Contemporary homes demand sleek, streamlined and sophisticated dining room designs. The idea of a dining room has evolved over the years. Many homeowners today prefer an open kitchen concept which affects what "dining room design" means to them. However, this doesn’t mean that the idea of a separate dining room is extinct altogether.

There are still many people that still idealize and love the concept of hosting dinners, birthday parties and holiday celebrations for family and friends in a dedicated dining area. Whether you have a preference for more formal dinner parties or your approach to mealtimes is more relaxed and fun, how you decorate your dining room will can have a significant impact on its aura and the mood of your guests. 

Having said that, we have put together a bunch of dining room decor ideas and design rules that will help you bring a little contemporary flair into your dining experience - whether you are starting from scratch or updating an old room. But before we dig deep into the tips and tactics, let’s first understand how a modern dining room differs from a traditional dining setting.

While a traditional dining room features rigidity and formality, a modern dining room is more focused on flexibility. A traditional dining room design has to adhere with strict long-standing rules and refrains from the idea that everything should be matching. On the other hand, a modern dining room is driven by practicality.

Taking more about contemporary dining room ideas, many home owners are also adopting the idea of creating multipurpose dining spaces by combining a library and a dining room, which would have seemed absurd years ago.


TIP #1 – Get Creative with Light, Color and Texture

The right lighting can create a great contemporary vibe in your otherwise traditional dining room. Many traditional dining rooms tend to have a cavelike, dark atmosphere which certainly doesn’t help to create an inviting, comfortable vibe for the room.

Simple changes like opting for an eye-catching pendant light fixture can open up the space and add a sculptural presence to the room. You can find modern pendant lighting in a variety of styles, sizes and finishes in the market – from contemporary copper to vintage enamel. If your dining room lacks natural light, add ambient lighting fixtures where needed. By hanging a group of pendant lights over your Amish dining table or breakfast bar, you can create a focal point in your dining room while a dimmer switch can help control the mood. 

Whether you choose to make a statement with a single pendant light or bring in ambient lighting to improve the sense of warmth and depth of the room, implementing functional yet attractive lights can go a long way to spruce up the aesthetics and mood of your dining room and can even make a small space appear larger if selected carefully.


For a traditional dining room that features a set of cherry furniture with same color cabinets, incorporating different tones of wood and a couple of textiles will add depth and dimension to the dining room setting. A good way to start is to incorporate Amish dining furniture with a couple of table runners in classic white or a stylish pattern. 

Jet black accents, metals, glasses, carpet tiles, white napkins with gray borders and a wallpaper inspired by silver birch or white and red faux brick are some other elements that can add more form and definition to your dining space while creating a scheme that is timeless and elegant.


Forgo an overload of color for a combination of timeless neutrals including white, gray, black and cream, which can be used in dinnerware, drapery, rug and curtains. Using a palette of primary colors on the walls, floor and furniture is also a great way to instantly add a modern element and pull off a striking effect in a dining room space. If you are a fan of bold hues, vivid hints of red and bright yellow when implemented creatively in textiles and art, can introduce a welcome burst of energy and flamboyance.

TIP #2 – Update the Old Stuff without Breaking the Bank

Perhaps you don’t have the budget for entirely new dining room furniture. Or maybe you have inherited authentic American-made Amish furniture from your ancestors which you are not willing to replace. The good news is there are many inexpensive ways to give a modern twist to your traditional dining room setting without letting your beloved furniture go.

  • Paint your old dining furniture deep jewel tones like navy blue or royal blue for an instant aesthetic boost.
  • Swap two head chairs or all of the chairs if needed with upholstered chairs in a contrasting shade to break up all the wood tones.
  • Keep your traditional armchair, but replace the old-fashioned fabric on the seat with something like marble-inspired or leopard textured fabric. Carefully adding textures in your chairs to contrast with your backdrop, like a large floral print on dining chairs with plain curtains, will provide a striking statement to the setting. Alternatively, you can consider removing chairs on one side to place a bench to bring a subtle change without replacing your traditional furniture.
  • If you have a chandelier too traditional for your taste, consider hanging two more chandeliers at different heights for a quick contemporary touch.

TIP #3 – Bring in New Elements

Even on a shoes-string budget, you will still be willing to spend on some new pieces that can make a big difference in your dining room.

  • Have an oriental rug that reads too formal? Replace it with a black-and-white rug that will add a crisp modern note to the room or a large woven rug to define the dining area with an elegant texture. It depends on your color scheme whether you opt for a neutral rug or a bright piece.
  • Instead of a high hutch that goes with your dining set, place a buffet or bar cart in your dining space with a large mirror over top for a unique statement.
  • If you are planning to replace your old dining table, consider picking a live edge, raw and rustic table. For more of contemporary sophistication, opt for a sleek, modern design.


Which new pieces you choose to add to your dining room or what updates you make to your old furniture will significantly affect how you and your guests will feel in that space when your all gather to share meals and celebrate over the holidays or special occasions. Whether you introduce a contemporary theme to your entire dining room or consider pairing modern, traditional and transitional styles so that you don’t have to let go of your heirloom pieces, remember that it’s about creating a dining space that meets your comfort and functionality and brings joy to everyone present in the room.

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