How to Design a Luxury Dining Room

By Alex Konrad | December 28, 2021

Before last year, having an actual family dinner might have been more of a pipe dream than a reality. Lives were incredibly busy, packed with activities, and sharing a meal together was nearly unheard of.  But when a pandemic put our lives on hold, our schedules changed.

The pandemic changed the way we shop, eat, and socialize. If there was any benefit to this massive lifestyle shift, it was the way in which families have been brought back to the table. With more time to spend with one another, family mealtime experienced a revival, and by the summertime, more and more families were heading back into the dining room for dinner together. 

If you found your dining room a bit outdated and drab upon your return, we want you to know it’s completely normal. The mass exodus from eating daily meals in the dining room happened in the late twentieth century, and until last year it seemed the dining room was really a place reserved for “fancy” dinners or holiday meals. 

As such, your dining room might need a little refresh. That heavily carved wood table and chair set was ornate and fitting in the 90s, but today’s contemporary look is much more minimalistic.

This year, life is gradually returning to normal, but one lasting effect of the pandemic will likely be a greater effort to make use of your dining room. Modloft can help you update your current dining room or build a luxury dining room from scratch if you’re just in the planning stage. 

Our design team is meticulous about our dining room pieces, and we’ve also got a community of users who share their inspiration so you can keep the creativity flowing while you plan your space. We’ll cover luxury dining room must-haves, how to elevate your current space, and give you some tips on keeping your room functional and beautiful at the same time. 

Luxury Dining Room Must Haves

You don’t have to have a massive dining space to create a bit of luxury at home. You just need the right components. Every luxury dining room should have a great dining table and chair set, a sideboard, and stylish accents to help keep it looking fabulous. Here’s our list of must-haves for your new favorite room in the house. 

The Dining Table

The ornate maple table you’ve had for the past two decades has served you well, but it’s time to level up your dining room and create a look that flows with the rest of your contemporary home. The dining table will obviously be the focal point of your room, and your entire dining room will be designed around the table. 

The best way to determine the size and shape of your table is to measure your room. When you’re selecting a table, you’ll need to allow for clearance around the perimeter of your table of 36”-42”. This will allow your seated guests plenty of room to push their chairs back and forward and allow for enough walking space around the table. 

In terms of shape, it’s really a matter of preference. A round table feels more informal, allows for all guests a better vantage point of one another, and can increase the amount of comfortable leg room under the table. 

A rectangular table usually seats more guests and is more formal and traditional. Look for dining tables with extending capabilities. With the advent of a leaf, you can seat additional people.

Another consideration is whether or not you’ll entertain guests on a regular basis. If you have a family of four but will regularly host more guests, you may need to invest in a larger table, or at the very least, an expandable table with a leaf. 


The days of buying matching dining table and chair sets are long gone unless you still prefer to do your shopping at a buy-it-by-the-room type retailer. 

Buying your chairs a la carte allows you more freedom of design and helps you better hone in on your stylistic needs. 

When selecting dining room chairs, keep in mind how many seats you can comfortably fit around your table. Each diner needs a space of approximately 1.6 to 2 feet on the table edge to allow for eating comfortably. 

Generally speaking, chairs without arms will fit better and look more minimalist under your table, but for comfortability, you may prefer chairs with arms. Additionally, upholstered chairs may be more comfortable for you, but if you have messy eaters, solid surface chairs will be easier to clean. 

The Sideboard

What is a sideboard, and do you need one? A sideboard is a traditional piece of dining room furniture used as storage, and yes, you definitely need one for a luxury dining room. 

Traditionally, sideboards were used for serving food. Food from the kitchen was placed atop a sideboard or buffet, and waitstaff fed seated diners from that location. 

Modern sideboards add depth to your dining room and offer a convenient place for storing china and flatware other than your kitchen cupboards. Sideboards also offer a surface upon which you can add decor in your dining room. 

Be certain when selecting a sideboard that it will not interfere with the minimum amount of wall space needed around your dining room table. There should be a clearance of at least 36 inches between your dining room table and your sideboard to ensure the comfortability of your guests. 

Elevating Your Current Dining Room

If you aren’t starting from scratch and think you can salvage your dining room table and chairs, you may simply need a little dining room refresh to elevate your dining room to luxury status. Thankfully, adding small touches can go a long way in your dining room to make it feel and look more luxurious and contemporary. 

Here are our favorite design tips for making your outdated dining room more current. 

Add a Rug

An area rug under your dining room table can not only help keep the carpet or flooring underneath protected from spills and stains, but it can also invite fresh new life into your space. Modern rugs that feature understated colors and patterns are the perfect solution for updating dining room space and giving the room an entirely new look. 

Adding a beautifully patterned rug to your space can make easy work of amping up the room’s contemporary feel. You won’t need to add much more in terms of decorative finishes because the rug adds plenty of color and texture to the room. 

Use Mirrors

If your dining room is seriously outdated, your problem could be the walls. Take a look at the wall decor you’re currently using in your dining room. If it screams 90s or was purchased as a “grouping,” it’s time to let it go.

A better option for your luxury dining room is a mirror. Using mirrors creates depth in your room, opens the room up to make it appear larger and more spacious, and helps natural light flow in and out of the space. 

Pro tip: Make sure the mirror height is accurate. You shouldn’t place a mirror so low on your wall that seated diners are forced to view themselves eating. Your mirror should be placed about ⅔ of the way up on your wall, so that it is only when a diner is standing that their reflection can be seen. 

Level Up Your Lighting

The same candelabra style dining room light fixture that the builder installed in your home shows the age of your home almost immediately. If you want to update your dining room and create a more luxurious look, updating your light fixture is an easy way to get the job done. 

Pendant lighting is always the go-to for dining rooms. Pendant lighting hangs lower and provides more direct light over the center of the table, making it easier for diners to see what they’re eating. 

A contemporary pendant light will instantly update your dining room look and keep it looking fresh and modern. 


A beautiful centerpiece can help pull together your dining room and make it look finished and complete. You can opt for a centerpiece in the center of your dining room table or one atop your sideboard. If your dining room is especially large, you can even use two centerpieces.

The key with centerpieces is to make sure they complete your space and don’t overpower it. That’s why it’s important to only use one accent if you have a smaller space. A centerpiece should enhance your focal point (i.e., your dining room table) instead of making it look cluttered or chaotic. 

Final Thoughts

Meeting together as a family to share a meal was a lost art that is now enjoying a revival. Your dining room deserves to be a luxurious space where you and your guests enjoy spending time. A few easy updates in terms of furniture and fixtures can help you design a dining room that is both functional and luxurious. 



 The Pandemic Brought Families Back to the Table | Town and Country Mag 

How Do I Determine the Proper Dining Table Size for a Room? | Home Guides

How Much Space Per Person At A Dining Table? | Home Decor Bliss