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Dining Room Design Ideas

Design By Room Series | 28.10.2021

Time for the second instalment of our 'design by room' series, where we take you through our top tips for decorating your home, one room at a time. With the entertaining season ahead of us, this week we are talking all about the dining room and how to create a cosy intimate space in which to do all of life's great pleasures: talking, drinking and of course eating.

Without dwelling too much on 2020 - we all know how that one ended - there is definitely a cautious feeling of optimism around how we will be able to celebrate with our loved ones this festive season. Even before the big C is upon us the pleasure of a packed table on a Sunday accompanied by our nearest and dearest is something to be cherished and just like the trimmings to your meal, the surroundings are just as important as the main event.

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Photo: Greg Natale

1. The Walls

First things first lets start with the walls. A formal dining room tends to be a lesser used space in the home which means you can afford to go bold in your colour choices. Red is a classic choice, giving the room a formal feel and is said to stimulate the appetite of your guests. But the goal is to create a feeling of intimacy within the space and any darker shade is perfect for doing just that. Alternatively a full scale mural or patterned wallpaper has the same effect, by flooding the walls with colour or pattern you create an overall feeling of warmth and closeness. This could be through a traditional style design such as Gallery, Kew or the mural designs from our Scholar collection, or more contemporary patterns such as those within our Casablanca range.

A red dining room is part of our English design heritage and there’s nothing quite like it for formal grandeur.

Nina Campbell
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Photo: Moroccan Souk paint

2. Furniture

Of course now the walls are sorted you'll need something to sit on. And eat off of. With no sharp corners a round tables lends itself to being more social, letting conversation flow naturally across and around it. We love our Ashton table which has a contemporary feel with a light, silver oak top and brushed nickel base that won't compete with the design of your chairs. More formal spaces, and large guest lists, will likely require a more traditional rectangular shape. Both Robert and Charlie are simple and timeless designs which can be dressed up or down to suit your own interiors style, whereas Bridge is formed from a combination of brass and wood giving this piece a modern luxurious feel. If you are after the best of both worlds with intimate dinner parties followed by big family affairs then an extending dining table like our Raffles or Emerson pieces are great options.

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for small space living or dining rooms, be more daring. Don’t be afraid of dark and rich colours, like coffee or dark grey or try teal or even orange, for a braver burst of colour. These hues bring intimacy and depth whilst also allowing you to show personality and flair.

Martin Waller

3. Lighting

Step three is all about the lighting, an essential element to any scheme as good lighting will instantly set the mood within your space. A central pendant light over the table makes a brilliant eye-catching feature to the room but is not the most flattering on yourguests, stick to frosted glass or a refractive chandelier to prevent the light being too harsh. This statement centrepiece is best accompanied by wall lights, which are a brilliant way to softly illuminate your space, Ziyi, Bryant and Hackney are all timeless designs that will work in any scheme. For a more contemporary feel choose architectural pieces such as Josie, Covet or Angie. However, don't forget to dress your table with flicking dinner candles to create a enhance the sense of intimacy and warmth.

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Photo: Fiona Barratt Interiors

Framing vintage textiles and using them as artwork also works really well and won’t break the bank

Martin Waller

4. Artwork

Whatever it's shape, size or format a piece of artwork is the ideal finishing touch to your dining space. It acts as a beautiful centrepiece as well as a perfect conversation starter for your guests. At Andrew Martin we are great advocates of anything becoming artwork once it is beautifully framed so don't shy away from displaying beloved possessions such as vintage books, records or beautiful fabrics especially if these objects have an interesting story behind them. Alternatively our large scale plexiglass artworks are great statement pieces and their shiny surface give them a luxurious layered feel. To give your space a more playful feel then our light up neons are perfect for creating a buzz.

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Photo: Nicky Dobree Design