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Dining room ideas

Your dining room is a truly multi-functional space - it’s where we eat, entertain and sometimes even work. When designing your dining room, think carefully about how you use the space and what you really want to achieve with the area. Whatever your style, room size or budget, we have the dining room design for you.

Jennifer Louise Ebert, Senior Content Editor
26th October 2018


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Planning and decorating your dining room

Dining rooms are where friends and family come together to relax, unwind and indulge in delicious food and plenty of chat. Getting the right atmosphere is key and this can be difficult when, for many of us, our dining rooms are either connected to our kitchens or living rooms, or are an altogether separate room that’s used fairly infrequently, making choosing a design scheme tricky. But it doesn’t have to be.

Your dining room can be used in a multitude of ways and the space remains a great addition to a house – however big or small your dining room may be. Design your dining room well and it will become the hub of your home, and not just a dumping ground for ‘stuffocation’ sufferers or a messy desk area for life admin and homework.

What makes the perfect dining room?

Before getting down to the finer details such as furniture style and wall colour, it’s essential to plan your dining room for its purpose before you personalise it. For ease of access for both you and your guests, your dining room should be easily reached from both your living room and kitchen.

Another good starting point is to think about the number of people you are likely to entertain at any one time. You might not be able to change the room size, but there are ways of adapting the space to cater for the number of guests, such as using extendable tables and fold up chairs. If you like to serve food inside the dining room, then buffet tables and sideboards with the addition of a hot plate are a great idea.

Other than family meals and fabulous dinner parties, think about how else to make the most of your dining room. Do you need a small desk area tucked in the corner, or perhaps a comfy chair for curling up with a good book? Dining rooms can be truly multi-functional spaces for the whole family to enjoy, so think about what your household needs really are before embarking on your decorating project.

If you like the idea of a dining room but don’t think you have space for a dedicated area, don’t miss our small dining room design ideas to help you make the most of the space you have to play with.

Dining room décor: what to think about

This is where you can really showcase your style and taste. Rich reds and dark wood is a great combination if you want a traditional English dining room. For those lucky enough to have a large dining room, a traditional theme of bold colours and rich patterns is a great way to add a sense of grandeur to your walls. However, it can be easy to get carried away and while a dramatic dining room can look great, you don’t want to overwhelm your guests. For this reason, it can be best to stick to a few standout elements, such as wallpaper,  curtains, tablecloths and chair covers to add your personal style to your dining room.

If you’re striving to achieve a calm and modern dining environment, intricate patterns in neutral shades won’t go a miss. Replace traditional dark walls with patterned wallpaper or uplifting colours in neutral shades. Contemporary bookcases and floor to ceiling shelving can look great when stacked with books and quirky objects.

Once the walls are sorted, other elements, such as curtains and chair upholstery, can be chosen to coordinate with whatever your décor choice. For bold walls in dark colours, it’s often safe to keep accessories, such as tableware, more neutral. But when you have a neutral colour scheme, you can be bolder with the details.

How to choose the right dining room table

As the centrepiece of your dining room, it’s important to get your dining room table absolutely right. As previously mentioned, extendable tables are a great way of preventing a table from looking sparse when catering for smaller parties, and it can also provide more space for those days when you have to squeeze in a few extra people. If you’re really short of space, you can even stow it away between meals.
There are a variety of shapes to choose from too. Long, rectangular tables can create the deception of a larger dining room, while round tables  are generally more inclusive.