Dining rooms are like the bald eagles of the design world: once endangered (no doubt due to the popularity of trendy open-plan living and kitchen spaces over the last decade) but slowly making a comeback. After all, the dining room is the backdrop for some of life’s most important moments, and its smaller proportions are perfect for making a style statement no matter what your aesthetic may be. Whether you’ve got a lackluster dining room that needs a refresh or are looking to carve out a designated space for formal holiday gatherings or casual get-togethers from scratch—or you just want to wow your friends on Instagram—consider these five simple ways to upgrade your dining room. From easy cosmetic fixes to quick additions that make a big impact, these ideas won’t wipe out your bank account or every weekend on the calendar.
There’s no denying what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room’s personality, especially when it’s a bold hue that makes the space pop. Wallpaper takes that idea and runs with it, whether you opt for a chic accent wall or an unexpected ceiling application. But if this feels like too much of a commitment, don’t fret. Removable wallpapers provide all of the color and pattern you expect, plus the option of switching it up whenever the mood strikes.
For a quick infusion of style, consider installing chair railing or other decorative trim. Molding is less expensive than you think, and though it requires some accurate measuring and, ideally, the use of a power miter saw, the folks at any hardware store can help steer you in the right direction. In just one day, you can totally transform the look of your dining room, then double down on the beauty with contrasting paint above and below the rail.
The easiest way to make a big impact is with a statement chandelier, but adding a bar cart, buffet, or sideboard in a quiet corner, or new chairs—even if it’s just at the heads of the table—would also do the trick. You can also add art, window treatments, or decorative mirrors with the same effect.
For those on a budget, a mix of new accessories will change the look of a dining room in no time. Opt for glassware and placemats in an unexpected color, or a decorative compote or vase for the center of the table. A runner or cozy seat cushions can add texture and pattern. And remember that bar cart idea? An elegant decanter and fabric cocktail napkins are just the thing to dress it up.
A textured or patterned rug can tie a look together or instantly create a new one. Just be sure that the one you choose extends far enough on all sides of the table so that chairs remain on its surface when pulled out.