Once upon a time, dining rooms tended to be on the stuffy side, with a table and matching set of chairs, and a china cabinet chockful of fine dishes. But today’s more casual lifestyles are changing dining rooms from formal and forbidding to inviting and eclectic. If your dining room is stuck in a bygone era, check out these ideas.
The table. In any dining room, the table is the key piece of furniture. Allow your style preferences and the size of the space to guide you.
While a rectangular table is a classic option, it can feel overly formal. If you like the shape, but want a warmer, more intimate feel, try a narrower table. This option also works well in small spaces. Round tables are wonderful for conversation, but they don’t have the same seating capacity as oval or rectangular tables. A 48-inch diameter table accommodates four people. For six people, the table should have at least a 60-inch diameter. If you’re short on space and want a round table, look for one with a leaf that will provide extra space when needed. Oval tables offer the classic feel of rectangular tables while offering some of the benefits of round tables. They don’t have pointy edges, which makes them kid friendly, and additional guests are more easily accommodated. Square tables tend to be large, so this option is best only if you have the space and want to make a dramatic statement.
Not loving a table you already have? With recent innovations in paints and stains, it’s easier than ever before to change the color or finish of your table. You can also remove the legs and substitute a new base to modernize your table.
The chairs. Don’t feel obligated to match your chairs to your dining room table. In fact, changing your chairs is a fantastic way to make the room more cozy and welcoming. Upholstered or slipcovered chairs provide comfort and allow you to choose fabrics that compliment any style. Metal chairs look great with mid-century, rustic, or modern tables. If you’re going for a vintage, eclectic, or Bohemian feel, try mismatched chairs.
Tip: if you have a small room, don’t rule out benches and stools. Not only do they work well as casual seating, but they allow you to seat more people and take up less visual space than chairs. Clear acrylic chairs are another trendy option that can make a room seem more spacious. If you have matching chairs and want a change, repaint them or reupholster the seats. Both are relatively simple and inexpensive projects.
The china cabinet. Don’t be afraid to remove a china cabinet from your dining space. While traditional, they can overpower a smaller room and add an air of formality. If you need the storage space, try a sideboard. If you decide to keep the china cabinet, consider painting the unit or removing the hutch on top. A cabinet painted a soft cream or warm grey with a pop of a color inside looks amazing. If you don’t have china to store, use it to display art.
The finer details. Swap existing light fixtures for updated versions. And don’t forget to change the art and accessories in the room.