Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (2024)

By Mary Ann Pickett 39 Comments

You can do subtle things to make a traditional dining room set less boring…even if it is just one of the tips below. Many people have all matching dining room furniture…and well, that look can look a little dated.

This popular post has been updated for 2023 with fresh content, examples, and inspiration.

1. Paint

Consider breaking up traditional dining room sets a bit by painting your chairs, china hutch, or buffet.

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Harlequin Hall

We painted our 25-year-old chair set a white color to give them a fresh look. We used General Finishes Paint in Antique White. Now our son, Tommy has these chairs now.

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Or you could paint the inside of your china hutch, too as my client did.

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2. Change the Light Fixture

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R. Higgins Interiors

You can instantly refresh your dining room with modern lights. In fact, Visual Comfort has a huge selection of well-made fixtures that are 20% off right now.

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We have the transitional Camille chandelier (20% off with free shipping right now). I replaced the shades with wicker ones from Ballard.

Or take the little shades off your existing candelabra bulbs completely for a simpler look.

3. Re-upholster Your Chairs

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New upholstery on side chairs, host chairs, and new linear lighting.

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There are lots of performance fabrics out there now to recover your existing chairs. If you don’t have a designer, check out places like Ballard Design, Wayfair, Pottery Barn, or your local upholsterer. My daughter found her dining chair fabric on eBay.

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We reupholstered our WS Home dining bench (now it’s available in lots of performance fabrics) and armchairs in Sarong Weave indoor/outdoor fabric from Schumacher.

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More here: Five Steps For An Updated Dining Room

4. Add Upholstered Host Chairs To Your Traditional Dining Room Set

I especially love the Restoration Hardware chairs in performance fabric and on casters so that they are easy to move.

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5. Purchase A Textured Table Runner

Textured table runners can update your look. And take the protective cover off your traditional dining table to enjoy it every day.

6. Put Something Fresh, Like Plants, In Your Dining Space

7. Add Some More Modern Art To Tone Down Traditional Furniture

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Kara Cox Interiors

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Jane Spencer Design

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You may also find this post helpful: A Second Chance: How to Bring Your Old Furniture and Antiques Back to Life.

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That’s how to make traditional dining sets less boring to have some less formal dinner parties. Have you tried any of these?

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (18)Barb L says

    Great inspiration and ideas!

    Reply

  2. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (19)Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns says

    So many great and doable ideas Mary Ann. A change can be as simple as a can of paint, it can go on the walls, furniture, and ceiling. Art is easy to find and brings lots of character and color.
    Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

  3. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (20)Gail says

    You always share the best ideas, I loved every one of these suggestions on how to update your dining room. I recently changed out the light fixture and drapery panels and am planning on adding a new art grouping on one wall of contemporary photographs from my niece who is a very talented photographer. Thank you for continuing to inspire me with your wonderful talent for design.

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (21)Mary Ann Pickett says

      That sounds amazing, Gail. I’d love it if you sent me a photo!

      Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (23)Mary Ann Pickett says

      That could be nice for when you make your table into an oval.

      Reply

  4. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (24)Patti says

    We are undertaking a huge remodeling project as well, and deciding whether or not to keep the formal Pennsylvania House cherry DR set, with the china cabinet/buffet, and a darker Persian rug (red/blues) that I still like. I think it will make a difference to paint the room a lighter color, and we are wondering if we should remove the chair rail as well. I love the idea of painting the furniture tho my husband is not keen on that idea if we keep the furniture. Or maybe change the hardware? Tough decisions. Your ideas are great; thank you.

    Patti

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (25)Mary Ann Pickett says

      Lightening up will help. If you don’t remove the chair rail, you could paint it the same color as the walls (and the trim too).

      Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (26)Carmelina Mattera says

      Patti, My husband felt the same way about our traditional China cabinet we purchased about 30 years ago. During covid, when I had to stop work for a couple of weeks, I made the decision to paint it with chalk paint and he loves it. It has visually lightened up the whole room. Our dining room table belonged to my great aunt and was probably bought in the 1930’s so I would never paint it, but I might paint our 30 year old dining room chairs! Good luck

      Reply

      • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (27)Mary Ann Pickett says

        My mom made a good point about the fact that you should love your furniture. Plus the Chinese have been painting furniture for years.

        Reply

  5. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (28)Jenny Grandfield says

    Love the idea of baskets on top of the china hutch!!! We keep puzzles and games up there and it looks messy. What a great way to hide them!! Thanks Mary Ann!

    Reply

  6. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (29)retro dining chairs says

    Beautiful round up of dining rooms. I’m having a hard time picking a favorite. Loving all of them.This might be my new aesthetic for my dining room. Thank you so much for sharing!

    retro dining chairs

    Reply

  7. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (30)Lamis says

    Hi, I have an old dining room set that I will like to make it lessborning. I like your ideas but still not sure from where to begin. Any help !

