34 of the best dining room ideas

Dining room ideas are making a comeback as we look for spaces to gather with family and friends; these are the best

Dining room ideas should be at the forefront of your home ideas, especially if you are a keen entertainer. 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.

These dining rooms have been designed with both practicality and looks in mind – comfortable and welcoming, they will cater to both dinner parties and every day dining for the family, even if you only have a small dining room. 

From colorful banqueting rooms to open-plan farmhouse kitchens, these dining room ideas will help you dream up a space that's as beautiful to look at as it is relaxing to eat in. 

(Rapture & Wright / Neptune / Heidi Caillier/Haris Kenjar)
Use mirrors to create a statement gallery wall

This eye catching design takes the practical benefits of decorating with mirrors to the next level. 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. White walls, simple panelling below the dado rail and warm wooden table and chairs helps to balance the look and prevent the room from looking top heavy.

(Iben & Niels Ahlberg)
Be inspired by coastal color palettes for a laid-back look

Not every dining space is reserved for hosting lavish dinner parties, for many it is a family space, where everyone gathers together at meal times to share their stories of the day. 

When designing a family dining room, you want to create a laid-back space in which all the family can feel comfortable. In this room designed by Neptune, white tongue and groove panelling creates a textural backdrop, elongating the height of the room and helping to increase the natural light. 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.

Create a dining room that works for all occasions

When designing a dining room, you need to not only think about how it will work for day to day family meals but also how it will fair when it comes to larger celebrations. An extending dining table is a great way to transform your room from hosting family dinners to lavish dinner parties, making sure there's enough seats around the table for everyone to feel welcome. 

'We wanted to emphasize the original charm of the house in this dining room and mix both contemporary yet traditional design elements. The wallcovering is dainty yet interesting, but not too overdone, especially when tempered with the millwork. 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 result is traditional with a twist, which is a great way to make a French country aesthetic work for today's way of living,' says Georgia Zikas, founder at Georgia Zikas Design.

(Georgia Zikas)
Play with scale

A dining room is a good space to play with scale in interior design, particularly when it comes to mixing patterns in a room in different proportions.

'When incorporating pattern into your dining room – you also need to take into account scale. Scale is important and can really help pull an idea together, the main thing being to mix the scales from large to small,' says designer Charlotte Gaisford. 'Within the scale idea you also need to think about what type of pattern you want to use.'

(Future/Chris Everard)
Frame the dining table with art

‘The dining room has become the social hub of the home,' explains interior designer, Emma Sims Hilditch. 'Opt for natural tones such as soft browns, gentle greys and creamy nudes which serve as a beautiful base for interchangeable soft furnishings. Try adding bright patterned cushions to a dining room chair, or colorful artwork to a bare wall.' In this room, gray dining room ideas have been warmed up by brown wooden furniture and an abstract artwork filled with fiery oranges and reds. 

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Set a stylish table

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. ‘Keep the focus on the table with candlesticks, votives and low-level background lighting.’

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Introduce a splash of color into a country dining room for a touch of modernity

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. 

(Future / Emma Lee / Sally Denning)
Add checkerboard flooring for a smart monochrome look

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. 

Not only do classic black and white floor tiles add an effortlessly sophisticated feel to a room, but these vinyl tiles are a practical and fuss free option for a much used family space. This flooring choice has enduring appeal and will never go out of style. 

(Future / Emma Lee / Sally Denning)
Create a sense of occasion with dramatic furnishings

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.

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Add a round table for a sociable dining room

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. And when you’re finished entertaining? You can tuck the table away in a corner – making it the perfect choice for a small dining room.

(Future / Simon Bevan)
Make room for elegant, comfortable dining in a kitchen

Even very small spaces can often accommodate kitchen diner ideas. 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.

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Build a dining area into a bay window to maximize space

In living areas, try using the space creatively: bay window ideas can incorporate window seating, built-in or not, combined with a table for impromptu dining, while extendable tables can provide multi-functional space.

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Pick a moody shade for evening-only dining rooms

If you're looking for dining room ideas for spaces that are really only used in the 9, you can dare to go darker. A room that's lit by candlelight, when painted in a moody shade, will feel so much more intimate and atmosphere than one that's a pale shade. 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. 

(Future/Polly Wreford)
Create a fun feel for a family dining room

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. Add an old school map on the wall to continue the cartographic theme.

(Future / Carolyn Barber)
Pick dining furniture in wood for warmth

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.

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Be bold with your decor

If yours is a separate dining room, it is the perfect opportunity to consider bold dining room color schemes or decorative scheme that might be overwhelming in a living space you use all the time. A stand-out wallpaper will create an exuberant space, as will a boldly painted piece of furniture – or a beautiful, curvaceous piece, such as the dining table in this beautiful room by Rapture & Wright at The Fabric Collective.

(Rapture & Wright)
Create a window seat banquette for a relaxed look

Make the most of every nook, and the architectural features of your home, by utilising a window seat as dining seating. The built-in bench on one side of the table will save space, as they are flush with the wall. To avoid the set-up looking too unbalanced, choose non-bulky folding chairs for the side opposite the window in your farmhouse dining room.

