Planning your Dining Room: Shapes & Sizes that will Work in your Style of Space

Not everyone has a formal dining room, but if you do, you know that some times it can be puzzling to try to decorate.  It seems so simple and boring almost...a table, chairs, maybe a server or china cabinet and that's it?  There's got to be more, right?!  Well yes, there is more!  But how much more and what that looks like can be different, depending on your style.  Traditional dining rooms are very different from urban and contemporary...and then there's always the eat-in kitchen.  So today we're going to discuss the basics of planning a dining room within different styles.  Hopefully it will help you when you're ready to complete your dining room makeover!

The first style and probably the most common for our parents generation is the traditional style dining room. As in most of America, the traditional style dining room follows the "bigger is better" mentality.  It's appropriate to have a large table and statement chairs as well as a chandelier and china cabinet.  If the space is large enough, you may have a server too.  In a traditional style, it's ok to have both...especially since you'll have lots to store! :)  Typically dining tables are rectangular or oval in a traditional style dining room and a rug is expected.  Since traditional typically follows the "more is more" mentality, you will need a large room--something like a 14'x16' space would be required to house all of that furniture!

Formal dining room

The second style which is probably more typical of the 30-something's is contemporary.  The furnishings in a contemporary style dining room tend to be smaller and less "heavy-feeling".  The rooms that house these style dining rooms can be smaller too--which is also more common among the 20-30 year olds who don't have giant houses and don't have large families yet who they invite over to dinner.  The contemporary style still has a table and chairs but may only have a sideboard...not the sideboard AND china cabinet. The chairs are not as large and the chandelier may not be quite so heavy and ornate.  One of the reasons that the furniture is smaller-scale and there is less of it is because younger generations just don't have as much they don't need as much storage. :)  A typical-size contemporary style dining room is usually 11'x12'.

Modern dining room

The final style is more of an open plan, eat-in kitchen/dining area.  Open plans are probably even more popular than a contemporary dining room.  These are great because they're casual but can also be dressed-up!  Usually these spaces don't have either a china cabinet or a sideboard.  Built-ins or creative storage is more typical.  Because of the house style that generally fits an eat-in kitchen/dinette, there is usually less wall space in these rooms as well!  Windows are more typical, making it hard to find a place for a tall storage piece.  Round tables or smaller rectangular tables are most often seen in the open-plan and most only have 4-6 chairs.  Since the furniture can really go a lot of different ways, there isn't a common space requirement for this style, however, you'll most likely want at least 3' of space around the table so that people can get in and get out comfortably.

open floor plan dining room

What type of dining room do you have?...or do you want?  Once you make that selection, make sure you have enough space!