Decorating Guides | Kitchen & Dining Furniture

11 No-Fail Tips For Designing an Inviting Dining Space

When you face designing an area for your family and friends to dine in, you must consider all the elements that make up a wonderful dining experience.

Lighting, inviting colors and textures, and a breakfast nook dining set create a feeling of coziness or hygge as the Swedish call it. Consider these no-fail tips when you're pulling your dining space together.

Dining Room Interior
Dining Room Interior

1. Use Neutral and Warm Hues

The genuine warmth of your dining area comes from the company you keep, not the decor. If you would like to enhance the coziness, you feel when you have family and friends gathered around your table, paint your walls neutral hues with splashes of warm color like burgundy or blood orange. A two-tone traditional color scheme of a warm accent and a neutral tone creates an elegant yet modern space in which to eat.

For a more dramatic and retro look, use black and white textiles to balance your breakfast nook's wooden accents for a classic diner look.

2. Soften the Room with a Rug

With the shining crystal, gleaming silverware, and definite angles of the tables and chairs, you need something to soften it and create textural contrast.

Mid Century Modern Dining Room Design
Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Design

A rug with soft textures and subtle patterns pulls a dining area together. A rug can also help keep sound to a minimum; dinner parties can get raucous, and a thick rug absorbs louder sounds and reduces the scrape of chair's legs on the floor.

Avoid high-pile rugs that can trap food particles and are prone to mold, and opt for a low-pile style with an understated pattern or hue to add softness.

3. Eat Dinner in Your Breakfast Nook Dining Set

There's nothing as cozy as eating your favorite meal in the intimate confines of a breakfast nook. And you can use the nook for impromptu dinner parties and breakfast each morning.

Coastal Dining Room Design
Coastal Dining Room Design

A breakfast nook dining set blends a beautiful appearance with the practical elements of a dining area. And many breakfast nooks are located close to the kitchen, so you can entertain as you prepare food. Cooking dinner for multiple guests often keeps you away from the action. With a breakfast nook dining set, you can always be a part of it.

4. Use a Couch or Bench as Seating

To create an English cottage feeling in your dining space, swap out a few of the more formal dining chairs for an upholstered loveseat or sofa. Upholstered furniture softens the look of any room, and using a mismatched combo of chairs, and a sofa updates your dining area to give it a cozy ambiance.

Alternatively, use padded seat cushions on benches and dining chairs to make the space comfortable for guests.

5. Paint on Stripes

If your dining room is especially compact, consider painting stripes on the walls to create dimension and depth. Use this bold style in neutral hues for understated elegance and pair it with symmetrical, minimalist art, so it doesn't make the room seem too busy.

Eclectic Design
Eclectic Design

6. Decide on a Focal Point

A focal point is essential in any room to create a central design theme around which you can build your space and develop the room's aesthetic. In a dining area, you want the main anchoring point to be the table.

All the action at a dinner party revolves around the table, so don't add too many other furniture pieces. Chairs and a buffet are all that is needed for a formal dining area, and you can elevate the look of the space using decorative accessories.

If you primarily dine in the kitchen, a picture window can become the focal point of the space, and a breakfast nook dining set can highlight the natural beauty of the view.

Contemporary Dining Room
Contemporary Dining Room

7. Have a Curiosity Cabinet

Nothing sparks a pleasant conversation like a curious piece of decor. An antique case with a glass front and shelves inside creates a focal point with grace and class. Keepsakes, precious and otherwise, are both protected and on display for your guests.

Some curiosity cabinets can be mounted on the wall above a sideboard as a counterpoint to the practicality of drawers and shelves.

8. Create a Separate Space

Some living spaces don't have a designated dining area. Modern spaces support many living configurations as open floor plans combine dining and sitting areas in one enormous space.

Ingenious placement of console tables, fireplace TV stands, or movable screens gives the appearance of separate rooms. If you have a spacious combined area, create more intimate areas using furniture, area rugs, and screens to make a unique room.

9. Use Traditional Florals

If the mention of florals makes you immediately think of your grandmother's house, you need to update your perspective. Modern florals are edgy with colors that pop and hyper realistic details, and they still make even the most stubbornly cold rooms cozy.

The vibrant hues of flowers and organic shapes in floral prints soften the sharp edges of your dining area, making it more comfortable and inviting. Complement floral prints or fabrics with fresh flowers as a centerpiece to bring the whole look together.

Glam Dining Room Design
Coastal Design

10. Think About Your Lighting

The way you illuminate your dining room is key to how well a party flows. Too dim, and your guests won't be able to see what they're eating; too bright, and the room feels sterile and cold.

Modern Rustic Dining Room Design
Modern Rustic Dining Room Design

Whatever lighting you have, center it above the dining room table. Eating a sumptuous dinner is as much about how the food looks as how it tastes, and you'll want to make sure your guests get the full culinary experience.

However, it's a delicate balance because if you spotlight your diners' plates too much, it will be unnerving. Keep the lights above your table the brightest in the room, but scatter a few more light sources around your dining area to diffuse the effect.

You can also use lower wattage bulbs or switch out cold white light for softer yellows and oranges to enhance the space's ambiance.

11. Mix Interesting Colors and Textures

Design is all about finding the right blend of colors and textures. Some combinations are more traditional for a dining room, like burgundy and brown with gold accents. Many advise using only warm colors in a dining room as blues may be too sedative or depressive.

However, more than anything, your dining room decor should make you feel at ease, so your guests can feel that way too. If that means you opt for a crushed velvet, navy, damask wallpaper because it is what makes you feel the most at home, then use blues in your dining area.

Loft Dining Room
Loft Dining Room

The Takeaway

There are many ways to make a place more inviting; warm hues, a focal point, or a breakfast nook dining set all add a cozy ambiance to the area you spend most of your time.

Grey Rustic Dining Room Interior
Grey Rustic Dining Room Interior

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