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Ideas & Advice > Dining Room Decor Ideas > Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

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Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Luxurious, classy dining rooms aren’t as common as they once were, with so many homes moving over to enjoying meals in the kitchen or living room. Still, though, these beautiful spaces have their place, and we certainly don’t want to see them go out of style. We’ve highlighted some formal dining room ideas sure to inspire you to design a unique and stylish dining room for family gatherings, celebrations, and special occasions. Keep reading for useful tips.

Dare To Go Dark

Most homes use light wall colors to make the rooms feel light, bright, and airy. While that's all good and fine, there are still plenty of reasons to use dark wall colors in your home. The dark drama of the walls can establish your formal dining room as distinct from the rest of your home, create a more formal tone, and complement the architecture of the room. With all that in mind, consider how dark walls can work well in your formal dining room and complement your favorite wall art, accent pieces, and general decor.

Open Concept

Many of today's homes have open concept layouts and open floor plans where rooms either share the same exact space or open up to one another with grand doorways. In these cases, it's important to establish each space as separate and yet still have it connect to the neighboring space. The areas rugs in these two rooms illustrate a great way to tie the spaces together: the modern dining room rug features a higher pile and texture, which connects back to the living room rug and its plush blankets. Simple connections like these can help tie your open concept dining room back to its adjacent spaces quite naturally.

Explore more Formal Living Room Decor Ideas!

Classy Appeal  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas
Design by Kelly Taylor, Photography by Nat Rea Photography

Classy Appeal

There's nothing wrong with going for pure elegance and class in your formal dining room, especially if the surrounding architecture will match the look. We love this space, with similar tones and patterns in the area rug and the backs of the dining chairs. And don't forget the beautiful chandelier of the floral patterned curtains, offering privacy and a buffer for the sunlight.

Simple Symmetry

Symmetry is a powerful tool in interior design. When you use symmetry with the placement of your table and chairs, lights, wall art, and other furniture, you use a classic layout to create a tidy elegant space. Allow this room to serve as an inspiration of how decorating and furnishing your room with symmetry in mind can set the proper tone and balance all your room's accents.

Table for Four  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Table for Four

If you don't have room for a large dining table and formal dining room, try a table for four in the kitchen, ideally by a bright window. This kitchen uses an eye-catching rug runner leading up to the table, adding color and style to the space. And if you want extra seating, look for a table with a removable leaf so that you can expand it when needed.

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Bright and Modern

Any space where you can fit a table can be home to a formal dining space with a bit of decorating and styling. Here, we see a beautiful contemporary style with seating for six atop a modest area rug. When you don't have a lot of room, choose a thin rug to prevent the feeling of falling backwards when the back legs of the chairs go off the rug.

Learn More About Rugs in our Rug Buying Guide

Bright and Modern - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas
Contemporary Appeal  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Contemporary Appeal

With a bold bordered rug and pedestal table, this formal dining room commands attention. We love the large, bright windows and the durable, natural rug texture. And don't forget the comfy chairs offering seating for six, which could be expanded to eight. Touches like classy pendant lights and a vase of flowers can make all the difference in a formal space, too.

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The Role of Lighting

Lighting plays a key part in any dining room. Not only do ceiling lights make the room practical, but they can also reinforce the room's overall tone and design. A central chandelier above your dining table can help elevate that space to be particularly elegant, as can wall sconces and other lighting fixtures. Be sure to select dining room lights that set the right tone with the brightness of light, the dispersal of light, and of course the design of the fixture itself.

Bistro Set  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Bistro Set

Sometimes, you just want a formal dining spot to get away from the technology and noise. A bistro set can provide seating for two in any out-of-the-way space. We love the sheer grey curtains, offering privacy while still allowing the glow of the sunlight to filter in. And don't forget the comfy chairs, inviting you to sit and stay awhile.

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Modern Art

Artwork can go a long way in making a space feel formal and elegant. We love this table for two, with exposed woodgrain, modern chairs, and large abstract wall art surrounding it. Notice how the area rug features abstract patterning in a similar colorway, continuing the aesthetic on the floor. And don't forget the artistic vases throughout the space, including the one decorating the table.

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Modern Art  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas
Penthouse Style  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Penthouse Style

It's hard to go wrong with a simple and elegant table for six situated on a distressed area rug beneath an array of attractive hanging lights. When you add the spectacular view and floor-to-ceiling windows, the look is stunning. We love the simple color palette and the artistic approach to both the lighting and the table decor.

