How To Design A Modern Dining Room That Fits Your Style

Does your dining room have what it takes to stand out and to look every bit as beautiful and as stylish as you want it to? If the answer to this question is not exactly the most positive one, don’t let that discourage you.

Modern Dining Room

There’s always room for improvement when it comes to interior design and decor in general. A modern dining room doesn’t need much to look chic and sophisticated but you have to choose each detail with great care and to constantly look at the big picture if you want the ambiance to be no less than charming.

The road to a successful modern dining room that fits your style is filled with opportunities, and you just have to recognize potential when you see it and to set your priorities straight. What that means in the context of a dining room interior design is that elements such as an area rug, some wallpaper, artwork, or a beautiful light fixture can each contribute to a more wholesome and inspiring setup. Of course, the dining room color palette or the materials involved in the design are just as important.

30 Design Updates to Modernize Your Dining Room

1. Wood Accents and Furniture

Wood in general is a material that can make any space look and feel inviting, warm and homelyView in gallery
Wood in general is a material that can make any space look and feel inviting, warm and homely.

When used in interior design, wood acts as a neutral that can be used successfully with either other neutral shades or patterns. Add darker woods to help anchor a light design scheme, or add some lighter wood to help brighten up dark-colored dining rooms.

2. Keep Your Dining Room Setup Small

A small dining room setup can look super cozy and can actually help you save spaceView in gallery
A small dining room set up can look super cozy and can actually help you save space.

 While some people may need a dining room that can hold a large number of houseguests, most people can get away with entertaining an extra one or two people most of the time. Small dining rooms are also a good way to increase seating in houses that don’t have much square footage to work with. Light colors and reflective materials can help make small dining rooms look more spacious.

3. Create a Balanced Look

Try to create a balanced decor where the furniture, the accessories and the decorations don't overpower each otherView in gallery
Try to create a balanced decor where the furniture, the accessories, and the decorations don’t overpower each other.

The dining room is a good room in your home to experiment with dramatic accent pieces or unusual artwork, but you need to keep any accent touches light to keep from overwhelming the space. Also, make sure that you keep your accent pieces proportional to the dining room space itself or the area will begin to look cluttered.

4. Use a Round Top Dining Room Table

Dining tables with round tops are known to create a friendly and cozy ambiance View in gallery
Dining tables with round tops are known to create a friendly and cozy ambiance.

While these tables may not fit as many guests unless they’re especially large, they’re perfect for intimate gatherings since everyone at the table can easily look at everyone else. Adding round placemats to your round top dining room table can help repeat the circular pattern and add symmetry to the design.

5. Hang a Chandelier

Hang a glamorous chandelier above the dining table to draw the eye upView in gallery
Hang a glamorous chandelier above the dining table to draw the eye up.

Almost all rooms look better with plenty of natural and artificial light to accentuate the colors and patterns present in the space. Another benefit of chandeliers is that they come in a wide variety of designs and aesthetic looks so you should be able to find a chandelier that fits your dining room perfectly. Keep in mind that the color of the light bulbs you place in your chandelier will also affect the color of the room’s design.

6. Get a Dining Room Table with a Clear Base

A dining table with thin legs or a clear glass/ acrylic base can give the room an open and airy lookView in gallery
A dining table with thin legs or a clear glass/ acrylic base can give the room an open and airy look.

Since these dining room tables are created with artificial materials, they look best in designs emphasizing modern looks. Clear tables are also a good option for smaller dining rooms since they allow viewers to see through them across the room. This causes the room to appear larger.

7. Use Bookshelves as Dividers

Consider using bookshelves as space dividers to create an intimate and comfortable dining areaView in gallery
Consider using bookshelves as space dividers to create an intimate and comfortable dining area.

Bookshelves are great to help break up the space in dining rooms that are part of a loft or another open architectural floor plan. Without dividers to break up these open spaces, your contemporary home runs the risk of feeling stark and uncomfortable. Bookshelves also help separate the room into functional areas and create visual interest in the room.

8. Install an Area Rug

An area rug can nicely frame a dining space while also ensuring a more comfortable ambianceView in gallery
An area rug can nicely frame a dining space while also ensuring a more comfortable ambiance.

Rugs are also a good way to introduce more color or texture to your dining room. Solid-colored rugs can help anchor the space, while patterned rugs are a good way to spice up more monochromatic or neutral looks. Like privacy screens and other dividers, rugs are a good way to help visually define different areas of an open floor plan.

9. Hang Artwork for a Sophisticated Look

Hang artwork on the walls to create focal points throughout the room and to make the space look more refinedView in gallery
Hang artwork on the walls to create focal points throughout the room and to make the space look more refined.

Artwork is the one area of your home’s decor where you can really let your personality shine through, so choose carefully. Pulling one color or design element throughout the collection can help keep it looking unified. Choosing different sizes and shapes for a dining room gallery can give a more casual and eclectic vibe.

10. Offer Unusual Seating

You can make a dining room look and feel more personal with the help of unique sitting optionsView in gallery
You can make a dining room look and feel more personal with the help of unique sitting options.

