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These Dining Room Trends Set the Course for a Stylish 2021

Outdoor dining space.

Rikki Snyder © 2016 Houzz

Whether you have a pint-sized breakfast nook or a formal space dedicated for dinner parties, it’s safe to say the dining room is one of the most underrated parts of your home. In the past, you might have used it whenever guests stopped by, but it’s all too likely you ate most of your meals on your couch or bed. (Don’t we all?) But today, your dining room has become your makeshift office, preferred spot for virtual happy hours, and, of course, where you eat some meals. 

Your dining room is having a moment, so why not redecorate it? To ensure your dining room looks its absolute best, we asked a few designers to share their top trend predictions for 2021. From double-duty design to small, thoughtful touches, it’s clear that underrated dining rooms are so 2020.

01 of 07

Small Touches

Naturalistic dining room.

Becca Interiors

“If people have decided to keep their dining rooms, they are likely looking forward to actually using the space again at celebratory times with family and friends. It is a vote for optimism that is coming through in design decisions. Clients have been very open to take on a refresh that is festive, happy and carefree through easy changes: new table linens, centerpieces, or art. We’re looking for things that will bring a genuine smile.”—Kathleen Walsh, designer 

“As so many of us are more than [several] months into our (not-so-new-anymore) world of working from home, I think it’s about time we reclaim our beautiful dining rooms. It could be a quick coat of a new paint color, swapping out a mirror for old art, accessorizing the dining table, or investing in new table linens.” —Allison Caccoma, designer

02 of 07

Double-Duty Design

White and pink dining nook.

House of Chais

“My clients are focusing more on their dining areas, which again must serve several purposes. I'm finding that they want a pretty space and a utilitarian one too, because so many meals are now being prepared at home. On the one hand, they need the extra space for WFH and school options, but they also want to entertain a select few friends since meeting and enjoying their friends at a restaurant is not possible as it gets colder.” —Joy Williams, principal of Joyful Designs Studio

03 of 07

Just Breathe

Dining space with funky wallpaper.

Studio Q Designs

“I think we will begin to see dining spaces set for smaller gatherings with a decor that feels fresh, clean, and airy. You know, so you can see where the dirt and gems are hiding.” —Quintece Hill-Mattauszek, principal of Studio Q Designs

04 of 07

Natural Nook

Natural dining nook.

Anne Sage

“Caning, rattan, woven seagrass, wicker—the list is endless! Although these materials have been around for quite some time, we are starting to see them used in a variety of applications, from furniture and lighting to accessories and window treatments.” —Amy Leferink of Interior Impressions

05 of 07

The More, the Merrier

Dining space with crystal chandelier.

Cortney Bishop Design

"Traditional, formal dining rooms claiming a secluded space in a house feel like a thing of the past. Instead, we're starting to see the focus shift to the blending of intimacy and functionality. I'd expect a transition away from 60-inch rounds to four-foot oval tables and more dining areas that break down literal and metaphorical walls, creating a space where mealtime and family time are one and the same." —Cortney Bishop, principal of Cortney Bishop Design

06 of 07

Make It Marble

Dining plates and stoneware.


“There’s a reason why marble is so often associated with the kitchen and dining spaces. Besides being naturally beautiful and absolutely timeless, it’s incredibly functional. The same reasons that it makes for the best countertops make it perfect for the dining room. Think: serving pieces that are scratch-proof, candle holders and trivets that are heat resistant, and vessels that can keep wine nice and cool. The possibilities are endless, not to mention the fact that different marbles provide a beautiful array of colors and grains to match your tablescape, adding in organic elements while keeping things crisp and elevated.” —Erica Peppers, COO and head of Product and Operations at Snowe

07 of 07

End of Dining Rooms

Outdoor dining space.

Rikki Snyder © 2016 Houzz

“We're actually seeing a shift away from the traditional dining room, considering the pandemic has impacted the ability to host indoor dinner parties. Instead, we're anticipating that homeowners will find ways to take dining outside and repurpose indoor dining rooms for other activities, such as work spaces and exercise areas. Many people are considering sliding doors or partitions that can close off rooms for much-needed privacy.” —Mitchell Parker, Houzz senior editor