When food critics go to a restaurant, they judge the place based on three criteria: food, service, and atmosphere. Most likely, your home isn’t a restaurant, and the guests you invite over for dinner probably aren’t food critics. Even so, if you want your houseguests to have a good experience, there are some principles to keep in mind.
Food and service are easy enough. Order takeout if you can’t cook, and don’t be rude. The atmosphere takes a little more effort and forethought, though. Our tips for creating an elegant dining room will help you form an ambiance your guests will talk about long after the dinner is over.
When dressing up your dining room walls, the conversation usually centers around choosing the best paint color and then ends there. But if you want to add an extra air of sophistication, having molding will add an aristocratic feeling to your space. Other than baseboards, here a few molding options you may consider:
- Crown molding: This runs along the edge of the ceiling.
- Picture frame molding: This is a square-shaped molding that floats in the center of the wall like a frame.
- Chair rail: This is a thin trim. It runs along the wall approximately 30 inches from the floor.
- Wainscotting: This is decorative millwork that you usually place below where a chair rail would be.
- Picture rail: This is a thin trim as well. It runs along the wall approximately one foot below the ceiling.
Artwork and elegant décor are basically synonymous. However, art can become tacky or overwrought if you don’t make a tasteful selection and arrangement for a space. Keep these principles in mind when adding art to any room:
- Choose art that compliments the rest of the room in color and style.
- Avoid hanging art on every inch of free wall space. Leave space between art pieces across the room or arrange them in a cluster on a single wall.
- Make sure the art pieces don’t hinder guests’ ability to navigate the space.
- Consider using practical art pieces, such as a mirror with a decorative frame.
If you want more art in a room but lack the space, consider choosing furniture pieces or other structures with decorative elements. Examples include carved chairs or marble countertops. Your furniture and fixtures will become your room’s art.
Light in a room serves a practical purpose—it makes the room feel larger and more welcoming, not to mention adding to the presentation of the food itself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also give your lighting an artistic flair as a way to create a more elegant dining room. Chandeliers are the obvious go-to for classy lighting. But consider geometric light fixtures paired with recessed lighting for a more modern look.