14 Dining Room Décor Tips to Steal From Restaurants

Updated 04/25/18

Great restaurants exist to deliver an experience for all senses. Beyond the mouthwatering dishes, every aspect of the design, décor, ambiance, and sounds must coexist to create a one-of-a-kind universe that will plunge diners into a world that makes time stand still, if only for a few hours. If great restauranteurs have taught us anything, it's how to create a space that invites engaging conversations and ravenous appetite.

The dining rooms in our homes should essentially serve the same function—as a place to gather and linger in great company. Our dining rooms don't necessarily have to be opulent—but the right paint color, seating, or lighting, can go a long way in making a space feel inviting. And in this case, our foodie tendencies can be of great service when it comes to decorating for dinner parties. Here are the best dining room décor tips we learned from restaurant design. Find out how you can apply it to your own dining rooms.

Try Classic Leather Chairs

dining room décor tips
Courtesy of 45 Jermyn St

Leather chairs are comfortable, easy to clean, timeless, and they look great. They’re also a staple in celebrated restaurant designer Martin Brudnizki’s dining rooms. Choose a timeless style in a color you love, and you’ll never want to part with them.

Soane Britain Simplified Amulet Chair $2139

Create an Intimate Atmosphere

Dining Room Décor
Courtesy of Go Eat Tapas

The more cozy and comfortable your dining room is, the more your guests will feel at ease and want to linger. Opt for plush seating, moody tones, and dim lighting to create an intimate atmosphere.

West Elm Staggered Glass Chandelier $399

Highlight Architectural Details

Dining Room Décor Tips — Reynards
Nicole Franzen

Do you have beautiful moldings, brick walls, or wooden beams? Play these original features to your advantage like at the Wythe Hotel’s Reynard restaurant. Especially in a dining room where walls can feel a little bare, the more texture the better.

Ian K. Fowler Bistro Medium Chandelier $1999

Use Warm Wood Tones

Dining Room Décor Tips from Restaurants
Nicole Franzen

Don’t worry too much about matching wood tones. Blending neutrals together can look great in a monochrome space, especially when mixed with plants and natural elements like in New York City’s Eventi Hotel.

O&G Studio Low Colt Side Chair $1350

Bring Back the Banquette

Dining Room Décor Ideas
Courtesy of Martin Brudnizki

For an unconventional (but oh so comfortable) seating arrangement, consider the banquette. Martin Brudnizki uses them in most of his restaurant designs, such as the Thompson Hotel in Miami. Banquettes and dining sofas work great in small spaces and can make a space feel more intimate.

Jayson Home Chelsea Dining Sofa $1295

Dabble in Nostalgia

Dining Room Décor Ideas from Restaurants
Courtesy of Overeasy

This Singapore Diner used the power of nostalgia in this '80s-themed diner. Why not do the same in your own dining room? Pick a decade and dining style you love and roll with it. Memory and culinary experiences go hand in hand, so transport your guests to another universe.

Leif Seaweed Pillow $88

Stay True to Local Surroundings

Nautical Dining Room Décor Tips
Nicole Franzen

Moby’s, an East Hampton eatery focusing on fresh local produce including seafood from the nearby Montauk fishermen, boasts a décor that’s unmistakably nautical. Rope-wrapped beams, navy director’s chairs, and beach photography all complement the surroundings and locally focused menu.

Serena & Lily Director's Chair $495

Display Your Wine Collection

Cellar Dining Room Décor
Nicole Franzen

Have an impressive wine collection? Find an innovative way of displaying it. Even better, create an intimate dining room in your wine cellar. Granted, this might fall in the dream home category for most, but if you have it, flaunt it.

Matrix 12-Bottle Wine Rack - Crate and Barrel
Crate & Barrel Matrix 12-Bottle Wine Rack $60

Pay Attention to Lighting

Miami Dining Room Décor
Nicole Franzen

We love the sconces at Marion in Miami. Sconces are an easy way to add ambiance to a dining room. Multiple light sources at different heights create a more flattering light, so opt for a variety of sconces, ceiling light, and candles. Don’t forget the dimmers!

Rejuvenation Yeon Double Sconce $499 $424

Have a Flair for the Dramatic

Tropical Dining Room Décor
Courtesy of Empress

Want to impress your guests? Transport them to an exotic universe like the one in Singapore’s Empress, where cane chairs, orchid arrangements, and leafy palms coexist to create a vibrant old-meets-new setting.

Josef Hoffman Armchair $365
Dining Room Décor Tips — Gitano
Nicole Franzen

Gitano in Tulum has a distinct inside-outside vibe that’s further emphasized by natural materials, leafy palms, and a clever use of mirrors. If you have a beautiful view of outside from your dining room, use it to your advantage.

faux phoenix palm leaf
CB2 Faux Phoenix Palm Leaf $13

Be Unabashedly Lavish

Dining Room Design
Courtesy of Liza Beirut

In a completely different style, the private dining room at Liza Beirut is unapologetically over the top and extravagant. Formal dining is the perfect occasion to be theatrical with your décor choices.

Tom Dixon Etch Pendant $525

Use the Power of Repetition

Dining Room Décor Tips — Hotel Vernet
Courtesy of Hotel Vernet

Symmetry and repetition are the driving forces behind many great designs, like this Hotel Vernet dining room. Use repetition with chairs and place settings but also with art, mirrors, or multiple sconces. You can even opt for two or three pendants instead of one big chandelier to elongate the space.

Normann Copenhagen Form Armchair $340

Play With Mirrors

Dining Room Décor Tips — Café Boulud
Courtesy of Four Seasons

All spaces can be made to feel larger than they truly are, and mirrors play a large role in achieving this. Used together with the power of repetition, your dining room can become an optical illusion of endless space that’s quite breathtaking like Café Boulud in Toronto.

West Elm Metal Frame Oversized Round Mirror $499

Do you know cool restaurants we should turn to for dining room inspiration? Share them with us with the hashtag #MyDomaineTravels.

This story was originally published on March 1, 2016, and has since been updated.

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