Colorful dining room ideas – 8 vibrant looks to elevate your entertaining space

Try these colorful dining room ideas, from bold wallpaper prints to a clever paint palettes, to inject vibrancy into the space

a bright blue and pink dining room
(Image credit: Tone Kroken)

Colorful dining room ideas can really add character and energy to your entertaining space. It’s a place where you sit down with friends and family for a shared experience, it’s a room that’s alive with the energy of hosting, so it is full of potential for dramatic interiors that reflect this pace.

‘Dining rooms are becoming more than just a table with chairs,’ explains interior designer Holly Kopman. ‘More than ever, they are places to gather and connect, so color is great way to add interest. Color raises a room's energy level, draws people together and stimulates conversation.’

There are myriad possibilities when it comes adding this color and personality. From the minute details of the tablescape and the crockery, to the color scheme of the room, to the soft furnishings - tablecloths and pillows, it's a place to have fun and set the scene for a successful evening of hosting at home. Here are our favorite looks for dining room ideas to replicate at home for yourself. 

How to add colorful dining room ideas 

'Dining rooms are a wonderful place to really let your personality shine through to create an inviting and welcoming space for entertaining friends and family,' says MINDTHEGAP founder Stefan Ormenisan. It's not just about adding charm for your social occasions though – a dining room is a great place to play with design and test out more adventurous ideas and create visual interest to keep it a distinct space from the rest of the house. Here are our top dining room ideas for adding character and color.

1. Take inspiration from a colorful piece of artwork 

Red chairs in a colorful dining room

(Image credit: Frederick Tang)

When deciding on the color combinations for your kitchen, take inspiration from your favorite piece of art and use the colors on your dining room wall to set the tone for your scheme. In this example, a townhouse in the heart of Tribeca designed by Ghislaine Viñas (opens in new tab), the colors of the art were primary pops that were taken through to the rest of the room. 

'We were inspired by a sunny side-up egg — white on the outside and yolk yellow in the middle,' explains Ghislaine. 'A part of the thinking was also to do something fun and unexpected, and I think the color and detail contrast make this work.

'The giant Lisa Ruyter plays an important part in this room with its strong colors. Mostly we don’t know which art pieces will end up where but the location of this piece had been decided so we were inspired by its palette of greens, yellows, and blues.'

2. Pick color for your soft furnishings

A blue and white checkerboard tablecloth against a yellow room

(Image credit: East London Cloth)

If you're not looking to massively overhaul your interiors, introducing color in subtle and soft ways is a great place to start. Adding soft furnishings - pillows, tablecloths, window seats and homely rugs - are easy ways to make this addition to the space. With your soft furnishings, nothing is permanent, and you can easily remove for a pared back space when the seasons change and you're feeling inspired by neutrals over a colorful scheme. 

'The joy in using a tablecloth to inject color in the dining room is that it can be changed to create a different look,' says Gemma Moulton, founder of East London Cloth (opens in new tab).

'I have three investment cloths, packed away in boxes, each one ready and available to suit a different occasion.' 

3. Introduce color to your tablescape

A colorful tablescape designed by Birdie Fortescue

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

One creative way to add drama to your dining room ideas and elevate your decor out of the ordinary is to go all out with the tablescape design. 'There is much to be said for the phenomenon of the tablescape,' says Alice Herbert of tablescape company, LAY London (opens in new tab). 'There is such a delight in getting creative at home and wow-ing guests with a beautiful, colorful setting.'

One item worth investing in and livening up is the napkin. 'We like to use colored ribbons in satin or velvet, styled as fun napkin bow ties,' says Alice. 

Glassware is another top tip for the table. 'Colors on the table should be joyful; we often style glassware and flatware in alternating colors along the table, for a jewelry-box effect. Mixing and matching also comes in handy if you are short of a full set of any one thing,' says Alice.

Elsewhere, use tall, glossy and colorful candles. Even when unlit, they add pops of color and a sense of occasion. 'We love to use glossy dinner candles in different shades along the table to capture the eye.'

4. Add color through vibrant lighting fixtures

Colorful lampshades hang over a dining table

(Image credit: MINDTHEGAP)

Make your dining room lighting fixture the centerpiece of the area and pick a statement pendant lamp to hang dramatically over your table. Marrying practicality with design, lighting is a sure-fire way to create real impact in your dining room. 

