How To: Style a Dining Room

For as much as we love summer and hate to see it go, it’s hard to not get excited about Fall and all the upcoming holidays. We’ve already started collection pins of pumpkin decorations and new recipes to add to Thanksgiving dinner, which just lead us to thinking about how our dining rooms need some serious TLC. Whether you just need a few new accessories, a fresh coat of paint, or a whole new dining set we’re going to give you some tips on how to make your dining room one you’ll want to show off for the upcoming holiday season.


7-pc La Tourelle Dining Room Table Set

Who: Little kids versus just the adults? Cream linen chairs probably aren’t the best idea if tiny hands (or very clumsy grown-ups) are going to be smearing cranberry sauce on them at Thanksgiving. General rule of thumb when deciding on chair and table materials is to know your audience (and how much you want to spend on dry cleaning). You can also invest in a table cover or protective pad to ensure your dining table stays in pristine condition.

ImageWhile stunning, silver leafing and light upholstery where scratches and stains will easily show (and aren’t easily repaired) probably isn’t the most kid-friendly look. 7-pc Jessica McClintock Couture Silver Leaf Dining Set


Adding fun lighting and curtains prove you can still have a chic dining room even if you do need to more contentious of using materials, like metal and plastic, which can be wiped down easily.


How many: Decide the number of people who are going to be using your dining room frequently and that is going to be the best indicator of the table size and seating options best for you. Benches, side chairs, Parsons chairs, and arm chairs can all be combined to help you fit the most people in the size you have to work with.

ImageBenches work especially well if you are planning on several little kids being at the dinner table; they take up less space and don’t mind being bunched together. 7-pc Sundance Lake Trestle Table Dining Set


Size: Now that you’ve decided how many people are going to need to be accounted for, you have to know what size table to buy. Here are some general guidelines for rectangular and round dining tables.

Rectangular table

  • 4′ long seats 4
  • 5-6′ long seats 6
  • 7′ long seats 8
  • 8-9′ long seats 10
  • 10-11′ seats 12

Round table

  • 3′ with a pedestal base seats 4
  • 4′ with legs seats 4
  • 5′ with a pedestal base seats 6
  • 5′ with legs seats 4
  • 6′ with pedestal base or legs seats 8
  • 7′ with pedestal base or legs seats 9

Remember these are guidelines – you absolutely must measure your dining room and know how much space you have to accommodate a table and chairs. Also think about if you are going to want to add a buffet, china cabinet, curio cabinet, or bar to your dining room and how much space you have to play with.

ImageIf you have the space, this traditional dining room for six looks beautiful paired with the china cabinet and buffet for a classic look. 7-pc Capri Double Pedestal Dining Set


Types of leaves: Or if you only need a large table a few times a year, consider buying one with a leaf.

A butterfly leaf is a hinged leaf that is kept stored in the table and when stored, folded in half to resemble a resting butterfly. To reveal the leaf, you must pull open the table top and a gap will open to where the leaf is stored. Then the leaf can be opened at the center hinge to create the extra space that you need. The length of your table will vary but a typical butterfly leaf is 18 inches wide. A table with a drop leaf is a good option for people who frequently use need the extra space but do not want the hassle of having to assemble and un-assemble their table.

A drop leaf table has a hinge on the side, so that the leaf can easily be propped up when needed or hang down when you need the extra space.

ImageA drop leaf can be just as helpful for large spaces as it can for opening up small areas. 3-pc Waverly Place Drop Leaf Pedestal Table Dining Set

The most common type of leaf is a removable leaf; while it may be a little more inconvenient for those who are lacking storage space, it is a great option for those who need to be able to sit many additional people. A table with a removable leaf requires you to physically lift the whole leaf (not just table top like a butterfly leaf) to expand and create the gap where the leaf must be inserted. Depending on the brand, some dining tables can include multiple removable leafs of different sizes.

Dining room tables with a self-storing leaf are a good option for those who particularly need space in their dining room when the table is not in use. A self-storing leaf is very easy to use – simply pull the leaf out from the side of the table. Depending on the table, there can be up to four leafs, one for each side, making it a great option if you typically just need a small table but like having the extra room.


Tablescape: Get a quality tablecloth since this is your canvas for the rest of the items. White and cream are great bases because you can use them year round and they are the most easily updated with place settings. But don’t be afraid to get a color or pattern as well for when you want to mix it up. Glassware and dinner plates should be kept simple, think oversize white plates and crystal goblets. The napkins, flatware, salad plates, and centerpieces are where you can bring in different materials, colors, and design elements to reflect the season or occasion.







Style: Traditional, formal dining room sets aren’t the only options anymore. Mix materials, textures, and colors for something unique. By adding paint, lighting fixtures, window treatments, and any other decorative elements to make the dining room truly “yours”. Here are some totally different styles of dining rooms to give you a little inspiration.

ImageCoastal style isn’t necessarily about seashells and white washed wood. Tan upholstered chairs and the light Bali finish gives this set an easy, casual oceanside feel. 11-pc Tommy Bahama Ocean Club Dining Set



Not everything has to be perfectly matched. We love the white bamboo chairs paired with dark wood, the gray console table, and mixed metals.

ImageContemporary doesn’t have to mean futuristic.  The blue paint and rug make this dining room still feel homey white the clean lines and minimal details of the table and chairs still feels modern. 8-pc Delano Dining Set

If you have questions about dining room table sets or styles, please contact one of the Home Gallery Stores Design Consultants by calling 804-249-4444 and they would be happy to assist you.