Decorating & Design

July 18, 2019

Ask A Designer: How To Create A Fresh & Inviting Dining Room

In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her ideas for designing an inviting dining room.

Question: I want my dining room to be inviting and to have comfortable seating. I’m looking to change the furniture, lighting and wall color. I love white, blue and grey tones — what do you suggest?

Answer: You’ve certainly got a lovely large space to work with! To make your dining room more welcoming, I used designer Kate Lester‘s light-filled gathering place (below) as inspiration.

The first thing you need to do is scale up your rug and dining table to fill the space. Try a soft blue patterned rug…

(Source: Irvin Rug in Grey/Blue, Elte Mkt, from $267,

…and a large, farmhouse-style table for a casual feel.

(Source: Carlow Extendable Dining Table, Structube, $699,

Surround your dining room furniture with black Windsor-style armchairs and buy seat cushions or have them made. Choose performance fabric and ensure covers are removable so they can be laundered.

(Source: P119200 Chair in Black Espresso, Elizabeth Interiors, price available upon request,

A new Residential Lighting Installation can be a game-changer. Consider updating your recessed lights to more discreet, energy-efficient versions and have your electrician add a junction box centered above your table. A simple lantern chandelier will bring an intimate glow to the space.

(Source: Darlana Large Linear Chandelier, Structube, $1,910,

Next, brighten things up with a coat of paint. Opt for crisp white on the walls and a soft grey on the trim for subtle contrast. Your banister and railings can be painted black to tie in with the chairs.

(Source: Ready-to-Hang Inverted Pleat Drape Panel, Shop House & Home, $195,

Finally, hang drapery to soften the lines of the window. Install the rod at the top of the rectangular section and make sure it extends about 12 inches beyond the frame on both sides. This way, the drapery will sit off the window when open. Finish the look with a potted plant centerpiece on the dining table. These updates will give your dining room a breezy and inviting look that’s perfect for entertaining.

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to [email protected].

Author: Jennifer Koper

Lauren Pressey


House & Home February 2019


Kate Lester Interiors