As well as the pattern and color on the lampshade, think about how the light casts across the room too. 'I love to use shades with a gold lining, as they cast a wonderful warm and flattering glow,' says Stefan Ormensian, founder and creative director of MINDTHEGAP (opens in new tab)

For maximum impact, opt for shades in a contrasting color and pattern to your wallpaper. 'Our richly patterned Samothraki pendant lights work fantastically combined with our 'Azure' mural wallpaper to create a mesmerising Mediterranean setting perfect for entertaining in style.'

5. Use paint in a bold way

Red panelling in a dining room

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

Go experimental with your dining room color ideas and think about where and how you paint the space. 'I’d never admit it, but I do want my guests to be impressed when they come to dine,' says Annie Sloan (opens in new tab) of the eponymous paint brand. 'Bold, bright shades work brilliantly in the dining room - especially when used unexpectedly on flooring and tables rather than walls - and can spark lively conversation.'

'I’d build a scheme around two neutrals and one statement shade so that although the space is exciting, it isn’t shouty,' suggests Annie. 'Color drenching or monochromatic color schemes (using multiple tones from the same color family) is stylish way to make a statement and takes a lot of the guesswork out of matching colors together.' 

In this example, bright red panelling adds a focal point to the room and the red clock leads the scheme through into the rest of the space.

6. Choose brightly colored seating

A colorful dining area with purple chairs and a bespoke bench

(Image credit: Frederick Tang Associates)

Picking an array of different seats around the dining table is a great way to add color into the dining room. Think chairs upholstered in a bold and brilliant fabric, brightly painted chairs, or a signature bench perfect for a small dining room. A dining room can look quite uniform and symmetrical, so this simple idea breaks up the scheme in a fun and colorful way.

'We like to infuse color and texture into the chairs,' says Frederick Tang (opens in new tab) of the Brooklyn-based architecture and interiors firm. 'In our Underhill Avenue Brownstone project, we mixed pink Panton chairs with a custom bench in deep teal vinyl.'

7. Add a vase of fresh flowers

A colorful dining room set up

(Image credit: Michelle Kelly )

One key way to always ensure a pop of color in dining room is with a fresh bouquet of flowers on the table, tying the room together and adding a centerpiece. 'Flowers for us are the best way to add either a rainbow of colors or a chic two-tone scheme to the table,' says Alice of Lay London. In terms of the flower trends, blue and white hydrangeas always look sumptuous, and for summer scents, hyacinths and blousy peonies are a wonderful feature on all tabletops. Potted herbs or lavender will also add seasonal feel, and will give a wonderful, garden-y look to the table.' 

8. Embrace pattern and opt for a bold wallpaper

Patterned colorful dining room

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman | Trunk Archive)

 A simple way to add color and interest to your dining room interiors is with pattern, so try out a daring dining room wallpaper on one or all of the walls. 'There is something intrinsically beautiful about the infusion of color and pattern that wallpaper delivers,' says Anastasia Casey of IDCO Studio (opens in new tab)

The dining room is a great space to experiment with a fun wallpaper because of the energetic nature of the space. 'The transient nature of a dining room means it's a wonderful room in which to be bold with your wallpaper choice,' explains Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene (opens in new tab). 'Dramatic mural designs and 'all-over' patterns work well in dining rooms. If opting for a feature wall, wallpaper the wall directly opposite the entrance to deliver wow-factor when entering the room. Alternatively, create an elegant or cocooning interior with a richly patterned print on all four walls.'

What colors work together best in a dining room?

Considering what your dining room is used for, the color is key in setting the tone. 'As the dining room is very often used at night it is a great idea to use a dramatic moody tone such as Inchyra Blue or Green Smoke on the walls to throw the focus onto the central table, says Joa Studholme of Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)

To really see how these colors look during these hours, always make sure you sample colors in the evening as well as in daylight to see the true beauty of these highly pigmented tones. 

Also base your decisions on color based on your pre-existing furniture. 'Dining rooms are often defined by the shape of your table so if it is oval or round it is best to take the wall color or a slightly lighter tone over the ceiling,' explains Joa. 'So the shapes don’t clash. Card Room Green could be used in a Green Smoke Room while Oval Room Blue would work well with Inchyra Blue walls for some ultimate glamour.'

What's more, if your paintwork is the main splash of color in the room, make sure the quality is high-end, points out Annie Sloan. 'Most importantly, quality counts. Walls talk, so invest in a premium paint with expertly balanced pigments so the color reads true in every light and from every angle. Color matches are all well and good but they don’t withstand scrutiny.' 

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.