A dining room is often considered the heart of the home – a place where families gather together over meals and make happy memories. When designing a dining room, it’s important to create an inviting space that encourages lingering and connection. For today’s featured space, the homeowners brought romance and coastal charm together to create a dining area that perfectly suits their 1830s Maine home.
From the salvaged antique furnishings to the soft coastal color palette, every detail works together to evoke a feeling of relaxed elegance. Read on to learn more about the choices that make this space so special. Discover inspiring ideas you can borrow to bring romance and character into your own dining room design.
Selecting Antique Furnishings
The antique furnishings are the soul of this coastal dining room. Each salvaged piece brings a sense of history and charm to the space. When selecting antiques for a dining area, it’s important to choose:
- Comfortable seating – Look for antique dining chairs that promote relaxation with padded seats and supportive backs. Distressed leather dining chairs add to the room’s timeworn character.
- A stunning focal point table – An antique dining table instantly becomes the centerpiece. Opt for a substantial solid wood pedestal table that draws the eye.
- Buffet storage – An old sideboard or buffet provides much-needed storage for serving pieces, table linens, and dining essentials. Look for one with glass cabinet doors to showcase cherished dinnerware.
- Personality – Incorporate unique conversation-starting antique pieces like a tall clock, wine cabinet, or hang antique utensils for texture on the walls.
Blending antique finds takes hunting through flea markets, estate sales, and auctions. But patiently amassing special vintage and antique furnishings helps create a dining space rich with nostalgia, perfect for romantic dinners.
Creating a Cohesive Coastal Color Palette
The relaxing color palette is integral to the coastal New England charm of this dining room. Cool tones of blue and gray evoke refreshing ocean breezes, while warm cream walls and antique wood furnishings provide a soothing balance.
Some ideas to borrow from this dining room’s color palette:
- Soft cream walls – Avoid stark white, which can feel cold. Warm cream has a calming effect, perfect for intimate dining.
- Washed natural wood tones – The worn patina of the salvaged wood table and antique cabinetry ties the look together. Keep wood finishes light for a weathered coastal look.
- Pops of cornflower blue – Accent walls, curtains, and upholstery in soft cornflower blue reference the view of sea and sky just beyond the windows.
- Aged metal and iron – The iron chandelier and candlesticks feature a patinated verdigris finish. Vintage metal finishes enhance the antique charm.
- Crisp white trim and ceilings – Contrasting clean white moldings, window trim, and ceilings keep the space feeling open and airy.
By keeping the palette relaxed and natural, it cultivates a peaceful ambiance – the ideal mood for meaningful dinners and intimate conversations.
Incorporating Tasteful Nautical Touches
To complement the coastal setting, the designers artfully incorporated maritime details. These thoughtful nautical-inspired decor choices enhance the dining room’s New England charm:
- Oars – Vintage wooden oars mounted horizontally on the accent wall add subtle texture. They reference the region’s boatbuilding tradition.
- Rope accents – Coiling rope inside a glass cylinder vase makes a cute tabletop centerpiece. Add woven rope trims to plain curtains or lampshades.
- Maps and charts – Frame an old nautical map or piloting chart to hang on the wall. Choose something with meaningful coordinates.
- Ship models – Display a intricate model ship or sailboat on a shelf as an accent. Look for recreations of historic Maine vessels.
- Baskets – Incorporate baskets woven from wood, rattan, or wicker. Use for wall display or practical storage for linens.
These thoughtful maritime accents complement the dining room’s relaxed vintage vibe. Borrow and customize these ideas to reflect your own coastal location.
Incorporating Nature Through Textures and Views
Connecting to the beauty of the natural setting is an integral part of achieving the coastal dining room aesthetic.
Some ideas for bringing nature inside include:
- Natural textured fabrics – Upholster dining chairs in linen, cotton, or textured wools in light neutrals. Use cotton lace for curtains with texture.
- Driftwood and shells – Incorporate found objects like sea-tumbled glass, pieces of driftwood, shells, and smoothed beach stones as organic decor elements.
- Greenery – Trim curtain rods with leafy garlands. Add freshly cut greenery to table centerpieces. Potted palm plants or small olive trees make great living accents.
- Sunlight and views – Take full advantage of sunlight and water views. Use mirrors to reflect and enhance the light. Frame windows to become beautiful focal points.
- Found art – Display paintings, photos, or block prints featuring coastal views, seascapes, boats, or nature motifs.
Connecting the interior to the natural beauty just outside the windows enhances the relaxed, inviting dining room aesthetic. It brings the coastline inside.
Lighting and Physical Details
Beyond the furnishings and decor, thoughtful finishing choices elevate the character of this coastal dining space. Consider how:
- Soft perimeter lighting sets a romantic mood – The ambient glow from iron sconces, table lamps, and the antique chandelier provides a warm invitation to linger.
- Exposed wood beams enhance the vintage charm – Leaving wooden structural beams exposed and unpainted adds organic texture.
- Built-in cabinetry provides display space – Glass-front cabinets built into the accent wall neatly show off beautiful dishware and objects.
- Distressed rugs layer more texture underfoot – Neutral jute rugs work well in dining spaces. Newer rugs can be aged using tea-staining techniques.
