27 Formal Dining Rooms Designed for Modern Lifestyles

By KRISTIN HOHENADEL
Kristin Hohenadel
27 Formal Dining Rooms Designed for Modern Lifestyles
01 of 27

Mix Old + New

formal dining room with crystal chandelier

Design by Leanne Ford Interiors / Styling by Hilary Robertson / Photo by Amy Neunsinger

This formal dining room from Leanne Ford Interiors mixes old and new for a timeless feel. The room is anchored by an elegant fireplace with a mantel generously styled with framed art, photos, objects, and dried flowers. A crystal chandelier lit with warm bulbs adds formal elegance and modern seating adds contrast.

 
02 of 27

Go Modern Minimalist

minimalist formal dining room

Sissy + Marley Interior Design / Photo by Marco Ricca Studio

Sissy + Marley Interior Design gave this airy formal dining room a modern minimalist feel with pale woods, white walls, modern lighting, and an uncluttered feel that’s perfect for modern entertaining.

 
03 of 27

Add a Home Library

formal dining room library

Marie Flanigan Interiors

Marie Flanigan Interiors added warmth, color, and functionality to this spacious formal dining room in Los Angeles by installing floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to house a large home library. The shelves follow the slanting roofline of the Spanish-revival home, and a large leafy vintage light fixture looms over the dining table.

 
04 of 27

Plant a Living Wall

formal dining room living wall

Maite Granda

Florida-based interior designer Maite Granda energized this formal dining room with a floor-to-ceiling living wall positioned beneath a skylight. The contemporary space includes a sleek home bar, a modern bubble chandelier, and curvy emerald green velvet chairs that give it a luxury lounge vibe.

 
05 of 27

Add Cozy Textures

coastal formal dining room

Christina Kim Interior Design

Christina Kim Interior Design added cozy textures like fur throws on the back of wooden dining chairs, soft floor-to-ceiling drapes, painted shiplap on the walls, and reclaimed wood on the ceiling that makes this formal dining room feel intimate and warm.

 
06 of 27

Install a Wine Wall

formal dining room with wine room

Kate Marker Interiors

This formal dining room from Kate Marker Interiors is structured by a floor-to-ceiling glass and metal wine wall that doubles as décor while separating the seating area from an adjacent wet bar and wine room.

 
07 of 27

Use Earth Tones

earth tone formal dining room

Twelve 15 Design Studio

Warm earth tones like mustard wall paint, dark gold-colored drapes, and olive green upholstered chairs add warmth to this formal dining room from Twelve 15 Design Studio. A brass chain and globe light pendant anchors the dark wood table to create an eye-catching focal point.

 
08 of 27

Add Large-Scale Florals

formal dining room with floral wallpaper

Design by Leanne Ford Interiors / Photo by Alexandra Ribar

Leanne Ford Interiors decorated this formal dining room with large-scale floral wallpaper in black and white with hints of pale pink that sets it apart from the adjacent kitchen and creates a nostalgic feel with a modern bent.

 
09 of 27

Add Color

eclectic formal dining room

Mary Patton Design

Green grasscloth wallpaper adds color to this formal dining room from Mary Patton Design, creating a backdrop for a large painting over the sideboard decorated with baked goods on colorful cake stands. A midcentury modern pendant light anchors the oval dining table decorated with mini palm trees to add a lighthearted note.

 
10 of 27

Add Pattern With Wallpaper

formal dining room decor

Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Margaret Austin Photography

This San Francisco Edwardian-style home from Cathie Hong Interiors has a formal dining room that is semi-open to the rest of the space. Patterned neutral-toned wallpaper adds contrast with the warm stained wood baseboards, door frames, and hardwood flooring. Pale wood on the dining table, chairs, and sideboard adds a modern Scandi-inspired feel to the mix.

 
11 of 27

Choose Oversized Chairs

formal dining room chairs

Forbes + Masters

Forbes + Masters chose oversized chairs with a throne-like appearance to anchor this modern dining room, giving pride of place to the heads of the table. Floral patterned draperies and a modern vase centerpiece give the space a dressed feel even when it’s not in use.

 
12 of 27

Create Off-Duty Drama

formal dining room with accent wall

Marie Flanigan Interiors

If your formal dining room sits idle most of the time but is visible from other rooms, turn a pass-through space into a canvas for a dramatic wallpaper accent wall, statement lighting, and sculptural accents that will turn it into an off-duty showpiece, like this dining room from Marie Flanigan Interiors.

 
13 of 27

Add Boho Style

boho formal dining room

@leafandlolo / Instagram

In this informal take on a formal dining room from @leafandlolo, a wooden dining table with mixed wood and woven seating, a tasseled pendant light, a textured table runner, and plenty of plants give the space a casual and inviting feel.

