Dining room color ideas – 10 bold schemes that will set the right mood for entertaining

We asked the experts for their top dining room color ideas to create a space that will always wow your guests

Green and yellow dining room with brick fireplace
(Image credit: Ti Archive)

Looking for stylish dining room ideas to get your space ready for finally being able to host guests? As one of the more social areas of the home; your dining space is where you gather around for good food, good company and usually, good wine too. A more formal setting than the relaxed dining spaces of your kitchen, the dining room is somewhere you can embrace color and drama to create a sumptuous setting for entertaining.

We’re firm believers that fabulous food should be shared with friends and family in an equally fabulous setting and the color is essential for setting the tone in your dining room. So, whether you’re embarking on a full decoration project or just looking for dining room ideas that will loft your scheme, don’t be afraid to go bold with daring dining room paint colors, patterned wallpaper and colorful finishing touches that excite and inspire…

Green dining room with oval gloss yellow dining table

(Image credit: Ti Archive)

What color is best for a dining room?

Before we get into lots of lovely dining room color ideas, firstly think practically about what colors will work in your space. Think about the size, the aspect, what times or do you use it, what vibe you like to go for at mealtimes or when you are entertaining. 

'When it comes to the best colors for dining rooms, it’s important to consider the positioning of the room and the amount of natural light available. Whilst south-facing rooms are a dream and you can get away with almost anything, north-facing rooms tend to be colder and darker and are best suited to warmer colors that will brighten the space.' recommends Jane Rockett and Lucy St George, founders of Rockett St George.

'Trickier still are east-and west-facing rooms as the light changes throughout the day. But the key here is to consider what time of day you’ll be using the room and then choose your dining room paint colors accordingly.'

1. Embrace the trend for red

dining room lighting

(Image credit: Future)

Red is having a bit of a resurgence at the moment. We are seeing in being used more and more and it's the perfect shade for creating a really rich, sophisticated scheme in a dining room.

'Traditionally, red had been used across decades for the dining room. Red is known to energize and invigorate your space and also inspires lively conversation – a necessity for any dinner party!' says Jane Rockett.

'Whilst red is a fantastic color for creativity, it’s worth remembering that red isn’t a relaxing color so if you love red (more power to you), a better decorating decision might be to use it as an accent and create impact through bold and beautiful pops of color.'

2. Or go slightly more subtle with terracotta tones

Small dining room with terracotta floor and ceiling

(Image credit: Stephan Julliard)

And if red is going to be too bold for your space, tone down the look by opting for more muted terracotta shades. These warm toasty tone will still have that enveloping feel but are more neutral and more livable – a better option if you have a smaller dining room or one that's doesn't get lots of natural light. 

'Subtler shades, such as rust and terracotta translate beautifully into interiors, offering an earthy version of red that is adaptable and easy to live with. A rich tone that can create a warm, grounding and timeless look in your home, terracotta dining room colors can have a dramatic impact on the feel and energy of your space.' suggests Lucy St George.

'With warming brown or soft pink undertones, terracotta is a ‘modern neutral’ that creates an energizing yet peaceful feel in any dining room scheme.'

3. Make it moody with stylish chocolate tones 

A dining room with a layered paint theme, Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Brown might not sound like the most inviting of shades, but in the right space, in the right light they can be the perfect dining room color, creating a room that has instant ambiance the second you light that first candle. Just be sure to give it a lift with some lighter neautrals, pair it with cream or white woodwork and add in lots of texture too. 

'Dining Rooms are often used for more formal social gatherings such as evening dinner parties and therefore tend to be the domain of more ambient lighting such as candles & table lamps so think of colors that deliver richness and dare it be said, glamour!' says Patrick O’Donnel of Farrow & Ball

'Deep browns can often be overlooked but they are so sophisticated if the tone is right. Salon Drab in Estate Emulsion is the perfect shade, neither too chocolate or red but with enough depth for impact, paired with the equally elegant De Nimes for your woodwork and your ceiling in Off White for a soft counterpoint.'

4. Keep it classic with calming blues

Blue is a classic shade and known for its calming qualities, it's the perfect backdrop for mealtimes – bold but not distractingly so, cool-toned but not icy, versatile so can be paired with plenty of other colors too. 

