Always a room for creating a statement — chandeliers, grand tables, antique chairs — dining rooms have been serving a different practical function in 2020. But just because a space is a part-time home office, sometimes-entertainment room, and occasional classroom doesn’t mean that it can’t still sparkle. And whether or not you’re able to host guests in the same way, these spaces can still be the centerpiece of a beautiful evening well spent.

With that in mind, we gathered some of our favorite dining room pieces together for a showcase of must-have chairs, tables, lights, tabletop accessories, and much more. Be sure to watch our live webinar, Dining at Home – The Fall Preview, and browse a selection of our favorite pieces below. To shop our curators’ picks of everything you need for the dining room this season, click here.

Rosie Case dining room with lucite dining chairs and decorative wood columns
Courtesy of Rosie Case. Photography by Laurey Glenn.

Dining tables run the gamut, and quite a few of our faves step outside the ordinary. Mid-century modern expandable tables, delicately carved and rounded wood tables, and even full marble pieces are just a few of the one-of-a-kind options that have been catching our eye as of late.

Dining room with gold and crystal chandelier over classic wood dining table
Courtesy of Patrick Ahearn Architect. Photo by Greg Premru.

Lighting gives you an opportunity to switch things up with different types of pieces throughout the room. If you go for a chandelier, aim for a piece that measures about one-third the size of the table. And don’t forget the sconces when you’re thinking about dining room lighting.

Dining room with green floral wallpaper and rattan dining chairs
Design by Amy Aidinis Hirsch. Photo by MIXIT, Inc.

Chairs are an excellent way to change up your decor, and even make a contrasting statement to the room’s table. Consider a bench for one side of the table, or different types of chairs to change things up. You can even mix vintage and modern with the right selections.

Dining room with blue drapes and sculptural chandelier made of leaves
Design by Summer Thornton. Photo by Josh Thornton.

With rugs, think practically about usage and consider something that’s patterned. Darker is of course safer — only the truly bold (and red wine-abstinent) can consider light shades. Remember that rugs are sound-absorbing as well, which is an important feature if the dining room ever does double duty as a home office (not that we’d ever…).

Gray sideboard with matching metal yellow chairs and abstract pink painting
Design by Angela Blehm. Photo by Sara Dorio.

Dining room storage can take a number of delightful formats, including tall breakfronts, sideboards, and — our favorite — bar carts of all styles. These pieces can serve as storage for tabletop items as well as a way to display curios (and bottles).

Collection of pink glass champagne glasses and floral arrangement with candlesticks
Design by MA Allen. Photo by Stacey Van Berkel.

Maybe the most fun element of the design of a dining room is putting together the tabletop items. Think of it as an equation, where you can combine disparate plates, glasses, cutlery, napkin styles, centerpieces, and more to create a fabulous whole.

White and blue dining room with red floral arrangements and red lantern-style ceiling light
Design by Ashley Whittaker. Photo by Read McKendree.

Dining rooms are a classic way to display beautiful, elegant wallpapers and handpainted murals. If you’re thinking along more contemporary lines, consider choosing edgier, eye-catching art options in a dining room — nothing makes for a better conversation starter.

Table scape with pink glass wine glasses and silver vases and candlesticks
Design by Brockschmidt & Coleman. Photo by George Ross.

As with any room design, don’t forget the finishing touches. These “little luxuries” are the elements that make your space unforgettable and truly imbue a room with personality. Embrace antiques here, with candlestick holders, vases, trays, and even potted plant holders.

Kitchen with blue cabinets and wood counter stools with framed green painting
Design by Mendelson Group. Photo by Eric Piasecki.

And if you’re thinking outside the dining room and venturing into the kitchen, think about ways to rejuvenate your space with new counter stools, whether you’re choosing a newly made or vintage set. An update here can make for a less expensive refresh and keep things up to date.

September 8, 2020

Dennis Sarlo is the executive editor of Chairish and a lover of all things design-related. Prior to joining the team, he served as the executive editor of Dering Hall and was the first site director of Architectural Digest. He was also part of the founding team of travel startup Jetsetter. He lives in New York.