Lori Dennis Celebrity Luxury Interior Designer | Blog

A blog about luxury and green living by top interior designer Lori Dennis

Dining (Room) On a Dime

Designer Tips for an Elegant Dining Room that Won’t Break the Bank

April 13, 2018

 Dining rooms are some of the most rewarding rooms to design, but they are often underutilized rooms in the home. When we design a dining room for a client, we’re generally working with sizable budgets to create ornate spaces–we want encourage homeowners to invest in their dining room design and create a space everyone actually wants to dine in all the time the way we see people investing in their kitchen remodels and making it the heart of their home.

But you don’t need a celebrity budget to customize your dining room and make it the entertaining epicenter of your home. Here are the 5 essential elements of an entertainer’s dining room and how you can get the look for less:

5. Custom Table Linens

A custom tablecloth, runner, or linen napkins can be a great way to get a one-of-a-kind look for less.

When you hear the word custom, you might assume it’s going to cost a lot, but that’s just not so– you just need to know the right place to look! This tablecloth we had fabricated for a client using Calico Corners Dwell Studio Winter Cranes fabric available at CalicoCorners.com.  

4. Comfy and Varied Seating

A great set of dining chairs are one of the reasons dining rooms can be so expensive to design, but this is where you can get a little creative: Maybe you want to try bench seating on one side and a mad hatter’s tea party variety of seating on the other. (Designer Tip: try an array of the same simple chairs in different colors for an eclectic aesthetic)

Another great way to customize is with seat covers that you can change seasonally (this also makes for easy laundering if anything spills) or choose a less expensive fabric for the chair seat and a more expensive, bespoke option for the chair backs– Custom and Thrifty! These dining chairs are covered in Sarah Richardson’s Waves Peacock fabric from Calico Corners available at CalicoCorners.com.

3. Great Artwork and Mirrors

Dining rooms, especially those that tend to be formal, are great spaces to showcase an art collection. There are more ways to start building your art collection than ever before, no matter what your price point is.

One of our favorite resources is Minted.com, which has an incredible selection of art and photography prints from emerging artists all over the world. Check out our curated selection of Minted art here.

2. Paint or Wallpaper

Take a risk with a bold color or print. An economical way to add a luxe, designer element is to choose a bold print for a ceiling–it may be the toughest wall to wallpaper, but at least it’s only one!

1. Lighting

Shopping for lighting can be overwhelming, but finding a stellar chandelier to serve as a dining room’s centerpiece is often a great starting off point to designing a dining room.

Lamps Plus has some gorgeous options at a variety of price points and their Mid-century-inspired, Color Plus collection is an effective way to add a simple pop of color to a space.


For more dining room design inspiration, check out some of our favorite dining rooms completed for past clients here.