As the beating heart of the home and the centre of family reunions, the dining table has long held a place of importance. Finding the right table for your space can come with its own share of considerations, and oftentimes can quickly become overwhelming.
Designing a dining room involves considering various factors to create a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and conducive to enjoyable meals. Some key considerations include: dining room size and layout, dining table size and shape, and the surrounding decoration and ambience you’d like to create.
10 Dining Room Design Ideas
Of equal importance, form and function both lend credence to your selection. Here are 10 things to consider before making a decision.
1. Dining Room Lighting
A candle-lit dinner is romantic, but it won’t always cut it in the dining room. While your lighting choice should be functional, it’s also a great way to turn your dining table into the focal point of the space.
Think of your lighting as a halo that goes over your dining table. The right lighting fixture can add a sense of luxe to your entire set up, lending ease and elegance.
Consider pendant lamps, chandeliers, or statement light fixtures, all of which can shroud your space in ambient light while also allowing your dinner guests to see what they’re eating. Warm lights are preferred for this space, and should not be overly harsh as this could disturb the mood.
3 Dining room lighting considerations
- Is there an electrical point in the ceiling above where my dining table should go?
- How high is my dining table? Will my ceiling light fixture impede my dining experience?
- Will my dining table also serve as a study table? How will my choice of lighting temperature work with my needs?
2. Dining Table Material
No matter how attractive a low price point can be, it’s always in your best interests to invest in a piece that can stand the test of time. As the heart of the home, your dining table needs to bear not just the weight of your food, but also the brunt of wear and tear. This is especially important if you have pets or young children at home, as the chaos that follows small, stomping feet often leads to the destruction of badly – constructed furnishings with weak structural integrity. What’s more – a collapsed dining table could cause injury on its way down, threatening the safety of your loved ones.
Avoid dining tables with sharp edges if you have little ones at home. A round or oval table with softly curved edges can mitigate the damage from bumps and falls. Otherwise, it may be wise to look into corner protectors and edge guards.
3 Dining table material considerations:
- How much use will my dining table see?
- Is it necessary for my dining table to be safe around pets and children?
- How often am I going to change my dining room aesthetic, and will my table be swapped out to accommodate the changes?
3. Dining Room Material
When choosing a dining table, you first need to consider the space in which it will fit. This is particularly pertinent in our world, where floor space is at an all-time premium! Instead of choosing the first dining table you lay eyes upon, consider the availability of space within your home.
Do you have enough room to fit a dramatic dining table with flair, or are you looking for a basic, functional piece?
Take the appropriate measurements and bring them along when you’re out shopping. The right dining table will comfortably seat everyone it needs, while ensuring plenty of space for movement around it.
Equally important in the list of considerations when selecting a dining table is its height. While the kitchen is rightfully filled with numerous working and storage surfaces, the dining table and countertop occupy different vertical spaces – and for good reason. Because countertops are working surfaces meant for utility whilst standing, it’s necessary to build them higher up.
On the contrary, the dining table is meant to serve as a congregation hub where families sit to dine together – thus necessitating a lower height. Ditto with study desks, which need to be an appropriate height to accommodate our laptops and computer screens at eye level.
Different table heights will also provide different levels of comfort and leg-room – but don’t forget to find chairs of the appropriate height for a comfortable fit!
3 Dining room size considerations
- How much room do I have for a dining table?
- How many people does my dining table need to seat?
- Is my chosen dining table the right height?
4. Dining Table Decorations
Decorations are a must for any home, and most certainly for the dining table. While common dining table decorations include functional essentials like salt and pepper shakers, as well as candlesticks for the particularly fancy, other additions can lend an air of warmth and welcome – particularly important if you’ve got dinner guests to impress. Flowers in a vase, for example, are a great way to add visual layers to your space. Just make sure they aren’t so tall so as to impede stimulating conversation, or have too strong of a fragrance that they could derail the delicious aroma of the food! Alternatively, you could just as well substitute the flowers for a bowl of fruit – beautiful, as well as tasty!
Don’t forget the other functional decorations – those that help to protect your dining table from spills and water rings. Think table runners, trivets, and coasters, carefully selected to match your dining room style!
2 Dining table decoration considerations
- Do I need a table runner, and do I have children or pets who can accidentally drag it (and everything on it) off the table?
- Should I commit to a dining table centrepiece, and will it get in the way?
5. Dining Chairs
Like the dining table it is meant to accompany, a dining chair needs to fit within an allocated space. Unless they’re sold in a set with your chosen dining table, it’s a good idea to measure your chairs before making the purchase.
This will ensure you don’t end up with any nasty surprises – check that your choice of chairs are the right height, width, and provide necessary comfort while you dine. If you’re low on space, opt for chairs that are sleek and minimalistic. Chairs with arms tend to occupy more room than the alternative, so leave them for the heads of the table if you absolutely must have them.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match – chairs with benches, and so on. Don’t rush your decision! You’ll save yourself some trouble carefully considering the dining set as a whole before committing to any one piece. Trust us on this.
