It’s easy to think of dining rooms as a very traditional space—but you can really design them to suit any interior design style. If you’re looking for decorating ideas for your dining room design, consider a contemporary style, which gives you an updated and approachable but still slightly formal look.

What is contemporary design?

But what exactly is contemporary interior design? And how does this style differ from modern or transitional design styles? Well, in contemporary design you’ll find a lot of clean lines and smooth surfaces. Furniture forms tend to have softer lines and more rounded edges than the stark, hard lines and forms of modern design. Color-wise, you’ll find lots of neutrals—whether creams and tans, black and white, or grays. Though, occasionally you’ll also see some bold color accents in a contemporary space! But, overall, a neutral color palette will help the focus remain on the shapes and lines within the space.

Contemporary design emphasizes simplicity. With minimal ornamentation, and a neutral color palette, the shapes and lines within the space are the main focal point. So, keep ornamentation at a minimum—but feel free to use texture and upholstery to keep things visually interesting.

Contemporary style is perfect for dining rooms as it creates a clean, welcoming environment to gather with family and friends. (Or the perfect low-distraction space to use as a makeshift home office.) Contemporary dining rooms feel modern while still having a lot of personality.

Interested in creating a contemporary dining room design? Or just want some dining room ideas to spark some inspiration? Keep reading for our 10 favorite contemporary dining room designs and get decorating ideas for dining room designs that will take your space to the next level!

Contemporary dining roomsSweet Simplicity

This dining room is a beautiful mix of contemporary transitional and minimalist styles, with a calm and open vibe. There are some high-contrast neutral moments, but it’s in a way that feels serene, not harsh.

The Key Elements

This dining room comes to life with comfortable, timeless classics, like these dark wood wishbone chairs. The dining table and chandelier have very modern but minimalist lines. We kept the ornamentation minimal—just art, greenery, and some choice ceramics. We even left the windows free of draperty to maximize the natural light for an open feel.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who like iconic, timeless furniture with a minimalist aesthetic.

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Contemporary dining roomsA Chic Affair

This contemporary dining room is a little bit classic and a little bit transitional, resulting in a space that is very chic. While the decor is minimal, the pieces that are used are high-impact—like the oversized art, the sculptural chandelier, and the large orchid on the table.

The Key Elements

A neutral and soft color palette, with subtle pops of blue and green, give this dining room a feel of sophisticated calm. While the dining chairs have a classic look, with the combination of upholstery and polished wood, the soft lines and curves of the design give it a contemporary vibe. Brass elements also play with that classic vibe, but in updated forms, like the dainty brass lamp, the modern marble and brass dining table, and the stunning scalloped pendant light.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who love beautiful, classical spaces, updated with contemporary touches.

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Contemporary dining roomsGet Lost In Conversation

This is a minimalist dining room if we ever saw one—but minimal with a very contemporary vibe. The minimalism comes through in the styling—where a simple bowl is all that’s on the table, paired with a tree in the corner and a contemporary trio of mirrors on the wall. And the lack of a rug gives this dining room a sleek look.

The Key Elements

We love contemporary dining room sets that are geared toward being truly livable. Case in point: Cozy upholstered chairs with arms are great for long meals at the table, filled with conversation. And the clean-lined wood frame gives them a contemporary look. A pendant light with a simple linen drum shade adds a bit of sculptural aspect to this arrangement, while the tiered mirrors on the wall help open up the space while standing in the place of art. A warm neutral color palette gives this contemporary dining room a very approachable feel.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who value timeless colors and comfortable furniture.

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Contemporary dining roomsStep Right Up

This is one of our favorite dining room ideas for smaller spaces where you only have room for a dining nook. The bar-height table has a unique and unexpected shape, while the backless counter-height seating is very hip.

The Key Elements

To achieve this look, go for a mix of metal, wood and upholstery, where everything has clean lines. But that doesn’t mean hard edges! Incorporate curved forms throughout. A blue accent wall makes the neutrals in the furniture stand out, and we love the simple pop of the shibori print art. Since this is a smaller set-up, we went with an understated drum pendant for lighting—and added some candles on the table for added ambiance.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those with small spaces or who want the addition of a casual dining space where they can hang out near the kitchen. This is also a great design for entertaining, as it offers a bar-height surface for people to set food and drinks while mingling.

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Contemporary dining roomsEnthusiastically Mod

Mid-century modern and transitional elements combine in this contemporary dining room. We love how the neutral color palette is warmed up with a honey-toned wood table, taupe wall, and navy upholstered chairs.

