Creating a light, bright dining room to thrill your guests

You’re planning a dinner party – but your dining room looks dreadful. How do you get it looking good quickly and cheaply?

It’s hard to make guests feel at home in a dining space that is drab, dingy and unwelcoming. Get the wow factor with bright upholstery, contemporary dining sets and table decorations that are real conversation pieces.

Modern or retro – but still fresh and vibrant

Consider not only what suits your personality, but what suits the rest of your home as well. If you live in a chic modern apartment, for example, the rustic look may feel a little out of place. Vintage or retro can be great looks, provided you feel confident enough to carry them off. Light or even white wooden furniture and sleek, defined lines make for a room that looks fresh and welcoming.

Refreshing and bold color combinations

If your dining room looks dark and uninviting, give it a makeover in fresh, pale colors. Consider a feature wall or wall art to add warmth and personality. Another idea is to use textiles to add texture, patterns and bold colors to an otherwise plain space. You could replace dark and outdated vinyl flooring with pale wood laminates for a look that is instantly more refreshing and lively; try combining this with cupboard doors or furnishings in bold, primary colors for a real ‘wow’ effect. 

Banish the gloom with effective lighting

Nine times out of ten, a dark and uninviting dining room can be fixed with the simple application of better lighting. This could mean something as radical as knocking down the wall between your kitchen and dining room to really open up the space – or the solution could be as simple as removing those dark drapes, replacing them with clean white Venetians and installing drop-down cafe pendant lamps or directional spots instead of relying on just the one stand-up lamp in the corner. 

Sophisticated furniture and centerpiece ideas

If your dining table is looking tired, perhaps it’s time for a new model: from the sleek minimalism of pale Scandinavian wood to sophisticated glass dining tables, you can really make a statement with the right piece of furniture. Make sure your chairs match the ensemble and dress the table with eye-catching place settings and centerpieces; an arrangement of fresh cut flowers will also bring life and brightness to the space.

Make the most of your daylight

Open up your dining space to the natural environment outside with wooden treatments that are fashionable and homely. Wooden shutters really add personality to any living space and can be as rustic or as contemporary looking as you like. Install them to the outside of your windows to make the most of your available daylight and allow the sunshine to shine in onto your dining space. Unlike heavy drapes, which can block sunlight, shutters have the advantage of being mounted on the outside, so they don’t take up any space in the room.

Armed with a pot of paint, good light – including daylight – and a little upgrade to your furnishings, that tired old dining space can be given a vibrant makeover that will bring it into the 21st century and make your dinner guests want to return for a second helping.