How To Create A Beautiful Dining Space, According To 4 Top Designers
The perfect dining space should suit any occasion, at any time of year, so how do you ensure it melds ambience, form and functionality? Here, four interior designers share their advice for creating your ideal dining room – from flattering lighting to dramatic details. By KATIE BERRINGTON
“Everything should possess a sense of a captivating essence” – Marie Soliman, Bergman Design House
“I like to play with scale to create drama and impact. Everything should possess a sense of a captivating essence. When working with scale in a room, what you’re really trying to do is create beautiful tension, whether that’s by using contrast in color or pattern or volume. I love using suspended lighting installations above the dining table – more than a typical chandelier – and adding big pieces of art to provide a focal point.
“Looking at heights of furniture is also important. I like to pair side tables of different heights in the corner of the room. Having varying heights creates a depth of field and more interest to the eye, so it’s not just a table in the middle.”
“Remember, the dining room is a space not just for delicious food or to display artistic styling, but to enjoy quality time with family and friends. That’s why I love simple yet carefully layered spaces that evoke a sense of elegance but also a friendly atmosphere. Lighting is key for achieving an atmospheric feel in the room, transforming the space from formal dining to something intimate where people can chat, play games or have a drink – I love to create a statement mini bar in there.
“However, the first things to consider are: how many seats it can take – there’s nothing worse than a big room with a tiny dining table or a small room cramped with furniture; lighting, both natural and architectural light, which will help when choosing the right tones, paints and wall coverings; and how to create a simple aesthetic that also includes one-of-a-kind elements to be admired – art and lighting installations are good conversation-starters, and a sublime piece can dazzle and embellish a room with exquisiteness.” Marie Soliman
“Incorporating a bit of drama feels right” – Keren Richter, White Arrow
“We always think about layered lighting and reflectivity in a dining room. We’ll add candles, table lamps, sconces and pendant lighting or chandeliers. You want your guests to be bathed in flattering light, with dimmers, in a room that glows. Art and accessories are important, as is a place to serve cocktails or a server to stage food and refreshments. Dining rooms are most often used in the evenings, so incorporating a bit of drama and sparkle feels right.
“Think through the floor plan and spacing. Do you want a smaller statement table for the majority of the time, or one that can expand? You also need to think about how the dining space feels – is your chair upholstered and made for long conversations? Do you like the warmth of wood or the formality of glass or stone? All your choices will layer to form a full design conversation.
“Paint or wallpaper can dramatically change the atmosphere of a room. A new color or large-scale pattern goes a long way [to give an immediate uplift]. Tablecloths, patterned napkins or statement floral arrangements also quickly transform a dining experience.” Keren Richter
“Consider the atmosphere you want to achieve” – Linda Boronkay
“When I design a dining room, I like to create a warm atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression on the guests – be it for a hotel, restaurant or someone’s home. We like spaces to look real, with a sense that pieces have been accumulated over time… creating rooms with layers and an authentic attention to detail.
“Consider the scale and architecture of the space, and what atmosphere you want to achieve. If a room has high ceilings and grand proportions, you can be bold with color and pattern, and bring in statement lighting and furniture. The dining table and chairs will often dominate the space, and I like to add a sense of comfort and warmth through upholstered chairs in colorful, textured fabrics. Artwork is also important and can often be the starting point for a room’s design.” Linda Boronkay
“A dining room should be the happiest place in the home” – Mimi Shodeinde, Miminat Designs
“For me, the key aesthetic elements are color, light and texture. A dining room should fill you with a sense of calm and joy and be the happiest place in the home – along with the kitchen. If you like to host, as I do, lighting is so important, as you want your guests to feel happy when they are sitting around your table. Avoid spotlights – you’ll want a warm glow that’s convivial rather than stark. Try pendant or sensory lighting with a touch of color – it will immediately put guests at ease and make dinner parties a pleasure. To make guests feel cocooned and at home, I try to introduce texture to create depth – I love timber and stone as the backbone materials of a beautiful table, for example.” Mimi Shodeinde
A dining room should fill you with a sense of calm and joy and be the happiest place in the home – along with the kitchen”