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Ideas for the dining room

Sheila Byers Sheila Byers
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For us, the dining area is much more than just a place to eat: here we spend evenings together with our friends and family, enjoying home-cooked food or trying our luck at game night. Since the dining room plays a big part of our social life, we want the design of the room to reflect what we feel here: comfort and pleasure.

With these interior design tips we will help you to select the the appropriate colours for wall design, furniture and accessories. Of course, for the table and chairs especially, not only is colour important, but also comfort. Therefore, we tell you what you should  look for when buying furniture and why it is worth it sometimes to try something else. In addition, you'll find out about the tricks you can use to ensure that your food is properly staged, so the guests feel comfortable and so, of course, you will be admired as an ingenious host.  

Naturally, the size of your apartment or house has an impact on how the dining area can be designed; due to the constraints of space, one dining room can be very different from another! Large rooms, for example, offer more options for an open area, but in small apartments or rooms, just a simple dining area can be worth gold . We tell you both what you should consider when designing an open dining area and how you can make the smallest corner into a cosy place to dine.

Chairs for the dining room

 Dining room by KwiK Designmöbel GmbH
KwiK Designmöbel GmbH

Youma Armlehnstuhl mit Holzgestell

KwiK Designmöbel GmbH

The more comfortable the chairs, the more we can enjoy our food and the longer we can stay at the table. As in so many other areas, there is no ultimate dining room chair recommendation because tastes differ. Some prefer a soft padded seat, others a luxurious design and for some there is nothing worse than a chair that is difficult to clean.

With that in mind, here are our recommendations. Those who appreciate a stylish chair, but one that, for example, can also be wiped at times, should consider purchasing a leather chair. For longer game nights at the table we recommend the so-called cantilever: Since this chair has no back legs, the seat is resilient and allows for more flexible and active sitting. Perfect for leaning back into during good conversation. 

For a lack of space, folding chairs are an ideal solution. They no longer belong only in the garden and are available in stylish designs and colours. Our tip: a cushion on the seat can greatly increase comfort. When it comes to comfort, chairs with armrests are quite high up on the wish list. When buying furniture, however, be sure that the chairs with armrests can actually be pushed under the table. 

Wood gives any room a special charm, thanks to the warm radiance of the material which can visually enhance whatever space it's in. Whether fully furnished in a country style or equipped only with wooden chairs, the room appears immediately comfortable and inviting.

Benches instead?

​Chairs are of course the classic in the dining room, but the impact and usefulness of benches should not be underestimated. For some time we thought of benches as sitting areas for home movies or something that belongs in an alpine hut, but not any more. The bench is now on the rise in apartment design and conquering one room after the other. But a bench is still best suited  for the dining room. If more visitors arrive than planned, you can sometimes squeeze a few more together here. After all, sitting close can help create conversation!

Ideally, the bench will be against a rear wall so that you can lean back, relaxed and comfortable, with pillows. As with all non-upholstered seats, it is also advisable to offer pillows or blankets here as a base.

A flexible table

 In the best case, we should be able to adapt the size of the table in the dining room to the number of our visitors. We do not want to feel too squished together while eating, and three people sitting at a large table will be lost. Tables that can be adjusted in height and surface area are, therefore, definitely a sensible purchase.  

In the above model, Kisskalt Designs has created the perfect dining room table. With just a few clicks and no complicated technique, the two halves can be nested or extended easily. You can choose the table size, type of wood and paint for yourself. The top part can be individually fitted to an existing table so that it can be converted into this modern model and also remain our old, beloved table. 

General square tables in the dining room are the most popular because the corners can be used to fit the table nicely into the space. Round models are also favourable because of their value for conversation; here the distance between the speakers is always equal. However, no matter which table shape you choose, you should make note of the construction under the table. Centrally-located table legs, for example, interfere with the comfort of our guests and can sometimes make it nearly impossible to fit in enough seating places.

Hanging lamps

Now that everyone found has found his or her place, you eagerly await dinner to be served: What is on offer, and how appealing does the menu look? For our food to appear delicious, the right lighting is crucial. Hanging lamps enjoy great popularity in the dining room because they can bring many advantages: the entire table is fully illuminated while, at the same time, nobody is blinded. A perfect alignment of the lamp can make this possible. 

Optimally, the light should be 60 centimetres above the table top. In this position, the glare is kept as low as possible. Nevertheless, height adjustable lights are of course useful. If it is tricky to see the Mikado game, we pull the lamp down easily to make sure we are victorious for the next game! Still lacking the appropriate lighting for the latest crime game? That should not be a problem, because many pendant lights can now dimmed.

Colour for the dining room

Whether there for eating together or playing games, guests should be greeted by a welcoming and cosy atmosphere. And as in all rooms, the colour scheme in the dining room plays an important part in our sense of well being. 

There are a variety of shades to choose from for the attractive design of our dining space, from light and fresh, to intense and stimulating. Our colour tips: earthy tones have a calming and harmonising effect, while stimulating red and yellow promotes sociability and communicative behaviour. All oranges are known to stimulate the appetite. This includes colour gradations like apricot or terracotta. However, a dark blue or purple can do just the opposite, suppressing the appetite. Generally, the dining room should be in harmony with the environment. For example, if there are many trees and plants outside the window, it makes sense to pick up on the green, or at least the brightness and friendliness of the nature inside with your colour choice. 

Advice for an open dining area

​PROJECT: Penthouse in London's West-end. :  Dining room by Anna Hansson Design
Anna Hansson Design

​PROJECT: Penthouse in London's West-end.

Anna Hansson Design

An open dining area may make the above proposed wall designs difficult to implement.In this case, we can set a splash of colour in the furniture or accessories instead. As seen in the example, you can also mark the entire dining area with targeted colour accents.

If you decide to set up a dining area near the living room or the kitchen, consider the following: How do I reach the dining table as easily as possible without detours and pitfalls? Can you perhaps reach from the kitchen directly to the eating space or even use the front of the kitchen as a rest for a bench?

Furniture for storage

When setting up a dining room, having plenty of storage space plays an important role. You may not want your glasses as far away as the kitchen or on display in a case. Our furniture experts from Plan W—Workshop for Rooms had a smart idea: in this round cabinet, you can store your dishes invisibly. And when the time comes, you simply open the cabinet and the crystal or the good dishes appear staged impressively and radiant with light.

When choosing the right location for the furniture, the space of the chairs should be considered, so that the cabinets can be opened easily in a crowded dining room.

See our other tips for creative storage solutions!

Highlights for serving

 Dining room by acquacalda

Uno per tutti, tutti per uno


Being a good host is a challenging task: we need to be organised, attentive, nimble and funny at the same time. We are always looking for little things we can use to impress and engage our guests, like this fancy gadget. Our Italian experts at Acquacalda have made refilling glasses very easy and, above all, fair: wine or other drinks are simply poured into the top and then automatically distributed to four different vessels. Watching must be almost as fun as drinking!

A small dining area

Breakfast in bed is undoubtedly a highlight from time to time, but in the long run, it's not an ideal solution. Where would we bring our friends for shared fondue? Luckily, there is space-saving furniture for our shared apartments, studios or small dining areas.

Foldable tables are gold when it comes to small dining areas. The table pictured here offers space-saving yet another practical advantage: Even when it is collapsed, a small shelf remains so that salt, pepper and napkins can be always at your fingertips. Also useful in this dining set-up, good old folding chairs!

What suggestions do you have for dining room design?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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