How to Design Your Dining Room

Whether it’s used for entertaining huge crowds, gathering the family after a busy day or a spot to get some work done, our dining rooms are hard-working spaces. 

How To Design Your Dining Room

Crossley dining table & Curve back chairs

When looking to design your dining room, there are plenty of things to keep in mind to ensure it doesn’t just look good and it’s a pleasant space to be in but one that’s practical and meets your requirements too.

Our tips today will guide you to create the perfect space, no matter what your budget or style.

Choosing your dining room table and chairs

As the star of the show, your dining room table and chairs are one of the most important considerations you will be making in your room. 

When choosing your table, your first step will be to look at the proportions of your room as this will likely determine how large your table should be and may dictate the shape as well.

Round oak table with white painted chairs

Trinity Dining Table / Kemble Dining Chairs

Keep in mind that a long, rectangular room will suit a similarly shaped table where a square room may better suit a round table. Round tables are also great for encouraging conversation and adding softness while rectangular tables allow for more seating.

For your chairs, comfort will be a factor if you enjoy entertaining and like to host dinner parties that linger until the last drop of wine has been consumed. A softer upholstered chair will provide plenty of comfort if you also tend to work from home at your dining table.

Industrial Table in Botanical Kitchen

St Ives Dresser / Romsey Dining Table / Cross Dining Chair / Mantis Light Dining Chair

If you have children then easy to clean and maintain wooden chairs or a bench may be a better option. Larger family gatherings also lend well to practical bench seating too, giving you an option to squeeze a few more bodies at the table when necessary.

For real-home inspiration for your dining space, we’re sharing our favourites here.

Getting the proportions right

Cream painted dining room table and chairs

Country Cottage Dining Table / Curve Back Dining Chairs

When you’re considering the size of your table, you’ll want to ensure there is adequate space for each proposed diner to sit comfortably. A minimum clearance of around 90cm between the walls and the chairs or other furniture will mean there’s also plenty of space for them to pull out their chairs.

Not sure how to correctly measure your space? Take a look at our tips to choosing the right size dining table and calculating how much space you’ll need.

Along with choosing a table and chairs that fit the proportions of your room, make sure the lighting you choose for above your table is proportional to the size of the table too.  A tiny light above a large table will look out of balance and in many cases, an oversized fixture will look better than an undersized one. So, as a rule of thumb, when in doubt, go larger than you think you should.

Brindle collection dining room painted dining tables and chairs

Brindle Dining Table & Chairs 

If you choose to have a rug underneath your table to add some colour and texture, make sure it’s large enough for the diner to be able to pull out their chair and still be on the rug. Not only does it mean the chair won’t teeter on the edge, but it’ll save your floors from scratches and scuffs too.

Make the most of your budget with our top tips to buying dining room furniture here.

Lighting Options for a Dining Room

canterbury range dining room furniture

Canterbury Display Cabinet / Canterbury Dining Table & Chairs / Canterbury Console Table

While the light (or lights) above your dining table will likely be your main source of illumination, make sure you put the light on a dimmer switch to give you options when it comes to how bright you need it to be. While working on homework with the kids will mean a brighter light is required, a dimmer, more intimate light will be more appropriate for a dinner party.

You also may want to choose a few other light sources to create smaller pools of light. Wall lights will provide a soft wash across artwork or a bookshelf and table lamps can be a great way to create pockets of light on a sideboard.

Making the most of natural light? Our summer dining room feature shares plenty of ideas.

Considering colour

breakfast bar table and chairs

Rhodes Breakfast Bar Table & Stools

When choosing colours for your dining room, remember that warmer shades are more likely to encourage conversation and increase appetite. It’s why we see these colours used so often in restaurants. 

If you mainly use your dining room during the evening, then a darker colour on the wall can be used to add drama.

mango oak dining table and chairs set

Kemble Sideboard / Mantis Light Dining Table / Brooklyn Dining Chair / Mantis Light Dining Chair / Kemble Dining Chair

Wallpaper or a wall mural can also be a wonderful way to add pattern, colour and interest to the space, and with a myriad of design options available, you’re sure to find something that suits your style perfectly.

Looking for more tips on using bold colours? Check out our post here.

Deciding on Storage

Contemporary glass dining table with chairs and bench

Reflections Dining Table / Bevel Display Cabinet / LoopBack Dining Chair / Natural Bench

Another factor to consider is how much storage you may need in your dining room. Think about the different ways you might use the space. Does it double as a makeshift home office? Do the kids do their homework there or get crafty during meal prep? Do you host a lot of big family get-togethers?

Grey dresser and oak table in kitchen

Brooklyn Dining Table & Bench / Arlette Console Table

Smart storage solutions like sideboards or dressers not only look good but create areas to hide away those things you don’t necessarily want to see all the time but still need access to like extra linens, glassware and crockery or even things like books, games and toys.

Consider displaying some of your favourite pieces in glass-fronted cabinets or gather glasses, spirits and mixers for a luxe bar area where guests can help themselves.

We have plenty of storage options online and in-store. Check out our full range here.

Dressing the Space

coastal style kitchen diner

Shay Round Table / Loop Chair 

Your final step will be to add softness, texture and personality to your room. An area rug can add softness underfoot as well as add texture and warmth to a room.

Consider hanging long curtains to add a touch of elegance or simple blinds or shutters for a more contemporary or casual look.

Add artwork to walls to pull your scheme together and don’t forget those all-important finishing touches that really add personality to a space, whether that’s showing off a collection of family photos or simply adding plants and flowers to soften and add life to your room.

If you’re looking for more information on designing your dining room, our dining room resources guide will answer even more of your questions.