Dining rooms can often be one of the most challenging rooms to style as their main elements essentially consist of just a table and chairs. Although it is not the room that is used most frequently in your house, it is still an important element in your main floor living area. Mainly used for large family gatherings and special occasions, this formal room shouldn’t be overlooked in the design process and should mirror the special celebrations that it hosts.
Here are some helpful design tips to give your dining room a beautiful, stylish and elegant look. When you follow these key elements, the room in which you thought was the hardest to work around can actually become one of the easiest spaces to transform. Now you only have to worry about what vino to serve!
- Switch Out the Furniture
Most dining sets come with a full hutch, as well as a matching table and chairs. Usually the table is the biggest piece, so keep it, but consider switching out the chairs. Try adding two large chairs in an upholstered fabric on each end of the table or re-upholster the existing fabric on the seats. Elements of surprise are a great way to make your dining room feel updated and also breaks up too much of one textile in the room.
- Break up the furniture
Instead of simply using the traditional furniture sets in the dining room, mix things up a little. Add a custom bench on one side instead of traditional chairs to add interest and make the room more comfortable for your guests. You can also break up the hutch by keeping only the bottom cupboard part (if it is a two-piece hutch) and adding a marble piece on top to create a sideboard.
Of all the rooms in the house the dining room light fixture is the most important, as everything else centres around it. It will be your most expensive element to purchase, but definitely worth the investment. Go big, long and impactful! Make a statement either with crystals, metals, a big shade, or a combination of it all.
Drapery is also very important in this room as it helps to introduce some fabric in the space. Unlike a living room or bedroom where there are a lot of opportunities to use different fabrics in pillows, throws, chairs, sofas, ect., a dining room is more limited. Silks, taffetas or beautifully embroidered linens can all be incorporated to add drama and elegance to any dining room.
- Use the walls and ceiling to create interest
Since there aren’t a wide variety of design elements to play with in the dining room, every element counts. In the case of a dining room, use the walls to help add texture and contrast. Consider adding a beautiful focal point like a bold wallpaper, wainscoting or applied moulding to the space or select a darker paint colour on the walls or just the ceiling for a dramatic effect.
- Consider an area rug
One important item often forgotten for the dining room is an area rug. Although you may have concerns about dirt or friction with your dining chairs, an area rug is an essential item for any dining room. Select a rug that is low pile, easy to clean and maintain, and colours or patterns that are very forgiving. It helps to soften up the space, add definition and overall make it feel bigger, much like how drapery helps to tie the overall scheme of the room together.
- Artwork and mirrors
Big mirrors with funky shapes and styles, or colourful and impactful artwork above a sideboard are great design elements to add to any dining room, as it becomes the secondary focal point after the light fixture. A mirror will help to double the space, reflect the light and add some glitter to the room.
- Accessories and centerpieces
Accessorizing with the right colour palette with your dishes, napkin rings and placemats helps to tie the theme together. Don’t forget to have a little fun with your accessories, like putting little decorative accents inside or around the plates. Flowers, a combination of candles or groupings of coloured vases can all be used as sophisticated centrepieces.
Designer Catherine-Lucie Horber is the Principal of Royal Interior Design Ltd. The firm provides decorating, staging and renovating services for both small and full scale residential projects throughout the GTA. She is known for creating elegant & affordable design solutions tailored to suit different lifestyles. www.royalinteriordesign.ca