Traditionally, the dining room has been the spot for celebrating formal events and special occasions. As a result, the space is often associated with old-fashioned vibes, making it tricky to style. So much so that, without the right approach, the dining room can easily look stuffy and antiquated.
If your dining room is due for a makeover, consider avoiding these outdated dining room trends, according to designers. In doing so, you'll be able to create a dining space with longevity and personalization in mind.
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1. Farmhouse Style
Once upon a time, farmhouse style reigned supreme in dining rooms — but those days are long gone, says Jaye Nibbs, founder and principal designer of Jaye Nibbs Interiors. "When power duo Chip and Joanna Gaines introduced us to homestead-inspired decorating, it sent the country into a frenzy in pursuit of faux finished, weathered casegoods, and cheeky wall hangings," Nibbs tells Hunker. But these days, homeowners are trading in the look for something more personal. According to Nibbs, time-honored design (in the dining room or otherwise) is becoming less about a hodgepodge of Insta-friendly items and more about a collection of treasures that tell the story of who you are.
2. Formal Spaces
"Formal dining rooms [are] being pushed to the side for more casual and multi-purpose spaces," CJ Scott, interior designer and founder of Shine Bright Design, tells Hunker. After all, many of us are still working from home or have kids who are remote learning, she notes. This calls for dining spaces that are more accessible and inviting. Lauren DeBello, founder and principal designer of Lauren DeBello Interiors, echoes this sentiment. She frequently works with clients "to design their [dining] room to be functional for everyday use, rather than exclusively for special occasions," she says.
To create a more casual dining room, Scott suggests swapping the heavy dining table for a lighter piece and replacing the formal tablecloth with a stylish table runner. DeBello recommends adding greenery and cozy rugs, and "[swapping] out your old, traditional chandelier for a modern light fixture above your table."
3. Trellis Patterns
From upholstery to draperies, the trellis pattern has dominated dining rooms for many years, says Nibbs. However, the print is phasing out, as "pattern play is becoming less preppy and more global and eclectic." The designer adds, "Vintage rugs, African embroidery, and Moroccan prints are in vogue now more than ever. With sociopolitical issues of momentous significance in the forefront, interior design is embracing a more worldly point of view." When it comes to the later, make sure you're mindful about where these items are being sourced.
4. Monochromatic Color Schemes
As homeowners start to lean toward bolder color combos, monochromatic color schemes have phased out. According to Scott, the look can feel sterile, especially as people continue to spend more time at home. To shake up the monotony, Scott recommends adding bold new colors and patterns to make the space more inviting. "Even if you're not a fan of bold colors, you can achieve a similar feeling by layering some neutrals," she says. "It doesn't have to be a big color change; even going a few shades darker or lighter in some areas will break [things] up."
5. Buffet and Hutch Sets
Buffet and hutch sets are officially off the table, says Sharon Falcher and Sherica Maynard, designers and founders of Interior Design by S&S. Conventionally, the sets were used to display fine china and glassware, but people are now looking for a simpler approach. Maynard and Falcher tell Hunker, "When [we design] spaces for our clients, those heavy hutches are replaced with a simple style-forward credenza that has storage [with] a sleeker appearance."
6. Year-Round Table Settings
As Falcher and Maynard point out, everyone used to have their dining table formally set all year round — think: plates, napkins, cutlery — complete with a full fake floral centerpiece. But the trend is over, they say, as people are now opting for cleaner table decor. This typically includes an edgy candlescape or a simple floral arrangement. And even when faux centerpieces are used, "they're often latex, which gives the arrangement a very realistic look and feel," shares Falcher and Maynard.
7. Dining Rooms
According to DeBello, a dining room trend that has become outdated is the dining room itself. "Many of my clients are doing away with the dining room altogether," DeBello tells Hunker. "Over the years, as the size of kitchens have grown, many [people] have enough room to place a table in the kitchen instead of a dining room — and actually prefer doing so." This way, the person cooking is not left out of conversation and meals. "It takes the weight off of the cook to run back and forth from the kitchen to the main dining room," says DeBello.