Not everyone is lucky enough to have space for a formal dining room (shoutout to you, apartment-dwellers!). However, if you are #blessed enough to find yourself with one, you might start to feel like that blessing is... well, more of a curse. Dining rooms tend to stay undecorated for longer than other areas of the home, since they’re not in use as much as, say, the kitchen or living room (unless you’re a champion hostess putting the rest of us to shame).
If you’re stuck when trying to style your midcentury dining room, you’re not alone—and since simply plopping down some vintage furniture finds and calling it a day isn’t enough, we’ve rounded up some of the most inspiring midcentury dining spaces on Instagram to help you elevate your dining area instantly. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be hosting a midcentury dinner party of your own pretty soon.
We’ll be honest—we’ve never seen dark beadboard look as beautiful as this. An on-trend shade of moody grey-green makes these midcentury built-ins pop in the most unique way—and happens to cover a multitude of sins if you live in an older house with less-than-spotless walls.
Try Hand-Painted Wallpaper
Even true MCM purists can get behind the slightly offbeat appeal of hand-painted wallpaper—or, for DIY mavens, hand-painted pattern murals—in the dining room. Just stick with a muted palette to keep things cohesive with the less-is-more look of fine-lined furniture.
Build Out a Banquette
Why not go a step further than a bench and add a full banquette? The retro-cool look brings tons of midcentury bang for your buck into the dining room... and yes, you can conceal some storage underneath, as well.
Add a Plant Shelf
We don’t predict the #plantmom trend is going away anytime soon... and it’s a nice way to add a welcoming natural element to the sleek lines of a good MCM dining set. (Bonus points if your pothos trails dramatically into your bar cart.)
Make Room for Mirrors
We all know the old trick about mirrors making rooms feel bigger, but in a dining room, they do so much more—from elevating the vibe of your next soirée to dramatically reflecting candlelight from your tablescape.
Try topping off double doors with a set of mirrors to amplify the elegant effect.
Paint It Black
Since light wood tones are common to the era’s furniture, one way to make them really pop is to create tons of contrast. Even in this seemingly simple dining room, every piece stands out against the glossy black floors (with a light fixture to match).
Wallpaper a Nook
What keeps this clean and simple dining set from feeling tired? Deep green built-ins accented by a marble-esque mural, of course.
Load Up a Ledge
Even the most commitment-phobic home decorator can get behind this idea. A simple picture ledge lets you switch up your artwork with your mood... and won’t detract from the clean lines of these midcentury chairs.
Get Into Art
One of the easiest midcentury finds to snap up? Vintage art. Whether you opt for the kitschy-cool paint-by-numbers pieces that populate most thrift stores nowadays, or choose something a little more subtle (block-print giraffes à la Pete Campbell’s apartment, perhaps?), coordinating with art from the era can lend a more authentic vibe to your dining area.
Textiles go a long way toward softening the look of midcentury furniture’s super-sleek lines... if you let them. Personalize each perch for a dinner party (or anytime) with cozy throw pillows and blankets to put an eclectic spin on the space.
Round Things Out
Not all formal dining spaces need to center around a long rectangular table. This room proves that there’s plenty of MCM love to be had for large round tables, too.
Add Traditional Elements
These glass-front built-ins are showstoppers—but if you look closely, they’re not the only traditional aspect in the space. Clean-lined, shaker-style chairs and other similar styles can coexist peacefully with midcentury pieces that share a geometric bent. Add a markedly MCM light fixture to complete the balance, as these crafty homeowners have.
Keep It Simple
Sometimes, one pop of color is all you need to set your space apart. All-white walls and ceiling beams give this classic Eames-esque set plenty of space to shine.
On the other hand, maximalism and MCM can comfortably complement one another, too. This unabashedly loud retro wallpaper is the true crown jewel of the space.
Oftentimes, rugs are used in the dining area to create some contrast, but with so many inviting warm tones in this wood furniture, we can’t resist how a classic braided rag rug draws out each and every detail.
Many midcentury designers were inspired by traditional Japanese craftsmanship, so it only makes sense that decorating in a similar vein would have a great effect. Textural tassel art and a wabi-sabi centerpiece make this dining area much more than the sum of its parts.