Having a formal dining room in and of itself can be a luxury. And yet with the trend of eat-in kitchens and breakfast nooks, these spaces often receive less use and, as a result, less attention when it comes to styling. There are some simple things you can do to take it up a notch, make your space more practical, more inviting, and overall more luxe. Pull up a chair and let’s dive in.
Utilize a Credenza
Whenever I stop to admire a particularly chic dining room, there’s almost always a credenza (or sideboard) involved. You can elevate the overall feel of the room with an antique or vintage piece or a "fauxdenza" topped with materials like butcher block or marble. Practically speaking, it creates more serving space for sides, beverages or dessert so the table doesn’t become cluttered. From a style standpoint, it can double as a display case for your glassware collection or family heirlooms.
Set the Mood With Lighting
There’s a reason a romantic night out is synonymous with a candlelit dinner—the light source sets the tone for long, intimate conversations. Similarly, a celebratory brunch calls for a bright and airy scene that matches the jubilant nature of the event. The best way to make sure your dining room is prepared for any mood is to layer in the lighting. Install a dimmable fixture above the table, add lamps or sconces nearby and have some candlesticks or votives on hand. You'll have plenty of choices when crafting the ambiance and it just makes sense—low lighting can be perfect for the table but task lighting is better when you need to be able to see the ingredients you're mixing into a cocktail.
Show the Head of the Table Some Respect
Much like the king or queen sits on their throne presiding over a feast, if you have chairs at the head of the table, make them special. Try a highback chair in a fun pattern or rich fabric like velvet, or keep to the same overall theme, but vary it slightly. For example, in my own home, I have all black metal chairs, but the shape of the two at the head of the table are slightly different, setting them apart.
Add a Rug
If you immediately picture spilled red wine and are shaking your head no, hear me out: The right kind of rug can both disguise stains and make for a more luxurious, textured experience. Rugs also ground the room. Without one, a table can look like it’s floating. If a vintage rug is out of budget, consider patterned indoor-outdoor options or layer a smaller, more expensive rug over a larger rug made of a natural material like jute.
Introduce a Tablescape
When not in use, the dining room table can look a little barren. Having a universal tablescape—such as a large wooden dough bowl with some artichokes or a funky vase with faux greenery—instantly makes the space feel more put together and sophisticated.
Let the Walls Do the Talking
Think of the walls as the perfect blank canvas for incorporating some personality and a custom feel. For a more traditional look, try molding panels, wallpaper or even a faux fireplace mantel. Large-scale artwork looks great above a credenza and an abstract motif or gallery wall can keep a dining room from feeling too stuffy. Mirrors are also a great option if you want to give the illusion that the room is bigger than it is. Whatever you choose, be sure to make it a conversation starter.