The Key Elements

We incorporated contemporary elements in this dining room with the silver table frame, chair legs, and lamps, as well as the rug with its solid striation of blues and whites. But the mid-century modern elements—like the sideboard, tiered chandelier, and the tapered-leg chairs—help ground the look. We streamlined the accents, like the glass succulents and the iron sculpture and silver lamps on the sideboard, for a more modern twist.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who like simple contemporary style with a hint of mid-century modern.

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Contemporary dining roomsInvite Industrial Over For Dinner

Industrial and contemporary elements meet in this high-contrast dining room. You see the contrast in the white of the table against the dark chairs and sideboard. But that’s not the only color element to take notice of. The pops of blue and yellow in the artwork add a fun, youthful vibe to the space. The tree in the corner also adds a pop of color, along with some organic texture.

The Key Elements

The white dining room table, along with the blue and white rug and the simple artwork, ground this room in the contemporary camp. But the industrial touches—like the black dining chairs, the blown glass and steel pendant light, and the metal and wood sideboard—add a rough-hewn, industrial element to the space. It makes for a very dynamic contrast! Aside from the blended styles, we also love that this dining room offers enough open space for entertaining, along with plenty of storage space!

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who like a clean aesthetic but want to add some rough, industrial textures and elements.

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Contemporary dining roomsThe Contemporary Traditionalist

We love this cozy, contemporary dining nook. This mix of styling—traditional and transitional—is welcoming and homey. The simple, earth-tone color palette adds to this vibe, for a dining room that’s very practical and approachable.

The Key Elements

This dining room is all about the mix of elements. Traditional woods and upholstery, like leather, get updated forms for a mix of streamlined and classic. And the mix of chairs and a storage bench creates unique and flexible seating options. The solid jute rug is a lovely mix of rustic and contemporary styles. And the contemporary pendant light adds an updated touch (contrasting with the more traditional table) and doesn’t interfere with site lines for looking out the open windows.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those with kids, as the bench adds a cozy place to sit along with storage underneath. And when they want to sit in chairs, the leather is very easy to wipe down.

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Contemporary dining roomsA Table For Two

This dining room has a very classic vibe—but with more contemporary shapes and a higher-contrast color palette. We love how both the chairs and tables are in black-and-white, creating a sophisticated and dramatic foundation for this dining area. But blue drapes keep it grounded in a more classic look.

The Key Elements

To a contemporary spin on classic, it’s necessary to update the forms. Opt for clean lines—a mix of curves and straight lines for good balance, which you can see in the table, chairs, and bench. (Speaking of, we love the mix of a bench and chairs to make this space casual but classy.) Meanwhile, the seeded glass pendant adds a fun touch to the space. A pop of pattern comes in through the rug, and the simple botanical art print adds a sweet element.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who love a sophisticated, classical look but want it updated with contemporary lines and a bit of contrast.

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Contemporary dining roomsNo Reason To Be Blue

This contemporary minimalist dining room is characterized by its simple decor and minimalist aesthetic. The result? A clean and open space that’s very welcoming.

The Key Elements

The foundational pieces in this room—the table and chairs—are the main element in this minimal space. And though loaded with style and made with contemporary lines, they’re neutral in color, which further drives home their contemporary vibe. To give this space some personality, we added pops of color in the rug, wall, and art—but all in soothing and serene greens and greys. Other than that, the decor is simple, with just the artwork and wood bowl on the table to give an organic touch to the space.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who like minimal and transitional dining rooms but want to add some color ot the mix.

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Contemporary dining roomsA Touch Of Rustic Warmth

Rustic and transitional elements combine for an unexpected take on a contemporary dining room. A neutral color palette keeps this space grounded and approachable. And the fact that these are warm neutral of creamy whites, taupe, and browns speak to the rustic side of this style. And while the decor is simple, the way it’s layered on the buffet further drives home that rustic vibe.

The Key Elements

The forms found in the table and chairs—with their soft lines and curves—is what makes this dining room lean contemporary. But the leather tones, natural fiber rug, and natural wood dining table and buffet ground this table in the rustic camp. Upholstered captain chairs add an elegant touch to the space; they’re very transitional in style but the weathered wood trim adds a rustic element. And the modern cage light fixture in antique brass perfectly blends both styles together.

This Look Is Perfect For…

Those who love a rustic aesthetic but appreciate the clean, soft lines of contemporary design.

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