Do you feast in your dining room year round, or is it more of a several-times-a-year situation? If your table sees more piles of unopened mail than it does casseroles and salad bowls, believe me: you’re not alone, and I’m not one to judge. The modern family seems to be much too busy – and too distracted – to sit down for a meal together. Besides, open-concept floor plans haven’t done any favors for the dining room. The space blends in so well to the rest of the living area that it’s easily overlooked and under-appreciated.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to build a wall to stimulate a change in behavior. By creating a dining room that feels warm and inviting, you’ll make the concept of regular family dinners much more appetizing. Not sure where to start? Follow these professional décor tricks. They’ll help guide you toward a fresher, more defined dining room that everyone wants to enjoy.
Dining Room Décor Tricks: The Dos and Don’ts for a Better Space
While your dining room may not have the largest footprint in your home, it does offer a lot of opportunity for creative design. I could go on and on about how to decorate a dining room from top-to-bottom, but it will be easier if we stick to some definitive dos and don’ts.
Once you’ve mastered these décor tricks, you can stretch your designer legs a little more – maybe even switch out items for holiday décor or seasonal themes.
But, first, get the basics down pat!
DON’T Overwhelm the Space
If your home has been blessed with a large dining room, you might be inclined to add a china cabinet or bar cart – or both – to fill in the square footage. These furnishings have a place and purpose. And, in many dining rooms, you can fit them in. But always keep focused on the overall scale and make sure you have the necessary pieces first -- like your dining table and chairs (obviously). If you feel there’s room and you genuinely need the storage in your dining room, go ahead and add those extras, accounting for size and visual effect. Thankfully, many furniture companies nowadays have designed these types of accents to be works of art themselves. So when you do need to fit in a bar cart or cabinet, it feels like it belongs in the room.
DON’T Skip the Details
You’ve heard it before: “The devil’s in the details.” This doesn’t mean you stock your dining room with accessories (see my previous décor tip). The details include anything that influences the mood and makes the room feel special. An eye-catching light fixture works wonders, and we’ll cover that below. Other impactful ideas include:
Permanent table setting – A pre-dressed dining table signals guests to have a seat. Welcome them with irresistible place settings, like shimmering gold flatware, metallic plate chargers, fine cloth napkins and linen table runners.
Candles and candlesticks – Dimension is an important design concept, which you can easily accomplish with a few candles sprinkled around the dining room. You might spread a few across the table or strategically place them on a buffet table. In either case, candles are elegant and inviting.
Greenery – Plants not only improve air quality, but they bring a touch of life to your home. I would even argue every room should have a little greenery – and it doesn’t have to be real. Faux plants are equally as lively from a design perspective. Plus, they never go bad and require minimal maintenance.
Area rug – Another way to keep the focus on your dining table is with a stylish area rug. Rugs also lend texture to the space, especially if you go with a light pattern. Perhaps the best part, though, is that rugs soften the look and feel of your dining room. Literally, the floor will feel soft underneath your feet.
DO Splurge on Lighting
Lighting is one of the most important dining room design tips. A dramatic light fixture enhances the overall look and sets the tone for the room. This is where you can really show off your personality and be as eccentric or refined as you want to be. There are countless options for dining room lighting, including crystal chandeliers, farmhouse linear lights and abstract pendants. Be sure to choose a fixture that best suits your design style.
Of course, you can have more than one piece of lighting in your dining room. In fact, if your room lacks natural sunlight, you will certainly want to round out the space with different types of lighting. Wall sconces, for instance, are a smart addition to your dining room. These extra fixtures give you more range of light.
Admittedly, sconces are a little harder to install, because you may not have the wiring in your walls for it. To work around this, I’ve recently found a love for plug-in sconces. They mount to the wall with a cord running down. You just have to make the cord look intentional – like it’s part of the design. I promise the time and effort pays off.
Also, make the effort to find dimmable light fixtures. While adding sconces or floor lamps can help you control the level of light, dimmer switches take it to the next level. Being able to adjust the lighting levels in your dining room is the easiest way to manage the ambiance. Think of it this way: An adult-only dinner party, for example, requires much lower, more intimate lighting than a four-year-old’s birthday breakfast.
DO Dress Your Windows
Your dining room window treatments also play an important role in lighting level. After all, they do cover the source of your natural light. Thankfully, you have lots of window treatment options to help you configure the right amount of light at any given time. Everhem offers drapery, shades and custom linings to help you find the perfect balance.
You can also dress your actual drapery. Adding a trim to your panels can create more visual interest and really liven up the dining room decor. At Everhem, we can help with this customization or talk to you about how to tackle trim as a DIY project. If a little fringe doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always dress things up with tie backs. Tie backs are very easy to find and easy to install. Retailers like Anthropologie and CB2 have beautiful selections. These simple pieces of hardware can actually help pull together your entire design style (pun intended).
Below the Surface
Keep in mind that window treatments are much more than a functional feature. These panels of fabric contribute to the overall design aesthetic and make a room look finished. That’s why the fabric you choose for your Roman shades or drapes is so important. A heavy velvet curtain would make your dining room feel dark and dramatic, while a linen looks refreshingly light.
At Everhem, we make our drapery and Roman shades with 100% linen or linen blends. The weight of this natural fiber allows the window treatments to hang just right – with those beautiful, tailored folds. They feel formal but not overdone. Plus, our color palettes lean toward neutral. We’re certain you’ll find a fabric that meets your design needs and still lets your dining room table remain the focal point.
If you’re not sure how to choose window treatments based on your home’s design style, don’t hesitate to reach out at email@example.com. By dressing your space with high-quality window treatments and employing these décor tricks, your dining room will become so much more inviting--not only to your holiday guests but to your everyday inhabitants.