Jane Rockett and Lucy St George say that 'one of our favorite dining room color schemes centers around the color blue. Universally adored for its natural sophistication and restful nature, blue is perfect for any room where you want to relax and unwind. Considered by some to be an appetite suppressant, blue might not be the most obvious choice for your dining room, but it can be beautiful.' 

'Perfect for bright dining rooms, blue is a fabulous backdrop for treasured artwork and decorative displays and it is these finishing touches that can make all the difference in dining rooms that are lacking in natural light. By introducing bright red, orange or ochre yellow tones through artwork and colored dining room chairs, a balance between warm and cool can be restored.'

5. Choose a classic neutral scheme

All white dining room with vintage decor

(Image credit: Soho Management London Ltd)

You can't go wrong with an all-white scheme in a dining room, it's a classic look that's never going to date and you can always bring in pops of other colors too if you want a bolder look. Although personally, we think the totally white palette of this dining room is bold, despite the lack of color it feels dramatic. 

'Opting for an off-white or neutral palette in the dining room will make the space feel bright and airy. Bring texture and interest into the room with a generously proportioned natural seagrass pendant light. A larger shade creates a feature while the design filters the light to cast soft shadows across the room.' says Ben Stokes, Founder and Interior Designer for KAGU Interiors.

6. Up the dramatics with black 

Dining room with black painted ceiling

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg)

The new feature wall – painted ceilings are far more interesting and add much more drama than a single wall so be inspired by this dining room paint idea and take the color up onto your fifth wall. 

Black adds an instant drama and work so well as a ceiling color in a dining wall, as it doesn't absorb loads of light as it would do on the walls, but still adds plenty of drama. Plus it would look wonderful on a dark evening when the room was filled with glowing lights and towering taper candles. 

Make the look more cohesive by bringing the darker tones into the rest of the room too, as can be seen here with the dining table and the lampshades. 

7. Bring in a green scheme 

Dark green dining room painted in Farrow & Ball's Studio Green

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Much like blue, green also has those lovely serene vibes that lend themselves so well to dining rooms. Go for a more dramatic look with a deep forest green but keep it fresh by pairing the dark walls with crisp white ceilings and pale wooden furniture. Or go for a very on-trend olive green for a more mellow statement. 

As Lucy St George says 'Green is another color that looks amazing in the dining room. From painted green walls, to statement dining chairs, tableware or trailing plants, green is incredibly versatile and can be introduced through subtle accents or bold design decisions.'

'Renowned for its calming effect and connection to the natural world, green reveals both energy and respite and is therefore ideal for laid-back dining spaces. To celebrate the natural connection, we recommend pairing green with organic textures such as natural wood, wicker and rattan in your dining room. Plus, don’t be afraid to add in a few bright color contrasts to bring your scheme to life.'

8. Warm things up with soft yellows

Yellow and white dining room with pale yellow Farrow & Ball wallpaper

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Yellow is such a refreshing, uplifting color and is really popular in kitchens and dining rooms alike. This sunny shade instantly makes a space feel bigger and brighter so is also ideal if your dining room is on the smaller side. 

Depending on the mood you want to create, you could opt for a deep ochre and go all over the walls, woodwork, and radiators to create a very chic monochrome look. These honey tones are perfect if you tend to only use the space for evening entertaining and it will turn into a warm glowing cave when lit by candlelight. 

For a fresher look that's more suitable if you use the space throughout the day be inspired by this dining room idea and opt for the palest of yellows paired with white. And experiment with a subtle dining room wallpaper too to bring in pattern as well as color. 

9. Add color with bold accessories

Black and white dining room with green and yellow chairs

(Image credit: Ti Archive)

Paint isn't the only way to bring color into a dining room. Bold seating, lighting, and wall decor can all creating a bold scheme while keeping the majority of the room fresh and neutral. In this dining space greens and yellows pop against the white and black walls creating a really invigorating palette that doesn't overwhelm the small room.

'Whilst the rules of color are important to consider when planning your dining room, there are always ways to work around this through styling. As a space to celebrate the magic of the seasons and talk late into the night with friends and family, the dining room is the perfect place to display colorful lighting and artwork, lush houseplants, and treasures collected from your travels.' advises Jane Rockett.

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.