When was the last time you considered the full potential of your dining room? Many of us forget about this space, letting it collect dust until we have to prepare to host our next function.
Whether you use your living room to hold formal dinner parties, your children’s homework nook or the designated family party spot, chances are the dining room could use a little attention. With just a few simple steps, you can transform your dining room without spending time and money on expensive renovations.
To inspire you to get started, we’ve created 10 ideas that will change how you see your dining room.
1. Add a DIY coffee bar.
If you’re like many people (myself included), you can’t make it through your day without a cup of coffee. Add a little fun to your daily routine by creating your own DIY coffee bar right in your dining room.
To make the bar, repurpose a cabinet or shelf, placing it against the wall with a nearby outlet to hold your coffee maker, syrups and other treats. Then, simply install floating shelves above it, giving you space to store your cups, mugs, coffee bags and K Cups. If you want to give it even more of an authentic cafe feel, paint a chalkboard wall behind it, personalizing it to your style.
Not a coffee addict? A tea or hot cocoa bar is just as fun!
2. Design your own buffet.
Instead of dropping thousands of dollars on a new buffet table, make your own with an old dresser.
“This piece was all about reclaiming reusing and upcycling,” Jackie Hausler from Haus2Home says. “A neighbor had put it out for trash as their little girl’s room was getting a makeover. I took it home and refinished the piece, giving it a new coat of paint and new hardware. Now it serves not only as beautiful furniture that goes with my home decor style, but also a functional storage unit! I keep all the essentials for entertaining hidden inside and I am able to use the top as a buffet while I’m entertaining.”
3. Get bold with your lighting.
Dining rooms are the perfect place for a little drama — remember that Thanksgiving when your uncle told everyone what he really thinks about your sister-in-law? — so make sure you don’t skimp out on the lighting.
Since your lighting fixture will serve as the centerpiece of your room, make sure to go with something that compliments your style. Just remember to keep it proportionate to the size of your room! A chandelier or any other fixture that is too small will look make your room look unbalanced, and one that is too large will dominate the entire space.
Some general tips for picking out lighting from the gurus at Lumens Light + Living:
- Pick a light fixture that relates to the dining room table. Round fixtures like chandeliers go best with round tables, whereas linear lights look their best with rectangular tables.
- One foot shy. The dining room light should be at least 12 inches smaller than the table in all directions.
- Get out the measuring tape. All dining lights should hang about 30 inches above the surface of the table.
- The table sets the scene. Linear suspension lights should be anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the length of the table.
4. Rethink how you see wallpaper.
We’re not talking about your grandma’s wallpaper. Wallpaper is often considered outdated, but that is simply not the case. If done the right way, the right wallpaper can work for either a traditional, trendy or modern room decor, giving texture to your walls without having to hand-paint designs and patterns. Try wallpapering one wall, all of your walls or even the ceiling.
5. Choose the right table.
Your table is the biggest piece of furniture in your dining room — and rightfully so, since it’s the place you come together to eat and catch up with your friends and family. Because of this, it’s important you take the time to select the right table for your room’s size and purpose.
- Rectangle: Not only are rectangular tables timeless, but they are perfect for hosting large crowds. Opt for one with removable leaves, so you can keep it compact for every-day use.
- Round: If you want to encourage closeness and conversation, go for a round table. This will allow your family and friends to all speak to one another and easily pass dishes.
- Oval: Oval tables are perfect for accommodating a lot of people in small spaces, since you don’t have to worry about sharp corners.
- Square: If you have a large space and prefer a contemporary look, go bold with a square table.
6. Mix up your seating.
Who says your seating all has to look the same? Break free from the showroom set and add some character to your room by mixing up your seating options. Try a variety of benches, stools, upholstered chairs and wooden chairs, depending on your space and style. If you really want to get creative, you can mix and match patterns and colors, as well.
7. Create drama with your curtains.
Regardless of your window’s height, your curtains should start close to the ceiling and end at the floor, giving your room the illusion of taller ceilings. Depending on how formal you want your room to look, there are three length options:
- Floating: Curtains end just one-half to one inch above the floor. This is very precise, and makes the room look tailored and chic.
- Breaking: Curtains extend one to three inches beyond the floor. This makes the room look more relaxed, and it a great option to hide uneven floors.
- Pooling: If you are all about the drama, you’ll want to choose pooling. This brings your curtains to extend four or more inches on the floor, giving off a romantic, traditional sense of elegance.
8. Match your colors to your mood.
Everyone has a different hosting style, and your dining room should mirror that same feel. Here are some ideas from the interior decorating experts at Better Homes and Gardens:
- Elegant soiree: Opt for deep-tone walls, such as chocolate, navy, persimmon, cinnamon and eggplant, set off by shiny white or cream woodwork.
- Calming spaces: Paint your walls sandy beige or sky blue and splash in pistachio green accents.
- Posh style: Use different shades of a midtone blue on walls and chair fabrics, add a bench upholstered in plush charcoal gray fabric, and incorporate black-and-white artwork.
- French decor: Provencal-style fabrics provide a ready-made combination of cobalt blue, cherry reds, golden yellows and burnished oranges that easily translate into country French dining.
- Global touch: Mix spice-market hues, like cinnamon orange, saffron yellow, paprika red and cardamom green with chocolate browns and bright turquoise to create a spirited dining room.
9. Don’t neglect your walls.
Even the most furnished rooms look incomplete with bare walls. Give your room a little TLC and personalize it with these decoration ideas:
- Chalkboard: Paint a wall with chalkboard paint, giving your room a cozy cafe feel. Add your favorite quote, your weekly menu, your kid’s artwork or anything else that shows off your personality.
- Gallery: If you have a full blank wall, turn it into a gallery. Arrange framed photos, quotes and artwork that will make your guests feel right at home.
- Stenciled walls: A stenciled wall is a great way to add a pop of style to your room. Pick a pattern that matches your decor and start painting. This technique can be simple, but a little time consuming. Check out the full tutorial here.
- Antique plates: Instead of losing your grandma’s antique plates in the attic, bring them out and hang them in a design on the wall.
10. Rotate your centerpieces.
Pick pieces that will work as everyday decorations but also double as your dinner party centerpiece. Here are ways to use the same short, rectangular wooden crate (we’re all about decorating on a budget!) in each season:
- Fall: Fill your crate with small pumpkins and gourds, cranberries and candles. Light the candles for your dinners and leave it unlit for the rest of the season.
- Winter: Keep the candles and cranberries and add pine cones, greenery and gold accent pieces to add to give a holiday feel that will last all winter long.
- Spring: Swap out your decorations with clear mason jars, filling them with bright flowers (think pinks, yellows and violets) that match your room’s decor. If you want to still include candles, place them in between the mason jars. Just make sure they don’t touch the flowers!
- Summer: Mix up your flowers for bolder colors, such as deep purples, pinks, maroons and yellows.
No room for your big dining room ideas?
Is a lack of space keeping you from transforming your dining room? Don’t let clutter get in the way of creating your perfect hosting space.
Uncle Bob’s can help get you started. With a variety of storage units to choose from, we can protect all of your personal items. Check out our website to contact us to find storage units near you or to learn how to move your stuff with our free moving truck rental deal.
Do you have any unique dining room ideas? Let us know in the comment section or tweet usat @LifeStorage.