Dining rooms are the hidden gems of the home, and in our opinion, they’ll finally be getting the recognition they deserve in 2020. There was a much larger focus on this space in the ’90s and as we moved into the aughts, dining rooms became somewhat derelict. Living spaces became smaller (hello, tiny homes) and people moved their meals to kitchen islands, outdoor rooms, and breakfast nooks. Not to mention, the emphasis on eating out and ordering in almost made the dining room obsolete.
Fret not though, the start of this new decade will see attention once again turn toward the dining room. As you’ll find out below, many design experts predict that these spaces will become more versatile, and serve roles not just reserved for meals but for spending time unplugged and together with others as well. Here's what the experts have to say.
An Emphasis on Entertaining
"People are taking the time to invest in their homes more than ever, which means people are willing to host more than ever. In 2020, I think we’ll see dining rooms reflect this by incorporating as much seating as possible (larger tables, and chairs with slimmer silhouettes), as well as focusing on durability (because no one wants to be the host fussing over spills)." —Sarah Fultz, founder of Sarah Fultz Interiors
"A trend within my friend group is hosting dinner parties at people's houses. I see a shift and people are going to restaurants less frequently in favor of partying at home. My point in this is that the dining room is becoming a room that actually gets used frequently, rather than only used for special occasions, as we saw in decades past." —Mary Patton, founder of Mary Patton Design
The Jack of All Trades
"I truly feel that the year 2020 is going to really change how dining rooms are viewed. Although we will always have the traditional use, now it's having to perform double, sometimes triple, duty! The dining room is turning into not just a place to sit and eat dinner, but an entertainment room for guests. So while you are in this swanky space adorned with wallpapered ceilings, molding painted the same as the wall, lush drapes, and a statement light, you might find more than dust collecting in this beautiful room between holiday dinners! Pull up a comfy chair and stay awhile playing games, talking for hours, eating a Tuesday night dinner, or doing some work in a gorgeous space. This room is no longer just for eating!" —Sallie Finney Kjos, Founder of Grey Hunt Interiors
"More than ever, clients are hoping that every inch of their homes will be space that is really meant to be lived in. Rather than creating showpiece formal dining rooms, the dining room of the next decade will be a hub of energy for the home; work station, buffet, homework table, bar, and beyond. Space is valuable and it should work for the life you actually live!" —Christine Gachot, principal and co-founder of Gachot
The dining room of the next decade will be a hub of energy for the home; work station, buffet, homework table, bar, and beyond.
Bring in the Plants
"I think there will be more plants added to dining rooms. One of my hopes is that plant hangings become the new chandeliers. I think natural elements will be used here, and while mixed-match chairs have been a trend these past few years, I think consistency in seating will be the look in 2020. And these seats will be geometric in shape and natural in material." —Hilton Carter, interior stylist and founder of Things by H
Forget Formal and Structure
"We're seeing dining rooms become less and less formal here in Chicago. Clients are focused more on creating an intimate area for their family to come together in, rather than a space for entertaining. Lately, we've been creating dining rooms that are kid-safe with unique, sculptural touches in the tables and lights to add a personal touch. Benches are being introduced more and more as both space-savers and also as fun options for kids. We've been incorporating a lot of paneled walls in dining rooms to give an elegant look while keeping things simple so the focus can really be on the furniture and light fixtures." —Devon Wegman, co-founder of Devon Grace Interiors
"We see thousands of kitchen and dining room renovations a year, and one of the trends we're noticing is the move away from open concept living to semi-open spaces. Using decorative architectural elements like archways can help to define 'zones' without closing off the room entirely, creating a space that feels intimate." —Jean Brownhill, founder and CEO of Sweeten
A Personalized Curation
"Think material mix. Concrete tabletops with metal bases paired with boho chairs. The dining rooms of 2020 will be more gathered and collected rather than a set look bought in a catalog." —Jade Joyner of Metal + Petal
"With maximalist design hot off the burner, we are bringing the collector's cabinet into 2020 allowing loads of collected curiosities, heirlooms, and books to be displayed in a designated, succinct space such as a dining room. A perfect way to create controlled clutter. We're kicking built-ins to the curb and showcasing our #shelfie game in the collector's cabinet." —Lance Thomas and Drew Hoffpauir of Room Service
"We always shy away from shopping in 'sets' and that includes in the dining room—in 2020 I hope we see a lot more of it. Whether you match wood tones but add in a woven base or upholstered chairs, or mix up different colors and shapes, an intentionally curated design can elevate your entire look!" —Shea McGee, Co-Founder of Studio McGee
Graphic and Bold
"Thinking outside of the box (or rectangle) and creating more of a statement piece with hexagonal and asymmetrical shaped dining tables. This out-of-the-ordinary design choice will be highlighted by the use of non-traditional chandeliers as well. We'll be steering clear of what we have seen in the past and using the space above the table as an opportunity for artistic and distinctive statements." —Breegan Jane, interior designer and blogger
"We predict mixing high and low. The dining room is a space that needs to offer both function and luxury. It is a place that we think will be utilized more frequently in 2020 and that means it has to be both pretty and practical. We foresee a great deal of mixing high and low in the dining room for the new year. For example, investing in great dining set as the main focal point while implementing more affordable art from brands like Serena & Lily, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel." —Meghan Hackett-Cassidy and Erin Hackett, co-founders of Hackett Interiors