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How to Modernize a Dark Drab Dining Room | Top Art Deco Design Dining Ideas 2019

7 Dining Room Design Ideas & Trends For 2020

Turn Traditional Furnishings Into A Modern Art Deco Dream Room 

For many people, sitting down for a nice meal can be the highlight at the end of a busy day. But, the idea isn’t quite as appealing when your dining room decor is dark, drab, and uninspiring. That was the case with one of our Dee Frazier Interiors (DFI) clients. Here is the photo of this dining room of two recent retirees Louise and Frank before we added a few modern, Art Deco furnishings and updated design details. As always, to fully appreciate the finished space, please allow me to show you the room when our client called:

traditional carved chippendale dining room set

Before we completed the 7 tips we used on this project – keep reading. Thank us later.

As retirement approached, Louise knew she’d be spending more time at home, including entertaining in her dining room. She looked forward to long, leisurely gatherings, but knew the dining room needed to be updated. She and Frank believed that our team would have great dining room decor ideas that could breathe new life into a tired room. New art deco elements were top of mind to freshen up a once tired, dated room. 

1. Mix old dining room furniture with new, light-colored modern Art Deco style furniture.

Turning a dated space into a fresh, modern dining room can be a challenge in some cases. Not so with this Louise. She was open to new dining room decorating ideas and eager to get insights from our team. The only thing she felt strongly about was incorporating some existing family heirlooms in the new design – a request we were happy to accommodate. The dining room table, grandfather clock, chandelier, and a large piece of art had to stay. Beyond that, DFI could consider the room a blank canvas. With that in mind, we went to work crafting a modern dining room design that would please the owner and create a fresh, welcoming environment for her guests.

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Replace dark matching chairs with new more modern, light-colored upholstered chairs to balance dark tables & furnishings.

2. Mix in colorful, modern art w/ traditional dining room decor. | Dining Room Design Ideas & Trends 2020

I felt that a large piece of art should be the foundation for the room. Because its base color is a warm yellow, I wanted to keep the other colors soft and cool to contrast with it. I also wanted to add touches of gold metal to create a formal feel for the room and make a visual connection with the chandelier. For that, we brought in a mirror, lamps, and gold wall sconces.

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Modern yellow art combined with comfortable, modern dining room chairs can entertain guest comfortably for hours.

3. Mix in circular mirrors with more modern brushed brass finishes to balance yellows and golds.

Notice the rectangular mirror alone feels very traditional. By adding in the gold circular mirrors we expanded the space and introduced a more modern feel on the focal wall. Plus the hues of metal balance the yellow in the abstract art.

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Add reflective surfaces & mirrors in dining room areas to expand the space.

4. Add lighter toned colors, abstract wall coverings, & paint with dark dining room furniture. | Dining Room Design Ideas & Trends 2020

The existing ivory wall color was beautiful, so we decided to keep it and used a similar cream hue on the dining room side chairs, window treatments, and a stunning console. 

To give the room a more modern, beautiful soft gold metallic wallpaper in an Art Deco square design behind the buffet and in the foyer, creating dimension with the contrasting gold sconces. 

5. Mix in a modern, straight-line dining room buffet.

The buffet elevated the elegance of the room, with its Capiz Shell door contrasting nicely with its deep stain finish and antique gold finish legs. Yet, the lines of the buffet are straight and modern. Between the finish of the buffet and the wallpaper design, we were able to get the client away from more traditional lines into a fresher, updated space. And when the work was complete, she was thrilled with her bright, inviting new space.

6. Use fun modern dinnerware & napkins.| Dining Room Design Ideas & Trends 2020

When considering dinnerware, we decided to mix the client’s vintage cream and gold dinnerware with new modern polka dot napkins. For a touch of glass, we added new glass cut art deco bowls and modern striped champagne flutes.

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Be ready for guests at all times. Set the table using your dinnerware, flatware, and glassware. If your glassware doesn’t match, replace it with something that does.

7. Be creative with your centerpiece. | Dining Room Design Ideas & Trends 2020

In most dining rooms, human nature is a floral arrangement or vases for fresh flowers. Flowers we added. Only these flowers were metal sculptures that also serve as candle holders. One thing to keep in mind with any dining room centerpiece: allowing humans to have a conversation across the table is as important as the centerpiece.

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Layer plates to create dimension and interest.


buffet entertaining ideas

Make your dining room design function like your family lives. Incorporate functional decorative elements such as glass cake stands, decorative flatware, stack plates, and layout cloth napkins.

We were also working on the adjacent family room and decided that a soft blue/sage green would make for a perfect transition between the spaces. The color we chose was also in the artwork, so it worked on multiple levels as we incorporated it in the upholstery, area rug, and dining room wall decor and accessories. 

I sincerely hope you enjoyed my recommendations for updating your dining rooms for 2020. If you want my in-person dining room design ideas, please give me a ring or contact us. 




Chief D'KORator, Early Riser, Coffee Lover, Gardening Guru, Estate Sale Maven, Mover, Shaker, Wife, & Mom


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