Gorgeous Dining Rooms: Part One

By Kate Riley April 21, 2009

Yesterday, I featured my woefully inadequate dining room space, which is a work in (slow) progress. For inspiration, I turned to my magazine file of my favorite dining spaces, and scanned them for your eyes only. Now if my dining room could look like any of these, no one would ever remember what food I actually served.

You will notice that I lean traditional. However, my personal style is less Architectural Digest, and more Better Homes and Gardens. Yet I constantly peruse and collect copies of Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Southern Accents, Decor, and Remodel magazines to dream my little dreams of someday adding extra glam to my little dining room corner.

Here are just a sampling of the many images I’ve collected. (All efforts were made to acknowledge the photographer, if known.) These pictures are so lovely, you’ll be glad I’m featuring Part Two next week.

house beautiful april 08

House Beautiful, April 2008: Such a calm color scheme, and a great mix of chairs. It could just be the light, but it appears that the chandelier and picture frames are a champagne color, which is noticeably softer than gold or bronze. Photo by Francis Janisch

decor magazine fall winter 07

Decor, Fall/Winter 2007: Fantastic use of purple velvet tufted chairs with traditional ornate chandelier. Refraining from the use of an area rug shows off the beautiful wood flooring.

southern accents may june 08 3

Southern Accents, May/June 2008: This chandelier is to die for, and I adore that beautiful white hutch with the fresh circular pattern in the glass. A nice blend of wood tones and fabrics. Photo by Tria Giovan

house beautiful

House Beautiful, February 2008: This space is so interesting! Orange velvet, a dark wood table on a key patterned rug, and is that a white coral chandelier? Beautiful use of spa blue as a backdrop to its orange compliment. Photo by Erik Piasecki

southern accents july august 08

Southern Accents, July/August 2008: How dreamy is that chandelier up against those chocolate walls? Simple and whimsical centerpieces from nature. Photo by William Waldron

southern accents may june 08 2

Southern Accents, May/June 2008: Three different styles of chairs covered in the same fabric with nailhead trim. This dining room multitasks as a library as well. What a brilliant technique to hang such a formal mirror in front of the books to highlight the lighting. Photo by Erica George Dinas

decor fall winter 07

Decor, Fall/Winter 2007: Another dining space that multitasks as a library space. A medley of chairs, a bench, and no area rug reduce the formality, and the chandelier adds just a bit of sparkle. I could read for hours right here, with a cup of coffee and no interruptions. (Hey, a mother can dream, can’t she?)

reno style summer 08

Renovation Style, Summer 2008: Simple and traditional, yet also clean, fresh, and not too stodgy. Photo by Michael Porteno

southern accents may june 08 4

Southern Accents, May/June 2008: It appears that right in the heart of an elegant galley kitchen, you can add a lot of style with a table and a unique chandelier. Photo by Tria Giovan

southern accents may june 08

Southern Accents, May/June 2008: While ornate, that mirror is still breathtaking. Those simple chairs add a bit of French country and balance out the gilded features in this room. I love the mix of antique white chairs with a dark wood table. Photo by Tria Giovan


Source Unknown: Again, those antique white chairs and a gorgeous chandelier. This time, the dark wood appears to the left with the buffet. Those billowy curtains are so lovely, and I’m catching a glimpse of an extraordinary mirror as a backdrop.


unknown 2

Source Unknown: Balanced and beautiful. You could create quite a mood with those leafy candelabras in the backdrop.

Here are some favorite dining rooms from my Domino photo gallery. (And more reasons to miss our favorite mag.)

domino dining room

Tiffany blue walls, sisal rug, velvet chair, mismatched benches, poofy silk curtains, white asymmetrically placed armoire = ooh la la.

domino dining room 2

A desk reinvented as a dining room table, how clever. Fantastic cubby cabinets mixed with glass front storage. Again, more mismatched chairs and no area rug. Love it.


domino dining space 3Ultra glam, big drama here. Gorgeous floors, love those chairs. I like the use of two smaller twin chandeliers, and the balance of dark and white.

domino green dining room

A very brave use of kelly green worthy of respect. Nice symmetry in this room. I absolutely love the black-and-white chairs and white chandelier mixed with the walnut table. This room is traditional in furniture style, yet young, hip and chic at the same time.

And a couple more of my favorite magazine images:

country french decorating spring summer 08 

Country French Decorating, Spring/Summer 2008: A bold choice of burnt orange in the curtain fabric pays off here. Such beautiful butternut colored walls make me want to linger longer, and drink a lot of Italian wine. Photo by Andreas Von Einsiedel

homes and gardens dec 06 

British Homes and Gardens, December 2006: This is an absolutely breathtaking centerpiece created out of jeweled branches. It looks like something you’d see at a celebrity wedding, or Hollywood awards show after party. (And it gives me an idea for a DIY project…)

 Would you love to be inspired by some more stylish tablescapes? Visit House Beautiful’s archives here.

Do you like what you see so far? Tell me about your favorite features.


  1. These pictures are wonderful… But I already LOVE your dinning room! If you’re going to make it BETTER: YOU ROCK! I can’t wait to see you take it up a notch (or twelve!)!

  2. I just popped over from This Young House. You didn’t tell me you were famous. Congrats!

  3. Hi Kate! Was hoping to refer back to this post for a few great dining room ideas but I noticed that both Part 1 and Part 2 have lost their images! Just a heads up :).

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