Dining in can take many a form—at counters, on couches, in chairs, or on floors. But there’s just something about a statement dining room that feels fancy any night of the week.
Paint colors, light or dark, set a mood. Details like light fixtures, rugs, or dinnerware can turn things up a notch. The table and chairs naturally take center stage. For ideas on how to bring it all together in various marvelous ways, look no further than some of our favorite dining rooms from our weekly home tours column, House Calls, rounded up below.
We went one step further and pulled out a few key pieces used in each space (or similarly styled items) that you can purchase. Happy feasting!
To catch a glimpse of designer Michael Yarinsky’s dining room, all you have to do is peek through the amoeba-shaped hole in the living room wall. Natural light, plants, and exposed brick offer a neutral backdrop to a dramatic black table—a modified Reform kitchen panel—surrounded by dining chairs by Folke Pålsson. His tablescapes often include the likes of Broste plates, Amelia Black bowls, CB2 flatware, Ferm Living glassware, Louise Roe mugs, an Anderssen & Voll candlestick, and a Workaday Handmade serving bowl.
Originally designed by Folke Pålsson, the J77 chair was part of Hay’s 2011 relaunch of Danish furniture classics originally made for FDB, the Danish Consumers’ Cooperative Society.
The Ripple Glass is a chic, stackable vessel that looks just as good on the shelf as it does on a dining table. Available in glass or smoke colors, it’s also dishwasher safe.
This goes-with-everything flatware set comes with four 5-piece place settings, and the handles will surely feel weighty in the hand.
Maddy Barnas likes the hunt, and she can often be found rifling through vintage stores for antique rugs or just the right chair. In her and Evan Dickerson’s Indianapolis home, the dining room draws from a mix of eras—a burled wood table from CB2 and chairs from vintage Art Design International Inc., sourced from Everything But The House (EBTH) draw to mind the ’70s. A Nichols Style Chinese Art Deco vintage rug, also from EBTH, is underfoot, while a contemporary light fixture from Rejuvenation hangs above. The room gets a moody edge thanks to floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving painted with Valspar Nocturnal Green and finished with gold CB2 pulls.
Designed by Milan-Based Euga Design Studio, this burl table is named after ancient Roman aqueducts, and pairs just as well with formal dining chairs as it does with more casual ones.
Designed in collaboration with Michelle Steinback of Cedar & Moss, this elegant take on a chandelier offers direct lighting below and diffused light from the top.
While an antique Chinese Art Deco rug might be hard to source, reproductions of the style are available widely, like this version at Home Depot.
Serene and minimal were the guiding principles for Smitharc’s design for Matt Ellis and Sheila Lee’s home in Durham, North Carolina. While some elements of the house nod to vernacular architecture in the area, the interiors are contemporary and spare. The couple and their two children often congregate in the open kitchen and dining area, which is outfitted with vintage Saarinen Executive armchairs and a Lakin dining table from Crate & Barrel, all under three brass Semi pendants by Bonderup & Thorup for Gubi.
Why decide between modern and farmhouse when this table ties them together as one?
One modern pendant to rule them all: The Gubi Semi Pendant is a modern classic you’ll see in restaurants across the world.
If they fit around your dining table, chairs with arms are an extra-comfortable option and invite people to linger longer.
The dining room in Amantha Walden and Nick Weidenfeld’s circa-1949 Hollywood Hills home is an ode to Walden’s childhood. A set of Cherner chairs sit around a vintage table she inherited from her parents, and a light fixture from GALLERY L7 hangs overhead. Gold feather wallpaper covers the walls behind a set of portraits of Walden made by artist Joe Bowler from age 3 to 18.
Originally designed by Norman Cherner in 1958, this classy bent plywood chair became incredibly popular after it appeared in Norman Rockwell’s 1961 painting The Artist at Work.
Designed by Antonina Vella for York Wallcoverings, the lightly golden swath of feathers makes a lovely backdrop for a gallery wall, and can lend a luxe feeling to the dining room.
An metallic, angular chandelier pairs up just right with dining chairs that sport curves and a dark wood vintage table.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, print designer Renee Shortell, artist EJ Herczyk, and their daughters have made a home in a renovated 1800s house that was once owned by John Graham, who was the design director for NBC in the ’60s. The kitchen and dining area exudes old European vibes, but is brought into the modern era with CB2 benches and vintage Paul McCobb Planner Group chairs from Mode Moderne that sidle up to a CB2 dining table.
Hairpin legs get an angular update on this dining table, which can be a good foil to countryside surroundings.
Mix-and-match chair and bench seating at the dinner table to keep things casual and visually interesting.
Vintage Paul McCobb Planner Group chairs are sleek enough, but in black, the silhouette really pops.
Photo stylist David Anger and his husband Jim Broberg’s Minneapolis home is bursting with color and midcentury modern shapes, but their dining room is a study in restraint. The yellow and pink in an Andy Warhol print provides a soft backdrop for classic Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs surrounding the dining table. A light fixture from Ikea hangs overhead, while an Arne Jacobsen floor lamp is tucked in the corner.
Designed in 1949 by Dane Hans Wegner and produced since 1950 by Carl Hansen & Søn, the Wishbone Chair is still hand woven from paper cord.
A simple light fixture change can update an entire room—and each Höljes pendant light is slightly different since the glass is mouth-blown.
Appropriately named Kaleido, this tray comes in a variety of colors, as well as shapes, that can create different displays on the dinner table or in a cocktail spread.
Kamissa Mort and Elizabeth Edwards’s Robert Rummer home in the Vista Brook/Bohmann Park neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, has that enviable indoor-outdoor-living vibe. It features floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto gardens, an atrium, and an open-format living/dining/kitchen space that required very little work to spiff up when they moved in. The dining room features pieces by West Elm, Design Within Reach, and Rejuvenation.
One of the most affordable seating options from Design Within Reach, the Shaker-style Salt Chair is as simple and clean as design can be.
When purchased in walnut, this dining table plays nicely off other midcentury-style pieces, whether vintage or new.
If a credenza reads too “time capsule,” try using this bookcase as a storage space for plates, extra flatware, and other entertaining essentials.
The Bed-Stuy apartment of Adam Squires and Sofia Alvarez is housed in an old chocolate factory, and it’s got all the hallmarks of loft living, but supercharged. A duplex with expansive common space, soaring ceilings, and several nooks in which to nestle private rooms, it offered enough raw edges to take on a project here and there, but not so many that the couple would need to embark on a full-tilt renovation. The dining area is in the middle of it all, an old schoolhouse table flanked by Era chairs by Michael Thonet. A Rich Brilliant Willing pendant above keeps things whimsical and wonky, because there’s no need to get too serious.
The Era chair by Michael Thonet brings a certain sense of French cafe elegance to any dining room.
A statement chandelier if there ever was one, the Palindrome 6 isn’t just a light fixture: It’s a functional sculpture.
Complete a bold or eclectic look with this colorful patterned rug—or let it be the low-lying accent piece in a more subdued space.