The best dining room ideas can be customised to suit every individual home and style. From open-plan dining and kitchen areas to elegant formal rooms that make the most of a special occasion, take a look at these amazing homes for ideas, inspiration and top tips on layouts.
Designing a Grey Dining Room
Grey dining rooms both look and feel elegant, often letting other focal points in the room – like feature glazing or an original fireplace – really take centre stage.
When choosing paints, take care to consider the orientation of the room to get the most out of the grey. North-facing dining rooms can bring out cooler colours in greys, so a darker tone might suit it better, while south facing spaces will bring out the best of subtle, more neutral hues.
Create a Relaxed Experience with a Casual Dining Room
Dining rooms traditionally were the place to entertain away from the noise of the rest of the house but as our lives change, so do our homes. Modern casual dining with the family at the end of the day takes just as much precedent as impressing guests.
Relaxed furniture – like bench seats or mismatched chairs – will create a space to unwind and catch up in, and if your lifestyle suits sitting at the table most nights, why not treat yourself to the best view of the garden?
Ensure Comfortable Spacing
We've all been at at least one dinner party where your arm goes numb trying to keep your elbows to yourself. Spacing around the table is an important factor to get right when planning a dining room and you should consider a few key measurements:
- Working from the dining table dimensions, create a minimum of 1m circulation space
- Spacing between chairs should be around 45-60 cm
- If hanging pendant lights, they should never feel too low to make cross-table conversation. About 60-80cm above the table is about right.
If you're designing a whole house or extension from scratch, take a look at our guide Room Size: How to Get Them Right for expert advice.
A Dining Room on a Budget
Exposing the old fireplace in this renovated Victorian house makes a characterful feature for the dining area without breaking the bank.
Reclaimed and restored furniture give a 'lived-in' environment while practical flooring for a kitchen-dining space is always worth the investment.
(MORE: 10 Ways to Renovate on a Budget)
Create a Farmhouse Dining Room for Instant Character
A robust table that looks like it has sat for decades and plenty of space for the whole family to gather — farmhouse dining rooms are comforting and inviting.
This new oak frame home perfectly achieves the look by laying hardwearing travertine flagstones while pendant lights give a modern twist.
Add Wow-factor to a Formal Dining Room
Dining rooms these days can be seldom used, so putting extra effort into the design to entice the family away from screen during the week and keep guests out of the kitchen when entertaining is more than worth it.
Patio doors that lead out into the garden, well-considered lighting and even, as here, a vaulted ceiling, will make the room feel inviting.
Brighten up an Old Dining Room with Modern, Bold Decor
Though the floor, style of the chairs and table itself are fairly paired back, the fun injection of colour throughout this dining room makes it a warm and modern place to be.
Any existing dining room could be updated in a similar way by choosing out complimentary colours and picking out details – such as the shelving and pendant lighting – to highlight.
Getting Open Plan Dining Rooms Right
The homeowners of this self-build opted for their open plan living, kitchen and dining room to face the garden with large bifolding doors. Cleverly using the oak frame to divide the large room, the space caters to both casual eating at the breakfast island and formal dining at the table.
Get Creative with Budget Dining Room Decor
The wood panelling in this dining room makes the room feel expensive and well considered, although it is a fairly low-cost decorating idea that can be achieved in any home.
Paired with single hung pendant lights (which can be picked up for a bargain), the space goes the extra mile to feel welcoming.
Assistant Editor Amy began working for Homebuilding & Renovating in 2018. She has an interest in sustainable building methods and always has her eye on the latest design ideas. Amy has interviewed countless self builders, renovators and extenders about their experiences for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. She is currently renovating a mid-century home, together with her partner, on a DIY basis, and has recently fitted her own kitchen.
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