15 Ways to Dress Up Your Dining Room Walls

Not sure what to put on those blank walls? We've got 15 solutions.

As someone who has never done a ton of cooking or formal entertaining, dining rooms have always been a bit of a design challenge for me. I realized that as soon as I had a dining room that I loved spending time in, I started doing the cooking/entertaining thing a lot more.

One of the biggest challenges of designing a dining room is what to put on the walls. I’ve rounded up 15 of my favorite ideas from traditional to quirky and everything in between. If you’ve got wall space to fill up in your dining room, I’ve got you covered.

1: Gallery Wall

Contemporary Dining Room With Woodwork and Gallery Wall

Contemporary Dining Room With Woodwork and Gallery Wall

Chango & Co.

Chango & Co.

If you happen to have a large collection of art, a gallery wall is a perfect solution in a dining room. You can mix and match various sizes of art, frame colors and finishes, and even throw in some unusual objects to create a fun gallery wall that displays it all. The spacing and execution of gallery walls can sometimes be tricky, so make sure you plan the whole thing out before you grab your hammer and nails.

2: Large Mirror

Funky Dining Room Design

Funky Dining Room Design

BGDB Interior Design

Photo by: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

BGDB Interior Design

A beautiful mirror is one of those pieces that never goes out of style so you can feel comfortable investing in it. A large mirror is a great solution if you have a smaller space that you're looking to open up a bit. Round mirrors are definitely having a moment right now, so if you’re not sure what type of mirror might work in your dining room, consider going round.

3: Graphic Wallpaper as Art

Bright, Colorful Dining Room

Bright, Colorful Dining Room

As seen on HGTV's Love It or List It, a detail of the dining room table and decor.

From: Love It Or List It

Photo by: Dale Wilcox /AP Images

Dale Wilcox /AP Images

I absolutely love the look of wallpaper and think that the dining room is the perfect spot to go for it. However, if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge (or take on the expense) of wallpapering your entire dining room, consider using just a piece of it. Find a print or design that you love, then order a piece that’s just large enough to fill your space. Or try using smaller pieces (either the same print or coordinating prints) that you can frame and hang together on one wall.

4: Woven Wall Hanging

Yarn Wall Hanging

Yarn Wall Hanging

Easily bring in the boho theme with your own DIY yarn wall hanging. It looks like a complicated macrame piece, but it’s actually just a series of simple knots and braids.

Photo by: Bethany Nauret; Styling by Paige Geffen

Bethany Nauret; Styling by Paige Geffen

With the boho trend still going strong in design, woven wall hangings have become all the rage over the past few years. You can search for the perfect vintage wall hanging for your space on eBay or Etsy, or make your own DIY version. The great thing about DIY pieces is that you can choose to make them exactly the size you need to fill up your wall.

5: Vertical Garden

Dining Room With Vertical Garden

Dining Room With Vertical Garden

This modern white dining room features a marvelous indoor vertical garden that fills the space with color, texture and natural beauty.

Photo by: Design by Jason Lempieri of ReThinkTANK with City Planter

Design by Jason Lempieri of ReThinkTANK with City Planter

This idea definitely falls into the quirky category, but living walls are a really unique option for making your dining space stand out. You can create a living wall using special "pockets" that are designed to hold your plants and allow them to grow properly. If you’d like to go with a plant wall, make sure your space gets enough light for the plants you choose.

6: Chalkboard

Eclectic Dining Room Design

Eclectic Dining Room Design

Designer Tyler Karu wanted a statement piece for the light fixture above the dining table. She chose this tall, vintage pendant because of its scale and slightly gothic style that works with the eclectic design of the loft.

Photo by: unknown

unknown

Another fun option for a more modern dining space is a large, hanging chalkboard. You can use it to share menus for dinner parties, or use it as a spot for kids to draw on while adults eat dinner. If you’d like to fill up a larger space, consider using chalkboard paint to outline a bigger chunk of your wall.

7: Vintage Sign

Dining Room With Farm Table

Dining Room With Farm Table

Joanna Gaines found this 10-foot wooden farm table at the Round Top flea market and paired it with a set of metal industrial chairs, creating a decidedly casual dining space.

