Relaxed and Casual Dining Room Inspiration

Nov 15, 2021DESIGN

Dining Room Design Inspiration
Do you have a formal dining room? If so, how often do you use it? Most formal dining rooms gather dust 363 days a year. Trends show builders are omitting dining rooms altogether. Coordinating dining spaces within great rooms is the way to go. But, if you already have a formal dining room, how do you make it more relaxed and casual? 

My design philosophy is to make every inch of our home everyday functional. That includes not having to dust an unused formal dining room. I want less frou-frou and more less to do-do.

Since the boys were born, I’ve stuck to one design rule. Only distressed furniture may enter my home. Because after enduring our family’s rough-and-tumble lifestyle, it will end up distressed.

This is how I map out my own relaxed and casual dining room design.

Dining Room Chairs

I rank dining chair selection higher than the table selection. Your plate rests on the table. You behind rests on the chair. I rest my case. And I have no interest in high maintenance upholstered chairs. Give me easy-to-maintain wood, wicker, rattan or faux woven leather. It’s all about comfort and easy clean-up.

Design Tip:
“Allow 36″ of space around your dining room table to give your chairs enough room to pull back.”
—Phoebe Howard

Dining Room Lighting

The second dining room design element I select is lighting. I love visual surprises, so I aim for large, unusual pendants. My personal lighting favorites are extra-large woven orbs and domes. I also prefer to use dimmers in the dining room. I love the intimate feeling of dimmed lighting in every room.

Design Tip: “Dining room chandeliers should hang 60″ to 66″ above the floor.”

—Betsy Burnham

Dining Room Tables

Next, I focus on the dining room table. Remember when I mentioned distressed furniture? This is especially true of the dining table. If your table is anything like mine, it takes beating. I don’t want to stress over water rings, scratches or nicks and dings. We do not allow pristine dining tables in relaxed and casual dining rooms.

Design Tip: “Don’t put a round table in a rectangular room, and vice versa—never a rectangular table in a square room.”

—T. Keller Donovan

Dining Room Rugs

My favorite rugs for the dining room, or any space, are natural fiber. I gravitate toward seagrass because it’s so dang durable. Natural fiber rugs have a organic, neutral vibe. You can put them in any room with any kind of decor and they jive. 

Design Tip: “A dining room rug should extend 3′ from the edge of a dining table. And dining chairs should always be on the rug, not two legs on and two legs off.”
—Ginger Brewton


Dining Room Inspiration, Domino

Raw wood beams, sputnik pendant and black French doors? Yes, please. And the round table with blonde woven chairs creates a relaxed vibe. It’s spacious, but feels intimate.

Dining Room Inspiration, The Surfrider

I’m obsessed with The Surfrider Malibu’s casual dining room. The cluster of woven pendants is something I’ve been itching to copy for a long time. The relaxed table and stools and natural fiber rug ooze of California casual design. 

Dining Room Inspiration, Rue Mag

The woven chairs, black sputnik pendant and striped area rug lend to a masculine dining room vibe. But, the fresh greenery and coordinating wall grid softens the masculinity.

Casual Dining Room Design -

This repurposed table and bench have me swooning. The juxtaposition of the floor tile and upcycled furniture creates interesting casual sophistication. And the large black pendants with the flooring creates balance.

Gathering to dine with family and friends is what life’s about. Sharing food, drinks, music and good conversation is the connection we all need. We’re living more casual lives than we did two years ago. So, dim the lights, press play on your favorite playlist, relax and let the good times roll. 

As always, thank you for being here and sharing the articles you appreciate most. Be sure to subscribe to occasional future posts below. For bonus inspiration, my curated Pinterest Boards and Instagram Stories are yours for the taking. And if you have questions or suggestions, leave a comment or reach out via email. My mind and inbox are always open. —xo


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