Creating your dream dining room

A dining room should be both elegant and comfortable. The right lighting, furniture and decor make your dream dining room a reality.

The dining room is one of the most versatile rooms in the home. It can be used daily, or reserved for special occasions; be a centre of family life, or at the heart of an elegant dinner party. A dining space can lead seamlessly from an open plan kitchen or living room, or else occupy its own particular room of the house, but even if you do not intend to use your dining room daily, it is best not to make it too rarefied. A dining room should be a place in which you want to spend time, and display proudly. It should complement the aesthetic of the rest of the home, even if it is separated from it, while also showcasing additional elegance. Here are the best ways to ensure that your dining room fulfils all its potential.

How will you use your dining room?

This is the first question to consider. Will you use it every day, or once in a while? Do you regularly host parties, and if so, how many people usually attend? These questions will determine what kind of furniture and decor you should select. A dining room used three times a day will require more durable fittings than one which is used twice a month, while a dining room which is used predominantly in the evenings can get away with moodier decor – darker colours and more dramatic features – than one that is mostly used for family breakfasts, which should be light, bright and welcoming.

Invest in a vintage dining table

The size of your space will determine what size and shape table you should choose, as well as how you will use the room. Round tables are an excellent choice for more intimate gatherings, but if you often host larger parties, a rectangular or oval shape will be more practical.

Whatever style of table you select, a vintage piece is a great investment. Classic furniture is durable, full of character and history (making it a good talking point for your guests), and guaranteed to be unique. They come in a range of styles, from striking art deco pieces to more traditional nineteenth century designs. A dining room should have soul, and a repurposed piece of historical furniture brings that in spades. Companies like Vinterior have a huge selection of classic dining tables.

Don’t forget the details

Details provide the opportunity to get creative. When it comes to colour, the dominant shade should be woven throughout the room. For example, if you choose a bold colour for the walls, reflect it in the upholstery of the chairs, or the table settings, or the rug. If you’d prefer a neutral colour for the walls, draw delicate colours from another source, such as the tones in a painting or photograph you’ve given pride of place.

In terms of lighting, a dining room should have at least one dramatic fitting to elevate it above the rest of the house. A chandelier is the go-to choice for good reason. Just be sure to scale it to the room, to ensure it has the maximum impact without looking ridiculous. Dimmers are also highly desirable, as they allow you to change the atmosphere with the flick of a switch.

Choose a focus

In most dining rooms, the focus will be on the table, which will be at the heart of the space, but if you have an open plan downstairs space, create the living room space first and then give the dining area its own corner, separating it with a charming rug.

While the table might be the central focus, you may want to create a secondary one, should the space allow, in the form of bookcases or a sideboard, to bring additional warmth to the room.

Window treatments should be kept to a minimum if the windows themselves, or else the view, are features in themselves, but otherwise curtains are a good way to create drama; contrasting with the walls and bringing their own colour and pattern.