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14 modern dining room ideas

What does the modern dining room look like in 2021? Gone are the underused spaces that we dusted down for Christmas dinner and the occasional Sunday lunch. We’re in a new era of dinner parties, hybrid WFH spaces and an endless obsession with cooking and at-home meal kits. But how to style this newly rediscovered space? Our buyers take us through their top modern dining room ideas to help you.
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1. First, take your modern dining room back to basics

Modern dining rooms and minimalism go hand in hand. “Pare things right back to the essentials: dining table, chairs and lighting. This classic trio really lets your table shine (quite literally, if it’s glossy)! Modern dining tables are sleek, sophisticated and made from some of the world’s finest materials like marble, ceramic and lacquered solid wood, so you want to show them off,” says Tom St. Quintin, Retail Buyer - Cabinets.

2. Marble: the modern dining room must-have

Nothing says modern glam quite like marble. We love its swirls, shine and, of course, its pure luxe appeal. Marble dining tables bring the wow factor. For an ultra-contemporary look, pair with velvet chairs and transform your dining room into a showstopping entertaining space.”

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3. Wake up your walls

From New York penthouses to London’s top restaurants, the world’s finest dining rooms all have one thing in common: statement wall art. “Art brings rooms to life, and abstract is the way to go in a modern dining room. Swirling lines, blocks of colour, a steely chrome palette - choose a piece that speaks to you and fill your space with serious design creds,” says Lauren Davenport, Retail Buyer - Accessories.

4. Make room for all the family

Dinner parties are very much back on the menu - and that means bigger tables. “We’re making up for lost time and extending dining tables are a space-saving solution for those who like to host big family get-togethers and Christmas but don’t have space for a 12-seater year-round,” Tom explains. Just make sure you don’t forget the extra chairs!

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5. Try an open plan layout

The ‘race for space’ has seen many of us leave the city for leafier suburbs and the bigger footprints of countryside homes. “The demand for more living space has seen a huge increase in open plan living, and large dining tables are a part of that. Our large ALF dining tables, all handmade in Italy, have surged in popularity in the last year,” Tom explains. One thing’s for sure, while style is important, the modern dining room has friends and loved ones at its centre.

6. Compact, but make it cosy

Likewise, many people in flats and studios now want a dedicated dining space. But how to do it? “Find the right compact dining table, then use a sideboard with plants to create an informal partition away from the living area. For the material, my top choice is ceramic. Robust, practical and beautiful to look at,” advises Tom.

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7. Change up your chairs

What’s more modern than throwing the style rule book out the window? Play with cool colour combos and watch your dining space go from fine to fabulous. Mix it up with different designs too. Tom’s advice? “Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Colour clashing and contrasting styles in your dining chairs will make your dining room unique."

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8. Be the centre of attention

With table centrepieces, unconventional is the way to go. “Something that turns heads and starts conversations is a must,” explains Lauren. “A beautiful ornament like a candle holder or sculpture becomes a focal point for the room. Think of it as the jewel in your styling crown. It will tie the whole look together and add gravitas to mealtimes – even your mid-week ones.”

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9. Bring the bar to you

Dining rooms aren’t just for eating. Serve up style and a mean martini with a glam drinks trolley. Load it up with liqueurs, mixers and glasses and you have a ready-when-you-are cocktail-making station. “Cocktails at home are the ultimate modern luxury - and drinks trolleys just look so suave and Gatsby-esque,” says Lauren. Now just to learn how to make a Bloody Mary...

10. Make it multifunctional

The pandemic turned the nation’s dining tables into home offices and 1000-piece puzzle displays overnight. Thankfully, those days are behind us; but the idea of the multifunctional room has stayed. As Tom tells us: “If your dining room is used sparingly, make the most of the extra space. Bookworm? Create a cosy reading nook with a comfy sofa or armchair. Need a meditation zone? Add plants and crystals. Somewhere to practise yoga? Go for it.”

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11. Light up the room

For a modern dining room that stands out, look up. Ceiling lights transform spaces, especially if you have a lacquered or high-gloss table. “In the style spotlight right now are statement pendant lights in chrome or polished steel. They make an eye-catching feature and bathe your table in warm light. And for a cosy dinner a deux, just add a dimmer to set the mood,” says Lauren.

12. Let’s talk storage

No modern dining room would be complete without the unsung hero of the home: the sideboard. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and get your tableware in perfect order with a chic choice in grey, white or black. “I’m loving glossy finishes and lacquered wood veneer styles right now,” says Lauren.

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13. All laid out

You’ve mastered the flat lay, now it’s time to nail how you set your table. “Modern dining rooms are home to impressive, statement tables – and you want to do them justice. Quality cutlery and tableware makes such a difference. Decorate with flowers, beautiful cut glasses and a table runner.” Bonus points if you learn how to make napkin shapes - total Michelin restaurant vibes.

14. Create a monochrome mood

Where would modern dining rooms be without a monochrome palette? “That’s one thing that hasn’t really changed. The palette is effortlessly sophisticated with a luxe, high-end feel. But if you’re a fan of colour, don’t be afraid to mix it up a little.” Head to our inspirational gallery to see how we blend monochrome with different hues.

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So, a lot of change for the modern dining room, but it looks like monochrome stays as the go-to colour combo. As always, this is just a starting point. We’d love to see where you take our ideas, so make sure to snap and share with #MYFVHOME on Instagram for a chance to be featured on our feed.

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