Top Tips | Setting the (Table) Scene

New Dining room design with Darker tones, Cozy Sitting Furniture in Different Colors and A Round Table

The world is looking more familiar these days, and we’re excited to be welcoming guests back into our homes. For many of us, the dining room has taken on new functions over the past year, many here to stay (home office, anyone?), even as we bring back entertaining.

We’re sharing three top considerations, pulled from our own strategy book, on how to master the perfect dining setting — from when and how to go bold with design, to more practical matters of storage and function.


  1. Lighting as the ultimate mood-setter

Consider mounting a fixture closer down to the table. This creates a sense of intimacy and coziness, and is especially useful in a large or high-ceilinged space.

Likewise, if you have an open floor plan, lighting is an ideal anchor. Let it be a focal point – a gorgeous or artful design guides people toward congregation and togetherness in a dining setting. And let’s not forget about the table itself: light it up with some candles. Think beyond classic white tapers: opt for black or dark colors for some drama, or sculptural forms that will add a fresh, unexpected element to the table. (For more ideas, check out Elena’s picks on House Beautiful.)

Lastly, make sure you’re considering how the lighting feels in daylight through dusk in the evening, as well. The dining room has a life beyond dinner time.


  1. After a year like this, go wild

Take risks with your design, and make it personal. Why not have a wild rug underneath, or a large-scale art work centering the scene? Why not go unconventional, and replace your traditional square or rectangular table with a curvilinear option, or one with unexpectedly organic shaped legs? You don’t need to sacrifice livability to accommodate bold art and design.

As Elena shared with Mansion Global, “when going through a challenging year like this, it’s sort of ‘let’s not sweat the small stuff. Let’s explore our wild side.’” So, color and pattern? Yes. Contrast stripes and floral? Yes. Should we layer a painting on wallpaper? The answer is yes!


  1. Dare to ditch the sets

To be fair, we’ve never been big fans of matching sets. When it comes to dining rooms, the real show-stopping spaces are those that mix things up. Use different chairs at the head of the table, switching things up with material or form to keep it playful. Opt for softer, lounge-style seating or armchairs for a table that invites guests to linger.

We love exploring banquette-style seating, too. On the down-low, it can function as a storage solution as well, to be paired with complementary (or contrasting!) dining chairs for true visual feast. As Elena says, don’t be afraid to “make some fun decisions, move it forward and create something really interesting and personal.”


New Dining room design with Darker tones, Cozy Sitting Furniture in Different Colors and A Round Table
Blue Dining Table

photo by Sara Kerens

Bright Red Chair and Dining Table

New York

31 Union Square West #15E
New York, NY 10003


141 Maple Lane
Bridgehampton, NY 11932


212 448 1091