A dining room is arguably one of the most intimate areas of a home. Whether it’s a holiday feast or Sunday dinner, it’s a space where you sit down with loved ones to celebrate—and therefore should feel both warm and energizing.
Interior designer Ashley Whiteside knows all about the importance of creating a cozy but charismatic dining room. Inside her family’s Raleigh, North Carolina home, she used an eye-catching color palette and complementary decor to transform a dark, three-walled dining room into a dynamic space. “I had the room painted the same deep blue-green as the rest of the downstairs, and since there isn’t any trim to separate the spaces, the balance felt perpetually off,” she explains.We asked her how to score a similar look at home and here’s what she had to say.
1. Use color to delineate an open space.
Not only is the dining room the first thing you see when you walk into Ashley’s house, it’s connected to the entryway. Since there is no natural break between the two rooms, she defined the dining room by painting it Rosè Season, a bright, rosy pink that provides a distinct contrast from the dark blue-green walls of the entryway. A monochromatic color palette – the walls, trim and curtains are all the same stunning shade of pink — helps to welcome guests in extreme style, too.
2. Consider the lighting.
Much like good lighting is key in a warm and welcoming space, Ashley says a paint color that works in any kind of light is essential in a well-designed dining room. “Rosè Season glows in this room no matter what time of day it is,” she says. “The dining room is western-facing, and the wall color casts an ambient glow from every angle, and in every light, from sunrise to sunset.”
3. Create consistency with color.
To create continuation in the three-walled dining room, Ashley also painted the trims of the space in a crisp coat of Rosè Season and hung coordinating salmon-colored drapes in both of the windows. “In the same way that painting the trims the same color creates cohesiveness, matching window treatments bring textural interest to the room without breaking up the space,” she explains.
4. Try a statement ceiling.
Instead of breaking up the pink-colored dining room palette with an accent wall, Ashley covered the ceiling in eye-catching floral wallpaper with a metallic sheen to make a statement. “The wallpapered ceiling brings drama and interest to the room without interrupting its fluidity,” she explains.
5. Dining room decor ideas to balance out the space.
Once you’ve forged a cohesive backdrop for your dining room, Ashley suggests incorporating interesting decor items, such as framed artwork, patterned rugs, and vintage furniture pieces that balance out the surrounding elements of space. “The large ivory piece of art was painted for this room specifically to create symmetry with the window on the facing wall, and allow a visual moment of rest,” she says.
6. Ambient accent lighting FTW.
Make no mistake about it: Ashley says you can’t pull off a dining room of this magnitude without ambient accent lighting. To subdue the bold wallpapered ceiling, she suspended a sculptural mid century-inspired pendant above the dining table for ambient overhead lighting. “It’s so lightweight it seems to float, which balances out the room,” she explains. “It also pulls all of the other neutral decor elements in the space together.” To ensure the room continued to offer a warm glow well after nightfall, she installed a pair of glass globe sconces on one of the windowless walls. “The clear glass doesn’t break up the flow of the pink wall,” she says.
Related: Want more dining room decor ideas? Read Step Inside this Stunning Dining Room Makeover.