6 expert tips on how to create a luxury dining room that's perfect for entertaining

Let this expert guide inspire you to design a luxury dining room that's all about entertaining no matter what the occasion

Colorful modern home in Vancouver dining room
(Image credit: PlaidFox)

With Christmas around the corner, we're all quite likely to be focusing more of our attention on our dining spaces, from modern spaces to more traditional luxury dining rooms, it's where we like to feast, entertain and be together. 

Whether you've got a grand dining room to host the whole family or a small dining table in the corner of a room that's often neglected and covered in post and keys, it's about time your dining room is shown some love all year round, not just for Christmas...

An expert guide to creating a luxurious dining room

If you're looking to find out how to design a dining room or simply after some top tips on how to add some extra flair to your entertaining space, we've got your covered.

Ben Leavitt is Creative Director at PlaidFox Studio based in Vancouver and knows a thing or two when it comes to elevating a dining space to entertain in. When designing a space for dining, before anything else is considered, you need to first decide on two things: the mood and the amount of time spent seated around the table, he says...

1. Consider your dining mood

Furniutre with strong, clean lines echo their surroundings in this modernist feel dining room

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan / Hannah Franklin)

'Mood is unique to each person, so ask you yourself if you prefer a dining atmosphere that’s dark and intimate, bright and rambunctious, or quiet and calm?' explains Ben.

'To find what mood speaks to you, try writing down how you imagine your dream space would feel. I like to find a single item in my mind that evokes that mood and then use that as an initial building block that I can build the dining area round. Lighting is often a big mood creator, and dining room lighting can create the perfect mood for dining and entertaining.'

'For me, it’s often the chair that really speaks to a feeling I want for a space, the dining chairs control the mood of the room...'

2. Pick dining chairs wisely

mid century style wooden dining chairs with sleek wooden dining table and classic fireplace

(Image credit: Soho Home)

'The duration of dinner parties is a vital part of designing an elevated dining experience. If you’re an entertainer who likes to lounge around comfortably with a brandy snifter in one hand, then time in the dining room might be short-lived before you usher everyone into a second location.'

'In this case, the comfort of the chairs may not be as important. There are many chairs that looks stunning, but you wouldn’t want to sit on it for hours (Wishbone chairs, we’re looking at you). And no one wants to see their guests squirming uncomfortably between courses.' explains Ben.

'If the dining table is where it all happens, then comfort is a key component to keeping guests happy and supported. If you want a chair that is both elegant and comfortable, try opting for something with a tapered or rounded back vs. the slab back, then it’s providing back support in a way that’s still interesting.'

Some of the best upholstered dining chairs will transform your dining space into something special and give everyday dinners, or even a Deliveroo, the wow factor.

3. Add color and texture to your dining space

blue dining table in terracotta painted room

(Image credit: Future / Jake Curtis / Hannah Franklin)

'So you’ve picked a mood, and decided on your chair’s comfort level, now what? To execute mood, think of two colors you want to incorporate to evoke that feeling. Fabric is the best way to build an initial color story, but you could gather paint chips or objects too. Even if the room has no fabric, people respond well to tactile colors, physical materials that you can use as an inspiration even if you don’t use the fabrics at all in the space.'

'To pull it all together, you need three things: a fabric to add warmth, color and texture (in the drapery, the rug, or the chairs); second, smartly placed dining table décor to elevate your décor out of the ordinary and to add visual interest and break up the expansive plane of the table. (If it’s a more minimal table, maybe two staggered bowls with one slightly taller than the other, or stagger two differently sized vases with florals); and lastly, beautiful dishware.'

Explore some dining room color ideas and some bold schemes that will set the right mood for entertaining

4. Buy pretty crockery for your table

Marble dining table with wooden pedestal base with Christmas tree

(Image credit: Soho Home)

'The biggest mistake in a dining room is not having dishes that fit with the masterful vibe you have created. A beautiful table with ugly plates is almost like wearing a wedding dress with muddy gumboots. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s the last 10% that can make or break the design, so get the pretty tableware!' says Ben. 

