If the kitchen is the heart of the home, a dining room is naturally an offshoot of that feeling of togetherness, shared among friends and family. It's a space that's designed for entertaining, but it should also feel comfortable and down-to-earth for those evenings spent solo or the ones spent with your partner as you dig into takeout.
And while your little eatery can absolutely be a dedicated room in your home, remember that it doesn't have to be a "room." From setups that can accommodate grand, mile-long tables to ones that fit neatly into a kitchen or living room nook, this guide is full of dining room decor ideas that will help you carve out space in your humble abode, whether it's big or small.
Dining Room Furniture Ideas
Unlike a living room where tons of different furniture options can live (sofas, armchairs, loveseats, poufs, and coffee tables, to name a few), a dining room is actually pretty straightforward. You'll need a table and chairs, of course — just be sure to keep your lifestyle in mind for this one. If you frequently host parties and gatherings, choose a larger table or one with a leaf that can allow for several guests. For small spaces, or if you're intending your dining room to be mainly used by you and your family, downsize the table and number of chairs.
You may want to forgo these bonus furniture pieces if your dining room is on the small side. In this case, it's best to choose a table that gives you plenty of options. Adding a leaf can be helpful for get-togethers, or invest in a table that folds up so you can stash it away as needed. Folding chairs are convenient for a small dining room as well. And if you're in need of storage, you can always turn to shelving instead of taking up space with more furniture.
As for layout, you don't necessarily need to place the table and chairs in the center of the room, which tends to be customary. Yes, it can act as a focal point, but only place the table and chairs in the middle if you have room for them. If it makes more sense to rest your table along a wall or window, opening up floor space for traffic, kiddos, and pets, we say go for it.
Dining Room Decor Ideas
Once your layout is in place, it's time to think about dining room decor ideas — the fun part! There are two routes you can choose to take.
First: the minimalist approach. This route is especially effective for a small dining room. And since this is the reality in most homes, feel free to keep your decor fairly simple. Carefully curate your accents, stick to a color palette, and don't overwhelm the space. This could include a couple of houseplants, pared-down artwork on the walls, and a rug with slight patterning. Unlike a living room where you'll spend hours watching movies or cuddling with your pets, a dining room tends to be less complicated.
The second route: the maximalist approach. If you see your dining room as a grand space where love and laughter overflow and you want your personality to truly shine, we say go all in and don't be shy. Maximalism works best in spacious dining rooms, but if you aren't afraid to really pack it in, you can bring loads of character to a small dining room, too. That armoire in the corner? Use it to showcase a collection of vintage plates or your grandmother's tea set. Opt for a vibrant area rug, set up a gallery wall using beloved art pieces or photographs, and include houseplants in varying sizes — like fiddle leaf figs and snake plants.
Top Dining Room Trends
There are a few trends on the horizon that are starting to make their way into dining rooms, and we are so here for them. Instead of the traditional eating spaces of yore, today's rooms embrace eclecticism. It's "anything goes" when it comes to dining room decor ideas, but things will look especially contemporary and polished if you include a statement table featuring a sculptural base or eye-catching finishes, a jaw-dropping light fixture, and patterned wallpaper, something that's no longer reserved for only bedrooms and living rooms.
Where to Shop for Dining Room Ideas
Your creative juices are now flowing, and you're ready to give your dining room a dreamy makeover. Here are a few of our favorite retailers to help you find all of the furniture and decor you could possibly need.
Pottery Barn is a one-stop shop for dining rooms. Here, you'll find light fixtures, furniture, place settings, rugs, and so much more. Plus, they have an entire section where you can literally shop their beautifully-styled dining rooms top to bottom.
For a wide variety of decor styles, head to Hayneedle. They have mix-and-match dining sets (that you can customize according to the number of chairs you need), solutions for small spaces, sideboards, and buffets.