3 Tips on choosing dining chairs
- How much room do I have for chairs?
- Will these chairs be used for more than dining? If so, how sturdy is it?
- This chair may look great, but how comfortable is it, really?
6. Live edge dining tables
Incredibly beautiful at every angle, live dining tables are certain to steal the show at every dinner party. In a nutshell, live edge furniture highlights the natural edges of the tree, allowing the unique beauty of the wood grain, as well as its natural organic curves to truly shine.
Live tables made from a singular slab retain the width of the tree; alternatively, table makers can choose to mould together several slabs, thus allowing homeowners to dictate the final measurements of their tabletop. Ultimately, the final look echoes polish and sophistication, thus blending easily and harmoniously into many styles.
However, it’s important to note that live-edge tables can veer towards a higher price range. Protecting and maintaining the table becomes a part of life, as improper use and handling can result in cracks or warping. Before making your decision, be sure to check with the seller for care and handling instructions.
3 Live edge dining table considerations
- Will I have the time to maintain a live dining table?
- Do I want a table made from a single slab, or multiple slabs?
- What are some ways that I can protect my live dining table?
7. Kitchen island dining table
One of the best parts about home ownership is the ability to decorate it however you wish, creating the ultimate sanctuary of your dreams. The same can be said for the selection of furnishings – and in particular the dining table.
With numerous options available in the market today, it can be difficult and often confusing to pick one that gels with your home aesthetic. Is your home heavy on the cool colours, or does it veer closer to warmer hues?
Metallics, glass, and stone are all great options for cooler-toned spaces – think dark granite, marble, steel, and slate-tinted glass. However, materials like wood or scratch-resistant laminate are both great for warmer home aesthetics – think Japandi or Scandinavian simplicity. Your choice of materials doesn’t merely encompass the tabletop – pay special heed to the legs and base of your dining table, as these can also add structural interest and aesthetic value to your chosen piece.
If you find yourself completely lacking the space for a full dining table, get creative and customise! Speak to your contractor about possibly extending your counter island for additional seating.
A cleverly-designed counter extension can not only save you some space, but also provide the wherewithal for an intimate meal with those you love. If that’s not possible, consider a collapsible table that can be stored against the wall when not in use!
3 Kitchen island countertop considerations
- What aesthetic is my home, and how will my dining table fit in?
- What colours would look best against the backdrop of my dining room?
- What materials are available to me, in the colour scheme I want?
8. Sustainable Wood Dining Table
Meeting the demands of our modern world, eco-friendly options pervade every aspect of our lives! When choosing furniture, this simply means that you pay attention – to where the materials for the piece were sourced, whether said materials are biodegradable, how long it will last before needing to be replaced, and so on.
Look for dining tables made of sustainably-sourced wood from a reputable source; alternatively, you can look into tables made using recycled materials. Ultimately, the end goal is to choose a dining table with longevity – for your lifestyle, as well as for mother earth.
3 Sustainable dining table considerations
- What’s the price difference between an eco-friendly table and a regular table? Can I afford the difference?
- What sustainable dining table options are available to me? Will they fit into my dining room aesthetic?
9. Extendable Dining Table
As any modern homeowner with a small space will tell you, hidden storage and space-saving furnishings are absolutely imperative to a functional home. If your goal is to find a dining table that goes the extra mile, consider picking one with hidden storage or other functionalities.
Hurting for space? An extendable dining table can provide additional seating and space for special occasions, after which it can be neatly collapsed until needed again.
3 Extendable dining table considerations
- How much hidden storage do I need?
- Will an extendable dining table see much use in my home?
10. Cleaning Dining Tables
Take into consideration the functionality and aesthetics of your space. Both glass and sintered stone dining tables are easy to clean and maintain, which means they’re great choices if you’re frequently inundated with accidents and spills. They’re also heat, stain, and scratch resistant, providing considerable use with fairly little fuss.
If you’re particularly fond of the warmth that wood provides, make sure it’s well insulated against moisture with appropriate coatings. Otherwise, you run the risk of warping the wood surface, or even leaving ring stains and marks from water rings and stains. Additionally, you’ll want to check if your coatings are heat- resistant, as all it takes is a single hot bowl of food to make some gut-wrenchingly obvious damage.
Love the look of marble? Be ready to invest some serious time into maintaining and caring for it! Marble is a porous material, and so runs the risk of staining. Therefore, spills need to be immediately cleaned up. That aside, marble is incredibly sturdy and stunningly beautiful, with distinct and unique characteristics that echo the region from which it is sourced.
3 Dining table cleaning considerations
- What are the chances of my dining table being ruined by carelessness?
- What kind of aesthetic is my dining style, and what material would enhance that?
- How easy to maintain is the material of my selected tabletop?