, consider making it the backdrop for dinners with friends, and giving your guests a view that harnesses many of the benefits of outdoor dining . While large prints will add dynamism to a small space, intricate motifs used generously will bring the walls inwards. In this modern rustic dining room by Murphy Deesign (opens in new tab), a William Morris print with a dark blue base covers all four walls of the large space, helping it feel cozier.

If the neutral dining room ideas you have been browsing have lacked a spark, add a sprinkling of bright primary colors and create a statement with a single piece in a vivid hue. Here, a brightly painted chair delivers drama and works as a wonderful focal point, great for red dining room ideas.

The block of color in the yellow artwork and glossy finish of the red chair bring an unexpected extra dimension and vibrancy to the calm, natural, country feel of this relaxed dining space.

A chic, black and white checkerboard flooring adds impact to a calm, neutral scheme. The monochrome palette combined with warm wooden furniture creates an inviting dining room. Just two well-chosen elements – the wall mural and lighting fitting – give this dining room huge impact.

The monotone color scheme is enlivened – and made more glamorous – with the touches of gold, which also warm the otherwise cool space. Upholstered chairs add a luxurious feeling of comfort, which invites diners to linger, while the round table enhances sociability.

Create a sociable and relaxing atmosphere in your dining room with a circular table; it’s less formal, plus you can squeeze in extra chairs and stools if need be. In a compact kitchen, consider using banquette seating, fitted into a corner or even on one side of an island, to create a cozy dining spot. Here, the texture and colors of the rug make this blue dining room feel more inviting and warmer – an important factor if you are decorating with a cool tone. A decorative oilcloth makes a practical alternative to a traditional fabric tablecloth; this striking world map design has been stapled into place for a neat finish.

If you want a dining table but don’t have space for a large traditional style, why not choose a small, round, bistro one? It will be a perfect place to sit and have your morning coffee and croissant, as well as adding a little Parisian chic to a previously unused corner of your small dining room. To avoid the set-up looking too unbalanced, choose non-bulky folding chairs for the side opposite the window in your farmhouse dining room. It is worth devising lighting schemes early on, allowing for functional down lighters, and more decorative fittings. However, layout will be dictated to some extent by the shape and footprint of your dining room and may mean a separate table and chairs aren’t workable. Weigh up a variety of options: a full table, breakfast bar or a small perch point on the end of a run of cabinets.

'Chairs, rugs and window treatments are a great way to introduce color and character to a dining room, so pops of color and a mix of materials will add some personality to the interior,' says Head of Retail & Commercial Design at Life Kitchens (opens in new tab), Graeme Smith. ‘If you’re using also using the dining room as a work space, we’d recommend you install recessed dowlighters for brightness,’ says Chris Jordan, Managing Director at Christoper Wray Lighting (opens in new tab).

For anyone looking for modern dining room ideas, the fluted panelling style above is the perfect way to introduce wood in a contemporary way, with the vertical lines creating a neat visual trick, too, of making the room's ceiling look higher.

Opting for built-in pieces and making the most of recesses are good ways to achieve a clutter-free look.

‘If it will be almost entirely dedicated to dining, it’s crucial to leave enough room between the seating and other furniture to allow people to get to and from the table with ease. ‘Bear in mind that people tend to be seated in a dining room so the lighting must be at eye level be effective,’ says Lucy Martin, Design Director at John Cullen (opens in new tab).

Lighting should also be sufficiently bright for guests to see and to enjoy the food and conversation, so make it adjustable via dimmers.’ It needs to be carefully positioned; too high and the light won’t illuminate the table, too low and you could obstruct the views of your guests.

In this dining room, styled for a Homes & Gardens decorating shoot by Alyce Taylor, Fromental (opens in new tab)’s Braque wallpaper is layered with painted chairs to create an intricately intriguing space.

The Swedish house trend is, we predict, an enduringly popular look that's a sophisticated combination of vintage and country styles.

