Simple Dining Room Updates
Create a Space for Entertaining and for Every Day
Whether you are hosting family for the holidays or friends for a weekend meal, your dining room is where entertaining happens. Relaxed or elegant, a successful space is the sum of the details – a mix of good lighting, furnishings, art, and accessories.
If your dining room seems lackluster, don’t despair. There are dozens of small ways you can update your space. A lamp for the buffet, sparkling crystal drawer pulls, or even a whimsical push plate are quick changes with a noticeable impact. To get you started, we have put together a checklist of ideas from floor to ceiling, including lighting, hardware & accessories. One by one, you can transform your dining room into a place that guests will love and you will enjoy every day.
A chandelier may be the most important decision you make when updating your dining room. Evoking a sense of elegance or drama, tradition or modernity, this single item can define the character of your space. As the primary source of illumination, it must also meet your lighting needs. Each arm on a chandelier typically holds one socket. The larger your space, the greater the number of bulbs needed to light it sufficiently. Once you have determined the optimal size for your room the fun begins! Rather than be bound by a specific style, browse all your options, and let your heart be your guide.
In contrast to multi-armed chandeliers, pendants are defined by a singular shape - globe, drum, cylinder, bowl, etc. They run the gamut in size, from ultra mini to mega, and in style, from minimalist to grandiose. Pendants are ideal over a dining table, creating a strong and singular focal point. Large horizontally oriented kitchen island lights are a great option for long rectangular tables, as are a series of smaller pendants spaced the length of the table evenly.
Wall sconces are a classic way to add subtle lighting to the perimeter of your dining room. In former times, wall lights invariably matched the style of the home and paired with the chandelier. Today, sconce lighting is an opportunity to showcase your personal style. You can mix modern with traditional, opulent with understated, rustic with elegant. With literally hundreds of exciting designs to choose from, it’s easy to get creative!
A ceiling medallion is the crowning accent to your chandelier or pendant. A common feature of high-end homes in the 18th & 19th centuries, they have come full circle once again. An elaborate medallion paired with a strikingly modern fixture may be unexpected but is surprisingly sophisticated! A medallion not only sets off your lighting but it also adds a decorative flourish to your ceiling - typically the least exciting part of your dining room.
Switch plates are the simplest way to add dash of style to your dining room. With designs ranging from ornate to understated, you can coordinate with your door hardware, your lighting, or the era of your home. When considering lighting, don’t forget dimmers! Lowering the light from your overhead fixtures and sconces establishes a warm and inviting atmosphere, ideal for entertaining.
A lamp or two placed on the sideboard or server adds yet another layer of light to your dining room. Bringing light down to eye-level when seated creates a more intimate and convivial atmosphere, perfectly conducive for conversation.
To showcase your most treasured artwork, consider adding picture lighting. Mounted directly to the frame or to the wall immediately behind, these adjustable lights shine directly onto the surface of your painting, photo, or print. In so doing, they add a warm and mellow light to your room, complimenting your chandelier and sconces. To learn more about the possibilities for your dining room, see our comprehensive picture lighting shopping guide.
A decorative mirror is always a welcome addition to the dining room. Reflecting light from your chandelier and candles it creates a mood of shimmering elegance. The frame itself, often crafted from high-end materials like iridescent shells, antiqued beveled glass, and shining gold leaf, adds yet another touch of style to your space.
If your dining room has furniture or built-ins that could use a facelift, new pulls may be just the thing. Trading out metal for glass, or modern for vintage (and vice versa), is a great way to breathe new life into a buffet, hutch, or cabinet. For ideas and help navigating the many choices, see our guide to selecting knobs & pulls.
Brass wheels for the feet of furniture were introduced in the early 18th century. Making it easy to move heavy furniture for cleaning or events, they are still a useful idea today. If your antiques have broken or missing caster wheels, or you want to mobilize your dining table or chairs, visit our handy guide to choosing casters to find just the right solution for your home.
As your main entertaining space, the dining room is often home to your most treasured wall art. Our reproduction picture hanging hardware will showcase each piece with classic period style. Using antique picture hooks, silken cord or chain, and picture rail molding, you can create a display of art worthy of a gallery. What is the real beauty of vintage picture hanging hardware? The flexibility to rearrange your art easily and as needed, without damaging your walls. For ideas on how to hang your art, see our “how-to” video here.
Designed for the pivoting door between a kitchen and dining room, push plates protect the surface of the door from wear and tear. Paired with a heavy-duty spring-loaded hinge, they provide a place to push with your hand, arm, elbow, or back as you pass through the door. They also provide an unexpected opportunity to add a splash of decorative design!
The pivoting door between your dining room and kitchen requires a powerful spring-loaded floor hinge. This handy device keeps the door closed and the kitchen messes out of sight when entertaining. Paired with a push plate, it allows for easy, hands-free operating - a must when carrying dishes from room to room.
Some dining rooms have additional doors leading to a hall or butler’s pantry, to the garden, or even pocket doors to the living room. When updating your space, evaluate your door hardware to determine if it’s up to snuff. If a replacement is needed, door sets that match the style and era of your home are always a safe and tasteful choice. If you are going for a whole new look, the options are endless - modern, classic, rustic, glass... Examine your doors to see what you need, then find a style that speaks to you!
Worn, rusted, and painted-over hinges can be an eyesore. If restoring them is out of the question, upgrading to new butt hinges will transform the look of your doors. Choose from plain or decorative styles, with finishes to match every type of door set.
Inconspicuous as they may seem, doorstops are an essential item in the dining room. Mounted on the floor, baseboard, wall, or hinge pin, they protect your walls, furniture, and built-in cabinets from damage by a swinging door. See our handy doorstop shopping guide to find just the right solutions for your dining room.
Floor registers may be the last but not the least important design choice you make for your dining room. Although they live underfoot, their presence can delight the eyes. Upgrade from boring builder styles to something that shows your true design savvy.
If you have original sash-over-sash (double-hung) windows, you’ll find that the locks and lifts have lost their looks with time. Installing new brass hardware with a gleaming finish will brighten your windows in an instant. If you are going the extra mile and undertaking a complete window restoration, you’ll find pulleys in matching finishes, as well as cord, chain, and weights. If your dining room has old-style outswing casement windows, find everything you need to update them here.
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Have a question about your dining room updates or any of our products? Our Hardware Specialists are here to help - call 888-223-2545.