From: Fixer Upper

Vintage signs are also a great option for dining room decor. You can choose one larger sign, or go for several smaller signs and hang them all together. These are fun items to hunt for at yard sales, and they come in all different shapes and sizes.

Get More: Country Sign Art

8: Family Photography

Fresh White Dining Room With Sconces

Fresh White Dining Room With Sconces

Rethink Design Studio

Rethink Design Studio

If you’re always snapping family photos or pictures of your kids, consider enlarging a couple of them and using them as artwork in your dining room. Printing family photos in black and white is a great way to make them look a bit more professional and pulled together.

9: Kids' Artwork

Contemporary Dining Room With Modern Artwork

Contemporary Dining Room With Modern Artwork

ASD Interiors

ASD Interiors

If your kids are always working on their art skills, you likely already have a bunch of amazing artwork lying around the house. It might be time to consider blowing a couple of pieces up and framing them to use as artwork in your dining room. Engineer prints are an inexpensive way of getting larger pieces of art to use.

10: Typography Artwork

Typographic Artwork in Dining Room

Typographic Artwork in Dining Room

This typographic art can put a touch of the owners' personality or history on display. Stencils and matching canvases allow a collage of personal and customizable art.

Photo by: Courtesy of Art.com

Courtesy of Art.com

Another simple art idea is using typography to create pieces of artwork in your dining room. You can choose messages that are meaningful to your family, or simply choose words or letters with powerful graphic elements that create punchy pieces of art. Using a simple black-and-white palette, like the one pictured, is a good idea if you want to keep things more neutral.

11: Large Tree as Art

Contemporary Dining Room With Pedestal Table

Contemporary Dining Room With Pedestal Table

Red Egg Design Group

Red Egg Design Group

If a living wall feels a bit overwhelming but you still love the idea of making a big statement with plants, perhaps your dining room needs a large tree. While these large trees can definitely be on the more expensive side, with proper care you will hopefully have it for years to come. If you decide to use a large tree in front of a wall as a focal piece, make sure you also invest in a beautiful pot to help show off your plant.

12: Calendar

Family Friendly Kitchen

Family Friendly Kitchen

Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

For a more casual dining space, you could try using something more practical than artwork, like a calendar. This classic Stendig calendar is loved by graphic artists, as it’s so beautifully designed. They usually sell out every year, but you can put your name down on the waiting list, so you’ll be the first to hear when next year’s calendars go on sale.

13: Plate Collection

Eclectic Dining Room With Wall Art Plates

Eclectic Dining Room With Wall Art Plates

This eclectic brown dining room wall features a beautiful display of wall art plates in a variety of patterns and styles.

If you love to collect plates and china, you can easily create a beautiful arrangement on your dining room wall. You can choose to display your plates by color, pattern or mix it all up and simply hang all of your favorites. While you can certainly plan your arrangement ahead of time, you don’t need to do quite as much planning as you do for gallery walls.

14: Wood Accent Wall

Wood Accent Wall in Contemporary, White Dining Room

Wood Accent Wall in Contemporary, White Dining Room

An accent wall featuring a patchwork of wood tiles pops in this bright, white contemporary dining room while also tying in a wood dining table with wood benches.

Photo by: Beckwith Interiors ©Sargent 2009

Beckwith Interiors, Sargent 2009

If you’re looking to make more of a statement in your dining room, a wood accent wall is a great choice. You can get really creative with this option by choosing an unusual material such as reclaimed wood, or paint a bold, graphic pattern using wood elements.

15: Shelves

Modern White Dining Room With Exposed Brick Wall

Modern White Dining Room With Exposed Brick Wall

Modern furnishings tread lightly on the distinctive architecture of this white loft apartment in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. A sleek steel dining table is surrounded by sinuous leather chairs from Ligne Roset. The whimsical, leaf-like chandelier is by Moooi.

Photo by: tara benet

tara benet

You could also decide to forego art altogether and cover one of your walls with a large shelving unit. This option gives you a great deal of flexibility in terms of your decor, as well as a good chunk of extra storage space. You can still include pieces of art on the shelves themselves, as well as other decorative items. You could also create an open shelving storage look with plates, glasses or serving pieces (which is nice if you don’t have any open shelving in your kitchen).