(Future / Simon Bevan)
Hang a feature light over the dining table

It is worth devising lighting schemes early on, allowing for functional down lighters, and more decorative fittings. An oversized light suspended above a dining table helps to delineate the space. Ask your electrician to wire zones on different circuits so you can adjust the mood. Wherever possible, try to accentuate natural light. If you have a double-height space or, a single-storey extension, consider installing skylights or a roof lantern.

(Future / Jody Stewart)
Ensure light shed on the table is warm

There’s nothing like a large table to create a warm, friendly and often lively atmosphere in the kitchen. 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. Instead a split-level peninsular may suit the space and still achieve the social focal point you have in mind. Weigh up a variety of options: a full table, breakfast bar or a small perch point on the end of a run of cabinets. The dining element could even be a full feature area, stretching along the back of an island.

(Future / Jody Stewart)
Introduce color and pattern with fabric

'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, Graeme Smith.

(Future / Simon Bevan)
Create the right ambience in your dining room

‘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. ‘Directional downlighter are best for diverting the light to where it is needed most.’ For a flexible, layered effect put all your lighting on dimmers and separate circuits.

(Future / Jan Baldwin)
Bring texture to the dining room with natural materials

A wood-rich dining room creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere, as we've already mentioned above. However, you can max out this effect by not just choosing wooden flooring and furniture, but by choosing wooden panelling ideas for walls, too. 

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. 

(Future / Michael Sinclair)
Consider dining room storage

If your dining room is on the bijou side, go for unity when selecting storage. A mishmash of furniture styles will create discord and, as the space will probably be used for entertaining, it should be as calm and inviting as possible. 

Opting for built-in pieces and making the most of recesses are good ways to achieve a clutter-free look. ‘You could have open shelves to display ornate items and practical custom-built drawers for cutlery and tableware,’ says Alan Borra, Designer at Neville Johnson.

(Future / Ngoc Minh Ngo)
Retain an open-plan feel

‘Think about what you will use the dining room for,’ says Pam Cox, owner of Ham Interiors. ‘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. 

'Where space is limited, you may have to sacrifice storage to retain an open feel. Attempting to squeeze in too much could detract from the overall look and function of the space, so consider what is really necessary.’

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Pick traditional lighting and furniture to add character

‘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. ‘Wall lights, picture lights and lamps will help to achieve a soft, intermediate intensity. Lighting should also be sufficiently bright for guests to see and to enjoy the food and conversation, so make it adjustable via dimmers.’ 

Opt for a pendant light, too, as a dining room looks best with a focal point over the table. 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.

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Choose pale colors for a breakfast dining room

If you are searching for dining room ideas for a space you will mainly use for breakfast or lunch, picking fresh, pale colors will make it an inspiring space to be. To keep the room light, pick furniture that's delicate, streamlined and even translucent – this is particularly important if you are looking for small dining room ideas.

(Future / Simon Bevan)
Frame the dining table with an accent wall

Accent wall ideas are really useful in dining rooms if you can use them on the wall opposite the door to the space to frame the dining table in a dramatic way. 

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

Charu Gandhi, Founder and Director of UK-based interior design studio Elicyon, has used Fromental designs in her projects. She says: ‘Wallpaper can bring the perfect depth and materiality to space, both when the room is bijoux and when it has scale. Start by what you want the wallpaper to celebrate or tackle, then the tone and scale, and on to the pattern and detail.'

(Future/Jon Day)
Create a formal dining room with symmetry

Symmetry in interior design is used to create balance, calm and neatness. If you are creating a dining room that you want to feel formal, you can use this interior design device to make your room elegant and smart. 

‘Symmetry provides balance within a room and it often starts from the focal point, whether that be a fireplace in the sitting room or the headboard in a bedroom,' says Liv Wallers from British design studio, Yellow London. 'It can be used right down to the smaller details of the room, cushions on the sofa to lamps on a dresser.’

Here, the starting point is the window, with the rug and dining table using it as a central point.

(Future/Michael Sinclair)
Embrace cottagecore for a relaxed dining room

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. Ideally, choose colors that are reflective of nature – warmer shades like those in the room above are wonderful for creating a welcoming dining room, especially one that might be north-facing and that receives little natural daylight. 

(Future / David Brittain)
Display your favorite china

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.

(Future / Alexander James)
Keep to a fresh palette of green and white

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.

(Future / Emma Lee)
Put it on display

When not in use, dining tables make for the most wonderful display surfaces. 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 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.

(Jason Ingram)
Enjoy the view with a window seat

Banquettes not only provide ample seating, but also take up less space than chairs. ‘When designing banquettes we like to maximize space by adding storage,’ says interior designer Rebecca Hughes. ‘It’s also an opportunity to add pattern through scatter cushions.’

(Anna Stathaki)
Raise the bar

‘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. 

‘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.

(Mary Wadworth)

Dining room ideas are making a comeback as we look for spaces to gather with family and friends; these are the best