Home Decorating and Staging
Insider Secrets to a Beautiful Home

Beautiful Dining Room

Beautiful Dining Room

It's easy to create a beautiful dining room. Dining rooms are usually small and simple and can be quite spectacular with just a few tasteful pieces. But the most common decorating mistake I see are dining rooms filled with too much furniture.

Before extending your table full out with all the leaves and adding a china closet and buffet, consider the size of the room and how you want it to feel. In a dining room, you want to relax and linger over a lovely meal and easy conversation. You want a room that's cozy, comfortable, and stimulating.

How much of that dining room furniture do you actually use? If you have a beautiful china cabinet, but it's making it hard to pull out a chair, could you move it to another room? Sometimes a large blank wall in a living room can benefit from a commanding piece of furniture.

This glamorous room created by designer Mary McDonald is a good example of a dining room that's spacious, balanced and exciting.

Image Mary McDonald

Top Ten Beautiful Dining Room Tips

  1. Space
    A crowded dining room will never feel inviting. Match the shape of the table to the shape of the room and make sure you have at least 3-1/2 feet distance from the edge of the table to any wall or other piece of furniture. This will allow adequate seating and also let people pass behind seated chairs. Round tables are popular because they encourage conversation. If you choose a round table, check that the dimensions comfortably fit the room. The Golden Mean can help you get the proportions right. If you have a very large dining room, the Golden Mean can help you divide it visually to create perfect proportions.
  2. Buffet or Sideboard
    In my opinion, this is the most important piece of furniture you can add (if you have room). A buffet provides room for serving dishes and can create enormous charm with art, mirrors, accessories and lighting. Place your buffet on the biggest wall. 
  3. Comfortable Seating
    Comfortable chairs will encourage people to linger at the table. Some of the best conversations take place after the meal, enjoying an additional cup of coffee or an after-dinner drink. All chairs don't have to match, but a consistent color scheme will have more impact. If you have comfortable mismatched old chairs, consider painting them all the same color. Dark brown or black can look striking. A color to match your decor can be fun.
  4. Color
    The dining room is usually a smaller room and can benefit from intense color. Choose a color that coordinates with your furnishings and don't be shy. This is one room that should be fun. However, if you're staging to sell your home, a neutral color scheme is safer.
  5. Window Fabric
    Dining rooms have a lot of hard surfaces and can be warmed with the softness of fabric in cushions and framing the windows. Choose a fabric that coordinates with your color scheme and take it all the way to the floor. 
  6. Lighting
    A pretty chandelier on a dimmer will add light, sparkle, and charm. Add two side lamps on the buffet and you've created a magical triangle of light. Black shades add drama. If you choose a color for your lampshades, pull the color from a rug or piece of art.
  7. Mirrors
    If your dining room has a nice window, hang a mirror on a large blank wall to reflect the light and view. If you can hang a mirror over the buffet, even better! It will double your charm by reflecting the beautiful surfaces of silver, crystal, and china. Never hang a mirror that's going to reflect a ceiling or blank wall. More on this in Art and Mirrors. 
  8. Art
    Large art in a coordinating color scheme works best in a dining room. But groupings of art work well, too. The important thing to remember is to keep the art proportional to the walls. If you have a strong color on the walls, go neutral with the art. See more tips on how to choose and hang art. 
  9. Accessorizing
    Create a bold and beautiful centerpiece for your table and echo it with a smaller version for the buffet. Fresh flowers, fruit, seasonal vegetables, crystal, silver, anything you love can be combined to create a colorful and unique display. Stick with odd numbers of items, and vary the heights (tall, medium, and small) for best effect. Sprinkle candles around whenever you want to creat a special mood.
  10. Greenery
    Every room benefits from a good looking fresh or artificial plant. Even a tiny dining room usually has a bare corner that can use a touch of green. Choose a tall, slim floor plant like a palm, or a small pot of ivy for the buffet.

Staging Dining Room

Staging a dining room is a powerful way to tickle a buyer's imagination. You want them to walk in and instantly think: "I want to live here!" When your home creates that kind of emotion, a buyer will move heaven and earth to buy it.

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Alex Hinst is the author of Home Decorating and Staging and owner of Alex Hinst Designs, located in Denver's Historic Highlands.

Alex Hinst Designs has hundreds of success stories in both private and investor home renovations and is dedicated to helping you create your perfect home.