The Best Dining Room Decorating Ideas, According to Interior Designers

houston dining room with wicker chairs and peach walls
Molly Winters Culver

Your dining room has so much design potential—you just need a spark of inspiration to set your plan for this space into motion. "A dining room is a really great place to play with design and test out more adventurous ideas," interior designer Michelle Zacks says. "The goal is to create visual interest so it feels like it is its own separate space within a home."

And when it comes to decorating a dining room, look for items that set the tone for the space and help spark dinner conversation. "Wall décor is a great way to infuse the space with color or help reinforce an existing color palette," adds Tiffany Leigh of Tiffany Leigh Design. "We love to use a single large piece of art over a buffet or side board in a dining room to anchor that zone and infuse an interesting scene or vista into the space."

Dining rooms are also a great place to show off treasured décor items, such as family heirlooms, that might be too precious to display in more highly-trafficked areas of your home. "If you have a fabulous armoire or buffet table, use it as a statement piece and build the room around it," interior designer Gabrielle Santiago notes. "You can mix heirloom items in with a gallery wall, too. I love creating unpredictable dimensions with a collection of items and art." Curious what other dining room decorating ideas interior designers have up their sleeves? From statement light fixtures to bright, beautiful paint colors and more, read ahead for more dining room design ideas that make a major impact.

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Add Natural Elements for Warmth

neutral-colored dining room with black fireplace
Haris Kenjar

To create an ambient atmosphere that's both warm and welcoming, outfit your dining room with a statement fireplace surround—and plenty of organic elements. In this dining room by Seattle-based design firm Ore Studios, a long table composed of a single slab of Oregon white oak draws from the hues of the fireplace wood and the jute rug; a basket filled with dried florals is the finishing touch.

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Use Bookshelves for Visual Interest

colorful Pittsburgh home tour dining room with window
William Abranowicz

An inexpensive way to make your dining room more colorful is to fill your built-in shelves with books like Colleen Simonds Design did in this Pittsburgh dining room. If you don't have custom built-ins, incorporate a couple of tall, uniform bookshelves into your dining room for a similar effect.

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Turn a Porch Into a Dining Space

front porch with rustic outdoor dining room
Jessica Antola

Dreaming of an outdoor dining area that's every bit as chic as it is budget-friendly? A small salvaged dining table paired with a handful of flea market chairs turns an enclosed deck or patio into a bonafide al fresco dining room in no time, as evidenced by Alex Bates and Andrew Hoffman's rustic Fire Island porch.

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Choose Black Décor Items to Define Your Space

unfinished wooden dining table with black wooden chairs and cream colored cushions
Lauren Pressey

A little bit of black can go a long way in a dining area. Case in point: This simple dining room, designed by Kate Lester, relies on black-finished Windsor dining chairs and a charcoal metal chandelier to bring depth and dimension to an otherwise neutral space.

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Maximize a Breakfast Nook

bench dining table set area
Jennifer Hughes

If you don't have a formal dining room in your home, consider creating a large eating nook in your kitchen. When combined with a built-in banquette or a long bench, a clean-lined dining table and chairs can offer plenty of space for eating and socializing in any size of home. Interior designer Elizabeth Lawson curated this space.

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Go for a Gallery Wall

kettle cove home tour dining room art gallery
Justin Levesque

To bring color and a personal touch to your dining room, consider installing a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall. To show off her client's beloved collection of artwork, interior designer Tyler Karu forged a salon-style display to give this entertaining space a more intimate feel.

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Paint Your Doors and Windowframes

white dining room with vintage oak table and black accents
Helen Norman

For a simple, but impactful way to elevate your dining area, try painting the millwork the same color as the dining chairs. Using Benjamin Moore's Black, Lauren Liess painted the window and door frames in this contemporary spot to match the black dining chairs, creating bold cohesion within the space.

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Consider Colorful Dining Chairs

Dining area with marble table top and dark green chairs
John Merkl

To bring a burst of color and texture into a white-walled dining room, consider employing some brightly upholstered chairs. With the help of a handful of green velvet-clad seats, Kristina Braun of Braun + Adams brought a dash of drama to a neutral dining room while drawing from the hues of the artwork on the walls.

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Design Your Space Around a Focal Window

dining room with long wooden table and picture window
Bethany Nauert

If you're lucky enough to have a large window in your dining room, use it as a focal point for the space. In this dining room by DeKor Living, the dining table is positioned directly in front of a floor-to-ceiling opening, allowing the natural outdoor scenery to moonlight as artwork.

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Create Cohesiveness with Artwork

wood panel wall dining room with custom tom jean webb painting
Andrea Calo

Nothing brightens up this area of your home faster than colorful art, but it's important to pick a piece that doesn't overwhelm the rest of the space. In this eclectic dining room in Austin, Texas, interior designer Amity Worrel went with a painting that draws from colors of the living room, bathroom, and kitchen to balance out its visual weight.

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Don't Be Afraid of Texture

dining room table art and statement lighting
Haris Kenjar

To bring depth and dimension to a neutral dining room, incorporate a variety of interesting textiles. In this art deco-inspired interior, designer Katie Hodges added a patterned area rug and mid-century woven dining chairs to warm up the earth-toned décor and make the room feel less formal.

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Create an Open Dining Area

california chic naturally lit breakfast nook with wood table
Lauren Pressey

When paired with the right sized dining table, a banquette can turn a breakfast nook into a proper dining space. Instead of creating a formal dining room for a client's beach house, interior designer Cortney Bishop placed a custom L-shaped banquette behind the kitchen island and added a long wooden dining table that stretches into the living room to combine the two spaces.

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Choose an Unexpected Paint Color

lavender-blue dining room decorated with greenery
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

To energize a small space without taking up any floor space, consider painting the walls in a bright, but soothing shade of blue. Interior designer Pamela Harvey opted for a rich shade of lavender-cerulean in this traditional dining room to help spark dinner conversation while enhancing the colors of the natural greenery, drapery, and statement art.

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Make a Statement with Your Table

light colored dining room with black and brown accents
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

When you aren't working with a ton of square footage in a dining room, consider a statement dining table to make an impact. The oversized marble station in this room by Alison Giese Interiors is an attention-grabber, but doesn't skimp on functionality.

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Open Up a Tight Space with Windows

Hancock Park Home Tour dining room
Tessa Neustadt

Transform a cramped nook into a full-fledged dining room by installing a wall of windows. With the help of some recovered panes from a salvage yard, Isabelle Dahlin of DeKor Living turned a tiny corner into a light-filled dining area that feels modern and industrial at the same time.

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Choose a Commanding Light Fixture

dining area douglas fir table and apparatus light fixture in gold
Aaron Leitz Photography

Make a statement in a minimalist-minded dining space with the help of an eye-catching light fixture. A large sculptural chandelier, like the mid-century style one we spotted in this dining room by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, anchors the space in style.

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