It's perfect for a dining room and will work in contemporary spaces just as well as in country cottages or period homes. Displaying china is one way to add interest and color to a dining room, plus of course, it can solve a kitchen storage problem in one hit.

Combine the china with other favorite objets, including sculpture, glassware and even books, for a look that's carefully curated. It’s one of nature’s favorite color combinations and this classic pairing looks every bit as good inside. Use fabrics and accessories in a palette of apple, mint and emerald perfectly evoke the distinctive charm of England’s verdant landscape, a great option for green dining room ideas.

With a little effort they can be transformed into a mini exhibition space for gathered collectibles, which can then be whisked away when the table is called into action for entertaining. Ben Pentreath (opens in new tab) demonstrates how to best dress a ‘resting’ table in this scheme that he designed for a flat in Chelsea, London. The bottle green French velvet that covers the white gesso framed Louis XVI chairs is picked up by the collection of glass candlesticks and resin lamp bases on the table and the dresser behind.

Also important to this room is the display of artwork on the walls; the symmetrical arrangement brings order and structure. ‘Introducing a bar area within a dining room not only creates the perfect opportunity for after dinner drinks, but on a more practical level it adds useful storage to conceal the less decorative and more habitually used tableware and practical accessories,’ says Clara Ewart, head of design at Kitesgrove (opens in new tab). ‘Painting the joinery in the same color as the walls creates a sleek and minimalist look, one that does not distract the eye away from the design of the rest of the space,’ she adds. Opting for a dark and moody color, such as the rich blue shade used here, results in an impactful and contrasting backdrop for favorite glassware or serveware or a collection of decorative objects. ‘We often advise clients to be brave with scale, especially in rooms with high ceilings,’ says interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch. Or will it be the key meeting point in the home where family congregate for meals or perhaps doubling as a place to catch up on paperwork?'

Invest in the best tableware you can afford, but don’t be seduced by unnecessary pieces; just buy what you need for your style of entertaining. 'If you want to mix and match tableware, key items such as linen and charger plates should remain constant as you experiment with the color, shape and pattern of china,’ explains Clifford Williams, Display Manager at Thomas Goode (opens in new tab).

'A good way to create an intimate space for dining is to choose a rich, opulent color palette and use it on the ceiling too.’

Furniture can be a cumbersome business, especially in small rooms so it pays to arrange and buy items correctly. Another important pointer is to place large pieces of furniture against walls so the open space in the middle is not broken up. In smaller homes, where space is tight, you might consider extending a worktop to create a breakfast bar or introduce a small circular table for informal dining.

'Consider using soft but effective under lighting in the dining room, which allows sufficient light to put the final touches to one's food, but is discreet enough not to dominate,' advises Julie Paul, Head of Interior Design, OKA (opens in new tab).

