Formal dining rooms have gone by the wayside in many modern homes, deemed too stuffy and unsuitable for contemporary living. But having a dedicated room with a large table set up for the purpose of sharing a meal is a luxury. And if your home includes a dining room, it shouldn't be treated an afterthought or decorated like a stage set that gets used for special occasions just a few times a year.
From wall paint to wallpaper, furniture to lighting, and decor and accessories like rugs and art, there are endless ways to style your dining room to suit your home, mood, or lifestyle. Check out these stylish and functional dining rooms that are designed for sharing memorable meals with family, hosting dinner guests, or serving as an bonus space for reading, studying, or working from home during off hours.
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Accent With Metallics
This bright and breezy Melbourne dining room from Australian interior designer Nicole Rosenberg of Liberty Interiors has simple, clean lined furnishings in a mix of white and wood tones, a single boldly colorful piece of art, and a pair of shiny copper toned Tom Dixon pendant lights that gleam even in daytime, have a mirrored finish with a convex mirror effect, and provide soft diffused ambient light for dining after dark.Continue to 2 of 50 below.
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Modernize the Farmhouse
This 19th century farmhouse from AHG Interiors mixes authentic charms like rustic ceiling beams and hardwood floors with 20th century wishbone chairs and modern lighting to create a homey 21st century place to gather and share a meal.Continue to 3 of 50 below.
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Add Sculptural Elements
Interior designer Jessica Davis of Atelier Davis added a set of dining chairs upholstered in matching blue ultrasuede that creates a formal look for this dining room space. But she styled it for off-duty days with a voluptuous glass vase filled with branches and a collection of small sculptural objects on the table that carry over to the sideboard styled with books and art on the walls.Continue to 4 of 50 below.
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Smooth Out the Edges
If your dining room is a pass-through space, consider a round table that will keep circulation flowing and eliminate unwelcome encounters with sharp corners. In this design from Sissy + Marley Interiors, a classic Saarinen table is paired with wishbone chairs, adding some midcentury modern flair to a modern farmhouse-style renovation.Continue to 5 of 50 below.
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Hang a Gallery Wall
This dining room designed by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design has a fresh modern feel with its white walls and natural materials like wood and rattan, while a gallery wall with a mix of modern and vintage prints and a set of French bistro chairs makes it feel like it wasn't designed yesterday.Continue to 6 of 50 below.
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Reinvent a Classic
This sleek dining room from Leanne Ford Interiors mixes a clean palette of black, white, and wood accents, while a modern update on the classic china cabinet featuring black metal and glass grid doors occupies the far wall.Continue to 7 of 50 below.
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Embrace the Rainbow
While many people add color to their dining rooms with a rug, this Florida dining room from Lisa Gilmore Design skips the rug altogether and adds in a free-spirited use of color from the patterned drapes to the artwork to the wallpaper and seating instead, making the formal retro style feel current and unique.Continue to 8 of 50 below.
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Swap White Walls for Cream and Beige
In this NYC dining room from Chango & Co., warm shades of cream and beige on the walls provide a softer feel than stark white while still providing an excellent counterpoint for graphic black accents and pale tones of wood.Continue to 9 of 50 below.
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Add a Library
Many people use their off-duty dining rooms for studying or working from home. This dining room by Marie Flanigan Interiors features a wall of floor-to-ceiling shelves that follow the pitched curve of the roof and provide endless reading material while adding color and life to the room, making it the perfect setting for Zoom calls, homework sessions, dinner parties, or hosting the book club.Continue to 10 of 50 below.
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Choose a Wall-to-Wall Rug
While you might be tempted to choose a dining room rug that just fits the table and chairs, this nearly wall-to-wall striped rug from Becca Interiors makes the case for going bigger, anchoring the space and setting the relaxed but stylish tone in this farmhouse-inspired Southhampton surf retreat.
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Install Wallpaper Panels
Adding wallpaper to the dining room is an easy way to make an impact. In this dining room from Candace Mary Interiors, the wallpaper is applied in panels that are framed out by wood detailing for a slightly formal effect.
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Choose a Transparent Light Fixture
In this this light and airy dining room from Cathie Hong Interiors, a glass bubble chandelier with a variety of blown glass globes of varying sizes and heights adds light over the dining table while keeping the focus on the room's clean lines, warm wood tones, and expansive views of the outdoors.Continue to 13 of 50 below.
