Decorating dining room walls is often the stumbling block in many make-overs and renovations as dining room wall decor ideas can be tricky to nail.
After all, this is a shared space and one that's used for entertaining, so you want your choice of design or display to be something guests will enjoy, too.
With so many dining room ideas to choose from, finding the right one to suit your home and your family might seem like a task, and given that dining rooms are often part of a bigger, open plan area, you need something that won't jar with your decor elsewhere.
But with our handy round-up of ideas, you'll be spoilt for choice!
Dining room wall decor ideas
What you put on your walls is a big part of any dining room decor idea. You could tell your personal story through photographs and collections of items that become a conversation point over dinner. Or you may want to use them as an opportunity to create a mood through paint effects. All while not putting guests off their food, of course!
Do steal ideas from other rooms too – tiles needn't be reserved to kitchens or bathrooms, for example – and be indulgent. A wall of plants or bold pattern can make your dining space an Instagrammable destination that will always have friends angling for an invite.
Read on to discover your ideal dining room wall decor idea.
1. Paint a chalkboard
This is a great idea if your dining space is part of an open-plan kitchen space, plus it's an easy budget dining room idea.
Mark out a simple rectangle to the same length as your dining table to make a feature that's part memo board, part wall art. A great place to chalk up your shopping list, keep track of birthdays or scribble down a favourite recipe, it's a quick and easy idea that will add impact to your dining space.
Fix pegs to the wall within the painted area to hang plants, keys or storage baskets.
2. Display a collection
Instead of storing wooden chopping and serving boards hidden away, hang them in a group on the wall for a characterful dining room wall decor display.
The trick is to try and match them to your dining table decoration ideas, so the whole looks ties in together.
Opt for different shapes and sizes, but all in a similar wood colour and space them evenly across the wall. If you have a large collection, give each board space and spread them out over an entire wall, but if it's just a small collection, an alcove space might work better.
3. Create a feature wall with paint
Use this simple paint trick to frame a dining space and work in a great dining room paint idea.
To draw a neat circle, cut a length of string measuring the radius of the circle and attach to a tack. Tie a pencil or chalk to the other end, then, holding the tack in the centre of where you want your circle, draw it out. Use an angled detail brush to paint a neat edge, then fill the area suing a larger brush.
4. Supersize a wall calendar
One of the best dining room wall decor ideas has to be one that is practical as well as stylish! And hanging an oversized wall calendar on your dining room wall ticks both boxes!
Opt for one that matches your dining room colour scheme, like the one shown here has, and hang in the centre of the wall above your table.
If you're looking for dining room lighting ideas too, this is a good example of how to hang wall lights to become part of your dining room wall decor too. They should be evenly spaced and not steal the limelight, but compliment your walls instead.
5. Frame wallpaper swatches
This is a great idea if you find yourself with off cuts of wallpaper and are looking for a
dining room wallpaper idea. Frame samples or offcuts of wallpaper in identical frames, using a white mount for a formal effect. Choose simple frames, so the patterns are the focus and go for designs in a similar colour palette.
Hanging frames in the same size and colour in a tight grid is a fail-safe way of making a style statement, plus it won't cost the earth too!
6. Don't just reserve tiles for the kitchen
Take tiles beyond a traditional kitchen splashback idea and make them a full height feature in their own right. For a statement design, go for either an interesting pattern, bold colour choice or an unusual shape. Or a mix of all three to draw the eye in an open plan kitchen dining area.
It can create a stand-out area in a busy space. A glossy glaze will create even more contrast, especially when paired with a matte kitchen finish.
7. Try a new alternative to plate display
We’re used to seeing a plate display or a gallery wall made up of artwork and objects as a typical way to liven up empty walls. However, bringing together just one item, such as a grouping of woven wall platters and baskets, adds impact in its simplicity.
8. Go bold with a wallpaper
It’s time to be fearless – if you find a dining room wallpaper idea you love, go for it! It will breathe personality into the home as well as help to zone a large or open plan space. Live with the sample for a while to make sure you’re happy before you commit.
For bold, colourful prints, pairing it with a white or neutral paint on the other walls will allow it to shine. Or tone it down by choosing a paint colour that features in the design.
9. Hang an indoor garden
Cascading green plants will instantly liven up a fresh white dining space. The secret to success here is the bold use of a variety of textures, lengths and leaf size for maximum impact.
Hanging the planters from a grille allows the display to constantly evolve by easily adding to the clusters.
Add to the indoor outdoor effect by mixing in rattan dining chairs that would work in the garden, too.
