Top tips: How to give your dining room a designer look

Whether you have a separate dining room or a dining area in an open plan kitchen, getting the right design and layout isn't always as straight forward as it first may be seem. For the space to work you need to strike the right balance of form and style so that it's a functional and flexible space with just the right amount of ambience. Here, we set out some top tips and advice from experts on how to design this all-important space.

grey wooden dining table with large display of flowers

Get the layout of your dining room right

Unsurprisingly, the position of the dining room table is the most important and having the right size table for the space is paramount to the success of the space. If you are starting from scratch and buying a new reclaimed wood dining table then take some advice from interior stylist interior Emily Henderson who recently told livingetc. "Where possible you should allow a walkway of at least 75cms around large furniture pieces  - however, if you are really pushed for space then your walkway must be no less than 60cms". This is a great tip, as it means you don't have to disrupt the entire table when you want to grab something from the kitchen or your guests use the bathroom. 

The dining table is the centrepiece of the room so it really shouldn't be pushed up against the wall.  If there is normally only four of you around the table then choose a smaller table rather than a table that seats eight - a great option is to consider a wooden extendable dining table, so you get the best of both worlds.

Pick the perfect seating

reclaimed wood dining tale with matching wooden bench and brown faux leather dining chairs

Comfortable seating is so important for a dining room - especially if you entertain often. Think about how you're going to use the space and what type of seating would be best. For example if you often need extra seating around a table consider a wooden dining bench as it tend to take up less space than individual chairs. Again if space is a challenge in the room then choose narrower seats without arms as they will fit under the table better and are also easier to get in and out of.  When it comes to adding style and colour to your dining space, your dining chairs are the perfect items for this. A rustic dining table looks gorgeous when paired with sumptuous green velvet dining chairs or cream upholstered dining chairs with a buttoned back for sheer sophistication.

Don't forget about dining storage

Storage is essential in the dining room.  In order to get it just right, think about how much space you have and how much you want to store - there are so many options you'll be sure to find just the right piece. If you have plenty of room then a wonderful rustic sideboard is the obvious choice, this will provide you with acres of storage space inside together with extra space for decorative pieces on top. If you're limited on floor space then a reclaimed wood shelving unit or a dresser is a good choice - you can display your favourite dinnerware on its shelves as well as other ornaments, plants or other items to personalise the room.

mango wood dining table with wooden kitchen dresser

Set the mood with lighting

Lighting is another important consideration in the dining room. You want to make sure it's bright enough that you can see what you're eating, but not so bright that you lose the ambience. A pendant light is definitely a popular solution for many a good reason.  Not only do they look good, but they create a focal point.  Designers recommend a dimmer switch so you can change the mood when needed.  A table lamp or floor lamp is also a great choice for after dinner relaxed lighting.

Create a centrepiece

wooden dining table with vases of flowers and candlesticks

Even when it is not in use it's nice to have a centrepiece on the dining table - it makes a dining room look styled and complete. If it's an arrangement that you will leave on the table when you dine, make sure it is a practical size. An oversized vase with a big bouquet of flowers or dried grasses look stunning, but you will need a wooden sideboard or someplace similar to move it to whilst you're eating, so that you can see your guests!

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