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Mismatch Your Chairs
A vibrant gallery wall full of art and objects that doesn't take itself too seriously, a vintage chandelier, and a jumble of colorful mismatched chairs make this dining room from Fantastic Frank playful, cheerful, and inviting. Choosing a variety of seating makes your dining room feel spontaneous and collected over time. You can mix styles and colors as seen here, or choose different styles in a single color palette such as white or black. Or you can compromise by combining three different pairs of chairs around a table that you can shuffle around at will.Continue to 14 of 50 below.
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Build in a Bar
This handsome black, white, and blond wood dining room from Raili CA Design features a seamlessly built-in floor-to-ceiling bar that is functional and decorative at the same time, displaying bottles and glassware on open shelving.Continue to 15 of 50 below.
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Add Airy Light Fixtures
Chango & Co. suspended a pair of Danish wood pendant lights over the dining table of a light-flooded, window-filled dining room that add a semi-transparent natural sculptural element while preserving the room's voluminoua and airy feel.Continue to 16 of 50 below.
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Add a Floor Mirror
The dining room is a great place to decorate with mirrors. Blogger Ursula Carmona from Home Made By Carmona leaned a tall, gold-trimmed floor mirror against her dining room wall, which reflects both natural light and the light cast from the large central chandelier, while doubling the perception of space by increasing sightlines.Continue to 17 of 50 below.
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Match the Drapes to the Tablecloth
Dining room tablecloths are one of those decor items that seem to disappear a little with every passing year, trotted out only for special occasions or by anxious hosts who worry about preventing table rings from sweaty bottomed glasses. But you can make your dining room feel cozier by adding an unfussy tablecloth in natural linen like this Scandi dining room from Fantastic Frank that adds a homey touch without feeling too formal thanks to its naturally rumpled appearance. The same fabric was used on the window treatments to tie it all together.
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Add Classic Wainscoting
This Swedish country dining room from Fantastic Frank has a wainscoting detail around the perimeter of the room with a classic picture ledge that is sparsely decorated with art and objects as a nod to history without feeling too stuffy or old-fashioned. The wood detailing is painted in a dark, warm gray that grounds the room and creates a relaxing and homey atmosphere. A cherry red armchair in the corner provides an off-duty place to rest as well as a bright color accent.Continue to 19 of 50 below.
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Hang Oversized Lighting
Three large modern pendant lights are suspended from the beam in this airy and spacious dining room from Chango & Co., anchoring the 12-seat table and helping to create a sense of intimacy in the high ceilinged room that makes guests feel more comfortable when sharing a meal.
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Choose Colorful Chairs
This updated 70s Pittsburgh home from Leanne Ford Interiors has a bump out sunroom dining room with wraparound windows and whitewashed finishes that has sweeping views of the outdoors. A set of buttercup yellow Panton chairs with groovy vintage curves lets the sunshine in even on cloudy days, and provides a color accent that wakes up the design.Continue to 21 of 50 below.
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Make It Cozy
This small dining room designed by Ryann Miller For Emily Henderson Design is located just off of the kitchen, making it a pass-through space. While it can be a mistake in a small space to push the furniture against the wall, in this case it makes sense since the table is set for two most days. And on those occasions when there are more people at the table, it can be pulled away from the wall and floated in the center of the room to provide space for extra seating.Continue to 22 of 50 below.
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Deck Out the Ceiling
This dining room from Christina Kim Interior Design has a reclaimed wood ceiling detail that contrasts with the white shiplap walls, adding warmth, texture, and a surprise element. Shiny gold pendant lights add contrast with the dark wood tones, and fluffy seat covers draped on the backs of chairs create a cozy and inviting feel.Continue to 23 of 50 below.
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Pair Navy Paint With Gold Accents
Deep saturated navy paint on the walls makes a strong foil for gold accents in this dining room from Tyler Karu, while a mid-toned wood table and natural leather chairs adds contrast and a modern touch. Warm gold-toned accents also work well against other dark, saturated colors such as charcoal, green, brown, or off black.Continue to 24 of 50 below.
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Mix Black and White With Pale Wood
A chunky blond wood dining table and striking black chairs and decorative accents make this dining room from Forbes + Masters look modern, sleek, and ready for action. Tall black tapered candlesticks of varying heights add interest and keep the table from feeling too stark and bare when not in use.Continue to 25 of 50 below.
