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25 Years of Beautiful Dining Rooms

Pull up a seat and take a look at 25 of our favorite dining rooms

Produced by Julianne Hilmes
  • Whether formal or casual, there’s just something about sitting down to share a meal. In the home, the dining room is where we put our best design foot forward. And why wouldn’t you want the design to be just as special as the time shared with family and friends around the table? So pull up a seat and join us as we look at 25 of our favorite dining rooms. 

  • Jenifer Jordan

    Elegant Blue Dining Room

    October 1989

    The formal dining room in this Highland Park, Texas, home features a turn-of-the-century double-pedestal table surrounded by 19th-century reproduction Chippendale chairs. The most remarkable presence, though, is the mantel. It’s been attributed to Robert Wellford, a Pennsylvania cratsman whose brief working life (1805-1815) yielded some of the period’s most beautiful wood creations. The mantel holds a Chinese porcelain garniture set. The homeowners entertain frequently, and the table is set with their 1815-design Chinese rose-pattern china and crystal stemware. The rug is a Tabriz. 

    Written by Karen Muncy
    Design: Rebecca Hughes

  • Rick Taylor

    Dramatic Red Dining Room

    April 1990

    Charm and elegance are surpassed only by comfort in this waterside home in the Charleston, South Carolina, area. In the dining room, the the homeowner chose red walls to create a dramatic backdrop for her blue-and-white porcelain and mahogany furnishings, and to frame views of Charleston Harbor. Antique chairs with Chinese-patterned seat covers carry the theme.

    Written by Nancy A. Fandel and Carla Breer Howard
    Produced by Ruth L. Reiter
    Design: Joan Brown

  • D. Randolph Foulds

    Seaside Dining Room

    August 1991

    A long-neglected Victorian summer home in Chatham, Massachusetts, was renovated and revitalized with seaside colors. “We knew immediately that we wanted the house to have a feeling of water and sky,” interior designer Lynda Agger Levy said, “so the color scheme was easy—soft water tones, lots of florals, blue for the sky, green for the garden, and all the pinks and peaches that [homeowner] Andrea likes.”

    The dining room can be dressed up or down for any occasion. After a day at the beach, the homeowners love to gather here, whether to dine or just sit by the window and gaze at the sea. The painted floor pays no mind to sand or bare feet. The mirrored sideboard at the far end of the room, which was original to the home and fully restored, houses a collection of Bavarian china and Wedgwood oyster plates.

    Written by Pamela J. Wilson
    Produced by Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Design: Lynda Agger Levy

  • Jon Jensen

    Lively Dining Room

    May 1992

    In his San Francisco apartment, interior designer Mike Moore loosened the laces on traditional design. A circa-1800 American chest and Sheratonesque chairs were the starting point for his lively dining room. Countering fine, vintage mahogany furniture with freshly minted art brings out the best in both. In pale colors, an exuberant backdrop enlivens the furnishings without overwhelming them. When setting the table, Moore kicks up his meals with surprise couplings: funky art plates with fluid Tiffany silver; flashy jewel-studded napkins on crisp white linen.

    Written by Sandra S. Soria
    Produced by Barbara Cathcart
    Design: Mike Moore

  • Jon Jensen

    Comfortable, Casual Dining Room

    March 1993

    This new revisionist French farmhouse in Portland, Oregon, built to accommodate owners whose 31 grandchildren come to visit, provides panoramic views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and the Coastal Mountains. Iron and wood architectural details and furnishings help warm the coolly elegant interior. Two white armchairs mix with rush-seat chairs at the dining room table for a perfect blend of formal and casual. 

    Written by Mike Butler
    Design: Billi Springer

  • Jenifer Jordan

    Striking Dining Room

    November 1994

    How did a home in tiny Le Mars, Iowa come to be designed by one of Traditional Home’s favorite designers, Gary McBournie? Our November 1994 issue explained:

    “Two fast-paced Manhattan-area careers and the lifestyle that went with them were great fun when Gayle and Matt Ahler were newlyweds. But it wasn’t ideal for starting a family. Then Matt, a corporate banker, was asked to return to his hometown of Le Mars, a community of 8,500 tucked into the northwest corner of Iowa. He would join the bank his family had helped build. The couple saw it as the chance for the calmer, gentler life of their dreams. It also meant a multiyear refurbishment of their new house. To show how a good master plan can work for such a long-term project, Traditional Home, together with Gramercy and The Hickory Chair Company, invited interior designer Gary McBournie to work with the Ahlers in restoring their once-grand Le Mars house to the gracious family home they envisioned.”