Dining room with navy walls and leather chairs
Dining room with navy walls and leather chairs
Dining room with terracotta walls
Dining room with terracotta walls
Dining room with vintage wallpaper and chairs, by Heidi Caillier
Dining room with vintage wallpaper and chairs, by Heidi Caillier
Dining room with upholstered bench Turner Pocock
Dining room with upholstered bench Turner Pocock
Dining room ideas exposed brick wall upholstered chairs
Dining room ideas exposed brick wall upholstered chairs
Dining room with a round table in a broken plan room
Dining room with a round table in a broken plan room
Dining room in a Sims Hilditch extension with wicker chairs
Dining room in a Sims Hilditch extension with wicker chairs
green wicker chairs in classical designed pink dining room
green wicker chairs in classical designed pink dining room
dining room with long dining table and chairs in front of a built in bookshelf
dining room with long dining table and chairs in front of a built in bookshelf
dining room with gallery wall of mirrors
dining room with gallery wall of mirrors
coastal inspired dining room
coastal inspired dining room
dining room with patterned wallpaper and wooden furniture
dining room with patterned wallpaper and wooden furniture
A dining room idea with blue velvet dining sofa, green velvet upholstered chairs and Gucci wallpaper with teal, pink and gold print
A dining room idea with blue velvet dining sofa, green velvet upholstered chairs and Gucci wallpaper with teal, pink and gold print
A dining room with a large wooden table, basket metal chairs, abstract art and a contemporary candle chandelier
A dining room with a large wooden table, basket metal chairs, abstract art and a contemporary candle chandelier
A dining room idea with white walls, Scandi-style dining table and chairs, blue and red rug and black sputnik chandelier
A dining room idea with white walls, Scandi-style dining table and chairs, blue and red rug and black sputnik chandelier
Dining room ideas - Dining room - Scale in interior design
Dining room ideas - Dining room - Scale in interior design
Dining room with traditional chairs, tables and colorful art
Dining room with traditional chairs, tables and colorful art
Dining room with large round table and wood floor
Dining room with large round table and wood floor
A dining room idea with earthy blush pink walls, abstract art on the walls and low tiled glass pendant bar light over dark brown table
A dining room idea with earthy blush pink walls, abstract art on the walls and low tiled glass pendant bar light over dark brown table
A dining room idea with large open plan kitchen, living and dining areas with large windows and blu sofa and chairs
A dining room idea with large open plan kitchen, living and dining areas with large windows and blu sofa and chairs
A dining room idea with blue William Morris print wallpaper, large dark wooden sideboard and light wooden dining table with rattan chairs
A dining room idea with blue William Morris print wallpaper, large dark wooden sideboard and light wooden dining table with rattan chairs
natural dining room scheme with bright red chair
natural dining room scheme with bright red chair
Monochrome dining scheme with checkerboard flooring
Monochrome dining scheme with checkerboard flooring
Dining room ideas with wall mural and wooden table and chairs
Dining room ideas with wall mural and wooden table and chairs
Dining room with round table and pendant light
Dining room with round table and pendant light
Dining room with corner table and colorful chairs
Dining room with corner table and colorful chairs
Dining room ideas with window seat and armless chairs
Dining room ideas with window seat and armless chairs
Dining room, decorating with grey
Dining room, decorating with grey
Dining room with map on the wall and table
Dining room with map on the wall and table
Dining room with antique table, chairs and cabinet
Dining room with antique table, chairs and cabinet
Dining room with wallpapered walls
Dining room with wallpapered walls
Dining room with window seat and colored glassware
Dining room with window seat and colored glassware
Dining room ideas with wooden table and patterned chairs
Dining room ideas with wooden table and patterned chairs
Dining room with farmhouse table and black pendant lights
Dining room with farmhouse table and black pendant lights
Dining room with red chairs and teal walls
Dining room with red chairs and teal walls
Grey dining room with small round table
Grey dining room with small round table
Dining room with wooden chairs, table and patterned rug
Dining room with wooden chairs, table and patterned rug
Traditional dining room ideas with wooden furniture and white walls
Traditional dining room ideas with wooden furniture and white walls
Dining room with grey chairs, wooden table, white walls and shelving
Dining room with grey chairs, wooden table, white walls and shelving
White dining room with antique dining chairs and wooden flooring
White dining room with antique dining chairs and wooden flooring
White dining room with window seat and wooden table
White dining room with window seat and wooden table
Dining room with mural by Fromental wallcoverings
Dining room with mural by Fromental wallcoverings
Dining room with orange wallpaper, white dining furniture and dark wood elsewhere
Dining room with orange wallpaper, white dining furniture and dark wood elsewhere
Country dining room with orange tablecloth
Country dining room with orange tablecloth
Grey dining room with alcove shelving unit and grey walls
Grey dining room with alcove shelving unit and grey walls
Green dining room ideas with wooden table and patterned wallpaper
Green dining room ideas with wooden table and patterned wallpaper
Dining room with green color scheme
Dining room with green color scheme
Dining room with banquette seating
Dining room with banquette seating
Dining room ideas with round table
Dining room ideas with round table
Dining room with bar area
Dining room with bar area
Traditional dining room with pendant light and wood table
Traditional dining room with pendant light and wood table

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