Dining Room Design Guide


Freshen Your Dining Room for Holiday Season

As the Fall season sets in, the inevitable planning for holiday entertaining quickly follows. If you plan on hosting this year you may want to start by taking a look at your dining space for any needed updates.

Our friends at Wayfair have curated a comprehensive guide to dining room design, from furnishings to accents to lighting, to help you present the perfect entertaining space.

We love to see our clients’ creativity — if you take on an update, shoot us your before and after photos and we’ll feature you in an upcoming DIY special segment!

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A dining room should accommodate both elegant feasts and everyday meals, reflect your home's style, and fit your space. Figure out how to finesse the perfect dining room design with our go-to tips. Think beyond the table and chairs – turn to rugs, lighting, and storage to set your dining room apart from the rest.


Dining Room Design Elements

Consider the following dining room design elements:

  • Table Shape

  • Table Placement

  • Chairs

  • Rugs

  • Sideboards and Buffet Tables

  • Statement Lighting

Table Shape

When choosing a dining table shape, consider your room's dimensions, how many people you'll typically want to seat, and your entertaining style. Don’t forget, removable leaves allow you to adjust a table depending on the size of your dinner party.


For Larger Rooms:
Rectangular or elongated oval tables work well.

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Shop Oval Dining Tables

For Smaller Quarters:
Square or round tables are best suited for small spaces or open concepts, and facilitate easy conversation. 

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Shop Round Dining Tables

For Impressing Guests:
Take a creative leap with a free-form table. These novelty tables come in a variety of unique shapes and organic designs guaranteed to draw the eye.

Shop Free-Form Dining Tables

Table Placement


Your table shouldn't disrupt the natural traffic flow of your space, so consider the main pathways and measure accordingly. Leave adequate space between the table and walls (or open-concept thoroughfares) for diners to push out their chairs and still easily maneuver around. 

Anchor your table by centering it in front of a wall, a bank of windows, or underneath a light fixture to delineate a distinct dining area. Want to ensure it fits your space properly? This Dining Table Height Guide will tell you all the dining table and dining room measurements you need to know.

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When it comes to choosing a seating type, mix and match styles for a collected look, or take the guesswork out of the equation with a full dining room set. The four types of dining chairs are arm, side, Parsons and Windsor. Additionally, dining chairs should have enough clearance to fit under the table and ample elbow room for your guests. 

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Shop Dining Chairs



Laying down a rug defines your space, reinforces your style, and provides comfort. If you're worried about spills (if you have children or enjoy a glass of merlot), go for an easy-to-clean cotton or synthetic option. Stylistically, you may want to choose an intricately-patterned rug to hide any crumbs or stains, but be sure that it matches any surrounding upholstery in the room and highlights the dining table set. Your rug should be large enough so that pulled-back chairs don't catch on the edge — adding 36" to the dimensions on either side is an easy way to accomplish this. With extendable tables, use the measurements of your most-used configuration. 

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Sideboards and Buffet Tables


These double-duty pieces provide extra storage for entertaining essentials and offer a surface for serving drinks or family-style dinners. To find a style that seamlessly fits into your layout, consider how much storage space you’re looking for. Do you want drawers to hold your seasonal dinnerware or open shelves to display your fine China? Also consider wood tone – play it safe by matching the dining table set, or offset the look slightly with a complementary tone instead. 

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Keep 36" between your sideboard or buffet table and other furniture so you can pass by easily. For smaller spaces, bar carts are a handy, multipurpose alternative. 

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Statement Lighting


The right light fixture can become the exclamation point of any dining room, and should be hung 34" above the table to create an eye-catching focal point. Which ceiling lights do we recommend above your dining room table? Chandeliers, pendants, or fixed track lighting. For an alternative way to employ statement lighting, layer different types of lighting, like wall sconces and flickering candles to create an inviting atmosphere. 

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