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You Finally Have a Dining Room. Now What?

While the kitchen may be the heart of the home, a dining room, if you love to entertain, is a luxury.

At Modsy, we often get requests from homeowners that have moved from a small house or apartment into one that has a dedicated dining area for entertaining friends and family. It’s a space that can feel unfamiliar, which makes it especially challenging to figure out where to start when decorating. After all, the dining room is a space that should feel comfortable but also stylish enough to host parties and family holidays.

Use this guide to help you navigate all the key decisions to design your perfect dining room.

 

Deciding on Your Perfect Table

Before looking at all your dining table options, consider how you want to use the space. Will you host casual weekend dinners with friends or big holiday gatherings with family? Your entertaining style should be the starting point for informing the type of dining table you require.

For keeping it casual…

A long communal farmhouse table is great for its versatility—it can host big groups, function as a work surface, and it can also be dressed up with a tablecloth for formal occasions. Its natural wood tones make for a great foundation for choosing chairs and other decor to match.

For making it formal…

Try a round pedestal table, which will immediately conjure up classic, elegant appeal. One with extendable leaves will provide the flexibility for entertaining large crowds. A small round bistro table is also a stylish and space-saving option if you have less square-footage to work with.

 

Bringing in Good Seating

Comfort is key when it comes to choosing dining chairs and seating options. You want to ensure your guests feel relaxed and at ease during long meals. There’s no right or wrong, but look to the design details of your dining table as a guide for your seating (think tapered legs that coordinate, natural materials that complement each other, etc.)

If you want a casual mix…

Try pulling up a bench alongside a matching set of chairs for an easy-going eclectic look. This is a great way to incorporate flexible seating that is also kid-friendly.

If you want a chic grouping…

You can’t go wrong with a sophisticated set of matching chairs. Consider how the details will pair with your table and work from there—exposed wooden legs, a simple silhouette, neutral upholstery with tufting on the back. This works especially well if you’ve opted for a round table.

 

Choosing Rug or No Rug

Placing a rug underneath your table can help to ground and delineate your dining area, especially in an open living space. Even in a dedicated dining room, it can add stylish focus—just make sure your chair legs all stay on the rug, even when they’re pulled out. On the other hand, if you have beautiful wood floors to show off (or messy kids who love spaghetti), you may want to skip the rug altogether.

Try a sturdy rug…

In a natural fiber, such as jute or sisal, which are built to withstand foot traffic and wear and tear. If you use your dining room for both everyday and formal occasions, these are stylish workhorses that can go well with a range of decor.

Try a low-pile rug…

Such as a flat-weave or a kilim, if natural-fiber rugs is not your style. Low-pile rugs are the opposite of ones that are shaggy and fluffy, meaning they’ll be much more practical in an entertaining space as well as easy to clean with a vacuum.

 

Add Multiple Light Sources

Once you have your foundational pieces—table, chairs, rug—it’s time to make sure your room has good lighting. Most homes come with a simple overhead fixture that is usually far from sufficient. Additionally, the shapes and designs are less than spectacular. Approach choosing overhead lighting for your dining room like art—it should be bright and sculptural.

Switch in a pendant…

That has more than just one bulb as the light source. Many designs provide sputnik-style as well as multi-light constructions that can help bring both brightness and sculptural appeal to the space above your table. A chandelier also provides the same effect.

Switch it up with sconces…

These wall hanging fixtures are worth the hassle and investment. They add the perfect ambient lighting and they can be spread around a room. New designs even offer sconces with plugs, which means they can be easily installed no matter your space. Try to match the materials and styles of your sconces to your overhead fixture.

 

Creating Various Focal Points

No dining room is complete without a few stylish focal points. Be it a bar, an etagere, a console, or an oversize mirror or piece of art, there should be a range of intriguing spaces to look to within any dining room.

In a large space…

Bring in a credenza or a pair of etageres to fill with bowls, plates, linens, and other china for a fabulous display. Round it out with other books, vases, and other colorful accents. Or try turning an open-base console into a bar and stowing a pair of ottomans underneath—perfect if you need extra seating in a pinch.

In a small space…

An oversize piece of art or a statement mirror can really set any compact dining space apart. Just as they do in large spaces, they captivate the eye but also help to warm up your small space. Mirrors, in particular, will help to reflect light and give the illusion of more space and ceiling height.

 

Need more dining room advice?

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Styling the Emmerson Dining Table 11 Ways

 

Dear Modsy,

I recently made the move from a tiny apartment to a full-sized home and finally have space for my old dining table that’s been in storage for years!

