Dining rooms are back in fashion. In our search for understanding what makes a good life, the importance of taking the time to enjoy meals and the company of loved ones is back on the table. As a result, open plan, boundaryless living has fallen slightly out of favour; and creating a dedicated space designated purely to entertaining has become a desirable home attribute once again. So whether you’re starting from scratch and reclaiming a room in the home or just working on upgrading your existing dining, take a look at our modern dining room ideas to take your entertaining to the next level.
Working 9 to 5 (AM)
If you have the space and a large kitchen table you prefer to use for breakfast, creating your dining mood can be very simple; pitch it for night time elegance. However, your dining room may have more than one job, such as a place to lay out homework or a home office during the day. Alternatively, you may want your dining room to be as delightful for breakfast as it is for atmospheric dinner parties. With that in mind, the mood may need to change from fresh and efficient to indulgent and soothing. So whilst you want your space to have personality, you don’t want it to be overpowering and feel appropriate whatever the time of day. No one wants to try and focus on bill paying with a twinkly full bar dominating their eye line or heavy wooden antique furniture sucking the light out of the room on a pretty Spring morning.
For an easy win, contemporary dining table sets take the stress out of choosing something that matches and is designed to work together well. If you choose something fairly neutral, you can address the mood changes with some chic contemporary dining room lighting tricks. It’s easy to get the mood right: simply, what do you want to feel like as you imagine your day? Energised at 7am? Cosy for a lunch late Sunday afternoon with extended family? When you have friends over on a Friday night do you want it to feel glamorous and grown up?
A simple rule of thumb;
2). Boost daylight with electric light at flatter points in the day. Season with lamps or subtle, dimmable overhead spots
3). Make it subtle with mid-height candles and wall lights when you need mood lighting
Hide and Seek
Good dining room design allows for a room to function beautifully and aids the flow through it, and that means incorporating good storage. If you only occasionally have large numbers of guests, then an extendable dining table is the best investment and will make the room more comfortable to use the rest of the time. Although those traditional glazed dark wood dining china display cabinets may be a tad too retro for many, dining room cabinets can be useful in lots of ways. You can use them for the dining room only apparatus, such as napkins or candles (to keep other drawers in the kitchen clutter-free) or store fragile wine glasses to keep them safe. If yours needs to be multi-purpose, everyone in the home can have a section or box file to keep their items packed away neatly; a dining room full of discarded items is guaranteed to become an unloved, abandoned space. It can also serve as a good space to put a lamp for creating mood and a surface for placing wine bottles to breathe. If you don’t have the space for a dining room cupboard then a dining room table with a bench can store your linen and larger serving platters inside.
If you like the idea of modern dining room design, but don’t want to take the minimal route, then you can try using a quirky approach to colour. One yellow chair in a row of grey or mixing old and new painted in one hue will add interest but not overpower. Do think about how colour will work all day though. White dining table sets can be great for a breakfast room but make sure you know how to dress them for dinner: You may want to use with a dark cloth in the evenings or just add contrast with vivid colour in plates and cups. If you have a palette in mind, swap in shades such as these red, white and black chairs in a neutral space. The core items here, the black blinds and table are neutral enough and can be changed radically by a few splashes of bold colour. This allows a space to be made over very simply with only accessories, rather than a huge rehaul every time seasons (or fashion) changes.
How to choose the best dining table
A contemporary dining table can completely transform a room, bringing structure, the luxury of a sumptuous material or light to a flat room with its reflective qualities. What you look for obviously depends on how you entertain. If you are a frequent mid-week entertainer then a 6 chair dining table is a great solution for mid-week informal meals. It’s a little tight for a Saturday event, where an 8 seater dining table will be just enough for all the guests to interact in an intimate, convivial setting. When looking at a 12 seater dining table or anything above, you need to have some serious space, as not only does a large dining table demand space visually and physically, the addition of chairs (in their pulled out position) can rapidly eat into your room. They can also look very desolate when unused; so ensure that you buy dependant on your most frequent style of dining, or you’ll find your small frequent suppers end up in the kitchen rather than up one end of an imposing dining table. Not just the provision of Victorian furniture, many modern dining tables can come with a leaf that can be added when the invite list does swell.
If the long feel of a rectangular table is too formal for your tastes, a circular dining table can feel less confrontational. Materials are also key for mood. A contemporary wood dining table can feel earthy if it has chunky structure, or a highly polished, long-lined wood dining table in a Mid Century Modern rosewood can feel incredibly sophisticated. If you need a compact dining table for a small space try a glass dining room tables and chairs set, as visually they seem to take up less room as you can see the space around them.
How to create impact
Display techniques are next on the list. When choosing your furniture and accessories, consider what you would like to be your focal point, not just when dining but the resst of the time, too. A highly polished black dining table will be an obvious dramatic draw for the eye, which can work undressed in a large, elegant room. For a room that needs to work a bit harder, small dining room ideas that can transform can include a large mirror to reflect back flower displays and double the effect of candlelight or the glimmer on glassware.
Want to learn more about making a feature of what surrounds you? Check out our wall decorating ideas.