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How to style a formal dining room

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A Small Formal Dining Room can be Big on Style

By Jessica Ackerman

While many newer homes have dining rooms that are smaller in scale than in years gone by, they can still be a much used well-decorated space that invites family and friends to spend time together sharing meals, laughter and good times. Having a dining space that is separated from the kitchen is what makes your dining room ‘formal’. You can decorate it in formal style if you wish, or you can use a more casual approach. The key is to keep it warm and welcoming, no matter its size.

Warm the Space with Color 

A small space will feel larger when painted in lighter tones, but the room doesn’t have to be stark white. Add a chair rail around the room and paint the wall below it in a deep neutral, such as taupe or sage green. Choose a lighter hue of the same shade for the walls above the chair rail and continue it to the ceiling. Or, choose a shade of white or off-white for the ceiling to make it appear taller. The chair rail will create a horizontal plane throughout the space that will make it appear wider and more expansive.

Furniture and Arrangement

A round table is a great choice for a smaller dining room because it allows you to accommodate more guests; with a round table, it’s always easy to pull up another chair. Speaking of chairs, no one will want to sit for long on spindly uncomfortable chairs that are anything but welcoming. So even if you don’t have room for larger upholstered chairs, comfortable cushions on rush or wooden chairs are a must. 

wall artIf you already own a rectangular table and it’s seems too large for the room, try arranging it on a diagonal. This will give you more room for a server or buffet on an adjacent wall and still give guests room enough to move about. 

Consider your wall space when choosing additional dining room furniture. An upright armoire or hutch style cabinet may be a better choice than a wide buffet if the available wall space is narrow. When shopping for furniture, take a scaled drawing of the room with you that designates windows and doorways so that the professional at the furniture store can help you choose appropriately sized pieces and
wall accessories

Choosing a Lighting Fixture

Consider the size of the room and your decorative style when picking a chandelier. A chandelier is simply a fixture that illuminates upwards with faux candles arranged in multiple arms, forming a beautiful
metal wall sculpture.
It does not have to be dripping with crystals, if that’s not your style. A beautiful wrought iron chandelier or a vintage inspired fixture with glass shades are just a hint of other options available. Browse the lighting department of a home improvement store as well as lighting specialty stores, internet sources and catalogs to get a good idea of the variety of styles, colors and sizes before you buy.

Choose a Stylish Wall Mirror

metl wall artA wall mirror will make your dining room seem bigger by reflecting light and space. Try one above a buffet or between a pair of candle wall sconces to add sparkle and dimension. You will find framed wall mirrors that will coordinate with any style or color and at every price. A well-chosen wall mirror is an important accessory for a smaller dining room and it will bring a welcome sense of graciousness and light to the room, especially in combination with appropriate models of
modern metal wall clocks
abstract mirror


Jessica Ackerman is the senior staff writer for WallDecorandHomeAccents.com – a unique wall art store specializing in
abstract metal art and  metal wall vases.


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