Your dining room is one of the most exciting spaces in your home to decorate. Because its only key feature is a table and chairs, it is somewhat of a blank canvas for your creativity. The dining room is a space that’s filled with potential, and it’s also a space where you can have fun experimenting with multiple looks for different seasons. Remember that the most important feature of your dining room is already in place - you, your family, and your friends. Everything else you add to that fellowship is simply there to set the stage and create atmosphere. Today we’ll cover ten ideas to maximize your dining room with stylish and sophisticated decor to prepare for the upcoming holiday season.
1. Vibrant Centerpieces
Table centerpieces give your dining space a focal point, and they can be easily changed out to influence the ambiance of your table. In spring and summer, simple centerpieces like flowers keep your dining room classy and fresh; even vases of various shapes and materials can be used to influence the mood - glass will add a reflective and sophisticated sheen, white milk glass adds a clean and homey farmhouse vibe.
Another centerpiece classic is candles, which can be grouped together on a tray and offset with seasonal decor like miniature pumpkins and gourds, pinecones and evergreen boughs, flowers and wreaths, etc. Whenever you have multiple small items, it’s a good practice to group them together on a tray or other clearly defined outline to ensure coherency. Be sure to experiment with the shape and size of your centerpieces as well, which can be small and circular, square, oblong, or even run the full length of your table from end to end.
2. Creative Table Cloths
Another easy way to add elegance to your dining room is to underlay the table centerpiece and settings with seasonal tablecloths. There are a multitude of colors, patterns, and materials available, so you’ll be sure to find something that suits your style. If you plan to add a table runner and placemats, you may want to opt for a solid color so that your attention is drawn to the tabletop decor rather than divided between two beautiful settings. One fun idea for fall and winter is to drape a plaid blanket diagonally on the center of the table, creating a backdrop for your place settings while adding a feeling of warmth and comfort. Bonus: blankets are easy to wash!
3. Napkins and Non-Traditional Placemats
Napkins are another fun addition that can be interchanged based on the season. Take a minute to learn ways to fold napkins, and you’ll impress your guests even more! Folding napkins is essentially origami, so your children will likely love helping you with this creative task. While placemats are traditionally a rectangular piece of stiff fabric, you can also experiment with non-traditional ideas like circular tree cuttings (leave the bark on!) to enhance your fall festivities, custom fabric placemats printed with pictures of your family, and much more.
4. Elegant Dishware
We tend to keep nice china and elegant dishware in storage or on display, saving it for some future occasion, but the holidays are the perfect excuse to lay out your best. A set of silver utensils or fine china can go a long way toward adding elegance and sophistication to your dining room table. So don’t be afraid to celebrate with your best!
5. Bespoke Name Cards
Name cards are another great way to get the kids involved, teaching them that gatherings are special and celebratory. If you’re planning to entertain extended family or friends in your new space, bespoke name cards are a great way to surprise your guests with a very special welcome, making them feel included and giving them a sense of belonging. You can print on hard cardstock folded in half, paint on a woodblock, or create a full crafting session with various markers, calligraphy pens, and patterned cardstock.
6. Mood Lighting
Don’t forget the mood lighting! Lighting is key to creating ambiance. While candles are an easy and effective way to add mood lighting, it may also be time to upgrade your ceiling lighting to a central chandelier, add sconce lighting, or even introduce a floor lamp. Natural lighting is also a wonderful addition but can be difficult to control if you have a west-facing window, so if that’s the case, be sure that your curtains and shades are at the ready.
7. Comfortable Cushions and Coverlets
Ready to transition from summer to fall? Simply swap out (or add) new seat cushions or chair coverlets. If you get cushions, be sure that the cover material is easily revocable and machine washing safe. The same applies to coverlets. While not a strictly necessary dining room addition, cushions and coverlets add a feeling of warmth, comfort, and opulence to your dining room.
8. Expansive Wall Display
Because the table is the center of the dining room, it’s easy to focus all of your energy on decorating it, but remember that the walls add significantly to the room’s overall atmosphere. Creating a large wall display is a great way to introduce a dramatic and sophisticated element to the room. Common displays include one large picture, a hanging tapestry, or a tastefully grouped picture display featuring family members, favorite vacation destinations, or something else that is dear to you.
9. Area Rug
While hardwood floors can feel clean and cool for summer, an area rug is a great idea for fall. Placing a large rug under the table adds to a sense of comfort and also visually unites the table and chairs, creating a cohesive whole. Like a wall display, an area rug is a single detail that makes a big impact.
10. Turn Up the Charm
Whenever we walk into a spa or a favorite store, we’re greeted not only with visual beauty but also with aural ambiance. When it comes to dining, music is your invisible friend. Set up a bluetooth speaker and find a favorite playlist for background music to up the ambiance of your dining experience. Background music is another small and easy detail to control, but it definitely provides that extra something that will make your guests feel they are on vacation.