Want to show off some personal style?
The dining room is a great place to dig in and get started. Here, our stylists give you a basic guide to finding what will work best for the look you want.
Serene Furniture: With a world of possibilities out there, warm colors and dark woods will help keep things comfortable. Add impact with hand-painted Eastern or African-inspired items. Anything with authentic, carved details or unusual hardware will fit right in.
Textiles: Look for window panels with a subtle pattern or print that you can layer with sheers. Chair cushions can have a shimmer. With those quieter touches, the rug can be your statement-maker.
On the Table: You can choose dinnerware and stemware with exotic details (like an etched animal print) or you can stick with the classic choices and let your table linens, napkin rings and centerpieces go wild. Don't feel compelled to stick to a certain country of origin. This is a global look, after all, and it will be more interesting if you blend elements from different cultures.
Accents: You're looking for pieces that really look out of the ordinary. Exotic animal figures are amazing ways to bring in that international atmosphere. If you have maps, lanterns or souvenirs from your travels, show them off. They're great conversation-starters. And just another reason your guests will love your global dining room.
Whimsical Pieces: A fun, lighthearted approach starts with softer colors. White wooden furniture, not necessarily from the same collection, is one way to go. Pieces with a distressed or antiqued finish work best. And you'll want to avoid darker shades that have a way of dominating a room.
Textiles: This is the place for combining patterns, colors and textures. A wool floral rug, silk-like window panels in a subtler pattern—stick with your palette and it can all play together, even with ruffled cushions.
Fun at the Table: Using lightly tinted glassware and hand-painted dinnerware, you can match or mix things for a quirky surprise. Table linens should be cheery, preferably in pastels. And anything that looks like it was discovered at an antique market or rescued from your great-grandmother's attic will make the almost-perfect centerpiece.
Details: There can never be enough flowers in a whimsical dining room. When adding wall décor, coordinate with florals but stay away from bright, graphic prints. Soft watercolors work well. Display the fun and unusual pieces you love. With these colors and floral theme, icons like birds, butterflies and dragonflies are natural complements.
The Familiar: It's classic, comfortable and inviting. In this room, the furniture blends together and colors aren't too bright or dark. You're after pieces with unique silhouettes but not too many embellishments. Bring in a sideboard for storage and an antique-inspired floor lamp for ambience.
Textiles: Think muted colors and richer fabrics. It'll be so easy to layer window panels and patterned sheers, or find tie-back cushions that blend with a hand-tufted rug. The subdued palette pulls it together.
The Timeless Table: When it's time to set the table, remember to keep things cozy. Even the stemware should be casual. Pick up a great set of matching dinnerware and neutral table linens or natural rattan chargers. That's all it takes for a great, classic place setting. The centerpiece can be understated and even a little unexpected, like a planter that's really a utensil holder.
Soft Touches: Complete the look with timeless but interesting details like carved wood candleholders, old hardcover books, topiaries, a simple but bold hand-painted canvas. Once everything's in place, stand back and evaluate. Does your dining room look totally homey? Then it's classic.
The Sleek Look: Modern doesn't have to mean stark and cold. Example? Sophisticated leather dining chairs are friendly and so comfortable that they almost beg for company. When choosing coordinating pieces, go geometric. Straight lines and circles are quintessentially modern.
Textiles: A thick shag rug in a neutral tone is further proof that modern can actually be soft. The effect you're going for here is understated, so the visual interest comes from contrast and textures. Rich silk window panels, a deep-pile rug or, if you want a lighter vibe, natural jute or bamboo can be interesting, too.
21st Century Table: Keep the geometric theme going with dinnerware. Forgo standard round plates and instead choose square or rectangular pieces. Keep colors dark and cool, but don't be afraid to include a pattern. And simple, clear glass is a staple of the modern look.
Accents: A few, well-chosen pieces, like geometric vases or glass sculptures, can add just the right amount of color. The goal is a careful blend of angular with curves, minimal embellishments in dark or cool tones. Once you're done, you'll have a contemporary space that's both interesting and inviting.
Ready to get more ideas? See more dining looks here. Or browse our dinnerware collections and table linens, plus rugs, home textiles and all the accents to complete the look.