8 Tricks for Designing a Dining Room to Look More Expensive

Dining room with wooden furniture, hanging chandelier and bird of paradise plant by sunny window

The Spruce / Sarah Crowley

It happens all the time to those who love high-end decor: your eye wants one thing, your budget wants another, and ne'er the twain shall meet. Or at least, that's the way it seems at the time. A dining room that is expensive and a dining room that looks expensive are two very different things.

If budgetary constraints keep you from the former, the good news is that the latter is much easier to attain than you might think. To get you started, here are eight fantastic budget-sensitive tips for helping your dining room to look its very best.

  • 01 of 08

    Get a High End Look for Less

    Dining room painted in beautiful shade of lilac-gray

    One of the simplest upgrades you can bring to your dining room is adding a touch of color to the walls. Paint is inexpensive and easy to apply, and lightly colored borders can be far more interesting than white walls without feeling like the room is drowning in bold tones. In this home, a light gray with lilac undertones adds a tinge of sophistication along with excellent color contrast to the warm wood of the table and chairs. 

  • 02 of 08

    Floral Arrangements

    Dining table with lavish floral arrangement and gold flatware
    Casa de Perrin

    There are very few places in your home that can't benefit from the addition of plants or fresh flowers. Whichever places those might be, your dining room isn't on that list. On the contrary, the dining room is one of the best opportunities to make a real statement. There's nothing more beautiful than a well-made flower arrangement as the centerpiece of a curated tablescape. The extensive flower composition seen here runs almost the table length, acting as both a centerpiece and a runner. The best things about floral centerpieces are that they can be inexpensive to create, and they often change, giving your dining room a new feel from week to week.

  • 03 of 08

    Gold Flatware

    Gold flatware
    Wedding Sparrow

    The best tip for giving your dining room a facelift is a small, simple gesture. Gold flatware is a popular trend in dining decor because the high-sheen metallic finish can't help but scream "high-end." And if flashy metallics in the dining room aren't your thing, try going for black flatware instead. You'll get the same opulent look and feel with a moody, mysterious edge.

  • 04 of 08

    Add a Rug

    Modern dining room with striking Moroccan rug
    Kismet Interiors

    Rugs have always been an essential part of home decor for various cultures, classic and contemporary, all over the world. Rugs maintain their room-defining powers when also brought into a dining area. In addition, as accents to the table, they help take the design to the floor, tying in color and pattern stories as they go. This dining room uses a modern Moroccan-inspired rug design to add plush texture to the space while the pattern works playfully with the cross-leg pattern created by the dining chairs.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Wallpaper the Room

    Dining room with stunning patterned wallpaper
    Dining Room Ideas

    Wallpaper is a beautiful accent that can make a remarkable difference in any room. And if you're looking to make a dramatic high-end statement with your dining room, the right wallpaper could be all you need to put your design over the top. This dining room employs a mesmerizing wallpaper pattern that puts a definite point on every other element in the space. You can even take things a step further by using a fabric pattern that matches the wallpaper to create window shades that will continue the effect.

  • 06 of 08

    Creative Lighting

    A cluster of stylish pendant lights over a dining room
    Home You

    Lighting is one of the most crucial elements in dining room design. It's also one of the most fun. Lighting has been enjoying a real resurgence in the past few years, and design companies are putting new, artistic spins on lighting solutions, especially those that feel right at home in the dining room. This space cleverly uses a cluster of pendant lights in various shapes with the same black and gold finish. The effect is stunning and provides light to the entire space while taking the whole look up a few notches.

  • 07 of 08

    Ghost Chairs

    Dining room with ghost chairs
    DC by Design

    They've been around for more than a few years now, but these sleek, futuristic reboots of the classic Louis XVI chair design can still take a room by storm. Especially in groups. This intimate dining space has all the personality and luxury-feel that it needs with a group of ghost chairs congregated around a stylish bistro table.

  • 08 of 08


    Dining room with oversized impressionist art
    Rebecca Judd Loves

    Every dining room needs art. The finishing touch makes any room look like the well-curated, designer space it is. If you've held back on art for fear of the cost or worries about knowing what's good, fear not—there's an app or website for that. There are a lot of sites, like Uprise Art and the Jenn Singer gallery, that take all of the guesswork (and much of the expense) out of using art for design. Browse our favorite places to buy art online for more ideas.