Easy ways to make your dining room look more expensive – from new lighting to inexpensive architecture

Clever tricks for a stylish finish without breaking the bank...
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Now that we’re making more use of our dining room than ever, it’s the perfect time to make your dining room look more expensive for a chic at-home eating experience every day, whether you’re entertaining or simply enjoying a family meal.

    Get more fabulous ideas for entertaining looks from our dining rooms channel

    But how can you make your dining room look more expensive without actually spending a fortune? There’s plenty of easy tricks you can do for a dining room update that won’t break the bank, from emulating design-led furniture pieces to adding elegant soft furnishings.

    We’ve put together five easy dining room updates for a luxe-for-less finish that will elevate your breakfasts, lunches, brunches, dinner parties and everything in between.

    1. Add some panelling


    Image credit: TI Media

    Simple cladding can add character and a sense of grandeur to a dining room instantly. Nor does it have to cost the earth. Tongue-and-groove MDF sheets are available that cane either be glued directly to the walls or fixed to batons. It’s a relatively simple DIY job – Homebase even sells sticky backed tongue and groove that you can apply direct!

    Some inspiring looks: Wall panelling ideas – add character, cover uneven walls and insulate with architectural panels 

    Alternatively, for a professional look, pay a carpenter a few hundred pounds to do it all for you.

    2. Paint wooden dining chairs black

    monochrome dining room

    Image credit: Darren Chung

    You can easily make your dining chairs seem more high-end by looking to design-led companies for inspiration. Matt black is a big interior trend for 2020, and we love how Ercol has used the shade on its timeless Windsor design. You can create the look by updating your wooden chairs with a lick of dark paint.

    3. Upgrade your lighting

    You don’t need to splash out on an electrician to get snazzy new lighting set up at home. There’s plenty of easy-fit pendants you can buy to give your dining room an expensive-looking refresh. Pewter or brass pendants are always a safe – and stylish – bet, and you can hang one large statement piece or opt for smaller sets, depending on your electricity points. Industville is a great one-stop shop for affordable on-trend lighting.

    4. Place a statement rug under the dining table


    Image credit: David Giles

    You can absolutely elevate your dining room with soft furnishings – rugs are not just for living rooms. Place an oversized, statement rug under your dining table to create a cosy, chic scene and breathe life into the space. Look to stylish yet affordable stores like Maisons du Monde and La Redoute for the perfect piece.

    Related: Are your walls painted in one of the 10 most popular paint colours on Instagram?

    5. Create a gallery wall


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Show off how cultured and cool you are with an elegant gallery wall to up your dining room game. Animals, botanics and landscapes all work well, and you don’t have to break the bank to get a polished finish. Try Desenio for some top-quality framed prints.

    6. Throw smart stripes into the mix

    View this post on Instagram

    When I think of stripes, I think of smartness, pinstripe suits and perfectly tailored jackets but teamed with a fabric like linen you immediately incorporate a relaxed feel to the design. Subtle yet smart, relaxed and yet perfectly finished thank you to @sewnbyb_ for helping me find my fabric and enabling me to slowly thread it through my home. I hope to one day have blinds in the kitchen and utility in this fabric because it’s absolute perfection. As disclosure, I’m a paying customer not that my opinion would change either way. Now the question is, shall I get some of the outdoor versions for the loungers and garden chairs? Also these flowers from garden are still going strong!

    A post shared by The Home Of Lydia & Ali (@lydiamillenhome) on

    If you have wooden or metal chairs (like bistro chairs) in your dining room, dress them up with striped cushions for a smart AND comfortable finish. Stripes are a classic print that are always on-trend yet timeless. They’ll work in any scheme, but are particularly suited to country, modern rustic and coastal-style interiors.

    7. Move it to a room with original features


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Period details can lift a space, so if the position of your current dining room is lacking in charm, think about switching its position to a room with more original features. Alternatively, add your own by scouring eBay or your local reclamation yard for a traditional fireplace, and other architectural pieces.

    8. Coordinate carefully


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Related: Grey dining room ideas – for a fresh and easy-going look

    Colour – and how you use it – can be critical to how chic a dining room looks. This particular room employs several clever tricks to up the designer feel. The wallpaper and paint colours are carefully matched. The table linens, seat cushions and curtains all pick out the mellow yellow detail in the wall’s botanic motif. And tableware unites the two palettes beautifully. Cue an instant – and expensive-looking – designer look.

    All the latest from Ideal Home