Formal dining rooms can quickly become drab and outdated. Since most of us eat the majority of our meals at the kitchen table, it’s easy to overlook this space when it’s time to renovate. The typical dining room consists of all the basics – table and chairs, a buffet, decor, and other furniture as space permits. But beyond the essentials, each dining room requires an update every now and again. Here are five upgrades to help you create a space that looks great, and that’s functional too.

  1. Update Your Wall Paint Color

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Do you want to change the feel of the space?  Paint is the easiest and least expensive way to change the look of any room. Painting the walls a color you love will give your dining room more personality and help the space look more pulled together. Bold colors, like this gorgeous monochromatic palette, will command your attention and will make a beautiful statement to your dining room. On the other hand, a neutral color can add a sophisticated beauty to the room. Whether you love clean, bright whites or deep, dark grays, a neutral wall paint color is timeless and provides the perfect backdrop for creative accents and decor.

Dining rooms can blend in, serve as transitions, or have a personality all their own. You don’t want your paint color to determine your color palette; you want your design to determine your color palette and your paint to complement the design. Not sure what will work? Visit your local hardware store to get some samples in different hues and finishes to try.

  1. Change or Add Mirrors & Wall Art

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The wall decor and artwork can bring color, warmth, texture and style to your dining room. Mirrors reflect light and make the space feel larger.  If you have a window in the dining room, place the mirror on the opposite or adjacent wall to the window so that it reflects the light and the view from the window. Adding a large mirror above the buffet cabinet will make your room feel larger and add impact to traditional furniture pieces, especially if you choose a transitional style mirror.

Is the art in the space old or outdated?  Changing out the art is easy to do and doesn’t always have to be expensive. You can change out the art with an existing piece from another room, or you can create your own art using prints. Adding one large scale art piece, as shown in the eclectic dining room here, or creating a gallery wall of prints is another beautiful way to add a fresh new look. When it comes to art for the walls, choose something that speaks to you, whether that means family photos, architectural sketches or an original painting.

  1. Swap Out Window Treatments

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Updating your window treatments is a quick way to give an outdated dining room a new look. Amidst all of the hard furniture that tends to fill this room, it’s wonderful to have some fabric and add a touch of softness. Consider staying away from window treatments with prints unless you are willing to replace them often, since printed drapes can go out of style quickly.

White or ivory colored drapes are timeless and add a gorgeous neutral layer to a dining room. If you’re looking for more of a light and airy feel, then soften your space with linen or sheer curtain panels to welcome in all that natural light. If you have blinds, you may want to add softness to the room with drapes, or if you want a more contemporary minimal look, you may want to remove all window treatments altogether.

  1. Invest in Statement Furniture

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The central piece in any dining room is the table. It takes up a prominent space and sets the tone for the entire room. Before you decide to upgrade this statement piece, think not only about the style and size but also about what kind of mood and environment you want to create. A great table is the hardworking center of your dining room, and it’s worth getting this piece right. If you plan to entertain in your dining room often, choose a table that can hold up to wear and tear – solid wood is a great option. Also, choose furniture based upon how you will use your space. In the dining room shown here, for example, a round pedestal table makes the most of the compact space, but additional leaves mean it can extend to seat 10 to 12 people. Some dining tables feature self-storing leaves, which can be another great space-saving solution.

If you’re not ready to spring for a whole new table or set, changing just the chairs at each end of the table can be a good intermediate step. Intentionally mixing up a set is a great way to make your dining room feel more personal. Gone are the days of matchy-matchy dining sets. Find a table you love, then surround it with complimentary chair pairings like ornate design details and plush upholstery.

  1. Add an Area Rug

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A beautifully designed rug is the perfect way to anchor a room, and it makes the space feel connected and cohesive. It also adds warmth to the hardwood floors you may have. A unique or bold rug can serve as a focal point (along with your table). If you don’t have a pattern on your wall, the dining room is a great place to add a patterned rug because the rest of the room tends to remain neutral. If you choose a solid rug to use in your dining room, try to find one with a little bit of texture or very minimal pattern that resembles texture.

While the size of the rug will largely depend on your dining furniture set, the rug should be big enough to fit the table and chairs when not in use. Ideally, the rug should have a minimum of 24″ of extra room on all sides of the table.

Updating your dining room, whether you start with small changes or a large overhaul, will transform your dining experience. Through simple additions of color, patten, texture, and statement pieces, your dining room can become new again. Whether your style is formal or family friendly, use these design updates and decorating ideas to update your dining room