Modernize Your Dining Room With These Simple Upgrades

Adobe Stock

The last time you had family or friends over for a potluck, did the dingy paint put a damper on dinner?

I don’t know what it is about a dining room, but they seem to be one of the last spots we focus on upgrading. They wind up feeling outdated and heavy. And unless you’re going for that grandma-chic look, it might be time to bring your dining room into modern times.

So if you’re tired of worn-out upholstery and the light fixture that’s been hanging since Reagan was in office, it’s time to make a few changes. Luckily, a few thoughtful upgrades can make a big impact without blowing your budget.

Let’s upgrade that drab dining room.

Fix Up the Dining Room Chairs

If your dining room is feeling old-fashioned, it’s probably time to ditch the frumpy, dated chairs. After all, they’re part of the main focal point of the room.

If you’re looking for a quick and affordable way to breathe new life into your dining room, the chairs are a great place to start. A quick reupholstery job can freshen them up with new, modern fabric.

Break Up the Set

Dining room furniture that’s overly matchy-matchy is a surefire way to make a dining room look out of date. Break up that old-fashioned dining room set by giving a piece of furniture a new paint job.

You can paint your dining chairs, the table, a china cabinet, or sideboard instead. Just, don’t paint them all — that would kind of defeat the purpose!

Upgrade the Light Fixtures

It’s amazing just how different a room can look with a new light fixture or two. It’s an easy way to refresh the space and add depth and interest, without spending a lot of money.

Swap out that outdated light for something new and modern, and see just how much it can change the overall feel of the space.

Give the Walls a Fresh Coat of Paint

A fresh coat of paint might be the big impact you need to refresh your space. A bright, cheery shade of coral can make a modern statement, or a warm neutral like grey can feel clean and welcoming for guests.

Just make sure you check out paint swatches before jumping all the way in — you don’t want it to clash with your existing furniture.

Or, Apply Patterned Wallpaper

If wallpaper in a dining room sounds more like Grandma’s house than a modern upgrade, I have news for you: wallpaper is back, and it’s a great way to add whimsy or drama. You just have to do it right, with fresh and crisp modern prints, and bright colors.

DIY Wall Paneling

Wall paneling adds an incredible amount of interest to your dining room walls, and if you DIY it, you’ll find it’s pretty affordable. These architectural details bring character, sophistication, and charm, and can really make a space feel less… basic.

Surely, you’ve heard of shiplap from binging Fixer Upper — well, that’s a kind of horizontal paneling. Applied box molding is a big favorite of mine for an accent wall, too, or perhaps try out beadboard paneling. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, checkout modern abstract paneling. All of these (and plenty of other options out there) are sure to add plenty of tonal texture to your walls.