Expert Advice for Updating That Outdated Dining Room

One of life’s challenges is that things get old. Paint fades, stuff wears out and decor themes that once seemed so right now seem so 10 years ago. But updating your dining room can be as easy as reconsidering the role, size and type of your room — and then deciding what stays and what goes. Whether you’re barely getting started or have room for improvement, here are some tips to improve your dining area design.

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Expert Advice for Updating That Outdated Dining Room

Furniture Function

Do you need a sturdy table for everyday use or an elegant showpiece for entertaining guests? If your dining room also serves as the hub of the home, you’ll need a distressed table top that’s strong enough for nicks and dings yet gentle enough to clean. For fancier tastes, opt for a more attractive dining room set, then use a breakfast nook for most family meals.

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Lighting it Up

Lighting can totally alter the tone and mood of the dining room. Focus on natural lighting. There are hundreds of window treatments from The Shade Store among other shops that can accommodate virtually any decorating scheme. Use light weight roman shades or drapery to suit the room’s decor while still allowing sunlight to shine through. Position mirrors at angles that will absorb light, adding depth and dimension to the room.

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Size Matters

The room’s dimensions and the number of people you want to sit at your table will determine the size and shape of the table you should use. Don’t let your space limit you; 42- to 60-inch halo tables can provide more people in a tighter space while a rectangular extension dining table can provide many guests in a long, narrow room. If you want your table to serve dual purposes, find one with a leaf so it can enlarge when company visits.

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You’ll need artificial lighting, as well. Because there are so many options to choose from — lamps, pendant, chandelier, recessed — explore all of the options to find what works best for your table and decor. suggests if you have a long dining table, consider using two pendant lights with identical designs to maintain the coherence and symmetry of the decor.

Chair Choices

Just as valuable as the table, your chair selection can make or break the look of your dining area. What fits with your style, serves the right purpose and meets your preferences: Ornate chairs that bring elegance to a basic table or a mix and match combo of traditional and modern chairs? Benches are also a popular choice, especially when trying to fit more people into a small space, such as in a breakfast nook. If you want upholstered wing-backed chairs for the host and hostess, check the height of the chair compared to the table before buying in case the two aren’t proportional.

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Downplay Negatives

Whether it’s air conditioner, radiator or unappealing view, use a decorative folding screen to hide an eyesore in your dining area. Metal or wicker baskets lined on a shelf or stacked in a bookcase can provide storage and manage everyday items, not out of mind but at least out of sight. Mount slender bookshelves horizontally to a wall to provide easy access and a ledge to place or display items.