For dining rooms with understated elegance, look no further...
Functional, family dining rooms don’t have to be bland or boring workaday spaces. Striking that fine balance between practical and stylish is entirely possible.
The examples ahead show a host of modern styles from cool kitchen extensions to glamorous, statement dining rooms – and show that where you eat and entertain, however frequently, can be both laid-back and luxe.
Of course, storage is key to a relaxed living space – no-one feels calm sitting amongst clutter – so the addition of a stylish sideboard, dresser or shelving unit will bring a laid-back feel to your dining space, especially if everything you need from plates and table linen to colouring books and crayons for kids is to hand.
Check out these cool and clever kitchen and dining extensions.
If your dining area is in the kitchen or if you prefer informal eating, a bench or banquet, as well as dining chairs, will ensure accommodating extra or last-minute guests is hassle-free.
For instant impact in any space, an eye-catching artwork or a gallery wall, is hard to beat, particularly if your taste errs on the side of simplicity, as it’s a way to create interest without going overboard on the decorative elements.
In addition, hanging a striking chandelier or a trio of simple pendants above the dining table will introduce added drama.
See these statement dining room lighting ideas.
With the party season approaching it might even be time to consider a stylish home bar area or the de rigueur drinks trolley, so you’re ready for a spontaneous soirée any night of the week.
Whatever you decide, these gorgeous dining spaces will inspire laid-back lunches, dinners and drinks at home.
Designer Emma Oldham loves entertaining so this generously sized table sees a lot of use. The high ceiling is balanced with a monochrome abstract, from Lots Road Auctions.
Get the look Saarinen Oval dining table, Knoll at Liberty. Italian Forties chairs, 1stdibs; covered in Frivole cotton, Sonia Rykiel Maison at Lelièvre.
Within the large living space designer, Tara Bernerd, has created different zones which, give the eye lots of different points of interest wherever you sit.
Get the look On the wall are Harland Miller’s A Decisive Blow Against If screen print from White Cube.
Most of the furniture is reclaimed or repurposed, which, the owner says, was the biggest job of all, involving frenzied hunting trips around the UK, France and Denmark.
Get the look The Sunday armchair is from sofa.com. The cushions are made from old linen sacks found in France. The ruler, discovered in a junk shop in Sri Lanka, is part of a theodolite measuring tool.
The kitchen and custom-sized dining table were designed to accommodate interior designer Suzy Hoodless’ vintage Hans Wegner chairs, bought many years ago.
Get the look Wishbone dining chairs, Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn. Dining table, Another Country. A331 Beehive pendants, Alvar Aalto for Artek. Nero Parquet limestone flooring, Lapicida.
Designed by Clare Cousins, curved glazing makes it easier to move around this corner of the house, which is one of the main junctions, sitting between the kitchen, the two living spaces and the garden. By rounding it off, it takes up less space and feels more human and usable.
Get the look The table is from Mark Tuckey in Melbourne. Find a similar table at Benchmark. These are the 209 bentwood chairs by Thonet, available at Nest.
This light, open and comfortable area is where this family can enjoy what they love doing best – getting together to cook, eat and socialise. They love the dining table as it can seat 14 people.
Get the look The table is surrounded by Hans Wegner’s Wishbone chairs from Skandium. The Murano glass light, right, is from thefrenchhouse.co.uk. For similar, try 1stdibs.com. The polished-concrete floor is by Steyson Granolithic Contractors.
The motto “less is more” doesn’t apply in this home. As founder of edgy design firm Buster + Punch, Massimo is able to indulge his love of decadent themes.
Get the look The screen print hanging on the right of the wall, called Justina, is another work by Matthew Small and the gilt-framed print in the centre, called Sammy, is by Angelique Houtkamp, both from Nelly Duff. The Nude brass pendants are from the Hooked collection by Buster + Punch. Massimo made the bench. For a similar table, check out Alexander & Pearl’s Midnight design. Habitat sells sofas like this one. The original oak floor is treated with Osmo parquet stain in Pitch Black.
Creating the double-height space was the best thing they did, according to these owners. They love that a lot more light flows in and you can appreciate the curve of the wall, which works wonderfully with the table.
Get the look This is the Saarinen Tulip table for Knoll, teamed with DSW side chairs in White by Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra at Aram Store.
Glam materials such as quilted leather and brass could sit easily in a subterranean nightclub, but in the dining area they’re blasted with sunlight to create a family-friendly space.
Get the look The dining table, bench and wall light are by Minale + Mann’s The Workshop. The pendant is Davey Lighting’s 7630 Square. The tattoo-style artwork, second from left, is by Angelique Houtkamp at Nelly Duff. The cushions are from The Conran Shop and the brass Form bowl is by Tom Dixon at Heal’s.