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Cathie Hong Interiors created a soft minimalist San Francisco dining room with clean lines and warm wood tones, from the herringbone floors to the dining table and chairs, that reflected her clients' Asian heritage and love of Danish design inspired by a trip to Copenhagen.Continue to 26 of 50 below.
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Incorporate an Arched Buffet
This built-in buffet with an arched opening from A Beautiful Mess is painted in a feel-good shade of pink. Thick wood floating shelves that match the warm tones of the dining room chairs and table are lined with a collection of tableware, and the sideboard is a nice spot for flowers and setting out dishes for family-style eating or as a dessert bar.Continue to 27 of 50 below.
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Add Drama With an Accent Wall
This dining room from Michelle Berwick Design is defined by a multicolored flower bomb accent wallpaper wall that is a conversation starter and a mood booster that's easy to achieve, and simple to change out when it's time for something new. The designer used the same wallpaper in the breakfast nook in the adjacent kitchen to tie the spaces together.Continue to 28 of 50 below.
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Keep It Traditional
This dining room from Nile Johnson Interior Design is a lively take on traditional style that mixes soft pistachio green wall paint with a crystal chandelier, a red and blue toned vintage rug, antique carved wood sideboards, and a mix of comfortable upholstered chairs in shades of blue and white to create a well appointed and memorable spot for gathering with friends and family.Continue to 29 of 50 below.
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Hang Floor-to-Ceiling Drapes
This dining room from interior designer Tyler Karu is warm and inviting, with its honey-colored wood tones, leather seat covers, dramatic woven pendant light, and homey table lamp with a warm fabric shade set on the sideboard. The pale butterscotch-colored floor-to-ceiling drapes add coziness and provide light control as well as privacy, particularly for evening dinner parties or if your dining room is visible from the street.Continue to 30 of 50 below.
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Mix Old and New
In this dining room from Michelle Berwick Design, an antique dining table is mixed with a modern sideboard and chairs, showing how easy it can be to combine old and new elements if you stick to a neutral color palette and focus on choosing interesting shapes and balancing proportions to fit your space. While some may object to the use of animal skin rugs for ethical reasons, a cowhide rug is a surprisingly good choice for beneath a dining table since it is easy to vacuum and you can wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth for most spills (but good luck if you spill a beverage of any sort).Continue to 31 of 50 below.
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Add a Wall of Built-In Storage
This dining room from Leclair Decor has a contemporary version of an old school built-in sideboard wall with surrounding storage cabinets for dishes, tableware, and seasonal decorations to maximize storage space. A large bronze-framed mirror bounces around light and creates a sense of depth on an otherwise flat wall.Continue to 32 of 50 below.
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Plant a Tree
This dining room from Jenn Pablo Studio mixes upholstered bench seating with wooden dining chairs to create a serene and minimalist look. A potted indoor tree perched in the corner brings the room to life and a bit of the outdoors inside.Continue to 33 of 50 below.
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Try a Transparent Table
If your dining room is located in a pass through or a small space, using a transparent glass or lucite table will lighten up the room, reflect light, and allow your choice of dining room chairs to stand out, like this dining room designed by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design.Continue to 34 of 50 below.
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Match the Walls to the Drapes
This sepia-toned dining room from Forbes + Masters has hand-painted wall and window treatments that create a unique three-dimensional look that is a step beyond the usual dining room wallpaper. Keeping the palette limited to shades of white, beige, and brown keeps the bold design from overwhelming.Continue to 35 of 50 below.
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Incorporate a Corner Banquette
Interior designer Alvin Wayne added an olive green corner banquette to this NYC dining room to create a cozy and intimate feel, finishing off the space with a round table, a couple of chairs to provide extra seating, and large-scale tropical leaf wallpaper in earthy shades of brown and green.Continue to 36 of 50 below.
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Celebrate Midcentury Style
This sunny California dining room from Jenn Pablo Studio mixes warm wood, natural sheepskin, a vintage metal pendant light, and a round midcentury modern style dining table, plus plenty of greenery and flowers both inside and outside the floor-to-ceiling windows to create a chic and laid back place for meals, drinks, card games, and conversations with timeless midcentury modern appeal.Continue to 37 of 50 below.