The problem is, I don’t have the original set of chairs and I don’t want to waste money on new ones that won’t match. Plus my décor style is more modern, while this table is pretty traditional…

Can you help me decide what kind of chairs will work with my table and my style?

Sincerely,
Table seeking Chairs

Dear Table,

Consider yourself no longer seeking chairs.

When it comes to the challenge of pairing a dining table and chairs you are not alone – this is a design dilemma many of our customers face!

To eliminate the guesswork, we “tried on” 11 of our favorite chairs the the Emmerson Dining Table (West Elm) in Modsy 3D. Take a look at all the options and see for yourself which you like!

Happy Styling,
Modsy

1. Wire Frame

Worried about different wood stains clashing? Why not opt for a metal option instead. Seat them around a modern table for an industrial look or add some unexpected texture to your traditional dining room.

We love the sleek shape and airy look of these woven wire chairs.

2. Name of the Cane

Sitting between a modern and classic look, we love this combo of the rustic caning and glossy wood frame. From a round white tulip table, to an old farmhouse table, there really isn’t a look this chair wouldn’t go with!

Get the scoop on this contemporary version or get your hands on Marcel Breuer’s original number.

3. Bent into Shape

A staple of bistros, this chair is instantly recognizable as a descendant of Michael Thonet’s iconic bentwood chair, designed in 1859. These curvy classics look great next to a traditional dining table, or can be paired with a modern option for a more eclectic vibe.

4. Yokes on Me

With a shape resembling traditional Chinese “yoke-back” chairs, we love this updated version with and tapered legs and a minimal frame. Utterly versatile, we picked the navy blue option to add a bit of drama alongside our reclaimed wood dining table.

We also swapped the two end chairs for the version in white to give our dining room a little extra eclectic-ness.

5. Sophisticated and Slipcovered

You cannot go wrong with a traditional table and slipcovered chairs. A timeless look, we chose two chairs to head the table, while matching benches provide low-profile seating along the sides for a more modern (and kid-friendly) look.

Swipe our machine-washable, slipcovered chair here.

6. Sit Sidesaddle

Another option for the head of the table, these saddle chairs are a great way to add a modern flair to your dining room. If you’re not into the ultra-modern look, swap the side chairs for benches.

Grab a buddy, that saddle seat comes as a pair.

8. Wishing for Wishbone

A Dansih classic, the Wishbone chair was designed by Hans Wegner in 1949 and continues to grace dining rooms until this day. We love the combination of warm woods, accented with pillows for an extra pop of comfort.

Love the look? Snag the real deal here.

9. Heavy Metal

Another café classic, this chair is the perfect way to add an industrial touch to your dining room or balance out a more traditional look. We love the contrast between the reclaimed wood and metal, which gains a lovely patina with age.

Have a seat with us in an original Tolix Chair.

10. Spirit of Tradition

An update on the classic American Windsor back chair, we love the look of a traditional form with a contemporary update. Cap your vintage farmhouse table with these for a more modern look, or add a little country charm to your Scandinavian dining table.

Get our look here, or add a little color with these ultra-wallet friendly pairings.

11. Upholstered Elegance

A classic and dignified shape, we love these chairs for a look that ages well. Use them in your modern dining room and then reuse them in your classic formal one, years later.

Have a little fun with our mustard, yellow selection.

 

Want to test drive some chairs in with your dining table?
Try on your favorite options in your space!

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Modsy Collections: A Soothing & Serene Living + Dining Room

Now that 2016 is behind us, we hope you’ve had a chance to relax and spend time with loved ones. But, as we know recovering from the holidays isn’t always so easy. Here’s a little post-holiday detox for your home. We even went ahead and swept up the pine needles and packed up the holiday decorations for you.

A muted palette of beiges, greens, and earthy browns, lays the room’s serene foundation, while antiqued metal finishes and playful pops of pattern enliven the space and keep it feeling contemporary. A sophisticated collection that looks toward spring, but still warm and cozy for the winter.

Soothing & Serene Dining Room

Designed for anyone who craves a space that is so fresh and so clean, our collection will help you sail into the new year feeling uncluttered and renewed. Contemporary Minimalists, Discerning Collectors, and even those drawn to rustic and warm spaces will especially love this look. Not sure what your Modsy style is? Take our Style Quiz to find out.

Soothing & Serene Living and Dining Room

Stylist tip: Try pairing more formal pieces of furniture with playful accessories, such as fun art or patterned rug to give your space a little contemporary edge. We love the Looking Forward and Out of Egypt prints from Minted. They add the perfect touch of visual intrigue to a space, while still creating a balanced, put-together look.