First, you might ask yourself how often you will use the dining room, how many people would typically be seated at the table and the nature of those meals? Will the room primarily be used for entertaining, or will you be eating casual family meals in there, too? Do you want to create an intimate space or something formal and elegant that will wow guests, and will it ever need to double as a workspace if you work from home? Note down the answers to these questions and allow them to guide the furniture you choose, the colour scheme and the layout.
Another element to consider early on is lighting, as it will set the tone for the whole room. It’s a good idea to layer light sources as it will allow you to easily change the mood of the room depending on what it's being used for. A chandelier or pendant lamp looks striking above a dining table, but make sure you add illumination around the edges of the room in the form of table, floor or wall lamps.
When it comes to choosing the dining table and chairs, think about what size and shape will suit your space best. If your room is vast, a long rectangular design could fill the area nicely, or if space is tight, a circular table offers greater intimacy and more versatility on where seats can be placed. When it comes to getting the right size, a good rule to live by is to make sure you have at least 24 inches of space all the way around your dining room table so that you can move freely around it.
Comfortable chairs that can be sat in for hours are also an absolute must, while ample storage is an essential part of good dining room design. A sideboard or cabinet ensures elements such as cutlery and crockery can be kept within easy reach yet discreetly hidden, a tall boy adds height and makes for an elegant drinks’ cabinet, while a console can provide the ideal spot for extra lighting and an eye-catching display. Finally, think about adding a rug – it’s a great way to ground a dining table and add in some texture, pattern and colour.