 
14 of 27

Customize the Walls

formal dining room wall treatment

Forbes + Masters

Forbes + Masters added a modern twist to the formal dining rooms of old with custom hand-painted wallpaper and matching drapes in neutral tones and an abstract pattern.

 
15 of 27

Frame the Wallpaper

formal dining room wallpaper panels

Design by Candace Mary Interiors / Photo by Martin Vecchio

In this formal dining room from Candace Mary Interiors, wallpaper panels are framed with painted wood trim for a polished feel.

 
16 of 27

Hang Some Art

formal dining room wall decor

Tyler Karu Design + Interiors

Tyler Karu Design + Interiors decorated the walls of this light and airy formal dining room with framed art that complements the white walls and vintage midcentury modern furnishings.

 
17 of 27

Choose Black and White

townhouse formal dining room

Sissy + Marley Interior Design / Photo by Marco Ricca Studio

Sissy + Marley Interior Design decorated this formal dining room in shades of black and white to match the palette of the airy NYC duplex. A blackened wood dining table, black velvet Beetle chairs, black window shutters, and an opaque glass bubble pendant light suspended from the tall ceilings give the space presence with just a few well-chosen elements.

 
18 of 27

Focus on the Ceiling

formal dining room navy walls

Whittney Parkinson Design

Whittney Parkinson Design kept the focus on the ceiling in this formal dining room, painting the walls navy to add contrast and hanging a witch eye mirror on the wall that increases the perception of space.

 
19 of 27

Style With Books and Art

formal dining room with open shelving

Caroline Andreoni Interior Design / Photo by Sophie Lloyd

Caroline Andreoni Interior Design brought this formal Paris dining room to life with colorful abstract art, midcentury modern furnishings, contemporary lighting, and a wall of built-ins stacked with books and styled with décor objects.

 
20 of 27

Decorate With Antiques

formal dining room with antique furniture

Tyler Karu Design + Interiors / Photo by Erin Little

Tyler Karu Design + Interiors renovated this 1700s family home in Newburyport, Massachusetts while honoring its Federal-style architecture. This formal dining room includes a mix of vintage and antique furnishings with custom pieces that feels authentic to the original while suited for modern living.

 
21 of 27

Anchor With an Area Rug

formal dining room lighting

Ashley Montgomery Design

Ashley Montgomery Design added a large area rug to anchor the table and chairs in this formal dining room dressed in pale pink and green and lit with an airy pendant light and a pair of wall sconces that provide balanced light for nighttime meals.

 
22 of 27

Style With Plants

formal dining room modern decor

Design by Leanne Ford Interiors / Photo by Reid Rolls

Leanne Ford Interiors styled this formal dining room with shades of white and wood, and accessorized with clusters of plants in baskets and vessels of varying shapes and heights in the corners to add texture and life to the room.

 
23 of 27

Accent With Black

formal dining room coffered ceiling

Ashley Montgomery Design

Ashley Montgomery Design chose a black-and-tan palette for this formal dining room glimpsed through an arched doorway. Warm earth-tone walls are accented with black accents like a framed artwork and an extra-tall matte black armoire, while a coffered ceiling adds a sense of grandeur.

 
24 of 27

Make It Cozy

cozy formal dining room

Sarah & Sons Interiors / Sarah Szwajkos Photography

In an older home, make a formal dining room with a smaller footprint feel extra cozy by saturating the walls in a soothing blue paint color and adding a small round table with comfortable seating like this space from Sarah & Sons Interiors.

 
25 of 27

Hang Oversized Lighting

modern farmhouse formal dining room

Michelle Berwick Design

Michelle Berwick Design added drama to a spare, neutral-toned modern farmhouse-style formal dining room with a pair of oversized black wire pendants with fabric shades.

 
26 of 27

Try a Picture Rail

country style formal dining room

Fantastic Frank

This Swedish country dining room from Fantastic Frank has vintage appeal, with its herringbone patterned hardwood floors, long farm table, and pair of pendant lights. The dark gray painted wainscoting topped with a wrap-around picture rail is a traditional touch that makes the room feel homey while serving as a display for an uncluttered selection of art and objects.

 
27 of 27

Highlight the View

formal dining room with wall of windows

Louis Duncan-He Designs / Photo by Eymeric Wildling

In a modern open-plan layout, you can create the feel of a formal dining room by adding a large table and chairs in a designated corner and anchoring it with a statement pendant light. This formal dining room area from Louis Duncan-He Designs is positioned in front of floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning wide-open natural views. The large table that seats a dozen is located within arm’s reach and plain view of the kitchen island seating and smaller breakfast table, creating multiple options in a single space.

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