Fresh Ideas for Dining Rooms

Did holiday entertaining whet your palate for a dining room update? You aren’t alone! The holidays give us all a closer look at our entertainment spaces and sometimes, a hunger for an update or a complete makeover. Do the chairs need upholstering? Would a new light fixture, rug and window treatments breathe new life into the space? How about completely reimagining that space?

With the winter holidays well behind us, it’s time to look ahead to Easter and springtime festivities, such as family weddings, graduations and confirmations. As an appetizer, I have gathered half a dozen dining rooms in a broad range of styles from our portfolio for inspiration.

modern dining room, glass-topped table, white dining chairs, rug, chandelier, high ceilings, window treatments, ceiling-to-floor windows

Wouldn’t you love an invitation to dinner here? Photo by IEG

Amazing Space

My clients could entertain heads of state in this amazing space! The grand scale of the room and the modern architecture were the inspiration for an all-new design that is understated but splendid. Of all the beautiful pieces in the room, the chandelier from  Nulty Bespoke  is a standout. We custom designed it to fill the soaring space and give it a more intimate feeling. The custom “Rings” dining table was designed and fabricated in partnership with  Lee Weitzman Furniture.  It lends a modern tone that is perfect with the home’s sleek, open architecture. The pearlized lacquered rings that support the glass top rest on a mirrored stainless base that complements the chair-back hardware and built-in buffet.


modern dining room chairs, white dining room chairs with curved legs, custom rug

Sleek lines and metal accents are perfect for this modern dining room.

Eye Candy Chairs, AND Comfortable!

Besides being luscious eye candy, these dining chairs are so comfortable!  Each one has a polished stainless steel “neck” that flexes just enough to make it luxurious when you lean back. Plus, the decorative stainless  “pulls” on the back make the chairs easy to slide out and help keep that curvaceous fabric clean.  We completed the space with window treatments and a rug.

dining room, Arizona, wood-beamed ceiling, white dining chairs, dining table, window treatments, rug, chandelier

Transitioning from heavy Tuscan to a softer, transitional look. Photo by  Cole Horchler Photos, accessories by IEG

Updated Tuscan Style

After working with these long-time clients on their Glenview home during the past 15 years, they invited us to design their newly purchased second home in Arizona’s awe-inspiring desert landscape. We updated the existing, dark Tuscan look to a soft, transitional style that is brighter and welcoming. One of the most important updates in the dining room is the pendant chandelier from Hubbardton Forge, seen close-up in the photo below. A bit playful and contemporary, it lightens the mood. Among other updates:

  • An ornate chest with a collection of white accessories
  • New chairs from Kravet
  • An understated, custom rug with a traditional pattern
  • Soft off- white paint on the walls.

Now our clients love to gather here as often as possible with their parents, grown children and friends.

dining room light fixture, chandelier, glass globe pendants, dining room

The light fixture played a key role in updating this space. Photo by Cole Horchler Photos

Light Fixtures Transform a Room

Because they are often the focal point of a dining room, light fixtures can be transformative when updating that space, as we did with this dining room in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  Our clients weren’t sure if they would love this light fixture at first, but as interior designers it is our job to gently nudge our clients outside their comfort zone. Now they love it, and so do their guests. The clear globes lighten and brighten the space while the rods and gold detailing modernize the look.

dining room, urban dining room, oval wood table, round-backed chairs, wall art, chandelier, flowers

Contemporary urban dining room. Photo by LM Photography

Urban, Unusual and Unforgettable

This Gold Coast condo-in-the-sky has a contemporary vibe that suits our clients perfectly.
With its high ceilings, extensive windows and white walls, it has an airy feeling that we cozied up with rich shades of brown and some splashes of color. In the dining room, the asymmetrical light fixture from Hubbardton Forge and inlaid wood chairs from Century Furniture are unexpected and elegant. A textural rug from Feizy not only defines but warms up the lofty space. As always, we scale our rug selections large enough so that the chairs remain within their borders when they are pushed out.