A wall of plates creates impact in this dining area.
Get the look: The plates are from Toast. This is the Hague chandelier by Abigail Ahern. The table was made bespoke, with legs from Wicked Hairpins. The dining chairs are from eBay. The Sex Pistols artwork is by Jamie Reid at Isis Gallery. The rug is from CarpetVista.
A gallery wall of vintage paintings pairs perfectly with the paint shade. It’s colour coding, but with the end result feeling fluid and flowing rather than too obvious.
Get the look: The dining table is by DT-69. The Ant dining chairs are by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen at Republic of Fritz Hansen. The glass pendant shades are vintage finds. The wall lights are by Terre d’Hautaniboul. The flooring is from Timbered.
The chairs were from the restaurant Sketch in Mayfair and the owners were lucky to get them in a sale, when they were redesigning the space. The dining table is made from 300-year-old teak from Burma.
Get the look: Dining table, Wood’n Design. Chairs, from a restaurant. Rug, Designer’s Guild.
Gentle curves are subtly repeated in this formal dining zone to take the edge off the architectural grandeur.
Get the look: This is the Revesby D Ended table by Russell Pinch for The Conran Shop. These are Beetle dining chairs by GamFratesi for Gubi. The painting is by Hannah Franklin.
This dining area has a pared-back colour scheme of off-white and warm wood tones, while natural wood textures and a gallery of art work add visual interest.
Get the look: The oval dining table was a gift. The antique dining chairs came from Conjeaud & Chappey. The artworks are primarily portraits collected over the years. The black ink picture in the centre is by Kiki Smith.
An industrial-style dining table by Roche Bobois and dining chairs by Kai Kristiansen and Eames contrast with the traditional painting and a pop of bright turquoise in the tall table lamp. Spotlights keep the space from looking cluttered.
Get the look: This is the Syntaxe dining table by Roche Bobois. The black chairs are Kai Kristiansen’s Model 42 for Schou Andersen Møbelfabrik, available at 1stdibs.com. The Eames DSW chair for Vitra is available at Heal’s. The cabinet is vintage Heal’s – find a similar design at The Modern Marketplace. The painting is by Richard E Miller.
Rather than kit the house out from scratch, existing pieces were modified so that they work in their new surroundings.
Get the look: The chairs are upholstered with Romo fabrics and, on the seat back, a Tissus d’Hélène design. The table was found in a local antiques shop. The rug was brought back from India. The curtains are made in Hedgehog linen-mix in Duck Egg Brown by Neisha Crosland at Turnell & Gigon.
With the original stone fireplace making an impressive central feature and the new glazed study to its rear, this airily spacious zone is the hub of the apartment. The bamboo lights above the table (itself made from recycled floorboards) are clad in gauzy drapery, highlighting the height and lofty proportions.
Get the look: The highback dining chair is the J110 by Poul M Volther, teamed with the J77 by Forke Pålsson and the J104 by Jørgen Bækmark, all for Hay. The pendants are by Marta Castellano.
The show-stopping feature in here is a floor-to-ceiling mural from Tres Tintas. The brave, show-stopping mural dramatically spans the dining room wall from top to toe, and arrived as five huge panels.
Get the look: The mural is from Tres Tintas in Barcelona. This is the 85 Lamps pendant by Droog. The table and bench are by Timothy Oulton. The chair is by Tom Dixon, covered in fabric from Roche Bobois.
A huge window lets light flood into the dining room, allowing the statement wallpaper to create interest rather than overwhelm the space.
Get the look: The Snakeskin Damask wallpaper in Black is by Timorous Beasties. The Tulip table is by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, as are the Executive chairs. The chandelier is from Georgian Antiques. This is the Mondel rug, designed by Roddy Murray for Boxer Rugs.
This dining room's interior is all soft edges and sinuous curves thanks to the liberal application of plaster. The enormous polished-plaster dining/work table weighs over a tonne, but can be moved with ease as it’s fitted with aviation casters. The dentist’s chair by the window was sourced from an antiques dealer in Wiltshire.
Get the look: The multipurpose table was designed bespoke and enlisted the help of Ciprian Zama, of Atelier Zama, for its creation. The pincushion boudoir chair is upholstered in a deep-dyed black silk dupion by Designers Guild. The large photographs were taken by the home owner in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico and converted into 2.8m lenticular prints by Jake Purches of Base 2 Studio. The Seventies American chinoiserie chests are from Paul Smith’s Mayfair furniture shop.