'Tablescaping is not only for a coffee table, you want to create visual depth and interest on the dining table too. Create visual interest with multiple heights, textures and colors.'

5. Create a talking point

Patterned colorful dining room

(Image credit: Douglas Friedman | Trunk Archive)

'Functionality and aesthetics need to be equally considered, but how do you make the dining table a conversation piece? Grey dining rooms might not make the most interesting talking point, so maybe include one item that is completely outside of your comfort zone,' says Ben.

'Whether it’s a light fixture (something asymmetrical, larger than you expect, or a more traditional style of light fixture in a modern room—a juxtaposition!) a piece of art, or a vintage life-sized panther—the room needs something that catches the attention of all those who enter. Give the people something fun to talk about!'

6. The finishing touch

dining table ideas wooden table with chairs and upholstered benches

(Image credit: John Merkl)

'The perfect finishing touch to the dining area would be adding flowers or botanicals. These soften the space, give you an opportunity to add color, height and bulk -whatever the table needs,' Ben adds. 'Plus, florals are interchangeable throughout the seasons, including at Christmas, where you can opt for Christmas flower arrangement ideas and some festive blooms to brighten your space.'

How do you make an old fashioned dining room look modern?

dining table ideas colourful table with modern pendant

(Image credit: Max Kim Bee)

Fancy updating your dining room to make it look more modern? If you're in for the long haul and you're prepared to update your walls to get your guests talking, then these dining room wall ideas are guaranteed to grab their attention, from hand-painted murals to flamboyant wallpapers, they're sure to set the mood for relaxing and entertaining.

If you need a quick fix to get your dining space party-ready with limited time and budget, then focus on updating the light fitting to something more contemporary above your dining table, invest in some modern plates and glassware that make your table sing and go big with vases, candles, and blooms. 

What do you put on a dining room table when not in use?

dining room wall ideas with table and pink chairs

(Image credit: George Barberis)

It's easy to use the dining table as a bit of a dumping ground, even if you use it three times a day at every meal. It's an appealing surface to dump newspapers, receipts, things to sort, etc. But try and keep it clear if you want a calm, clutter-free look. A simple bunch of flowers in the middle of the table, a houseplant, or a trio of candles will help the table look more important.  

How can I make my dining table look nice?

Pink dining room with built in shelving

(Image credit: Marc van Praag)

It doesn't take much to make your dining table look nice. Flowers, plants, gorgeous plates, your best champagne glasses, some beautiful linen napkins or a runner is all it takes to transform your table from the ordinary into something truly special. Don't forget to finish by lighting some pretty candles.

Rachel Christie

As the Houses Editor on Livingetc, Rachel has been obsessed with property ever since she was a kid. With a diploma in interior design and more than a decade working on interior magazines under her belt, she feels very at home sourcing the best contemporary houses the world has to offer for Livingetc. It's not just the day job either, she admits she's spent a scary amount of her own time researching schemes for her own renovations - scrolling Instagram, stalking Rightmove and Modern House, flicking through magazines and snooping in other peoples' windows - so she really does live and breathe houses on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Before Livingetc, Rachel had a stint finding homes for Ikea Family magazine where she was lucky enough to gallivant around the world on shoots meeting and interviewing interesting people, all with a very keen eye for blending high-end design with everyday items from Ikea. It inspired her to not be afraid of mixing new and old, expensive and affordable, vintage and modern and so Rachel's current Victorian terrace in north London is very much an updated, contemporary take on a period property; think open-plan modern kitchen with concrete floors, feature fireplaces and her grandmother’s paintings on the walls. Rachel is currently crushing on reeded glass, large gingham prints, squishy curved furniture; like Buchanan Studio’s Studio chair, and vintage wall sconces; she especially adores Retrouvius for sourcing antique finds and feels inspired by Lonika Chande, Beata Heuman and Matilda Goad and already can’t wait to start planning her next home, wherever that might be.