The dining room is a special place in any home where families and friends gather to share meals and make memories. While you may think a stylish dining room is out of reach, there are actually many easy and budget-friendly ways to makeover your dining space. With a little creativity and effort, you can create a warm, inviting dining area that reflects your personal taste without breaking the bank. Here are some simple dining room touches anyone can do to take their space from boring to beautiful.
Refresh the Walls
One of the easiest ways to transform the look of your dining room is by refreshing the walls. Painting the walls or adding wallpaper can instantly give your space a new feel.
Paint the Walls a Bold Color
Painting your dining room walls an energizing shade like a rich blue or green can make the space feel more vibrant. If you want to make a statement, opt for a dramatic dark color like navy or eggplant. For a cozier ambiance, consider a muted tone like a warm grey, tan, or soft sage. Whatever hue you land on, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders.
Add a Wallpaper Accent Wall
For more visual interest, turn one wall into a showstopping accent wall with wallpaper. Choose a lively print or texture that complements your existing décor. Geometric patterns, floral designs, or textured grasscloths all make great dining room wallpaper options. Install a bold wallpaper pattern on the wall behind a sideboard or china cabinet to really draw the eye.
Don’t underestimate the power of wall art when giving your dining room a mini makeover. Hang a large statement piece like an abstract painting or oversized photograph above the table. Or, create an artistic accent wall with a salon-style display of various prints and paintings. Black and white artwork looks especially striking above a darkly painted wall.
Style the Table
Your dining table is the centerpiece of the room, so spend some time making it look its best. The right table decor can take your space from simple to stunning.
Use a Table Runner
Dress up your table with some textile texture using runners. Layer a bold patterned runner down the center of the table for an instant pop of color. Runners come in versatile solid colors, too, so consider pairing a vibrant hue like red or turquoise with your existing dinnerware. Change them out seasonally to refresh the look.
Placemats are another easy way to infuse color, pattern, and texture into your dining table. Set the table with woven placemats and coordinating cloth napkins for an elegantly casual vibe. Or lay down funky patterned placemats made of materials like cork, faux leather, or vinyl. Mixing and matching colors and patterns can create visual interest.
Chargers are large decorative plates placed under regular dinner plates. They offer the perfect opportunity to incorporate metallic, patterns, color, and texture into your table setting. Choose chargers featuring glossy gold or silver finishes, rendered in materials like hammered metal. Bold graphic or floral charger prints also help amplify your table style.
Create a Centerpiece
No dining table is complete without an eye-catching centerpiece. You can buy one, but it’s also easy to make your own unique centerpiece. A bowl of fresh fruit makes for an elegant yet unfussy table accent. For some natural beauty, gather greenery, flowers, or eucalyptus stems from your yard or a florist and arrange them in a vase or low bowl.
An easy way to modernize the dining room is by replacing worn dining chairs or seating with stylish new pieces that reflect your current taste.
Give existing dining chairs new life by having them reupholstered in a fresh, fashionable fabric. Neutral linen or textured cotton fabrics feel sophisticated and will complement any décor. Bold graphic or floral prints also modernize traditional dining chairs. Tufted upholstery and nailhead trim provide added flair.
Purchase New Chairs
For a bigger change, invest in completely new dining chairs. Mid-century modern chairs with sleeker silhouettes and clean lines can help contemporize a more traditional space. Velvet and leather are luxe, on-trend chair choices. For family-friendly durability, opt for performance fabrics like polyester or acrylic. Add a pop of color with brightly hued chair cushions or seats.
Add a Bench
Benches are a stylish, space-saving alternative to individual dining chairs. For family gatherings, two benches paired with chairs can accommodate extra seating. Upholstered bench seating with a tufted back and arms makes for super comfortable dining. Wooden benches in a dark espresso finish feel modern.
Dress Up Cabinets & Displays
The cabinets, sideboards, and display shelves around your dining area offer prime decorative real estate. Accessorize them to complement your new dining room style.
Style a Hutch or Sideboard
A stately hutch or sideboard can function as both storage and a stylish display. Adorn them with accessories like trays, baskets, vases, framed photos, and potted plants. Try topping them with dinnerware or glassware for an intuitive but ornamental look. Use lighting like sconces or ambient strips to illuminate the contents.
Decorate a China Cabinet
For fun, unconventional china cabinet styling, intermix glassware, ceramic pieces, seashells, candles, and short votive holders for eclectic charm. Add mini spotlights to create dramatic lighting. Try arranging colorful dishware in pretty patterns or alternating groups of small plates and stacks of bowls. Include a few cherished keepsakes for personality.
Update Wall Displays
Freshen up wall ledges, floating shelves, or decorative wall racks using some new decorative accents. Display collections of framed family photos at different heights for a dynamic look. Hang up a large framed mirror as a striking focal point. Arrange favorite platters, pitchers, or teacups for some visual interest.
Incorporate New Lighting
The right lighting can make a dining space feel much warmer and more intimate. Illumination is key for setting the ambiance.
