Dining rooms are often ignored except for family gatherings and holiday entertaining. The most popular piece of furniture in the dining room is a large dining room table, then chairs to match and often there's a coordinating hutch to store special china, flatware, tablecloths, etc. The other feature that defines your dining room is the light fixture or chandelier.
When the holidays arrive, the dining room is one of the places we like to decorate. The challenge is deciding if you want to update the room to enjoy it year round, or add holiday decorations that get put away for the rest of the year?
Your Dining Room Vision
Do you like your dining room? Are you happy with the mood you're creating for your guests, from simple elegance to warm and cozy or something in between? You don't have to spend a lot of money. Sometimes one or 2 small changes can make a big difference. The challenge is deciding what to change so here are tips to guide your decisions:
- Decide how you want guests to feel when entering the dining room.
- Pick your favorite feature in the room, the breakfront, the chandelier or the windows? If you're not happy with this item, change it as decorating around it won't fix the problem.
- Next you want to pick your ideal colors for the room and remember, painting is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to update any room in your home.
- Accent pieces add color, texture or memories of where you got a piece of artwork. If something isn't working, try swapping it with another piece from elsewhere in your house.
Decorative Trim for a Dining Room
Homeowners are more comfortable decorating with furnishings, things you can buy yourself and move around the room until they feel like they're in the right place. Depending on the size of your dining room, and of course your budget, there are numerous custom trim features you can add to ceilings and walls to dress them up.
- Crown molding is the most popular ceiling trim, adding a touch of elegance to any room.
- Chandeliers can be dressed up with a ceiling medallion that provides a decorative backdrop.
- Chair rails used to protect the walls from scuffing while today they're more decorative.
- There are many ways to add sizzle to your walls from wainscotting to wall framing and more. We've got a complete article, Interior Trim Series: Walls That Sizzle, for ideas.
Color and Light to Make a Room Come Alive
Color more than any decorating tool, can create a room's mood. In a dining room, here are the ways you can add large swaths of color to the room.
- Painting comes first and there are faux painting techniques to give your walls texture, depth and sparkle. According to Julie King, owner of Samarra Painting in Newburyport, MA ” … color really effects the way you feel and the holidays help us see our homes through our guests eyes. If you don't have time to repaint your dining room, just one fresh coat of paint of the exact same color will freshen up the room tremendously!”
- Window coverings, especially ones that fall to the floor, can add a huge splash of color to your dining room.
- Rugs are another great way to add color to the dining room, with the added benefit of protecting your floors from lots of chair movement.
- Lighting done right can be magical in a dining room. From traditional brass and crystal chandeliers to contemporary wrought iron, this fixture is the centerpiece for many dining rooms. Wall sconces and lighting for special art pieces can also add to the rooms mood.
Holiday Decorating Tips
If you're having special company and you want to make a great impression, it's easy to make impulsive purchases. Don't! When buying decorative accents, consider how many times you'll reuse the item and whether it's easy to store so you can enjoy it for years to come. Here are some of my favorite decorating techniques:
- Table runners are easy to fold up and allow you to change the table mood in a few minutes. You can use runners on the dining table or the breakfront. To save money, you can use napkins, fold fabrics or my favorite are my Japanese obis purchased at the flea market when I lived in Tokyo.
- Hurricane lamps where you can change the candles and decorative features around the base are cost effective. It's also fun changing from sand in the summer, acorns in the fall, snow in the winter or even bright ribbon all curled up. You save money by investing in beautiful glass and updating the look several times a year, for many years to come.
- Baskets are great because they're neutral. You can add napkins with seasonal color along with fruits and vegetables like bright red apples and cranberries for Christmas.