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Use Paint to Define Spaces
Soft blue-gray paint on the wall paneling helps define this coastal Sea Girt, New Jersey dining room from Christina Kim Interior Design, framing the open view of the entry, stairs, and home office, which is painted in a darker shade of blue. Using variations on blue and white throughout the home reinforces the coastal theme while creating enough variation to keep it interesting.Continue to 38 of 50 below.
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Add a Quirky Chandelier
Dining room pendant lighting can be used to anchor the table, define the space in an open area, add ambient light, or start a conversation. This Scandi dining room from Fantastic Frank has classic black wood spindle back chairs, a simple white table, and a playful pair of wineglass chandeliers that is quirky and fun.Continue to 39 of 50 below.
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Use Bench Seating
If you're working with a narrow or limited space, adding a bench on one or both sides of the dining table reduces visual clutter and will save you having to push chairs in and out as you pass by, like this historic farmhouse renovation from interior designer Kara Mann in Westchester County, New York.Continue to 40 of 50 below.
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Make It a Piano Bar
This dining room from Fantastic Frank features an upright piano, turning it into a music room by day and the perfect place for impromptu after-dinner entertainment that will have your friends and family lingering over the table until all hours at your own private piano bar. While adding an upright piano to your dining room is a sure way to add ambiance, it can also be a practical decision if you don't have enough space in the living room.Continue to 41 of 50 below.
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Add Rustic Elements
A simple farm table, vintage wooden folding chairs with an aged and weathered patina, and an old watering can in the guise of a vase creates a sense of history in this simple and humbly decorated cottage dining room from Leanne Ford Interiors.
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Hang Graphic Wallpaper
This coastal San Francisco dining room from Leclair Decor has white shiplap-clad vaulted ceilings, a neutral color palette, and black-and-white wallpaper that adds a soft modern graphic element while preserving the light and airy indoor/outdoor feel.Continue to 43 of 50 below.
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Add a Coffee Bar
Blogger Annie Diamond from Most Lovely Things added a self-serve coffee bar station adjacent to her dining room that's set up for convenient morning coffee and after-dinner espressos, and helps free up space in the adjacent kitchen. Open storage and floating shelves house mugs, table linens, and other essentials.Continue to 44 of 50 below.
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Repurpose an Unused Fireplace
Even an unused fireplace adds atmosphere to a room. In this cozy dining room from Brexton Cole Interiors, an antique fireplace is painted glossy black and its empty firebox is stuffed with books, an eye-catching decorating move that might otherwise strike fear in a book lover's heart.Continue to 45 of 50 below.
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Cover the Walls With Art
Interior designer Tyler Karu used a maximalist take on the gallery wall to turn every wall in this 1700s farmhouse dining room into an excuse to hang an assortment of framed art. Antique French chairs, a modern table, and sculptural knotted rope pendant lighting completes the eclectic look.Continue to 46 of 50 below.
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This vintage wood, glass front china cabinet from A Beautiful Mess adds some nostalgic vibes to a modern dining room and houses a collection of colored glassware. A sculptural round table, a simple globe pendant light, and rattan chairs complete the neo retro look.Continue to 47 of 50 below.
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Add a Showy Wine Cellar
This spacious suburban dining room from Kate Marker Interiors is all about the bling, from the oversized modern crystal chandelier hanging over the table to the showy adjacent metal and glass-front wine cellar that gives diners a view of the owner's impressive collection of bottles.Continue to 48 of 50 below.
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Try an Oval Table
The dining table is the anchor piece to your dining room design. While it's hard to go wrong with a classic rectangle, depending on the shape of your room and your preferences, you can also choose a round, square, or oval table. This DIY oval table inspired by the Saarinen classic from A Beautiful Mess is paired with Eames Eiffel-style chairs, pink walls, green plants, and a midcentury modern-style sputnik pendant light, preserving flow in a relatively small space.Continue to 49 of 50 below.
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Use Muted Colors
Rustic ceiling beams, muted taupes and soft black accents, copper and earthenware accessories, and a mix of wood finishes from the farm table to the flooring makes this farmhouse dining room from Ashley Montgomery Design a timeless and calming spot for gathering.Continue to 50 of 50 below.
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Add a Living Wall
This Florida dining room from Maite Granda has a floor-to-ceiling living wall that brings some scene-stealing, feel-good outdoor vibes into the contemporary space. If you don't have the budget for a floor-to-ceiling green wall, adding plants or a preserved moss wall hanging will create a similar if less dramatic effect.