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6 Ways to Prep Your Dining Room for Entertaining

Whether you’re entertaining for the holidays or just hosting a morning brunch with friends, your dining room is at the center of it all. With all the work that goes into planning a meal for multiple people, the last thing you want is to stress about your decor.

To help you avoid any pre-hosting stress, we rounded up our favorite tips to get your dining room ready to go before guests descend. Here are the dining room ideas we love and are sure to help you get fully prepped for a revolving door of dinner parties, brunches, and whatever else comes your way.

Read on for a few dining room ideas that will help you shine as the hostess with the mostest!

dining chairs with slip covers and a wood dining table ad lots of texture and interest to this space

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1. Always Have Extra (and Comfy) Seating

Comfortable dining chairs can make long dinners much more enjoyable. If you like a little extra cushion, consider matching sets that are fully upholstered or have nice plush seats.

If you have room to spare, extra dining chairs are always great to have on hand in case of unexpected, or last-minute guests.

Short on space? Dining chairs are versatile so try placing extras in your entryway or home office. They won’t use up square footage unnecessarily, and you can easily pull them into your dining space in a pinch. Here are 6 of our favorite places to put spare dining chairs.

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2. Be Realistic About Headcount

Big dinners are a holiday given, so be cognizant of how many people your dining room can accommodate comfortably.

If you have the space to entertain a big crowd, make sure everyone has a spacious spot at the table. A table with extendable leaves is a great solution for hosting large groups in smaller spaces.

Need help choosing a dining table? Check out our guide to dining table shapes and sizes.

rustic dining room with fall thanksgiving tablescape

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3. Take Time to Outfit Your Table

Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast for 12 or an intimate Valentine’s day dinner for two, a thoughtfully set table is always memorable.

Channel the colors of the season and pick a combination of your favorite three to guide the palette for your tablescape.

If you’ve been thinking about new dishes, silverware, or glassware, now is the time to go for it as you gear up to entertain.

dining room with a credenza for extra storage

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4. Prepare a Serving Station

Half the challenge of entertaining is being present with your guests. Setting up a sideboard or a buffet where you can create a bar and a serving station for food, appetizers, and dessert means you won’t have to dash back and forth from the kitchen.

In a smaller dining room, try a simple bar cart topped with drinks and light nibbles.

How to choose a lamp

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5. Add Good Mood Lighting

Beyond candlelight, make sure your dining room is well-lit all around—overhead, along the walls, or a table lamp or two placed strategically on a buffet or a small table.

The idea is to have enough lighting around your dining room so that you can easily switch off a few to create a moody ambiance.

If you have a single pendant above the dining table, consider hanging a chandelier for a show-stopping light source that adds more sparkle. Learn more about what lighting to choose for a dining room with our guide to choosing a lamp!

leather chairs and a wood dining table make for an sleek but cozy vibe

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6. Warm Up Your Floors

A captivating rug is sure to set a cozy, festive note. Choose a low-pile option (one that’s not shaggy) in a color or pattern that draws focus to your dining table.

Or opt for a natural-fiber rug with a large-scale design that’s easy on the eyes and stands up to foot traffic. (These can also handle the occasional spill because let’s face it—it happens).

Not sure what kind of rug to get for your dining room (or if you need a rug at all)? Check out our guide to dining room rugs to learn more!

Get your dining room ready for hosting!

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