    Rounded shapes integral to the dining room’s architecture are complemented in the form of the plume-motif, Hepplewhite-style mahogany chairs. The room’s large size accommodates opulently swagged and trimmed window drapery. That spaciousness also made the search for a suitably proportioned carpet a bit of a treasure hunt. This gently hued needlepoint was worth being patient for. Adding an antique mirror over the long-stemmed sideboard brought the wall across from the window alive.

    Written by Carla Breer Howard
    Design: Gary McBournie

  • Jon Jensen

    Soothing L.A. Dining Room

    May 1995

    The soothing qualities of interior designer Barbara Barry’s subtle, sophisticated style were a big draw for this Los Angeles homeowner. In the dining room, the table was designed to be both worldly and countrified. With its utter simplicity, it doesn’t demand attention, but gets it anyway. Dark Queen-Anne-style dining chairs look much more relaxed in new coats of white paint. The Welsh cupboard topping a 19th-century sideboard was given new presence against a green-on-green striped background.

    Written by Sandra S. Saltzman
    Design: Barbara Barry

  • Peter Vitale

    Informal Coastal Dining Room

    November 1996

    In a home on the Maine coast, interior designer Mary Douglas Drysdale made a definitive style statement with a tantalizing play of shapes, patterns, and colors. French doors in the informal family dining space open to a wraparound porch. Custom-finish chairs from IKEA circle a Drysdale-designed dining table.

    Written by Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Produced by Pamela J. Wilson
    Design: Mary Douglas Drysdale

  • Eric Roth

    Welcoming Farmhouse Dining Room

    July 1997

    In a neighborhood of mostly contemporary houses, a Michigan couple built something different—a home that looks like a real farmhouse on the outside but conveys casual elegance inside. The first-floor rooms, arranged in a sort of semicircle, all open to the foyer as well as adjoining rooms and/or porches. In the dining room, back porch access is available through French doors. The walls are are deep green “to warm up the room and give it some separateness,” interior designer Marilyn Silberman said. To further warm it, and to tone down the Georgian mahogany furniture, she added a graceful iron chandelier.

    Written by Eliot Nusbaum
    Regional editor: Suzy Farbman
    Interior design: Marilyn Silberman 
    Architect: David Sellards

  • Gordon Beall

    Richly Detailed Dining Room

    July 1998

    In this turn-of-the-century home in Washington, D.C., soft colors and flowing fabrics put serious antiques at ease. Inspired by her trips to Italy and Switzerland, the homeowner found herself drawn to formal European and Continental antiques, so she went to designers Lee DeFord and Edna Gross, partners in a firm that specializes in updated traditional style with an emphasis on fine antiques.

    The dining room, with its original box-beamed ceiling, parquet floor, and handsome new fireplace, has a feeling of relaxed formality. Placed companionably in front of the fireplace is a damask-skirted table surrounded by reproduction Louis XVI chairs that were custom-finished with paint, gesso, and gilt, then painted again to create a flaking look consistent with a true piece of the period. The homeowner searched two continents before she finally found the marvelous 18th-century Dutch crystal chandelier at a New York City antiques shop. Simple draperies of silk slub with heavy cotton tassel trim were designed to frame the windows in a relaxed way and let the light stream in.

    Written by Pamela J. Wilson
    Interior design: Edna Gross and Lee DeFord 

  • Tria Giovan

    Beautifully Detailed Dining Room

    June+July 1999

    Timeless furnishings and bold color mix brilliantly in this striking 1920s house. Wall-to-wall sisal on the floor warms and brightens the dining room, which is full of fine period antiques. An 18th-century English needlepoint rug overlays the sisal to define the dining area and create crisp contrast. The celadon-and-white painted wall design, patterned after Chinese wallpaper the homeowner saw in a Paris apartment decades ago, depicts flowering pear trees and cockatiels.

    Written by Heather Lobdell
    Interior design: Barrie Vanderpoel and Sandi Schneider

  • Emily Minton

    Light-Filled Dining Room

    Septebmer 2000

    Jane Marsden and Janie Marsden Willis share a lot besides their names. Mother and daughter, and their husbands, also share a business and a passion for blue-and-white Chinese export dishes. Daughter Janie and her husband live in a third-floor apartment above their Atlanta shop. There, the dining area is a delightful mix of antiques, flea-market finds, and reproductions. The three-panel painting was found on a buying trip to Argentina.