Reflective Design

One key principle of interior design is that light and reflective surfaces can help make your room feel larger. Using both of these areas effectively can help you optimize your formal dining room whether it's large, small, or in between. In this space, the chandelier itself is extremely large, but it is further amplified by the table's glass surface and the reflection off the nearby glass doors.

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Bold with Black  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Glamorous Dining

This dining room demands something special with rich blue walls and curtains and a beautiful red area rug. And the clear chairs with the white table and chevron patterned tabletop deliver. Notice the chandelier hanging above the table, adding to the glamourous appeal and the classy vintage chest at the wall.

Check out our curated selection of Best Dining Room Rugs!

Bold with Black

This dining room uses bold touches of black with the table, chairs, and accents around the set. We love the simple, thin area rug. The thin rug will prevent a feeling of falling backwards when the back legs of the chairs move off its surface to accommodate guests. And notice the simple table runner, which adds style and contrast without taking up the whole table.

Glamorous Dining  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas
Exciting Seating  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Exciting Seating

Formal dining room ideas don't have to use exclusively formal seating options. Here, we see a table for eight with three poufs to create variety and visual appeal in the space. Notice the texture of the hanging lights and how they mirror the poufs. And don't forget the large, elegant area rug setting the stage for this dining set.


Using a purely neutral color palette doesn't have to make elegant dining room feel boring or impersonal. To create a dynamic dining room, experiment with the same color in different shades, materials, patterns, and textures. This differentiation will help diversify the room's design without straying from the core color palette.

Purposeful Patterns

Pattern mixing can be a daunting task, but once you understand some key principles, you can begin experimenting with your dining room's decor. In this space, the floor, chairs, light, and back bench all highlight different geometric shapes and creative use of lines. Even the room's architecture uses shapes and lines throughout the space. These similarities help unify the room's design even if the patterns aren't identical to one another.


Nothing elevates a space more than custom furniture or artwork. In this classy dining room, the built-in cabinetry and buffet on the back wall perfectly suit the room's size, scale, and overarching style. No matter what style you fall into, consider how custom pieces can optimize your room's utility and aesthetic.

Shop Brown Dining Room Area Rugs!

Bold Choices

Many modern homes use neutral colors and limited accent colors. However, this room shows exactly how impactful bold colors can be in a formal dining room. The chairs stand out against the neutral color scheme of the room and complement the wall decor on the far end of the table. Even without that piece of wall art, the chairs stand out as a bold spark of personality in an elevated modern dining room. Don't be afraid to incorporate bold colors and patterns into your dining room!

Explore additional Modern Dining Room Decor Ideas!

Cohesive Accents

Using the same metallic finish or color across the entire room can help focus your dining room's grand design and connect it to the rest of the home. Here, black and bronze carry on beyond the dining table to the stairs and their lighting fixtures. You may similarly balance accent colors and tones to create a cohesive theme throughout one room or your entire home.

Cool and Contrasting  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Cool and Contrasting

This beautiful dining room has an astounding view with large windows and a modern white brick accent wall. We love the hanging lights, which steal the show while providing contrast against the surrounding walls. But don't forget the cool and calming blue dining room rug or the modern table and chair set. Again, you see the thin rug to allow the back legs of the chairs to comfortably move off the surface without creating a falling sensation.

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Inviting Textures

Decorate with inviting textures to make your formal dining room feel more relaxing to guests. Here, we see soft, grey dining chairs with soft, grey curtains to offer privacy and a unified look. We love the exposed wood grain table, as well as the textured area rug. A large textured rug with a thick pile is an excellent idea if you have the space.

Inviting Textures  - Formal Dining Room Decor Ideas

Defying Expectation

People rarely fall into just one interior design style; oftentimes, people appreciate aspects of many different styles. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to combine styles to create a brand new, personal aesthetic. This room has mostly traditional furniture and colors, but the end chairs are highly modern with their artistic construction and bold color. Your formal dining room and its decor should reflect your tastes, so experiment and choose pieces that show off your personality.

By now, we hope you have an idea of how to decorate an elegant and formal dining room. No matter which of these formal dining room ideas you choose, remember to work with the layout of your space above all else. These formal dining room ideas are adaptive and designed for inspiration, but there's always room to add a personal touch.


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