Use a Statement Chandelier
Nothing jazzes up dining room style quite like a sparkling statement chandelier. For drama, choose a cascading crystal chandelier that makes a glamorous impression. Opt for a sleek modern or mid-century inspired fixture for contemporary flair. Warm lighting emanating from a chandelier makes any meal feel special.
Sconces are a versatile lighting option that work with nearly any decor. Mount coordinating sconces flanking cabinets, the entryway, or near windows to wash the walls with a soft glow. Opt for traditional torchiere or candlestick sconces for formal elegance. Sleek polished metal or glass sconces have an ultra-modern vibe.
Install Ambient Lighting
For soft, customizable accent lighting, install LED light strips or puck lights under cabinets, shelves, and other displays. Concealed lighting like this can highlight decorative items and provide a relaxing atmosphere. Use smart options like WiFi-enabled strips you can control and dim via app.
Source Vintage Finds
Incorporating some vintage flair is an easy way to give a dining space unique character and charm. Keep an eye out for budget-friendly secondhand scores while browsing thrift stores, estate sales, and online marketplaces.
Seek Out a Vintage Rug
An antique area rug with worn-in patina can make a lovely foundation for a casual dining space. Persian rugs, floral carpets, and braided rugs are timeless vintage flooring finds. Just make sure to have any secondhand rug thoroughly cleaned first.
Display Vintage China
Collecting eclectic vintage dishes, teacups, and glassware to display is a fun and affordable way to dress up open shelving or china cabinets. Mix dainty floral teacups with sculptural vintage vessels and bottles. Blue and white china is a classic.
Buy a Vintage Sideboard
A wooden sideboard scored at a secondhand shop can function as extra serving space and storage while providing vintage appeal. Look for a sideboard with built-in cabinets, drawers, and shelving to stash dining necessities out of sight. Distressed finishes boost the antiqued look.
The accessories you choose to stylize your dining space can greatly impact the overall aesthetic. Updated accents with fresh colors, prints, and textures go a long way in revamping your décor.
Use New Placemats & Napkins
An inexpensive way to breathe new life into a dining set is swapping in fashionable new placemats and napkins. Play with bright solids, trendy geometric patterns, or nature-inspired botanical prints. Metallic woven and sequin embellished placemats add glam.
Buy New Serving Pieces
Serve up some instant style with statement-making new serving platters, bowls, pitchers, and utensils. Opt for neutral ceramic pieces with handcrafted imperfections, artistic glazed patterns, or textured finishes. Modern acrylic, gold, rose gold, and marble serveware feel elevated.
Display Fresh Flowers & Plants
Nothing perks up a dining space like fresh florals and greenery. Keep the table looking lively with a seasonal rotation of blooms and botany. Faux eucalyptus, palms, and succulents also spruce up sideboards without maintenance.
Incorporate On-Trend Tableware
Each place setting offers an easy styling opportunity. Layer in pretty printed dinner and salad plates. Add texture with woven rattan chargers and seagrass placemats. Metallic flatware, drinkware, and serveware inject shine. Handmade ceramics in earthy hues feel inviting.
Style an Inviting Bar Area
Dedicate counter space for an impromptu dining room bar zone that makes entertaining easier. Stock, organize, and style it to perfection.
Fill glass-front cabinets with gleaming glassware so cocktail supplies are readily available. Hang a wine glass rack overhead to conveniently store stemmed glassware. Decant select bottles of wine or spirits on the counter for flair.
Store Bar Tools
Keep essential bar tools like jiggers, strainers, muddlers, shot glasses, and ice buckets stored neatly on shelves or in drawers. Consider mounting a paper towel holder and wine opener to the wall for convenience.
Add Personality with Décor
Inject personality into your bar area with fun accents that reflect your taste. Add whimsy with unique bar signs or neon lighting. Display cherished vintage cocktail shakers and barware. Set out ceramic drinkware and serving trays ready for use.
Add Dining Nook Seating
For smaller dining areas, create an intimate nook space with built-in or corner banquette seating and additional chairs on one side.
Upholster Built-In Seating
Customize nook seating by upholstering the bench cushion and backrest in leather, velvet, or linen fabric. Tufting or nailhead trim along the sides dresses up plain banquette seating. Add detachable cushions for easy cleaning.
Use Corner Banquettes
Pre-built corner booth seating units can be squeezed into unused spaces for cozy dining nooks. U-shaped corner banquettes with removable seat cushions maximize comfort and cleanup.
Include Accent Chairs
At a corner or built-in banquette, place complementing chairs along the opposite side like tufted wingbacks, ornate parsons chairs, or streamlined mid-century modern dining chairs. Make sure the chair height fits comfortably under the table.
Incorporate Rustic Farmhouse Style
For a cozy, rustic sensibility that feels pleasantly worn-in, incorporate some farmhouse touches inspired by the practicality and simplicity of country living.
Use a Reclaimed Wood Table
A hand-hewn reclaimed wood dining table has an organic, rustic allure. The knots, cracks, stains, and natural variations in the wood grain of salvaged lumber make each piece truly unique. Try a washed pine plank top for a light weathered patina.