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (31)Mary Ann Pickett says

      Get rid of something so that it’s not all matching.

      Reply

      • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (32)Joanna says

        Add upholstered chairs. They are more comfortable to sit on for conversation around the dinner table and break up that set. Another simple suggestion is to remove the top part of your china cabinet. It gives it a more modern look.

        Reply

        • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (33)Mary Ann Pickett says

          Yes! Good ideas! And if you remove the top of the china cabinet, you could put a stone top on it from a remnant piece.

          Reply

  8. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (34)Julie A Landau says

    Hello: The pretty blue strip upholstery chairs are exactly what I have been searching for. Can you please tell me the name and maker of that fabric?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (35)Mary Ann Pickett says

      It’s John Robshaw for Duralee Atar Stripe Turquoise.

      Reply

      • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (36)Julie A Landau says

        Thank you for the quick response!!!! Your site is amazing!!!

        Reply

  9. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (37)LA CONTESSA says

    Do you have another photo of the white chair on rollers from RH you can show me all the way to the floor?
    I need to replace the husbands chair it is threadbare!!!!!!!
    I”LL PAY YOU!!!

    AND I have the perfect person for your abstract ART work!Her name is KATIE Korotzer she is a new neighbor and in Garden Club with me!Take a look I love her colors!!!SHe has a website so GO THERE!!!!

    SO lets go down and play with CINDY!Shall we plan and DATE?
    XX

    Reply

  10. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (38)Geri says

    I love your dining room chairs and your daughter is smart to request them when you no longer want them😍 May I ask about he fabric you used on them? Where did you find it and does it have a name? Thank you for your time.

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (39)Mary Ann Pickett says

      I got it at a discount fabric store…and bought the last few yards of a discontinued China Seas fabric…sorry!

      Reply

      • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (40)Geri says

        😂😂😂lucky you! Thank you❤️

        Reply

  11. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (41)linda Salazar says

    Hi Mary Ann, I detest my traditional pine matching dining room set…but I just bought some bedroom & living room furniture over the last year so I have to wait awhile. We might remodel in the next few years or move so I don’t think it would be the best idea to buy something right now anyway. In the meantime I have tried to make my hutch and buffet a little interesting with shells and coral and some other items. We recently painted the dining room a neutral color, it took me awhile to get my husband on board but now he likes it. We are trying to find some new artwork, something more modern…that’s why I asked you a couple weeks ago about the abstract painting in your entryway. 😊
    Linda

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (42)Mary Ann Pickett says

      Sounds like you are going in the right direction, Linda!

      Reply

      • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (43)Linda SAlazar says

        I also recently bought a cream colored Chilewich table runner which does look good!

        Reply

  12. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (44)cindy says

    Great ideas! I love your dining room whatever you do! The gorgeous view sure doesn’t hurt either. I think I need to take some of your advice and spiff up my dining room!

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (45)Mary Ann Pickett says

      Your dining room looks great, Cindy!

      Reply

  13. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (46)Karen says

    Mary Ann,
    Such pretty inspiration. I’m having cushions made for my harp back English chairs. I still love them but need a little change and a little more seating comfort!
    xo,
    Karen

    Reply

  14. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (47)cheryl says

    Great ideas Mary Ann! I am one who has a good quality dining “set” I wanted to change things up, so I did add a new chandelier, and found some great dining chairs at a hospital thrift store to change the look. Keeping the old chairs in storage for extra seating.

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (48)Mary Ann Pickett says

      Sounds like you know what you are doing!!

      Reply

  15. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (49)Steep_learning_curve says

    Thanks Mary Ann for another great blog… you never disappoint! Can’t wait to try this salad and get out my paintbrush!

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (50)Mary Ann Pickett says

      Ha! I need to get my paint brush out to touch up some walls around here.

      Reply

  16. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (51)home before dark says

    I went radical and got rid of my dining room!! I gave away the table that could and did seat 10. I lined the walls with bookcases and filled the bookcases with books—solidly filled with books— a few spaces not filled with books is gallery style art I have collected through the years. The new table is a 54″ round covered with stacks of books. The walls and bookcases are black and the carpet is leopard. Two new leather chairs by the fire and I call it my library where we sometimes eat meals. When you are almost 70, you no longer care what other people think.

    Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (52)Mary Ann Pickett says

      Oh my gosh, that sounds wonderful!! So cozy and useful.

      Reply

    • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (53)ChrisTIne M. says

      I love your idea! I got rid of my dining table (we never used it for dining) and I made a little seating area where I could Relax, read books, listen to music and escape from the world. I too am in my 70s and enjoy being who I am and doing what I want, not what other people think I should be.

      Reply

      • Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (54)Mary Ann Pickett says

        Wow…I’d love to see a photo of the space.

