Designing A Dining Room To Welcome Family

Sharing a meal with your family at the end of a tough day is one of the daily joys that make life far more enjoyable. Depending on your home’s style and age, many modern homes no longer have a formal dining room.  For most families, overly formal parties are out of style. Modern homes have an intimate area for the family to eat and spend time together. They are also showing a preference for child-safe dining rooms with personal and creative touches in the design.




Sonoma Kitchen Table light_wood_satin_gold

Photo Shades of Light



Whether you have the old-fashioned separate dining area or your dining is part of an open ktichen family room, we need to think about ways to make it inviting and warm.  Let’s talk about the basics of designing your dining room:


Make a focal point



No matter your design style, the table is usually the center of attention. That way your dinner companions are the main focus when seated at the table.  In the last few years, new chandelier designs hung over the table grab your attention and draw you to the table.  This is an inexpensive upgrade that can totally change your space. Below the blue rug beneath the table and the opulent chandelier draw the eye to the beautiful dining space. The table is the king of the space.







Choose the right furniture


Stylish dining tables are the central feature of building the perfect space for eating. Extendable options will give you flexibility when not being used. I personally like having a leaf or even 2 leaves for the table.  That’s why I bought a vintage table several years ago that came with two leaves. Most of the year I love having my small round table, but it’s easy to expand for the holidays. That works for me since I live alone, but for the average family, the table needs to accomdate more people daily.  When looking to upgrade your table, the key is to focus on a table’s material, color, and design that you can live with long term.



Photo M Prevost Design



There is no right or wrong style, and you should choose the solution that works for you. I am eclectic in my style which means I find beauty in all design styles.   You do not need to make everything match either. I like to find furniture and decor items that can work together without being exactly the same color or pattern. 




Mastering lighting and HVAC


When spending time with friends and loved ones, comfort is king. As I mentioned earlier, appropriate lighting is important.  You’ve chosen the table you love and comfy chairs.  If possible, choose a hanging chandelier to provide ambiance and charm. If you’re working with a small dining area, the use of strategically placed mirrors and candles can be immensely useful too.



Photo FreshSDG


Now how is the temperature in that room? As I mentioned 2 days ago in Preparing Your Home for Fall,  checking the HVAC facilities for problems is necessary. Sweating in summer or eating while wrapped up in four layers during winter can severely hinder the welcoming atmosphere you want to create. 



Adding to the ambiance 


Now we must create a warm, cozy feeling when eating. When decorating the dining spaces, seemingly small changes can make a huge impact. Making the right flower choices can add a calming vibe, especially if they are matched to the wallpaper or artwork. Tablecloths and accessories like candles or ornaments can add to the atmosphere. However, it’s important to remember that less is sometimes more. Decorating for fall and the holidays does not always mean every inch of wall or table is covered with decorations. We each have our styles and you should make it your comfy home.  You do not have to have a set of china for every holiday. Few of us have space for that.  A good set of white china can look outstanding no matter the season with appropriate place mats or chargers, napkins,  and flowers.




Rustic Refined

Photo Pottery Barn



Visual elements are only one way to boost the dining room atmosphere. Music can be a great accompaniment to a date night or a family meal. Nonetheless, photos from family vacations and other magic moments in your lives can be used to great effect.




Handwoven Basketweave Cotton Fringe Table Runner

Photo Pottery Bard



Consider flex spaces


If you live in a small home, you might consider making flexible areas. Adding a desk on the wall in the dining area for a home office or homework spot is common.  Make sure you use the walls wisely and avoid clutter.  Below Bob Vila shows how to use walls in the dining room for a library. 



Photo Bob Vila


A small piano below makes the most of an awkward corner in this boldly decorated eating space.  The upholstered bench, similar furniture styles, and red-painted accents throughout create a high-end look with unique charm.



Add a piano to a dining room

Photo Hi Sugar Plum



If you have open living spaces, you might consider banquette dining in the kitchen or family room. Elle Decor has a great post on 25  built-in seating ideas that includes nearly all the styles with unique charm in each.



Photo Elle Decor



In conclusion…


Don’t allow your dining area to be the most neglected area in your home. You can easily create a special environment where your family and friends can gather and share a meal. I’m wishing you warm and cozy meals with those you love this fall and every season to come.















This is a collaborative post, but all opinions are my own.






Please see my Link Parties page for the parties where this post was shared.







I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

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