Display Vintage Signs
Vintage tin signs printed with retro logos, alphabets, or farm animal imagery make charming wall décor. Affix them to the wall using decorative brackets, or lean them against shelves. Faded painted signs reading “eat,” “gather,” or “grill” work perfectly in dining spaces.
Add Burlap Accents
Natural jute or burlap instantly enhances the farmhouse vibe. Drape burlap runners down the center of the table. Roll and tie silverware inside burlap napkin rings. Tack up a large burlap pillow on a bench seat. Use stencils and paint to customize inexpensive burlap flour sack towels for rustic country charm.
Incorporate Galvanized Metal
The gray weathered patina of galvanized metal evokes pastoral vibes. Designate galvanized buckets or troughs as chic planters for herbs and wildflowers. Use galvanized trays and platters to serve appetizers or corral tabletop essentials. Hang metal “Farm Fresh Eggs” signs or floating shelves on the walls.
Add Wood Open Shelving
For useful display space with rustic character, mount reclaimed barn wood open shelving on the walls to stash ceramics, baskets, cookbooks, and glassware. Leave the natural distressed wood finish or give a light whitewashed coating to weather and brighten up the grain.
Create an Intimate Bistro Atmosphere
Transform your dining space into an intimate French bistro-style retreat with romantic ambiance and vintage Parisian details.
Use Draped Cafe Lights
Hang a string of bare-filament bulb café lights across the ceiling to mimic the soft glow of Parisian bistros at night. Opt for classic Edison bulbs to set the mood. Drawing the eye upward, draped lighting feels intimate.
Display Framed French Prints
Adorn the walls with ornate vintage French advertising posters in gilded frames celebrating food, wine, and cafes. Or frame black and white prints of Paris cityscapes and icons like the Eiffel Tower. Collections of varied sizes and subjects create captivating arrangements.
Add Marble Bistro Tables
Trade a formal dining table for petite round marble bistro tables surrounded by chairs to evoke French sidewalk dining. The smooth white stone surface of marble bistro tables pairs perfectly with rattan or bentwood café chairs.
Style with Fresh Florals
Scattered loosely in casual ceramic vessels, fresh-cut peonies, roses, dahlias, and cosmos flowers look like they were sourced straight from a Parisian flower market. The soft, feminine blooms enhance the romantic bistro vibe.
Use Checked Tablecloths
Checked cotton tablecloths in classic red, white, and blue or black and white patterns epitomize French café style. Toss them over existing tables for instant ambiance. Layer different sizes for a collected look.
Incorporate Coastal Cottage Style
Breezy beach house style centers around casual comfort, whitewashed wood, and hints of ocean blue and green. Work these coastal elements into your dining space for laidback charm.
Add Weathered Driftwood
Whitewashed plank wood dining furniture feels beachy and relaxed. For even more character, replace turned table legs with salvaged weathered driftwood legs etched by the sea. Use coastal-found objects like corals and seashells as natural knobs.
Display Seaglass & Shells
Apothecary jars of seaglass collected from the shore make captivating arrangements. Line shallow dishes with seashells in creamy hues. Sand dollars, starfish, and pieces of coral add organic coastal texture to shelves.
Use Ocean-Inspired Hues
Paint or upholster dining chairs in shades like seafoam green, pale blue, or sandy beige to evoke the colors of the coastline. Aqua-hued ceramic tableware also fits the beach theme.
Add Rattan Furnishings
Made from woven strands of palm, rattan dining chairs introduce natural texture. A peeled rattan sideboard or hutch feels especially breezy and beachy. For durability, seek out synthetic rattan.
Style with Natural Elements
Twine rope hung in loose swags along the walls adds casual nautical style. Large sea grasses and bamboo sticks in vases cultivate relaxed tropical vibes. Linen curtains with subtle striped or sailboat patterns filter the sunlight.
Embrace Scandinavian Minimalism
The clean aesthetic of Scandinavian style is easy to work into any dining nook. Focus on a neutral color palette, sleek silhouettes, and purposeful pops of texture.
Choose a Light Wood Table
Light-stained wood or painted white wooden dining tables embody Scandinavian simplicity. Round pedestal tables work well in small spaces. For slender profiles, select a trestle base table supported by side rails.
Add Woven Seating
Woven wicker or rattan dining chairs add organic texture to pared-back dining rooms. Try open-backed chairs or stools with seats woven from natural rush or seagrass. Light finishes blend seamlessly into the neutral scheme.
Resist clutter on the table, opting instead for a few carefully chosen accents. A trio of skinny rattan candles or a vase of foraged branches makes a thoughtful centerpiece. Leather placemats and ceramics in creamy hues keep things elemental.
Use Natural Materials
Unfinished wood, rattan, concrete, leather, linen, and cotton bring subtle texture to Scandinavian spaces. Use natural fiber rugs like sisal, seagrass, or jute on the floor. Add a sheepskin throw to a bench for cozy warmth.
Potted succulents, snake plants, and ferns uplift the space with organic shapes and lively greenery. Grouped on the table, a sideboard, and hanging in macram