How To: Design Your Dining Room

From putting together the right lighting scheme to choosing the right cutlery, design your perfect dining room with our step-by-step how to guide.


How To Guides

Enjoying good food with good company is one of life’s great pleasures, whether you enjoy entertaining with a large group of friends and family or prefer an intimate meal with just one or two. Creating a gorgeous space in which to share meals with your loved ones will make it even more enjoyable.

A beautiful dining room can be the centre of family life, a place where special occasions are celebrated and then fondly remembered. When decorating your own space, you want a room that’s intimate and inviting yet comfortable, spacious and practical enough to spend several hours around the table. So how do you do it?

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01.The basics

Before you can begin adding your own unique touches, there are a few key design decisions that will help set you on the right track.

Your dining space is likely to be used most often in the evenings rather than during the day, so take this into account when deciding on your colour palette. Because natural light won’t necessarily be your chief consideration here, you can experiment with bold, impactful colours that are perfect for entertaining. Soft lighting also helps intensify rich tones to create an intimate, atmospheric space.

Your dining room lighting should be flexible enough to provide focus for the table and atmosphere for the room. A chandelier hanging directly above the table that has adjustable brightness is one of the simplest ways to achieve this effect, and will also provide a central focus to the space. You may also need additional wall lighting or lamps to help illuminate the room and create a casual, convivial atmosphere.

Adding drama
Your dining room is one of the spaces in the home that can handle a touch of drama. Striking artworks, bold statement pieces and wallpapers all look great in this space. Using patterned or textured wallpaper is a simple way to add a bit of understated dramatic flare while still maintaining an overall effect of elegance and sophistication. If you want to incorporate a bold statement piece into your room, start thinking about this in the early planning stages so it doesn’t end up in conflict with the other elements of your room.

Deciding your style
Houseology’s three signature styles can each be used to bring a stylish twist to your dining space. Our Urban style is designed with clean lines, original design classics and injections of colour for vitality. In contrast, the Luxe look is striking and sophisticated, bringing dramatic tones and luxurious materials together to achieve a sense of opulence and unpretentious glamour. Finally, Chic is relaxed and timeless, characterised by delicately carved wooden furniture, muted colour palettes, natural materials and a laid-back vibe.

Colour Palettes

02.The layout

A table and chairs are the main two essential components of the dining room and, as such, need much consideration. Measure the room and take into account any outlets, windows and doors that may swing open and cut into your space. Your table should be large enough to fit your family comfortably around it, but also leave room enough in the space to sit down and step away from the table with ease.

The table is the most prominent piece of furniture in the dining room and will set the tone for the entire room – whatever your design aspirations, if you choose the wrong table ultimately it will be difficult to achieve the overall style. Let practical considerations guide you – think about the size of the room, and how many people you expect to serve regularly. This might include your immediate family who live with you, along with the close friends or relatives you host year after year during the holidays. There’s an incredible range of choice when it comes to tables, so consider shape, height and finish as you make your choice. From wood to slate, marble, and glass, there are dozens of materials to choose from as well and each will make an impact.

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How chairs look and fit around the table is important from a design point of view, but don’t forget their essential purpose – to provide a comfortable seat. The distance between the seat height and table surface should be one of your key considerations. Too small a gap and you won’t be able to push your chair in comfortably, too large a gap and your guests will sit uncomfortably low. If you don’t have much space around the table but still want to make an impact, consider using simpler designs around the length of the table and put a larger statement chair at each end of the table to create a similar effect.


03.Finishing touches

The finishing touches in your dining room are particularly important; because there is not a large variety of furniture in this space, it comes down to the tableware and accessories you choose to really bring your style to life and create atmosphere in the room.

Romantic and atmospheric, there’s a reason you almost always find candles in restaurants. A little candlelight can go a long way to creating an intimate dining experience – try using tapered candles and candlesticks on the table to give height and add drama, then use lanterns and tea lights on surfaces around the periphery to really add impact.

Your cutlery will almost always be present when you set the table and sit down for a meal, so choose a set that complements and highlights your style rather than clashes with it.

From delicate wine glasses to stylish tumblers, glassware adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to your table setting. Think about how each piece will look on the table – layer glasses of different heights and weights to add intrigue to your table.

finishing touches

The serveware are the items you use to present and serve food to your guests. Think about the materials you choose – a wooden cutting board would fit perfectly with an earthy table setting while a silver platter is a gorgeous fit for a Luxe room. From plain to patterned, use your serveware as an opportunity to showcase your style, and ensure your look is consistent by choosing pieces with subtle repetition across shape, colour, materials, theme or time period.

Table linen
Linens are the easiest way to style your table for a party and can be remarkably versatile. Layering different colours and textures across the table runner, napkins and place settings will add dimension to your table. Take the opportunity to change your linens seasonally to create a different atmosphere at every occasion.

The centrepiece is a focal point of your table and can be particularly useful when the table isn’t set and the dining room isn’t in use. Decorative glassware, a candelabra, small sculpture or flower arrangement are just a few pieces you can use to tie the room together and provide that perfect finishing touch.

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