        Reply

  17. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (55)Taste of France says

    The heavy, bulky, upholstered chairs look more stodgy because there are so many of them (8!!!) and they are so big. Everything about that room, including the wall color, was dark and Serious. It is far better, even with the same chairs, when they are in a lighter color. Even the Studio McGee photo has rather heavy chairs with dark upholstery, but there’s space between them to breathe.
    Your chairs, by contrast, are smaller and lighter visually, and making them lighter in hue just adds to the more modern feel and airiness. I love the look of mismatched brocante chairs, but having identical chairs can be visually calming, with the repetition. You give great advice about tweaks to make the most of what someone has, rather than throwing it out for something different.

    Reply

  18. Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (56)Calypso in the Country says

    These are great ideas with such beautiful inspiration photos. I am one of those people with matching dining room furniture but I repainted the room last year and freshened it up to make it look less dated. I have been meaning to change the head chairs to something different so it was helpful to see your examples as a reminder! Pinned!
    Shelley

    Reply

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Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home (2024)

FAQs

Seven Ways To Make Your Traditional Dining Room Less Boring | Classic Casual Home? ›

Just as others have said--if you update the rug and light fixture it will make a huge difference. Another thing I always recommend to my clients when they want to do small updates to their dining rooms is add host chairs--it's amazing what a difference it can make.

How can I make my dining room more homely? ›

How Can I Add Warmth To My Dining Room?
  1. Warm coloured furniture. ...
  2. Add warmth to the walls. ...
  3. Play with textiles. ...
  4. Don't forget window treatments. ...
  5. Warm things up with lighting. ...
  6. Choose the right layout. ...
  7. Enjoy comfortable seating. ...
  8. Use natural materials.

How do you make a traditional dining set look more modern? ›

Just as others have said--if you update the rug and light fixture it will make a huge difference. Another thing I always recommend to my clients when they want to do small updates to their dining rooms is add host chairs--it's amazing what a difference it can make.

How can I make my dining room more usable? ›

Use Your Entire Space

Stick a space-efficient china cabinet in an empty corner of your dining room. This way, you can add storage space without occupying too much room. You can also turn your kitchen and dining room supplies into décor and hang them on your walls to add more space.

How do I update an old dining room set? ›

If you're looking for inspiration to refresh your dining room decor, here are some ways to get started!
  1. Refresh with paint. ...
  2. Purchase a new dining room set. ...
  3. Switch up the dining chairs. ...
  4. Add a rug. ...
  5. Create a gallery wall. ...
  6. Add some lighting. ...
  7. Hang new curtains. ...
  8. Add plants.
Mar 19, 2024

How do you make a traditional room look modern? ›

An easy way to make a traditional living room look more modern is to accent with modern decor pieces such as area rugs, lighting, black-and-white photography or contemporary art.

How can I make my dining room look more expensive? ›

7 Simple Ways To Make Your Dining Room Look Expensive
  1. Eschew The Expected. ...
  2. Make At Least One Bold Choice. ...
  3. Show Off Your Favorite Serving Pieces. ...
  4. Add a Statement Chandelier. ...
  5. Emulate Your Favorite Restaurant. ...
  6. Create an Artistic Focal Point. ...
  7. Find the Perfect Rug.
Sep 29, 2015

What to do in a dining room that is not being used? ›

Turn that unused space into an office, a library/reading nook, or a second living space just for the kids! You could always throw a folding table in there if you ever find yourself in need of a large table to host a meal on. But until then, make the room a spot you will love and use.

How to modernize a traditional dining room table? ›

8 Ways to Refresh the Look of an Existing (Old/Boring/Not You) Dining Table
  1. Paint it a bold hue. ...
  2. Refinish the top. ...
  3. Distract with chairs. ...
  4. Forget chairs. ...
  5. Add a pretty tablecloth. ...
  6. Install an eye-catching light fixture. ...
  7. Set it. ...
  8. Replace the base.
Jul 27, 2023

How can I make my room feel homely? ›

How to make a large living room cosy
  1. Use large rugs. ...
  2. Add oversized mirrors. ...
  3. Go dramatic with curtains. ...
  4. Layer your lighting. ...
  5. Stick to warm or bold colour palettes to add depth and vibrancy. ...
  6. The magic of metallics. ...
  7. Go foraging for inspiration. ...
  8. Add atmosphere with candles.

How do I make my kitchen diner feel cozy? ›

How to make a kitchen look cosy
  1. Since kitchens see a lot of action every day, they have to be hard wearing and practical spaces, but that doesn't mean they can't be a place for relaxing and unwinding in too. ...
  2. Ambient lighting. ...
  3. Use warm, natural materials. ...
  4. Add a rug. ...
  5. Personal décor. ...
  6. Create soft spaces and nooks.

How can I make my restaurant more cozy? ›

5 Tips for Creating a Warm and Inviting Restaurant Interior
  1. Pay attention to the colours you use in your restaurant's décor. ...
  2. Incorporate natural elements into the design. ...
  3. Utilise lighting to set the mood. ...
  4. Choose furniture that is both comfortable and stylish.
Mar 3, 2023

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