How to Warm Up a Dining Room with Textiles

Despite being a room whose name connotes the serving and consumption of delicious food, dining rooms sometimes have a bad reputation of being stale, stagnant, and stuffy. Perhaps this is because some people have a “formal” dining room in which they hold the rare formal (read: stressful!) dinner party? I’m not exactly sure. But because they are a place that one can gather, comfortably, with family and friends, dining rooms have the potential (and, I believe, the obligation) to be aesthetic and welcoming spaces. I also believe that the right textiles play a major role in a dining room’s warmth and appeal. Consider the following:

An all-white dining room could seem a bit phony and/or stark without the softness and textural elements that textiles provide, such as is the case with these chair covers. Details like the loosely ruffled chair skirts resonate with the rustic chic decor. The chair covers, with their organic linen casual elegance, bridge the gap between the shiny white shelved ceramics and the distressed rustic furnishings.

Coordinated, although not matching, draperies and chairs help make this dining room feel put together and welcoming. While a choice to make all the chairs the same (whether all solid brown or all fuchsia print) would likely be distractingly boring or wild, respectively, the upholstery choice here strikes a perfect balance between neutral and spontaneous. Furthermore, the pink vertical stripes of these drapes add height to the room and draw our eye upward to that lovely chandelier.

Covered chairs, a plush settee, throw pillows, and curtains. So many coordinated textiles, none of them the same, yet all neutral and warm to make the space feel comfortable and inviting. Who wouldn’t want to linger in this space after dinner? The simple elegance of each textile on its own grows exponentially when paired with all the others’ softness. (And I love the balance of the industrial table and chandelier, to keep the fabric-laden space from feeling too feminine.)


A fancy Hollywood regency style is particularly aesthetically striking. Luxe light aqua chair upholstery coordinates with the floral artwork, a trellis fabric creates a faux inlaid ceiling appearance, and rich purplish-slate carpeting in subtle flourishes complete the scene. With so much glass and metallic shine elsewhere in this dining room, the textiles help keep the room from feeling like a giant lightbulb, although the individual fabrics are stand-out and, therefore, in keeping with the glamorous style overall.

Truly, this dining space had me at “arched brick entry,” but to add some lovely upholstered French chairs and an enormous padded bench AND a bunch of fresh, bright throw pillows is like the icing on the cake. I adore how the country charm mixes with elegant European style…and a deep, rich Persian rug is the foundation for it all. To me, this eclectic blend is warm and inviting and absolutely perfect.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Published by in How To, Tips, and Advice, on February 5th, 2013


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