White dining rooms will never go out of style; when done right, they look classic and expensive. Fresh white walls provide the perfect blank canvas to express yourself, and if you rent, the chances are your dining room is white anyway. It's also the perfect colour for brightening small spaces and refreshing architectural details.
From furniture and tablescapes to gallery walls and lighting, our white dining room ideas will help you put your stamp on the space so it looks anything but stark. In addition to the ways to visually soften a white space, interior designer Clare Pascoe points out that it's worth considering acoustic softening.
White dining room ideas
'Full-length dining room curtains, upholstered dining chairs and original artwork on canvas will all help dampen reverberation to reduce noise from silverware on crockery, scraping chairs and layers of competing chatter,' says Clare. 'And if you and your guests are tidy eaters, a rug under a dining table grounds the scheme while aiding acoustic control.' Keep reading for plenty of white dining room inspiration to get your moodboard rolling.
1. Opt for classic designs with pastel accents
Seek out instantly recognisable designs like a white tulip table and some Ercol wooden dining chairs. This oval tulip table was originally designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, and there are lots of high street options that look a lot like the real thing, while midcentury chairs can be found second-hand on Facebook Marketplace.
Whether you paint your furniture and walls as above, or add cushions, decor and rugs, infusing your white dining room ideas with subtle pastel tones will give you a refined look that's easy on the eye.
2. Choose organic silhouettes
'White and neutral interiors are going from strength to strength,' comments Amanda Huber, owner of Dining Chair Co. She recommends opting for furniture with organic silhouettes and curved designs in a white dining room. 'The softer lines help to create a less strict, informal and cosy setting that makes you feel safe and cocooned,' Amanda says. 'Accessories in metallics will add an understated glamour and bring warmth to the overall look.'
3. Make your bookshelves into a colourful feature
If you're looking for budget dining room ideas, you could always keep things really simple with white walls and a classic wooden dining table and flooring, and add a rainbow of colour with colour-coded bookshelves and a patterned table runner. You can quickly switch these out for more neutral options when the mood strikes, or change things up according to the season. Hang a ceiling light in coloured glass to diffuse a soft glow come evening for a white dining room that's surprisingly vibrant.
4. Add colour with houseplants
As far as interior designer Clare Pascoe is concerned, large leafy plants and some artwork are your first port of call for adding colour to a white dining room. 'But less is definitely more if your aim is to achieve a "white" room,' she states. 'In this instance, the floor, walls, window treatments and ideally the crockery should all be white.' If you want to break up the white, she suggests a very dark black-green, or natural shades that will add freshness, like vivid blue or grass green.
5. Opt for a feature wall
Speaking of vivid blue, why not introduce colour through dining room wall decor? A bright feature wall will perk up the space and is easy and inexpensive. 'Accent pieces such as painted chairs or artwork add a fresh, uplifting feel,' comments Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture And Choice. 'However, if you want to experiment with colour on a small scale, create a tablescape in a specific colour palette using crockery, placemats or glassware. This allows you to swap colours depending on your mood.'
6. Warm things up with earth tones
White dining room ideas can be brought to life by accents in earthy tones such as sand, browns, terracottas and tan, says Amanda Huber. Adding in warm rusts and paprika tones is a great way to update your dining space without doing any DIY. Look for terracotta-toned accessories like seat cushions, tablecloths, serviettes, candles or even vintage amber glass jars and leather suitcases.
'If you have white, beige or neutral walls and flooring in your dining room, which most people do tend to have, then bringing in furniture pieces in natural woods, linens and stone will add a tactile edge,' she adds.
7. Wrap the room in white to make accessories pop
Take white all the way from floor to ceiling. Paint coving, woodwork, walls and floors to create a seamless, space-enhancing scheme. Colourful accessories and artwork will become mini-masterpieces against the all-white backdrop. Try adding a textured rug to cosy up the look.
8. Add rustic charm with tongue and groove
Stop a plain white wall from feeling flat by embracing a textured surface. Wood panelling is a great way to add interest to a wall without having to opt for colour or pattern. Creating a panelled feature wall welcomes a rustic touch to this dining room and creates a more traditional feel. The look is further enhanced by French-style ceramic pendants and country farmhouse-style furniture.