- Sheer curtains filter natural light – Light linen or cotton panels soften sunlight and add breezy movement.
- Wood flooring ties the whole space together – Planked wood floors complement the antique dining set and exposed beams.
Thoughtfully finishing a dining room transforms it into a multi-sensory experience – the textures, lighting, colors, and details all work together to create the overall ambiance.
Pulling the Whole Look Together
The secret to achieving a naturally elegant dining room is staying true to the overarching design concept – in this case relaxed coastal romance. Maintaining style cohesion results in a peaceful, welcoming dining space.
Some ideas for pulling the look together include:
- Stick to a limited color palette – excessive colors feel chaotic.
- Choose textures and textiles that evoke the location.
- Incorporate personalized vintage pieces.
- Allow furnishings and decor to evolve gradually over time.
- Display collected antique dishware.
- Reflect the nature outside with organic elements.
- Use soft, ambient lighting to set the mood.
By harmonizing all the details, this dining room feels serene and timeless. Every piece works together to achieve a beautiful coastal aesthetic, perfect for romantic dinners and memory-making.
Achieving the Look in Your Own Dining Room
While this particular dining room is situated in coastal Maine, the principles used in its design can help inspire any romantic dining space. Use the following tips to bring some of its charm into your own home:
Set the Mood with Soft, Warm Lighting
The ambient glow of sconces, table lamps, and chandeliers sets a romantic tone. Dimmer switches allow you to adjust light levels.
Incorporate Meaningful Antique Furnishings
Blend salvaged wood or vintage upholstered dining chairs around a substantial antique dining table to create interest.
Layer Organic Textures
Use weathered wood finishes, natural fiber rugs, wicker baskets, and leafy garlands to connect to nature.
Choose a Relaxed Color Palette
Stick to light neutrals with pops of soft blue or green to cultivate peaceful ambiance.
Display Collected Treasures
Curate built-ins and shelves to showcase favorite dishware, candlesticks, and flea market finds.
Accent with Thoughtful Nautical Touches
Nods to maritime or beach themes like driftwood, shells, or maps add regional character.
Frame windows, use mirrors to reflect light, and hang artwork featuring seascapes or nature images.
Designing a Dining Room for Entertaining
While cozy family dinners might be the daily norm, a dining space should also accommodate entertaining friends. Here are some tips for designing a dining room optimized for hosting guests:
- Include flexible seating – In addition to the main dining table, incorporate a banquette or window seat with removable cushions to add seating as needed.
- Maximize lighting – For parties, you want bright, ambient lighting. Use dimmers to adjust the mood for daily meals. Consider adding sconces or picture lights.
- Allow room to mingle – Avoid cramming the space so full of furnishings that it feels crowded. Leave adequate area for people to mix and move around comfortably.
- Add service areas – A beverage station, buffet table, or kitchen pass-through facilitates hosting. Having food and drink service nearby keeps the party flowing.
- Provide sufficient tableware – Hosting holidays or big gatherings means having enough plates, glassware, flatware and serving pieces on hand. Dedicated storage is key.
- Include game space – During after-dinner mingling, guests need activities. Have a card table ready for playing games and fun accessories on hand like a cheese board, wine bottle stopper, and conversation starter cards.
With smart planning, your dining room can effortlessly accommodate both small family meals and festive entertaining.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size should a dining room table be?
This depends on the size of the space and the number of people you regularly need to seat. As a general rule, allow at least 36 inches per person. A minimum of a 60-inch round or 72-inch rectangular dining table seats 4 comfortably.
How do you decorate a long narrow dining room?
For a long narrow dining room, use the furniture arrangement to your advantage. Center the table and float it, allowing enough room to walk around the ends. Anchor one end with a china cabinet or sidebar. Use benches or banquettes to line the long wall.
What wall should the dining table go on?
If possible, position the dining table along the wall with the best outside views or brightest natural light. This allows diners to enjoy the outlook. Typically this is the window wall, but also consider adjacent kitchen traffic flow.
What colors make a romantic dining room?
Stick to a relaxed neutral palette for a romantic dining room. Soft colors like cream, light gray, pale blue, and mauve set a peaceful tone. Incorporate texture with linens, wicker, woods, and floral prints. Pops of pink, red, or green add accent colors.
Should you have curtains in a dining room?
Curtains help control light levels in a dining room. For a cozy feel, install full length curtains in a natural fabric like linen, cotton, or lace. Draw them closed to dim dining space for intimate meals. Open them to let daylight in. Opt for blackout lining to darken completely.
Final Thoughts on Designing a Charming Coastal Dining Room
The heart of any home, the dining room sets the stage for heartwarming family meals and joyful entertaining. When designing a space to fulfill this important role, the details must work together to create an inviting ambiance.
This light-filled Maine dining room serves as an inspiring example of how to imbue coastal romance into the space. Salvaged antiques, soft colors, maritime accents, and natural textures harmonize beautifully. Thoughtful lighting and window treatments enhance the peaceful vibe.
While your location or style may differ, you can borrow ideas that make this space so engaging. Seek out meaningful vintage furnishings. Connect to nature through texture and views. Set a welcoming mood with soft light fixtures and candles. Most importantly, let your dining room reflect what makes your home – and those you share it with – truly special.