Gathering around the table should be about more than eating. It’s a chance to share an experience with good conversation and real connection. But when a space is uncomfortable, your family and guests might just dine and dash. Give them a reason to stay awhile with these ideas on how to make your dining room more welcoming.
When we buy a dining set, we usually focus on the aesthetics—not how it feels. If your chairs don’t lend themselves to lingering, consider replacing them with wider, more stable seats. Or you can change out the upholstery for something plusher. Changing up the fabric is also a chance to add warmer colors like reds, yellows, and oranges. These “autumn” shades can inject some energy for a livelier get-together.
A Round Table
Why have a “head” of the table unless you’re holding a corporate board meeting? While round tables aren’t traditional in dining rooms, there’s no rule against them. They put everyone on equal footing, take the pressure off guest placement, and make it easier to talk to everyone. You can always fit more people at the table, too, if you have surprise last-minute diners.
A magnificent chandelier is an impressive focal point. But it can also be distracting when you’re entertaining. Assess whether your lighting fixtures are enhancing your surroundings or dominating them. If they’re making the room too dim to see the food—or so bright that the diners are squinting—it’s time to adjust. And make sure the lighting fixture doesn’t hang so low over the table that people have to crane their necks to talk around it.
You don’t have to decorate with ornate, traditional furniture to create an elegant atmosphere. You can make your dining room more welcoming with lighter woods and even distressed finishes without making it look rustic. If the space seems dark or claustrophobic, lighten it up with light neutrals or even slip-covered chairs. Leave your window treatments simple to let the sun in, or put up some mirrors to reflect light and open up the room.