The secret ingredient to creating a truly magical dining experience for your guests (and yourself, of course) is to find a style that suits your hosting needs and your home perfectly.
There are practical factors to consider, of course—the size of the table required, the number of chairs needed and whether you might benefit from an extendable table or one with storage facilities—but sometimes it’s best to just start by identifying the style you want for the space.
Think of what will fit with the rest of your home—most importantly the adjoining rooms—how you plan to use the space and the type of guests you will host. Whether your dining room serves as an intimate space for gatherings with close friends, a deal brokering hub to wine and dine business associates or a warm space to share with the entire family, it’s got to be tailored to you.
Image Credit: Taylor Howes
The look: Subtle glamour with a penchant for comfort
Perfect for: Dinner parties which turn into after-dinner drinks
Glamour doesn’t overrule in this style, but it does give it the luxurious sensibility which underpins the look. Comfortable chairs are a must and are usually upholstered tactile fabrics in smart tones; tables are subtle statement-makers; and lighting is well-chosen and reminiscent of a deluxe eatery. Golden touches don’t hurt, but are always combined with clean lines and cool silhouettes like this halo chandelier.
"Tip: Channel slick styling with clean accents, comfortable upholstery and a unique sculptural light fitting.
Image Credit: Bernhardt
The look: A crisp palette and timeless silhouettes
Perfect for: Formal dinner parties
Classic by name, classic by nature—this is the exemplar for all luxury dining rooms and a great choice for a host or hostess with the most. It’s the quintessentially pristine dining room and one which all guests will wonder over how you ever manage to keep it so perfect. Furniture is elegant, chairs are beautifully upholstered in timeless materials and accents are kept simple—a posy of pure white blooms is perfect. A word of warning—keep spaghetti bolognese off the menu.
"A classic look will never date—it’s designed to be as stylish in twenty years as it is now.
Image Credit: Katharine Pooley
The look: Ornate details, striking table arrangements and golden touches
Perfect for: Making a statement
Brands which do it well: Isabella Costantini, LuxDeco
Guests expect a show of a meal with this style of dining room as its backdrop. Here, it’s all about creating a lavish display and pairing it with an equally impressive dinner. Don’t be scared of oversized proportions, but keep upholstery simple to maintain a sophisticated aesthetic. Materials are high gloss and lighting is key. A statement crystal chandelier (the pièce de résistance) like in this Katharine Pooley interior can add sparkle.
"Treat your guests to a meal of show-stopping proportions with glitzy additions to rival the most spectacular of restaurants.
Image Credit: Sarah Lavoine
The look: Confidence in laid-back style
Perfect for: The informal counterpart to a formal dining room
Brands which do it well: Alga
Proving that a relaxed look can be just as luxurious, this style is characterised by an inherent informality but always with a refined element. Furniture might be elegant, but it’s also easy-upkeep making it a great place for early daytime meals or a suitable work or study station. A self-contained dining set up is a lovely addition to a kitchen and allows the host to keep an eye on the food whilst staying part of the meal. Well-designed furniture which doesn’t have to try hard and a nonchalant aesthetic are mainstays of this style.
"Luxury needn’t equal formal. Refined silhouettes with a casual twist and natural materials work just as well.
The look: Bleached woods, linen upholstery and natural touches
Perfect for: Airy, open-plan conversions
Brands which do it well: Bernhardt, LuxDeco
A popular dining room style choice, the country look is nothing if not familiar and welcoming which is what so many people want for their home, no less their dining room. An airy open plan conversion makes a great site for this kind of style, but it also lends very well to spaces which aren’t found in the country. Its penchant for relaxed furniture and tableware makes it a comfortable alternative to more formal designs.
"Tip: An open plan kitchen/dining area is a particular favourite for this style so opt for traditional appliances and fittings to complete the look.
Image Credit: Carlyle Designs
The look: Antique furniture decorated by beautiful carving and gilded framed art
Perfect for: Spaces with high ceilings and original cornicing
Dignified and classy, a traditional dining room like this one is ideal for those antique lovers or those who enjoy mixing antiques in with modern furniture, at the very least. The look can be rendered in classic suity tones like this Carlyle Design scheme or in more delicate pastels, making the look pretty versatile. What shouldn’t be compromised however is a handsome dining table and chair set.
This is a style that sometimes benefits from an eclectic mindset and things like a mismatched dinner service or unusual combinations of centrepiece objets wouldn’t feel out of place.
"Bring a touch of the classical design into your space with beautifully crafted antiques and a conversation-starting art collection.
Image Credit: AB Concept
The look: Traditional Oriental shapes with modern touches
Perfect for: Cultural without being thematic
Add an unexpected element to your space with a modern-day take on the ever-loved interior design style which was favoured heavily in the 18th century. Modern artwork depicting Asian elements in an updated way, inspired furniture silhouettes and high gloss—reminiscent of Chinoiserie’s gloss lacquered furniture—breathes a breath of fresh air into the look without being too thematic. Unusual objets and eye-catching lighting sculptures contribute to the aesthetic.
"A favourite of the fashionable contingent, this style is all about a contemporary rethink of the favoured style. Perfect the look by pairing unique modern artwork by Asian artists and craftspeople.
The look: Stately formal dining room set, wall and ceiling mouldings and fine China tableware
Perfect for: Grand dining rooms with high ceilings
This kind of dining room is the setting you’d imagine a special family dinner to happen in, including the annual Christmas dinner. Well-suited to and usually found in homes with generous proportions, this look handles rich woods and grand silhouettes very well. A suite of dining furniture is a clever way to fill a space and make it more intimate. Its traditional air may even call for the conventional dining room staples of a china cabinet and a buffet or sideboard.
"This look is perfect for a period home thanks to its formality and grand proportions.
Image Credit: Tollgard Group
The look: Clean and sharp with a focus on design
Perfect for: Letting the food do the talking
This is a no fuss, no muss kind of dining experience which allows the focus to remain on the meal (which should be appropriately conceptual). Silhouettes are discreet but always considered. For example, usually this style incorporates statement modern seating. It’s an inherently cool style with contemporary material combinations being used (comfortable upholstered dining chairs with a marble dining table is a favourite look) and tableware which displays the food in an optimal way.
"Finish this look off with an amazing piece of modern art or an eye-catching light installation.
Image Credit: LuxDeco
The look: Raw woods and a country aesthetic
Perfect for: Creating a warm space
Brands which do it well: Eichholtz, LuxDeco
You can’t help but be drawn to the warmth of the rich materials and natural elements of this style. Carpentry is at its finest here with joints and hardware on show for a desirably artisanal touch. This is contrasted with organic accents and tones in what becomes an unexpectedly harmonious style. Wood and leather work well in a room like this as does unrefined metal in keeping with the imperfect aesthetic.
"This thoroughly masculine alternative to conventional dining options is noted for its organic appeal.
Header Image: Louise Bradley