The holiday season and the practice of entertaining may look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t update your home and redecorate your dining room to add some festive cheer to your family celebrations. After all, chances are you’ll be spending more time at home over the course of the holiday season, and who is more important to impress than yourself?
The dining room is a special place in any house—a place where friends and family gather to break bread, reconnect, and make memories—and it deserves to be decorated accordingly. If you are craving a change but aren’t sure what direction to take, now is the perfect time to draw decorating ideas from happy holiday memories—and, of course, a few design enthusiasts.
Inspired by some of our own favourite holiday memories, we took a closer look at three popular design themes to help you get the dining room of your dreams, whether you’re looking for small changes or are ready for a major makeover.
Inspiration: Modernized rustic cottage
My favourite Thanksgiving memory is the big round oak dining table we had at our cottage on the shore of Lake Huron, near Saint Joseph, Ontario. If more people were coming over, the round table had leaves and became an oval. There's nothing better than cozying up to the sound of the waves and eating turkey in the country, with all the trimmings and of course, a glass of wine, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and a good walk up the lane and back to take in the fall colours and burn off a tiny bit of that dinner. - Andrew Goodman, Toronto ON
If you missed getting away to your cottage over the summer, why not recreate the look of a rustic cottage at home while retaining that modern aesthetic?
Forget about dark, dusty, and outdated cottage decor. A light, neutral colour palette provides the perfect backdrop for an updated rustic cottage dining space. Embrace to the cottage chic by showcasing antiques, using warm modern accents inspired by outdoor textures, or incorporating natural elements such as:
- Exposed wood beams
- Aged textures and finishes
- Driftwood and stone elements
- Landscape artworks
- Woollen throws and natural linens
- Unpainted wood furniture, such as the round oak dining table from Andrew’s memory.
Add some updated rustic cottage charm to your dining room with these round wood dining tables:
Inspiration: Cozy family home
I have fond childhood memories of many family gatherings around my grandparents' extra large pine dining table, custom built by my talented grandfather. The table was big enough to fit our extended family of 16 and wide enough to serve an entire thanksgiving dinner (turkey and all) down the centre. Growing up in rural Newfoundland often meant that neighbours or anyone without family nearby was welcome at our table. When neighbors joined in, we extended the table into the living room and everyone had a place. - Helen Champion, Modern Komfort
Reach into your past and draw on the most important and memorable elements of your childhood kitchen table or dining room. Instead of recreating the dining room of your youth (it’s probably looking a little outdated by now!), focus instead on creating your own cozy family home and decorating it the way you want. To us, this means:
It’s more important than ever to find new ways to fill our homes with warmth and cheer, so instead of focusing on what we can’t do, look forward to when we are able to gather again. You may not be able to crowd around a large or extendable dining table like my grandparents’, but you can still load it with all your favourite holiday treats. Here are a couple of our favourite modern options:
Inspiration: Minimalist and modern
I have many fond memories of Christmas Dinners with my family. My favourite memory is the extra place setting my parents always included at the dinner table. It didn't matter how many guests were around the table, even if space was tight, there was always an extra seat. When I was old enough to understand, my parents explained that the seat and place setting were set in case someone who was less fortunate than us knocked on our door and needed a meal. And, although no one ever knocked, we were always ready, and always thankful for each other and the meal we were so fortunate to share. - Anna Rubaj, Modern Komfort
Mid-century modern and minimalism are enduring trends for interior decor, but it can be hard for some people to really nail the look—because of their popularity, vintage mid-century modern pieces can be difficult to come across, and not everyone is ready to pare down their belongings to fully embrace the minimalist style.
If you’re worried that a minimalist or modern style will feel cold and less homey than rustic cottage chic or a cozy family vibe, don’t worry! A warm modern or minimalist look is easy to achieve with the right pieces, and you can create the look without relying on thrifted or vintage finds.
Focus on keeping things simple and switching key pieces where you can. Complement a neutral or monochrome colour palette with mid-century modern-inspired silhouettes and warm wood tones, along textured accents and natural finishes to keep things homey without sacrificing style, such as:
- Sparse belongings with statement pieces, such as pendant lamps, artwork, or mirrors
- Mid-century modern chairs
- An appropriate dining table made from materials like glass, plastic, and unpainted wood
These sleek dining tables combine minimalist glass tops with warm wood legs to perfectly fuse mod style with cozier materials, and they’re large enough to add an extra place setting in case someone unexpected knocks at the door:
Dishing up your dream dining room
Instead of filling our homes with friends and family, this year is perfect for spending quality time with our closest family members and focusing on creating a comfortable space that makes you feel happy at home. Refreshing your dining room by making small changes or sweeping updates can go a long way to adding some cheer to this unusual holiday season.
When creating your dream dining room and transforming it into a space you will enjoy for years to come, don’t be afraid to go all in. That can mean starting small and slowly making changes to nail the look you want, or really going for it and redoing the entire thing at once. Choose an approach that works for your personal needs and one that fits your budget. If you need advice, we’re here to help you create the look you want.
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