    Written by Eliot Nusbaum
    Regional editor: Lynn McGill
    Architect: Michael C. Glass
    Interior design: Jane Marsden and Janie Marsden Willis

  • Gordon Beall

    Clean-Lined Dining Room

    September 2001

    In a very old Federal-style house in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina, light streams in through windows on all four sides of the home. The simple architecture features classical proportions, handcrafted moldings, plasterwork, and patinated wood floors.

    The clutter-free dining room invites with antique heart-pine floors, simple plantation shutters, and walls painted in subtle stripes. Unlikely but utterly delightful pairings include a French farm table teamed with an Italian garden bench and armchairs upholstered in linen, as well as a reverse-painted French mirror above a rustic antique chest from Normandy. A tole tray rests against the mirror.

    Written by Pamela J. Wilson
    Design: Roxanne Vogel

  • Jenifer Jordan

    Marvelous Dining Room

    July 2002

    Symmetry organizes this suburban Chicago home. Pale celadon walls with white trim, tailored window treatments, and furniture pieces in simple, modern forms prevail throughout the house. Anchored by a contemporary Christian Liagre table and chairs upholstered in chenille, the dining room is a study in marvelous contrasts. The graceful iron-and-crystal chandelier is a new piece with classical antecedents. Reinforcing the theme of new and old, and the strong symmetry, is a pair of octagonal Venetian mirrors. Two Chinese figures from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 220) stand sentinel in front of the mirrors. An abstract painting leans casually on the Colonial Revival mantel in the adjoining living room.

    Written by Linda Hallam
    Regional editor: Hilary Rose
    Interior design: Stephanie Wohlner 

  • Jon Jensen

    Showhouse Dining Room

    April 2003

    At first glance, this dining room from the San Francisco Showcase House seems to be a simple, albeit striking, composition in black and white. But designers Kate McIntyre and Brad Huntzinger actually used a range of hues; it’s just that they are all variations of white. Graced with abundant natural light and classical architectural details, the room’s rich charcoal walls, made subtly reflective by a sheen of silvered wax, provide a magical backdrop for the light colors of the furnishings.

    McIntyre and Huntzinger chose washed coral and seashell as the whites—or, more accurately, creams—to dress the room. Coral ornaments the mirror over the new limestone fireplace, while draperies at the windows and French doors are panels of a shimmer “liquid leather” fabric trimmed with individual capiz shells. A chandelier made of hand-cut aqua glass beads reminiscent of sea glass is another nod to the ocean. The unusual tone-on-tone crewelwork of the chair upholstery adds eye-catching texture, especially against the dark, turned legs. The Indonesian inlaid table introduces an additional range of whites.

    Written by Krissa Rossbund
    Produced by Carla Breer Howard
    Interior design: Kate McIntyre and Brad Huntzinger

  • Janet Mesic Mackie

    Stylish Chicago Dining Room

    November 2004

    In this family’s Chicago condominium, interior designer Stephanie Wohlner shook up traditional style with angular pieces and organic shapes. The living and dining room draperies—identical for visual continuity between the connecting spaces—are an example of what Wohlner called the “new traditional look.” They consist of handsome blue flannel panels over caramel-colored wool sheers.

    French doors separate the dining room from the living room. A reproduction French crystal chandelier and sconces add warm elegance. Wohlner tufted modern chairs for an unusual twist; the manufacturer liked the look and added a tufted chair to its line. Upholstered walls soundproof the room.

    Written by Candace Ord Manroe
    Produced by Hilary Rose
    Interior design: Stephanie Wohlner

  • John Granen

    Sunny, Light-Filled Dining Room

    July 2005

    This 1946 Nantucket-style beachfront home in La Jolla, California, had great bones but was in need of upgrades. To give the house more light, interior designer Sandra Tofanelli-Gordon kept window treatments to a minimum, added mirrors, and covered the walls in several shades of white. Framed on one side by windows and on the other by half-walls, the dining room is a light-filled pavilion. Existing light-colored dining chairs were darkened to a rich ebony finish and reupholstered in yellow and white with an embroidered black monogram.