A Formal Dining Room That's Not Fussy

See All Photos

Dining Room Makeover: After

On a modest budget and a timeline of three days, this formal dining room was updated to highlight its existing architectural features and to offer a cozy place for hosting year-round dinner parties.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Dining Room Makeover: Before

In its original state, the dining room was bland and in need of a bold splash of color. Using the existing area rug as inspiration, the room was updated with navy blue on the walls, ceiling and along the back panels of the built-ins. New fixtures and fresh upholstery dress up the space.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Fresh Paint

A shade of navy blue 60 percent lighter than the wall color was used on the ceiling, which covers the room in color without drastically darkening it.

Bold Light Fixture

Prior to its redesign, the formal dining room was lacking an overhead light fixture. This new satin brass chandelier adds just the right sculptural touch. Globe bulbs, instead of traditional candelabra bulbs, lend a more modern look.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Coordinating Colors

It's important to consider flow when choosing colors for rooms which open into one another. To create proper flow between adjacent spaces, stick with different shades and tints of a common color or use complementary hues. Here, the navy blue walls of the dining room coordinate perfectly with the seaglass tones of the nearby living room.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Weathered Surfaces

Weathered finishes add a touch of informality to a space and aren't just meant for rustic rooms. The black oak table used in the dining room is traditional in style but features a slightly aged rubbed black finish. Weathered dining tables are an excellent fit for high-traffic homes with active kids or pets since dings or dents acquired over the years will simply add to the overall effect.

Layered Underfoot

While the traditional pattern of the top area rug is formal, the addition of a flame-stitch sisal rug underneath instantly gives it a more casual personality. To layer rugs successfully, choose two with patterns ranging in scale and with complementary textures. A mix of nubby, coarse textures paired with sleek or refined textures will result in the perfect balance.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Recovered Armchairs

For a more personal, custom approach in your dining room, choose a mix of armchairs and side chairs. Here, a pair of high back, regency-style armchairs were picked up at a flea market for $100 then recovered in a contemporary striped print.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Slipcovered Side Chairs

Of all natural-woven fabrics, washed linen is the most casual and relaxed. Four side chairs slipcovered in stonewashed linen were added to offset the heaviness of the tall upholstered armchairs. Besides being super comfortable, the slipcovers are user-friendly, too. Should dinner parties result in spills or stains, the slipcovers can simply be tossed into the washing machine.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Unexpected Artwork

An excellent way to make formal spaces feel updated and fresh is to mix abstract art with traditional-style furniture. This oversized piece by artist Kelly O'Neal introduces an interesting shape to the room and helps balance other standout features.

Natural Light

Before using dark colors in small to medium spaces, it's important to consider the room's source of natural light. Since this formal dining room is equipped with both French doors and a large window, the abundance of natural light keeps the navy blue from feeling oppresive. The French doors lead to an adjacent outdoor space so dinner parties can actually double in size during the warm months.

Eclectic Bookshelf Styling

To keep a dining room feeling more like a showcase than a library, consider using bookshelves to display interesting objects with sentimental value rather than just books. After updating the back panels of the built-ins with textured wallpaper, an assortment of keepsakes from around the house were put on display.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Extra Seating

To make this window seat extra comfortable, a two-inch-thick cushion upholstered in the same fabric as the high back chairs was added, tying in the bonus seating with the rest of the room.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Relaxed Window Treatments

Rather than opting for more elaborate or formal pleats, the dining room draperies were sewn in a style called "soft top." This refers to the lack of pleats along the top of the drapery panels, making the fabric much more soft and loose.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Updated Hardware

For an easy update, the knobs of the built-in bookshelves were replaced with handles in a satin brass finish. Satin brass has more versatile appeal than polished brass, which is best fit for more formal spaces.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Casual Serving

To make gatherings much more casual, consider setting the table buffet style. Allow guests to help themselves by stacking dinnerware, flatware, linens and drinkware in groupings around the table along with family-style food presentation.

©Sarah Dorio Photography

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