9. Complement on-trend finishes with white furniture
If you are a fan of modern aesthetics, such as exposed brickwork walls and metal-framed windows, you might be looking for a neutral shade to anchor the scheme. White is that shade. This neutral tone can be used with all manner of different styles, blending with any existing neutral dining room ideas you've got going on. It looks equally at home in a minimalist decor as it does in a country-style scheme. Making it the perfect base for more statement features.
10. Shed more light to make white shine bright
Because white is devoid of pigment, it's highly reflective. Using directional light can help to make the white appear even brighter – an ideal trick if you are looking for small dining room ideas.
Clever dining room lighting ideas are key for creating ambience in any dining space so think about the look you wish to create. Hang pendants low and directly over the dining table to create an intimate feel.
11. Hang a gallery wall
You can't accuse this white space of looking stark! Not only have the owners of this family home applied the trick of using wooden furniture, but they have also added an impactful gallery wall. A black-and-white rug ties the black frames and white walls together, for a considered and stylish overall impression.
White walls are a staple in art galleries to provide the best backdrop to showcase the masterpieces. With this in mind, why not add personality to your white dining area by hanging framed artwork with contributions from the whole family? This is a great way to make your dining space feel more personal and get the conversation flowing.
12. Go with the flow with a subtle coastal theme
White is the obvious backdrop for a coastal-themed room, but many dismiss the look as being too twee. However, coastal doesn't have to mean anchors and model lighthouses, beach huts or bird sculptures at every turn.
In this stunning space, a striped tablecloth and painterly fishy runners set the scene, and worn wood, grassy house plants and the odd shell do the rest. See, coastal can be classy...
13. Make it monochrome with black accessories
Black and white go together like beans and toast, and if you are looking to add an accent colour but don't want to enter a colourful spectrum, black is the hue to choose. It's understated enough that it won't distract from the minimalist nature of a white colour scheme.
If you are happy to add black accessories for a more decorative element try adding ticking stripes on a neutral linen background to add a more of a country feel to the look.
14. Use white as a base for bolder accent colours
Brilliant white can help to make bold pigments really pop, especially those of primary colours. In this white dining room pillar box red chairs and a matching chevron patterned fabric blind add a welcome vibrancy to the decor.
Modern design lights stand out in a bold blue acrylic, that will cast a coloured glow onto the blank canvas white walls. If you opt for a blank backdrop, be sure to use the best white paint for walls.
15. Keep it minimal for a modern edge
If you want your white colour choice to feel like that of a modern art gallery, choosing the right furnishings is key. Keep the space free of clutter and make furniture both minimal and captivating. The use of mesh metal chairs around this oval dining table signify a purpose and add all the right elements of contemporary style.
What goes well with a white dining table?
'It depends on the style of the dining table and the overall room scheme,' says interior designer Nicola Burt. 'In a modernist or midcentury scheme, I would suggest white Saarinen Tulip dining chairs with a white Saarinen Tulip dining table for example, but I would have the seat pads in a colour or different colours to inject a colour pop,' she shares.
How can I soften a white dining room?
If you like the cleanliness of white but are worried about it feeling stark, you might be asking how to add softness and warmth. This can be achieved in a manner of different ways – most easily with simple furniture choices. As the main focus of this room is the table and chairs, choose pieces made from natural wood to instantly raise the colour temperature.
Nicola Burt says upholstered chairs, window treatments and patterned wallpaper will all help soften things. She also suggests a few dining table decoration ideas, like going for a full-length tablecloth, a fully dressed dining table with linen tablecloth and napkins, candles, freshly cut flowers or herbs in vases on the table. Carefully placed table lamps will also help to create an ambience.
How can I brighten my small dining room?
White is the ideal colour choice if your dining room is small. The brilliance of white is its ability to make even the smallest of spaces feel airy and light, in turn making the room feel more spacious.
A pure brilliant white is devoid of pigment, meaning it's ideal to reflect light. It's this quality that helps to create the illusion of a bigger space. Painting your floorboards white is a great way to brighten a space, bringing the pigment-free shade onto more surfaces within the room. Which white dining idea would work best for your home?
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
- Millie HurstSenior Content Editor
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