The dining room is one place where your seating can be a little unconventional without overwhelming your interior design since dining rooms are more of an ornamental than a functional space in many cases. Choose seating with a retro or futuristic style to give a pop of whimsy to your dining room design.

11. Incorporate Marble or Stone

You can add a sophisticated touch to the dining room by incorporating materials such as marble or stone in the designView in gallery
You can add a sophisticated touch to the dining room by incorporating materials such as marble or stone in the design.

Rustic stones such as flagstone or smooth river rocks can be incorporated into craftsman style homes, while marble is more suited to contemporary modern designs. Stone looks great against other natural elements like live plants, aquariums, wood furniture, and fireplaces.

12. Add a Dramatic Centerpiece

A dining room setup isn't complete without a table centerpiece or at least some other sort of decorationsView in gallery
A dining room setup isn’t complete without a table centerpiece or at least some other sort of decorations.

Centerpieces are the perfect way to bring a viewer’s attention to the center of the dining room. Different centerpieces can help carry and represent different interior design themes. For example, a centerpiece featuring cut flowers can give the room a delicate and feminine appearance. A centerpiece with branches or live plants can add a natural element to your design.

13. Design Table Runners for Plants and Accessories

A built-in box running through the center of the dining table lets you fill this area with plants and other decorationsView in gallery
A built-in box running through the center of the dining table lets you fill this area with plants and other decorations.

Succulents are a great option for decorating in dining rooms with plenty of natural light, but silk flowers or other accents can be used in darker dining rooms without windows. You can also use a table runner to help lead the eye towards artwork at either end of the dining room table.

14. Invest in Cozy Seating

Don't underestimate the important of comfortable chairs in the dining roomView in gallery
Don’t underestimate the importance of comfortable chairs in the dining room.

It’s great to have a stylish dining room, but all the style in the world is useless if your dining room is so uncomfortable nobody wants to sit in it. Test out the cushions on a dining room set before you buy it to make sure that the seats themselves are tolerable to sit on. Another way to ensure you have comfortable seating is to choose dining room chairs with armrests and a high, supportive back.

At the end of the day, the whole dining room feng shui and the general ambiance in the room have to do less with trends and styles and more with personal preferences. That’s why you should furnish and decorate your dining room (and the home in general) in a way that makes you happy and comfortable. Of course, the dining room is a space that you often share with friends and family so it’s important not to take things too personally. In that sense, it might be better to hang abstract artwork rather than family photos.

15. Use Hanging Pendants for a Casual Vibe

Instead of a large, imposing chandelier give the dining room a set of hanging pendants for a more casual and intimate feelView in gallery
Instead of a large, imposing chandelier give the dining room a set of hanging pendants for a more casual and intimate feel.

Pendant lighting is also a good way to spotlight certain focal points in your dining room to help draw the viewer’s eye around the space. Choose a wicker pendant lamp for a casual vibe, or an industrial metal fixture if you want a more modern and formal look.

16. Add a Pop of Bright Color

Add a touch of color to the room to cheer up the decor. It can come in many formsView in gallery
Add a touch of color to the room to cheer up the decor. It can come in many forms.

Bright colors are a great way to modernize your dining room decor since many modern art and interior design movements showcase these saturated shades. Before you put any dramatic color on the entire wall, it’s a good idea to paint a test swatch to see how you like it before committing to the entire paint job. Paint often looks dramatically different when it’s wet in the paint can than it does on the wall when it’s dried.

17. Bring in Some House Plants

Bring greenery into the room for a fresh and surprisingly warm and cozy decorView in gallery
Bring greenery into the room for a fresh and surprisingly warm and cozy decor.

Houseplants come in a wide variety of different textures and shades to fit many different preferences. If you don’t have enough natural lighting to keep a houseplant happy, you can always opt for silk houseplants to help emulate the natural feel of greenery without having to keep the plan alive. Be sure to clean the plants and add indoor plant food periodically to help keep them looking their best.

18. Go for Reflective Surfaces

For a glamorous and opulent look, try using metallic finishes, distinct textures, mirrors and different sources of lightView in gallery
For a glamorous and opulent look, try using metallic finishes, distinct textures, mirrors, and different sources of light.

Along with making the room look classier, these decadent accents are a great way to bring across an art deco or modern look using artificial materials such as metal and glass. Be sure to dust reflective surfaces in your dining room regularly and polish any metal fixtures to keep the room at its sparkling best.

19. Keep the Room Light

If the dining room is small, consider a glass table, mirrors, bright lighting or a light color palette View in gallery
If the dining room is small, consider a glass table, mirrors, bright lighting, or a light color palette.

Light colors are reflective and can help make small rooms look larger than they really are. Mirrors and glass also help bounce light around the room and keep things bright rather than dim and cramped. Metallic and neutral color palettes look good in light shades. These colors will give your dining room a sleek and modern look.

20. Add Some Candles for Romance

Add Some Candles for RomanceView in gallery
Candles and candle holders are a classic accent piece that can be added to any dining room.

