Dining rooms are such a personal statement to how we choose to enjoy meals with friends, family and at times, by ourselves. The design process starts with an overall plan supported by selections and choices based upon your style and budget. Here are some aesthetic and functional elements to consider when thinking through the planning of your space:

Table Shapes

A dining room layout will define the size and shape of your table. Personal tastes and and lifestyle are final factors to evaluate before making your final selections.

Round and oval tables are symbolic of equality and connectivity since there is no head of the table. Round tables take up less space than rectangular tables.

Square and rectangular tables offer more defined spaces, such as head of table, and can accommodate more seating. Plus, the sharp corners can be dangerous, especially for toddlers and children.


Yvette Craddock and her custom table setting at Design Within Reach.


It important to feel comfortable while dining. Combining comfort and style creates a dining space where people and laughter linger. The traditional dining room designs have been reinvented to reflect personal styles. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • One of the most popular and requested choices is to designate captain’s chairs as the different option such as in the dining room below. Captain’s chairs are a tad larger, have arms and sit at both ends of a square or rectangular table.
  • Another common design option is to mix the style, shapes and colors of chairs around the table.
  • Some people choose the same chair, but in different colors around the table.
  • For those that love the farmhouse and/or French Provencial style, a combination of chairs and benches or settees is prominent.

Yvette Craddock Transitional Dining Room

Yvette Craddock Designs – Photo by Craig Root Imagery

Photo via Design Sponge.

Photo via the internet. No designer or photographer attribution available.


Add jewelry to the room with appropriate lighting that is shaped and sized accurately for the room. You can also add additional lighting through buffet lamps, floor lamps and candles. Current trends in lighting include one large chandelier or multiple, independent large pendants or chandeliers to create a decorative cluster. Consider the size of the dining room, dimensions of each piece and of course, speak with an electrician about your plan to ensure proper execution.

Photo via Augustexture

Photo via Hunker

Large Dining Spaces

When designing a large dining room, keep these three considerations in mind:

1. Account for the entire spanse of your dining room to allow adequate space for a table, chairs, buffet and built-in bars.
2. Allow for the space that your guests need to walk around the table, access a buffet and even a built-in bar without being crowded.
3. Allow for the space that guests need to sit down and pull out their chair. Some people sit close to the table. Others don’t or can’t because of their height.

Yvette Craddock Designs – Photo by Craig Root Imagery


Buffets were are a staple in most traditional homes and remain an useful piece of furniture in contemporary environments. Buffets serve the dual purpose of storing china, flatware, table linens and other dining objects as well as providing space for food buffet service.

When selecting your buffet, make sure to pay attention to the layout of your room as it relates to the dimensions of the furniture. Leave plenty of room for walkability and other functional aspects as seats sitting away from the table, cabinets and drawer openings and the depth to ensure that it will accommodate the size of your serviceware.

Additional Considerations

As with every space, adding your personal signature is essential. Here are some additional tips to review  as you create your perfect setting:

  • Select the top surface based upon your lifestyle. For instance, a family with children may benefit more from the durability and easy cleaning of a wood table versus a glass top table.
  • Pay attention to the table base and how it relates to chair depth as well as the guests that most often sit around a table.
  • Warm up a stark, modern table with curved centerpiece accessories and color.
  • Bring new life to old chairs through new upholstery and/or refinishing.
  • Refinish vintage tables. Furniture made with great detail and real wood can be hard to find for a reasonable investment. Plus if the table is a family heirloom, it makes the space that much  more personal and meaningful.
  • Add an area rug or not. If you choose an area rug, make sure the area rug encompasses the entire table and chair configuration. Current technology affords the opportunity to indulge in gorgeous rugs that are both durable and easy-to-clean.
  • Remember to also measure the height of the table and chairs to ensure that chairs tuck in under the table comfortably for a range of guests.
  • Add mirrors, art and even wallpaper to create a truly dynamic room.

The holiday season is the time when most people start paying more attention to your dining room. However, I encourage routine use of the space all year long. It build community, love and a sense of joy that seems to increase in need daily.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This