Some of the best house plants for a dining room are Devil’s Ivy (Golden Pothos); Boston Hanging Fern; Aeschynanthus Japhrolepis; Lepismium Bolivianum; Hoya Linearis and hanging sedum Burro's Tail.
10. Try a paint effect
In this dark grey dining room, the paint effect creates some rustic texture, adding even more warmth to the tone set by the rich wooden dining furniture. Craig & Rose special-effect Chalk Wash paints can be applied by sponge, rag or brush.
Alternatively, a limed effect can be created using watered down flat matte emulsion, chalk paint or a specialist limewash such as Bauwerk's selection.
11. Add a gallery wall
Take advantage of a captive audience at a dinner party and hang a gallery wall that can become a talking point. It could show off pictures of your travels, portraits of family and friends or just your favourite screen prints, sketches and paintings.
'Choosing a common theme across your displayed artwork can really help to bring the whole wall together,' Clare Moreton, photo expert at CEWE. 'It’s also a great way to showcase your unique style and display something you’re passionate about.'
'Select photos from your holiday alongside nautical paintings for a fresh seaside theme or display photos of your pets alongside prints with your favourite inspirational quotes – providing a perfect platform to showcase your unique personality.'
12. Make a talking point of tableware
Taking the plates off the table and hanging them on the wall isn't exactly a new idea in dining rooms, but there are some striking new ways to curate your look.
Traditionally, you may have seen many randomly patterned plates hung together – perhaps with a theme of colour or motif. However, here, mix-and-match designs from the same service have been hung together, and the wall behind has been colour-matched to the pattern, so the plates both pop and coordinate.
13. Have fun with colour
If any room is a place to have fun with your decor, it's a dining room. A playful approach to dining room wall decor ideas sets just the right note for family tea times, cocktails with the gang, or smiley Sunday lunches.
Start with primary colours – choose slightly muted tones of red, yellow, blue and green to elevate your dining space beyond the playroom. Painting the wall to dado height is a good way to add a deep block colour without going 'all the way', can make a low ceiling appear higher, and create a feature in a modern home lacking architectural detail.
Placement of your wall art is key to this look. Avoid the uniform – instead pop your pictures at different heights and mix up your media. Proudly display your kids' artwork next to your favourite prints.
If you're struggling to make your arrangement look freeform, Clare Moreton suggests 'placing your largest item in a central position first and then adding smaller items around it.'
What should be on dining room walls?
What goes on a dining room wall is of course down to personal preference, but always have in your mind, that it is space in which you will be eating, so you don't want anything that might make your loose your appetite. It's also a space that will probably be seen by many; visiting family and friends, dinner party guests and even the kids mates as they come by for tea. So while you might want to display those photos of the family on the beach, or the kids naked in the swimming pool, it might be best to reserve them for a more private space, and keep to safer options in the dining room.
If you have banquette seating, then be mindful of hanging wall art or pictures at a height that won't see guests whack their heads when they get up and down from the table.
Opening shelving could be a nice idea too, but again ensure nothing can easily fall and bump heads below.
Mirrors are a great wall space filler, but think about who might be sitting opposite it, as it can be quite off-putting having to watch yourself eat throughout the evening!
How can I make a blank dining room wall more interesting?
Make your dining room wall more interesting with colour, a collection or a stimulating visual display – whether that's a wallpaper, a piece of wall sculpture or your favourite family photographs.
'I love to create visual surprise in my design,' says interior designer Kelly Hoppen CBE. 'Walls lend themselves brilliantly to this. You can let your imagination loose on their vast planes, making them a quiet backdrop or a fascinating focal point.'
But she does have a word of warning if you are planning a wall display: 'Before you commit to a wall finish, have a clear idea from the outset about what you plan to hang on the walls or display in front of them. You don’t want a star piece of artwork to compete with its backdrop.'
What are the best colours for dining room walls?
Deep inky blues instantly add an intimacy to a room, so it’s perfect for cocooning a large dining space, and are a favourite dining room colour, both of the Ideal Home team, and colour experts like Dulux's creative director Marianne Shillingford.
How can you add even more warmth to this dramatic colour? Interior designer Cathy Dean suggests, ‘Add in some tobacco tones, some warming reds and oranges and it is cosy and welcoming.’
White is a fresh and versatile option for a dining space, particularly one tucked in the middle in the house where there's a danger of the space feeling gloomy. It's the ideal backdrop for collections of artwork or a collection of wall-hung plates, allowing the colours to pop. And you can bring in more drama with a feature wallpaper or boldly-printed fabrics.
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Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.
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