If you have a darker color palette in your dining room, the additional ambient lighting offered by candlelight can help soften the look of the space and add an intimate vibe. The best thing about adding candles is that there are tons of options for different candle shapes so you can find candles to fit any decorating scheme. It’s a good idea to get non-scented candles since scented candles can clash with the taste of the food served in the dining room. (via Lakeside View)

21. Create a Photo Gallery Wall

Install a Photo GalleryView in gallery
Dining rooms are a good spot to place a gallery of photographs for a dramatic focal point on your wall.

An arrangement of black and white photos can add contrast to a colorful dining room palette, or you can choose a more eclectic collection with mix-and-match frames for a more bohemian look. The subject matter and composition of the photographs you choose can say a lot about your personality. Choose photographs that are all the same dimensions for a geometric, modern look.

22. Paint the Walls in a Bright Color

Paint the Walls in a Bright Color
While pale neutral colors are standard for many dining rooms, a good way to add glamour to your dining space is to paint the walls in a bright, saturated hue such as teal or goldenrod.

Neutral furniture and accents can help tone down the wall color and provide visual interest. Try pairing a bright color such as tangerine or jungle green with a neutral color such as ivory or white in several different textures. Metallics are another modern accent to layer with bright wall colors in contemporary designs. (via Old Brand New)

23. Try a Coastal Theme

Try a Coastal Theme
Even if you don’t live near the beach, a coastal theme in your dining room can add a sleek and contemporary, yet casual look to your space.

Coastal decor tends to incorporate off-white neutrals and bright colors like coral and turquoise in pastel shades. Keep dining room furniture casual by bringing in pieces like cane back chairs and unfinished wooden tables. Accents like palm leaf centerpieces and seascape artwork help keep things tropical. (via Curated Interior)

24. Floral Arrangements Add Delicate Appeal

Floral Arrangements Add Delicate Appeal
Along with candlelight, cut flower arrangements have been a staple of formal dining room design for centuries.

Invest in some large vintage vases or freestanding planters where you can rotate in different cut floral arrangements. This is an especially good way to add a fresh new touch whenever you need to swap out seasonal decor or add a beautiful accent for a social gathering in your home. Add preservatives to the water in your floral arrangements to help keep cut flowers looking beautiful for weeks. (via Architectural Digest)

25. Choose a Vibrant Graphic Wallpaper

Choose a Vibrant Graphic Wallpaper
If you’re looking to spice up your dining room space, a graphic wallpaper can add drama and have a huge impact on the look of the room.

 Pairing a patterned wallpaper with neutral furniture and accents can help give the room a balanced look. Often you can choose one of the less prominent colors in a wallpaper to act as an accent color elsewhere in the room in order to help keep your design unified. Print wallpapers are available in a huge number of options to match aesthetics from rustic country to vintage Victorian. (via Atta Girl Says)

26. White Walls Bring Timeless Style

White Walls Bring Timeless Style
White dining room decor can be a great backdrop for minimalist design, but that’s not the only way to use white in a dining room color palette.

White walls provide a stark visual contrast for dark-colored dining room furniture, or you can go for a more monochromatic look by picking white furniture to match the walls. White dining room walls also provide a neutral background for photo galleries or art collections. 

27. Painted Floors Add Unique Dining Room Style

Painted Floors Add Unique Dining Room Style
When it comes to updating the design of your dining room, the walls and furniture aren’t the only elements you should take a look at.

Painting your dining room floor can add unity and texture to an otherwise neutral color palette, or you can paint the floor in a dramatic color to make it the focal point of the room. It’s a good idea to place an area rug over a painted floor to help protect the paint job from wear and tear over time. (via Bob Vila)

28. Try a Colorful Printed Tablecloth

Try a Colorful Printed Tablecloth
Like printed wallpaper, a printed tablecloth is a great way to add some pattern to your dining room even if your dining room design is pretty neutral otherwise.

Tablecloths are a quick and easy way to update your dining room style because you can swap them out in a snap. It’s fun to experiment with different colors and patterns to see how they change the look of your dining room or just to help keep things looking fresh. (via The Tiny White House)

29. Put Up Dramatic Drapery

Put Up Dramatic DraperyView in gallery
If you’ve got a dining room with windows, changing out the drapery is a good way to make a big impact on the visual interest in the room, without having to make any major changes in your dining room furniture or having to paint the walls.

 In formal dining rooms, extra long drapery that flows from the top of the ceiling to puddle on the floor can make the room appear larger. Short curtains can look better for more modern casual dining rooms. (via HGTV)

30. Use Mismatched Furniture for Eclectic Design

Use Mismatched Furniture for Eclectic DesignView in gallery
One way to make your dining room casual is to include mismatched furniture.

Just because you’re designing a modern dining room doesn’t mean you have to go with a cold and contemporary style. You can still keep things casual even in modern decor. By incorporating mismatched furniture, you’ll achieve a bohemian style, and you can put together an affordable set easily by thrift shopping too. A good way to help keep things looking put-together is to choose furniture pieces that share a color or texture. (via Domino)

Designing your modern dining room is one of the best ways to show off your personal style since it’s a great place to display artwork, unusual accent pieces, and other bold design choices which might be a little overpowering in more functional spaces. Whether you have a casual dining space that needs freshening or you want to jazz up your formal living room, adding some modern touches can make it look like a whole new room.