Dining room colour schemes – decorate your eating area with bold, beautiful, lively shades

Create the perfect ambience for meal times with the right colour scheme for you - and your guests

Dining room colour schemes don't have to be bland and boring! The dining room is often one of the less-used rooms in the house nowadays, so if you still have a formal dining room, it's worth embracing that sense of occasion and being a little more extravagant and daring with its decoration.

Take time to consider the size of the room and also the amount of natural light it receives, as it may take on a more practical use in the daytime, for homework or housekeeping, for example.

A room flooded with light can hold its own during the day when decorated with dark colours, which in turn will be the ideal back drop for an intimate setting in the evening. However, a naturally darker room may benefit from a lighter touch of pale shades throughout the day, which can be warmed up with subtle lighting at nightfall.

Want more dining room ideas and inspiration? Check out our dining room channel!

Strong use of colour is not for the faint hearted, but a great way to create a dramatic dining experience. Be daring with colour on both the walls and floors, or for a more subtle approach, try a bright rug under the table to help define the dining zone, or create focal points with graphic paintings and prints.

For an atmospheric dining experience, a range of tones in the same colour will unite the entire space, while a dark painted ceiling will give the room a cosy feel. If you have a dado rail, consider wallpaper above it and a deep colour below for a cocooning effect.

1. Add drama with inky blues and black

navy dining room with marble topped table and green plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber
Stylist: Sarita Sharma)

The deep tones of a dark navy or black gives this room a smart and immersive feel, whilst the pale oak flooring, marble topped table and woven seats lifts the scheme and give it depth. The addition of turquoise and plaster pink accessories, together with plenty of faux foliage, keeps this dark decor feeling super fresh and contemporary.

2. Inject a pop of red into a neutral space

dining room with dining table and red accent dining chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Little Greene)

Transform a neutral palette by adding pops of primary brights. Using red accessories, such as lighting and vases, in different areas and corners of the room you will create pockets of interest that will lift the scheme. Choosing just the one highlight colour will provide more impact than having two or three.

3. Mix sugared almond tones

dining table with pastel plates and bowls

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Wreford
Stylist credit: Sally Denning)

Update your table with new colours and textures for spring. For an easy, relaxed look, choose a mix of patterns in a pastel palette of pale green, blue and blush pink. Look for designs that will work well together - a spot with a stripe, a floral with a plain for example. 

4. Unify a multifunctional room

open plan kitchen with brown dining table and black aga

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alistair Nicholls)

Co-ordinate a large open-plan room with a happy blend of colours. Start with a neutral backdrop throughout and add hits of colour across the scheme using soft furnishings.

Keep the practical kitchen a defining monochrome and then merge into cool subtle grey and pastels for a seating zone (this one benefits from an abundance of natural light). Finally, bring a reclaimed dining set back to life with co-ordinating seat pads in vibrant jewel tones for an uplifting eclectic finish that works.

5. Set the mood with mauve

breakfast table and bench with laid-back palette soft purples pinks and greys

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Pep up a breakfast table and bench with a laid-back palette of soft purples, pinks and greys. Warm up a neutral backdrop with a harmonious mix of stylish cushions of various textures in heather and ash tones to create a tranquil space.

Pretty up the table with a delicate crochet table runner and a mix of tableware in pastel shades to continue the relaxed vibe. A large chalky, woven light shade hung off centre creates an almost moonlit setting.

6. Go for green

green dining room with chevron curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Brown)

If your dining room overlooks the garden (or even if it doesn't), consider a green decorating scheme to bring a little of the outdoors in. Choose an uplifting vibrant shade and team it with modern pattern for a stimulating scheme. Offset the bold with refreshing white and pretty leaf motif accessories.

Use curtains to carry pattern - this loose chevron design in the same tone is an effective way of adding a refreshingly graphic edge while softening the bold colour choice.

7. Adjust the contrast

grey dining room with wood dining table pale wood dining furniture with smart grey upholstery and zingy yellow rug

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Get the best out of grey with monochrome additions. Take on the trend of the decade with a strong statement wall in slate grey. Break up the density with white storage to instantly freshen the mood.

Create depth and interest with a triangular display of arty black and white framed prints. Bring in pale wood dining furniture with smart grey upholstery and an exciting accent colour - such as the zingy yellow of this stylish rug.

8. Spin the colour wheel

mid century modern dining room with dining table chairs and vibrant orange circular motif wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

Choose complementary colours for a palette that’s pleasing to the eye. Vibrant orange will always pack a punch in a dining room, but introduce it through a circular motif wallpaper and the effect is all the more intense.

Counterbalance with blue tableware and a single velvet statement chair in cobalt to stand out and harmonise. Enhance the relaxed retro vibe with on-trend mid-century style furniture.

9. Use colour in isolation

dining table with dining table stools vintage chandelier and cabinet crockery

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Paint a single cabinet a strong shade to stand out and create a cool, stylish atmosphere. Let an impressive and sturdy dresser dominate the dining space in stormy grey.

Choose rustic furniture in natural tones as a counterpoint to the intense paint colour. Hang a vintage chandelier for an air of luxury and keep the cabinet crockery pretty and co-ordinated with an all-white display.

10. Head for a red room

red and white modern dining room and bowl loose chair covers and nordic style felt rug

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Bevan)

Nothing quite gets the attention like bright red - use it to accentuate an otherwise neutral dining room. Rather than drown a room with saturated colour, balance it throughout with an equal measure of white against a backdrop that's also white.

Start the style statement with an impressive low-slung light – this one conjures up a fiesta spirit with its pretty paper garlands. Echo the contemporary look with a mix of strong patterns on loose chair covers and a Nordic-style felt rug.

11. Perk up a dining room colour scheme with pattern

dining room with dining table chairs and colourful fabrics

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rachel Whiting)

Warm up a rustic kitchen-diner with soft furnishings in a mix of disparate patterns and subtle autumnal colours to create a relaxed cottage feel. Mix warm tones that follows nature’s lead.

Anchor the look with a signature tablecloth featuring a geometric pattern in burnt umber, then draw in the seating with a mix of cushions in earthy tones and different designs. Emphasise the lived-in and busy with plenty of glazed ceramics and kitchen accessories. Here, an ochre Roman blind adds a burst of warming yellow.

12. Think pink

neutral dining room with bright pink chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jan Baldwin)

As general rule, the stronger the pink the less of it you need, so try a shot of shocking cerise with black and white to create a sophisticated look that's oozing with energy. Use white as the base as it sets off any pink to its best advantage. Introduce the explosion of colour with sumptuous velvet seating and vivid curtains. Team with black accents to take the look from girly to glam. An opulent orb pendant light will lean the look towards opulent 1950s Hollywood.

Want more dining room ideas? READ: Small dining room ideas that will make the most of any space

Will you be adding colour to your dining room? Be aware of the change of seasons -– intense wallpaper and fabric-covered chairs may be sumptuous and luxurious when it’s cold outside, but rather more intense in the summer heat.

Remember colour doesn’t have to be permanent, so consider more temporary updates to your dining room – a striking runner, chinaware and vases of seasonal blooms will not only inject colour into a neutral scheme, but can be a temporary reflection of summer brights or winter hues.