Whether you're starting from scratch or just feeling like your dining area needs a punching up, there are six steps you can start with to get to a dreamy dining room pretty quickly (or use to evaluate what you currently have).
1. Work with what you've got (and play up the good stuff)
If you have a tiny dining room (or perhaps more like a dining corner) then you'll want to play off of the fact that this is going to be a cozy, intimate area. If you've got killer floors, leave out the rug and choose furnishings that highlight. If you've got great natural light, don't cover it with oversized draperies. Start here, with what your dining room might already be rocking, instead of trying to force another style on it. Oh, you can make your dining area look like any style you want — just work with the existing space while doing it. Seen in Camille Styles.
2. Choose comfort
If you ABSOLUTELY have to have a set of dining chairs because they are your chair soulmate and they'll complete your life, then by all means choose a set of chairs that look great but make guests grimace after a few minutes. But, if you want a dining area that your guests will want to hang around awhile laughing and so you can have a space you can use anyway you'd like, go for comfort. Look at table and chair heights as well as shape and material to find a fit for your function needs. Via Maggie Overby Studios.
3. Add intimacy
You know that feeling you get when you're at a small hip new restaurant in a big city that never sleeps, tucked away in a corner in a too-small dining room having the time of your life? You can go about recreating those kinds of moments in your own home by adding intimacy to your dining area. How? Closing it in and closing it off. Hang lights that reach low (but not so low they block conversation). Add plants that partially obscure. Add throw pillows to a bench so it creates opportunities to cozy up. Hang a giant oversized art piece that acts like a backdrop. Spotted on Squirrelly Minds.
4. Add fun
Dining rooms aren't meant to be stuffy (unless of course, that's the look you're going for!). The easiest way to lighten the mood is to add fun and good humor. So add a wacky pattern that catches the eye. Frame a funny tongue-in-cheek saying.
5. Be casually imperfect
Keep the informal design going by being a little imperfect with your decor, which will make guests feel more comfortable and let their hair down. Mix and match chairs, hang lights at different heights, create a wacky DIY flower arrangement — don't be afraid to be a little imperfect! Spotted on A Beautiful Mess.
6. Set it to ready
You don't have to keep your table set like it's ready for Christmas dinner, but why not display some of your favorite table settings, tablecloths, platters and more even when you're not about to use them? It'll be nice to look at and might inspire you to use the room more! Via At Home In Love.
(Image credits: Tessa Neustadt via Elle; Millie Holloman for Camille Styles ; Maggie Overby Studios; Squirrelly Minds; Julia Brenner; A Beautiful Mess; Samantha Goh for Homepolish via At Home In Love)