Decor that helps you declutter - 6 ways designers use storage in dining rooms to make them look more smart

Display, storage, and great aesthetics – the dining room storage can inject a timeless and always-decorated appeal of the room

A dining room with a bookshelf
(Image credit: Felix Speller; Child Studio)

A good dining room storage idea can truly transform the room into the most neat, orderly, and easy-to-use space. Shelves and cabinets can be useful for hiding away everyday clutter; in fact in open-plan spaces, these nifty additions can even take some pressure off the kitchen, and become a lovely display unit for expensive china.

A well-designed and well-curated dining storage unit can also add to the aesthetics and functionality to the room. If you are wondering how to make this unit more appealing and useful, then these dining room, expert-suggested ideas are worth a read.

1. Go for built-in storage

A dining room with built-in storage, with walls covered in limewash paint

(Image credit: Azure Interiors)

Built-in units create the most luxury dining room vibe. To add more interest, consider an arch-style unit like the one pictured above, which immediately gives the room an elevated feel.

'The custom design of built-in units allows for the integration of open shelves, glass cabinets, or well-placed niches where homeowners can proudly display their most treasured possessions,' say Rashi Bothra and Ruchi Gehani, founders and interior designers of Azure Interiors. 'By combining practical storage solutions with aesthetically-pleasing design, you can strike a balance between tidiness and style, transforming built-in units into functional and attractive focal points in any living space.'

Plus, interesting paint colors and finishes can add another layer of beauty. Limewash paints are a good bet because they give an earthy, warm feel to the room; the ideal vibe for a high-traffic area. 'The textured wall brings a tactile dimension to the room, encouraging touch and interaction,' say Rashi and Ruchi. 'It evokes a sense of coziness, making the space more inviting.'

2. Consider a bookshelf-style storage

A dining room with a bookshelf

(Image credit: Felix Speller & Child Studio)

In smaller apartments, consider making rooms into multifunctional spaces. Take this dining room for example. The storage unit is one of the best bookshelves for this type of space as it allows the room to be used for eating and for spending quiet moments with a book. The lovely wooden, bespoke joinery is the perfect storage solution for small dining rooms.

'This bookcase was custom-designed by us for this project,' says Alexy Kos, founder of Child Studio. 'The shelves are made from mahogany wood and the back cladding is in a natural stone – a red marble called Rosso Levanto.'

Of course, do note that a bespoke piece of joinery is no small investment so if you do decide to spend big bucks, it’s worth making the most of the design.

3. Floating shelves can add whimsy

Dining room floating storage shelves

(Image credit: Colin Miller. Studio credit frenchCALIFORNIA)

Storage doesn't always have to be practical – it can be all about display as well. Open units such as floating shelves can be used to showcase bright decoratives or odd objects, that add to the dining room color. For a more personal feel, you could even add family photographs.

'We decided to put three floating shelves in a straight, vertical line to emphasize the gracious ceiling height, and draw the eyes upwards,' says Guillaume Coutheillas, founder of frenchCALIFORNIA. 'A mix of muted ceramics create a balance between the dark shelves and the lighter pieces. A fitting backdrop for the seated bar area.'

4. Use the storage as a room divider and display space

A dining room with storage unit between the dining and living room

(Image credit: Denilson Machado.Studio credit NJ+ Architects)

Whether you're combining kitchen diner ideas or want to create a divider wall in a living room dining combo, consider maxing out the floor-to-ceiling cabinetry with interesting and useful elements. Add crockery, plates, and collectibles here. Want to add more functionality to the room? Consider including specialty storage units like wine coolers and bar cabinets.

'The residents wanted an apartment with a light palette, with a 'home' feel, that conveyed peace and tranquility,' says Nildo José Virgínia Lopes, co-founder of NJ+ Architects. 'Furthermore, this neutral base would be perfect to display the art objects and furniture that were already part of the owner's collection, in addition to the new acquisitions that were made to complete the spaces – being important pieces for the design and full of personality.'

A dining room with ceramics used as display pieces in the storage cabinet

(Image credit: Lucas Madani. Studio credit Hauvette&Madani)

Everyone would love to give their home a 'wow' factor, no matter the size of the house. A great way to give an apartment dining room a truly grand feel is by curating it like a gallery. And no, you don't need to go out and purchase the most expensive art. Simply use a lovely storage cabinet and place the choicest ceramics inside. You could consider wallpapering the inside of the cabinet for a more luxe feel.

'To decorate this space, we chose 'Roma' Murano glass chandelier from Danke Galerie, and brought in a table with travertine legs and a marble top,' say Samantha Hauvette and Lucas Madani, founders of Hauvette & Madani. 'The ceramics from Morgane Pasqualini give a gallery-style look.'

6. Choose a minimalist design

A dining room with a minimalistic shelf

(Image credit: Marysia Reeves. Studio credit Martha Mulholland)

And finally, if it's a minimaluxe look you love, then even simple, painted shelves can do the work of storage and display.

'This minimalist floating shelving unit by Jonathan Nesci is one of my favorites,' says Martha Mulholland, principal at Martha Mulholland Interior Design. 'It is both an art object (it's always reminded me of Donald Judd's work) and a functional object, endlessly customizable, elegant and airy yet robust and masculine. The material makes any object displayed on the shelves shine.'

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Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.