Is dining room decorating a dying art?

Is dining room decorating a dying art?

If it is, the reason is simple.

In years gone by, and especially in Victorian times, each room in the home had its own specific purpose. The kitchen was for preparing food, the scullery for washing up dishes or as an overflow for the kitchen, the drawing room for entertaining visitors. ('Drawing room' is an abbreviation of 'withdrawing room', a room to withdraw to after a meal.)

So the dining room was specifically for that purpose - dining, the room where you ate your meals.

This affected how you would go about your dining room decorating.


Times have changed

In our modern homes we may not even have a room set aside for meals. 'Kitchen diners' are a way for the house builder to avoid making a separate room and saves space.

In our modern appointment-driven way of life we would rather grab a bite to eat and rush off to the next deadline rather than waste precious moments sitting down in a separate room and taking our time over a meal.

In many instances the dining room has become a disposable luxury, and we have learned to make do without it. So decorating this sort of room has taken a back seat.

Dual purpose or separate room?

So now comes the first decision. Do you have a separate room for your dining room, or does one of your rooms have a dual function?

A separate dining room

If you are in the fortunate position of having a separate room which can serve as your dining room, what features should it have?

  • Close as possible to the kitchen. You don't want the food to get cold while it's being transported.
  • Large enough. Packing people into a room which isn't really big enough doesn't make for a pleasant experience.
  • Attractive enough. No one wants to sit in an ugly room. But dining rooms give you the opportunity to decorate in ways you wouldn't attempt in other rooms.

Once you know which room will be your dining room you can begin to think about decorating in earnest.


dining room arrangement

There are many different styles from which to choose for your dining room.

A room set apart for meals will give an opportunity for relaxation and time to catch up with family members.

We tend to take more time over meals if they are in a separate room, which makes the whole process more enjoyable.


Dual function

In fact, your kitchen may provide a more than adequate area for dining. It's often the warmest room in the house, the cooking facilities are close by, and family members can meet one another as (and when) they arrive.

So a kitchen diner is actually a very practical solution for eating.

If the room is large enough, you may want your dining room decorating to separate the area from the kitchen - a softer look, perhaps, with more comfort.

Other alternatives would be to use a section of your living room, part of a hallway if it's large enough, a study or conservatory. In each case your dining room decorating would have to be sympathetic to the rest of the room or area.


open plan dining area

A section of this open plan home is used for the dining area. The color of the dining furniture is in keeping with the color scheme used throughout.


Make a start

As with any room, it's best if you think in a practical way about your dining room decorating. How you're going to use it, where it's situated, how you'd like it to look. By analyzing your needs and aspirations your dining room decor will fulfill all your requirements.

There are many different way of making the most of your room, and these dining room ideas will give you more suggestions.

The most basic requirement for your room is seating. This information on dining room design will give some guidelines on how to arrange your seating. Round tables have some advantages over rectangular ones, and some features you need to be aware of.


modern dining room

There's a wide choice of dining room furniture available today.

Whether your preference is for traditional or modern you can always find a suitable combination of tables and chairs.

Here the simple white and plain lines of the furniture fits in perfectly with the open plan design of this house.



As with any room you'll need to carefully plan your lighting. How you arrange it will depend on the size of the room, where the main dining table is situated, the style of room and decor you choose, and other factors.

Correctly lighting your dining room will make a big difference to its warmth and character. You may wish to make your room really special, in which case using a chandelier is one option.


dining room table and chairs

With so much available in your choice of furniture, it's easy to forget the obvious.

A traditional reproduction table and chairs will always be successful. This is a standard way of dining room decorating, using a central rug under the table and chairs.



The color scheme you use for your dining room will depend on many factors. Because of the way the rooms are used, dining room decorating can be done in ways which would not be appropriate for other rooms in the home.

What sort of ways? Here are some suggestions for your dining room colors, and some guidelines as to how you can arrive at the best solution.

You can also use any window treatments you like. You could leave the windows completely free of treatments. If you prefer plain effects, then simple shades would do the job. Elaborate curtains and drapes with opulent top treatments are another option. If you want to give your room some style, dining room curtains could be the way to go.


dining area

If you want to keep it simple, there's no reason why you can't make your dining area as informal as you want. You only need a table and some chairs.

Many homes have an informal area such as this one for everyday use, and keep a more formal dining room for entertaining guests.


Sometimes your chairs will look great just as they are.

But often you'll want to improve their looks as well as their comfort. Using chair covers is one way of doing this. Or you may consider adding chair cushions. Your choice of fabrics for these options gives you a great deal of control over your color scheme.



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