How to Design a Dining Room That Is Anything But Stuffy, According to Pros

Invest in a Focal Piece and Highlight It

Designers will often tell you to pick one "hero piece" for a room, a true conversation starter to anchor the rest of the space. And in your dining room, the biggest focal piece should always be your dining table.

Forget the Dining Room Sets

One thing that often creates an instantly stuffy vibe is a room full of perfectly matched furniture and fabrics. According to Nessbach, the fastest way to relax your dining room is to embrace your own unique tastes. “Mix and match chairs for a playful twist,” Nessbach says. “Imagine an array of chairs that complement each other like a symphony of flavors in a gourmet meal.”

Balance the Room With Great Lighting

Lighting plans are key for designing any room, but the Lucas Browning Design team says this is especially true for dining rooms. They highly suggest balancing a room with lighting. Hanging pendants are especially perfect for creating a soft, ambient light, but the key is to avoid anything harsh or overly bright. If your house came with a builder-grade chandelier or fixture installed, Rhudy says it probably has to go. Along with pendant lights, she also suggests swapping it out for a statement globe.

Don't Be Afraid of Color

Dinner with a view is a welcome treat, and there’s no reason your dining room can’t offer the same experience—even if you’re not overlooking a vast panorama. The team at Lucas Browning Design suggests incorporating your home’s natural surroundings into your decor plan. This is especially true if you’re blessed with big, bright windows.

“Bring in colors that compliment the view but stick with a neutral palette as the base,” they suggest.

Add Texture

Once your base is set, Nessbach says it’s time to add texture. This is often not considered in dining rooms as much as in other places, like living rooms and bedrooms, but it’s just as important. “As humans, we are tactile people,” she says. “Think plush velvets, raw linens, and rustic jute.”

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