dining room, dining room table, dining room chairs, chanddelier, wall art, table lamps, chest, metallic chandelier

Table for six? All set. Chairs by Cox Manufacturing/Photo by Jennifer Caminiti   

Mixing Warm and Cool Tones

Mixing warm and cool color tones takes careful planning, but the results are timeless and sophisticated. This gold and gray dining room is set at exactly the right temperature to create a festive environment at meal time. Did you notice that the subtle geometric pattern of the Kravet  chair fabric echoes the interlocking circles of the chandelier above? You might not make the connection at first, but the symmetry of the patterns sets a soothing tone.  The pair of platinum table lamps from John-Richard reference the warm metallic tone of the chandelier while adding soft illumination. I love those banded shades!

dining room, chevron pattern cahirs, stone fireplace, chandelier, wine cabinet, rug, square table, wall art

Organic meets elegant in this suburban Chicago dining room. Photo by Matt Warren Photography

A Breath of Mountain Lifestyle

These wonderful clients wanted us to reimagine a “vacation in the mountains” look for their newly constructed home in the Chicago suburb of Lakewood, including the dining room, above.  They love the rugged vibe of their vacation lodgings out West, but wanted a more refined version for Midwest living. Our aim throughout the house was to meld the dramatic interior stone accents and hand-hewn woods with soft, comfortable and refined furnishings that honor their lifestyle.  I think we were spot-on with their dining room!

Have you ever seen a chandelier like this one from Corbett Lighting? We call it “organic glam,” with its gold embellished rods and slices of natural agate in a variety of earth tones. This piece echoes the natural stone of the fireplace and the impressionistic “branches” of the Davis and Davis rug. Here again, our clients weren’t sure that this fixture would be right for them, but it has become one of their favorites in the house.  We always want our clients’ homes to reflect their personalities, but we love to add something to their vision that they never imagined!

Energizing with Chevron

The energetic, zig-zag pattern of the chevron chairs above (from Design Master Furniture  via CAI Designs  is eye-catching but not overwhelming because we chose a solid fabric for the fronts and seats of the chairs. While some chevrons are very simple, this fabric is more complex, not only in the shadings of color but in the narrow, vertical pattern that runs behind the zig-zagging horizontal stripes. The result is rich and textural, and it blends beautifully with the custom rug because we chose a larger, organic pattern.

We are big fans of square tables, such as this one, in the right space. They allow for two chairs per side, which is conducive to conversation over dinner and drinks. Wine storage was important to our clients for the dining room, so we designed this built-in cabinet with interesting, angled bottle storage. Its handsome stained wood is a contrast for the sleek limestone fireplace and the more textural ashlar stone above.

traditional dining room, traditional dining room, dining room chairs, dining table, crystal chandelier, ornate mirror, traditional rug

Traditional styling is always on-trend. Photo by IEG

Time-Honored, Traditional

Any meal would feel elegant in this completely updated, traditional dining room, even spaghetti and meatballs! Our aim was to achieve a grand, timeless space with an emphasis on European detailing, such as the Schonbek chandelier, dripping with crystals, and the carvings on the Marge Carson furniture. They are gilded in silver and gold for a royal gleam. In honor of our client’s favorite color, we custom designed a periwinkle rug with Davis and Davis Rugs . What a beautiful shade of blue.

transitional dining room, transitional dining chairs, rectangular dining table, custom rug, specialty ceiling pain, oblong chandelier, greige walls, soft-white trim

Refined and entertainment-ready. Photo by LM Photography

Dining Room Makeover

Refined yet relaxing, this dining room is ready for any occasion. We opted for a contrasting greige and soft white color palette and added some excitement with a specialty finish in the coffered ceiling. Isn’t that oval chandelier from Hubbardton Forge an eye-catcher?  It picks up the colors of the ceiling while casting an intimate, even light over the table. The new window treatments and a subtly patterned rug from Kravet are soft elements that complete the new look.

Ready to chat about your dining room?

Contact us at 847-705-9569.