How To Design a Dining Room

Designing a dining room space doesn’t have to be complicated. The key to designing the perfect dining room is to not overthink it! A dining room serves a simple, but very meaningful purpose. The first is to provide an inviting atmosphere for diners to enjoy a meal in your home comfortably. The second, and much more meaningful purpose, is to create lasting memories with family and friends. Some of the best conversations you can have with loved ones come from the dinner table. If you are looking to design your dining room for the first time, or want to redesign your current dining room, continue reading this easy-to-follow guide to getting you started in the right direction.

Let’s cover the rules first. Now, they are not strict rules you must follow or your design will fail. Think of this more as best practices when designing a dining room. When designing a dining room it’s important to keep the items going into the dining space scaled to size. For example, you don’t want your dining table to be too large or too small for the room. Plan for at least 36 to 48 inches of space between walls and chairs or other furniture. When it comes to the dining table itself you will need 24 inches per person to comfortably dine. You can increase seating space by using bench seating. You want your chandelier to rest now lower than 30 inches above the table. When it comes to rugs you want them to have a least two feet of space surrounding the table for ease of chair movement. Room-sized rugs should have around one to one and a half feet of space between the wall.


Dining Room Design Best Practices

  • Scale design elements with the size of the room
  • Design with 36 to 48 inches of clearance between the walls and the chairs or other furniture
  • Plan for 24 inches of tabletop space for each diner
  • Chandeliers should rest 30 inches above the table
  • Area rugs should extend at least 2 feet on all sides of the table 
  • Room-sized rugs should fall between one to one and a half feet from the wall
  • Maximize seating by using bench seating

Now that you know the ideal layout for the perfect dining room let’s get into how you go about putting a dining room design together so that you can design a dining room that is perfect for you and your family.


kitchen with dining room


A Dining Room Must Be Functional

When designing a dining room it has to be functional for you and your family’s needs. One of the major elements, if not the major element, in a dining room is the table. Consider your family size first. You have to be able to accommodate a table large enough to seat your family comfortably. If your family is large or growing, you may have to go with a larger table and not have room for a hutch or buffet. You want to know this now and not after you have your heart set on a piece of furniture that will not fit your space.

Do you love to throw dinner parties or have casual gatherings often? Consider how often you have diner guests. It may be that you need to design your space to accommodate more than just your family frequently. These are issues that need to be worked out before you choose your dining furniture. 

When it comes to the shape of the dining table consider how your dining room will function. Larger rectangular tables are great for seating a large number of diners. However, you could find yourself in the middle of multiple conversations. On the other hand, this option could be ideal if you want to break up the adults from the younger diners. Round tables are great for creating environments that foster group conversations. They can also offer more flexibility in the amount of seating need on a given evening.


8 Functional Dining Room Questions To Consider

  1. Do you have frequent dinner parties or casual gatherings?
  2. How much seating do you need?
  3. Does your dining room need to accommodate intimate conversations or large group conversations?
  4. Will your dining room store formal dinnerware?
  5. Will a round table work best in your dining room?
  6.  Do you need a large rectangular dining table?
  7. What type of environment do you want to create?


Dining Room Color Themes

Before you start bringing in furniture and accessories into your new dining room you need to choose a color palette first. Your color palette will help you narrow down your options when you start shopping for them. You can go about choosing a color palette for your dining room in two ways. The first is to choose two complementary colors. The other is to go with a monochromatic color scheme.

In a complementary color palette choose opposite colors on the color wheel. Simple color combinations are blue and orange, red and green, and yellow and purple. You can create more interesting color combinations by using various hues in between the simple combinations. To create even more depth in your design use several hues. By using a complementary color palette you are creating a dynamic and impressive design. 

A monochromatic color palette uses several hues of the same color. If you want a light and vibrant dining room you might go with a shade of yellow. To get your monochromatic color palette, start with a medium shade of yellow. Then choose a shade two times darker, and two times lighter than the medium yellow shade you chose. To create an even more dynamic design add even more layers of your chosen color. The overall look of a monochromatic dining room design is striking and powerful. 

blue dining room

In addition to adding layered design elements with color, you can also add texture. Texture can play a huge part in your overall dining room design. By choosing a subtle textured wallpaper, for example, you can add a lot of drama and interest to your design. Texture can also be added by installing chair rail and wainscoting. You can then use color to make the design dynamic by painting the lowest part of the wall, the wainscoting, the darkest color. Next paint the chair rail, the middle element, a lighter color of the same hue. Finally, paint the wall in the lightest shade of the same hue. 

As you can see color can play a huge role in your overall dining room design. Once you know what color palette you want in your dining room you can then start choosing other elements such as furniture. The color of your dining room furniture should complement your color palette. 


Dining Room Focal Point

In a dining room, the main focal point should be the dining table. Once diners are seated they then become the main focus of the room. Once your dining table is in place then you can start adding other elements that complement the table. These elements could be a hutch, other furniture, accessories, or artwork. The key to remember when designing a dining room is to create a warm and inviting space for your family and guests to gather. 


Dining Room Architectural Features

dinin room

Some older homes may already have interesting architectural features already built into them. Maybe this is why you fell in love with your home in the first place. If this is the case you may want to design your dining room around these existing features. If this is your design path start by identifying the timer period and then researching color palettes based on what was popular during that period if you want an authentic aesthetic. Architectural features can also be added to your dining room. Depending on your home’s structure, and what features you want to add to your dining room, you can easily hire a contractor to professionally add these features for you.

Designing a dining room doesn’t have to be complicated. You first need to know how to layout the furnishings in the room for ease of use. Then you need to consider how you will be using your dining room to get the most out of it. Next, choose a color palette to get your design going. If you already have a family heirloom you know you want to include in your dining room use that as design inspiration. Just keep in mind when designing a dining room it’s important to keep the design consistent.