    See the rest of this home

    Written by Eliot Nusbaum
    Produced by Andrea Caughe
    Interior design: Sandra Tofanelli-Gordon
    Architect: Harold Abrams

  • Bruce Buck

    Cozy Dining Area

    November 2006

    Warm color palettes and large-scale furnishings with strong silhouettes define interior designer Maureen Griffin Balsbaugh’s style. A playful and personal attitude is reflected throughout her Boston home, where rooms are designed to welcome friends and family. “My tastes go toward clean lines, but soft and comfortable—traditional with a modern feel,” she says. During the renovation of her 1965 kitchen, Maureen bumped out the wall to gain about 350 square feet for a cozy TV and sitting area and a window-wrapped breakfast room, where the Balsbaughs frequently entertain.

    Written by Amy Elbert
    Produced by Stacy Kunstel
    Interior design: Maureen Griffin Balsbaugh

  • Colleen Duffley

    Lively Dining Room

    May 2007

    Little Rock interior designer Garry Mertin pumped adrenaline into his sleepy Colonial with blasts of color and unlikely art. In the dining room, he replaced the existing wallpaper with orange-pigment Venetian plaster. The Athena bust was salvaged from the Buster Brown building in St. Louis before it was razed. A new chandelier replaced the room’s original crystal fixture. The new fixture is a curved metal bar of stainless steel with long, dangling strands of crystal beads and larger prisms. Its contemporary, upscale look stylishly echoes the wood-bead door curtains of ‘60s counterculture.

    Written by Candace Ord Manroe
    Produced by Diane Carroll
    Design: Garry Mertin

  • Bruce Buck

    Summer-Inspired Dining Room

    July 2008

    A 1928 classic shingled cottage on Cape Cod needed a renovation, but the homeowners wanted a renovation that didn’t look or feel like a renovation. The footprint of the dining room did not change, but additional ceiling height was captured, and new wood floors were installed. The raffia-covered walls had been redecorated over the years with white paint. The designers took them back to the original concept by choosing an updated, natural raffia-weave wallcovering. The family’s antique dining table was retained; the side chairs were reupholstered in summery stripes. The host chairs were custom-made. Art above the side table was the inspiration for the palette of sun, water, and sky used in the room.

    See the rest of this house.

    Written by Sandra S. Soria
    Produced by Jenny Bradley
    Architect: Douglas Dick 
    Interior design: Mary Foley and Michael Cox

  • John Granen

    Glamorous Dining Room

    November 2009

    This gorgeous dining room appeared on the cover of our November 2009 issue.

    After 60 years of virtually no updates, this two-story Colonial on a Seattle hilltop was ready for a major facelift. It was taken down to the studs and rebuilt with wider and taller doorways, higher ceilings where possible, and enlarged windows. 

    Sparkle and tradition join in the dining room, where a custom hand-painted silk wall treatment is accented with warm coral, gentle pink, and shades of yellow and green. Wainscoting and trim are painted in two colors—a creamy gray and a champagne-silver—that repeat the background hues of the wallcovering and also blend with the soft gray used on walls throughout the rest of the house. An antique crystal chandelier and sconces add dazzle, while a simple sisal rug serves as a quiet backdrop. The homeowners mixed antiques, such as dining chairs upholstered in coral silk-velvet, with a new custom-made round table that expands to seat 14.

    Written by Amy Elbert
    Produced by Linda Humphrey
    Interior design: Carrie Hayden

  • Eric Roth

    Warm, Welcoming Dining Room

    November 2010

    The renovation of this Boston couple’s Georgian Colonial house took 11 years, but the result was worth waiting for: a home high in style, but low in sugary extras. A tribal-patterned rug in shades of blue underscores the dining room. With its fireplace and sparkling chandelier, the room is a warmly hospitable setting for the dinner parties the couple hosts for friends and family and as charity fund-raisers. The room’s Dennis & Leen chandelier uses rock crystals from designer Michael Carter’s collection.

    See the rest of this home.

    Written by Krissa Rossbund
    Produced by Estelle Bond Guralnick
    Architects: Design Associates 
    Interior design: Michael Carter

  • John Bessler and Jonny Valiant

    Colorful Hamptons Dining Room

    July+August 2011

    If there’s such a thing as restrained opulence, Manhattan-based designer Richard Keith Langham hit the mark with his dining room in the Hampton Designer Showhouse. Deep Irish blue walls set off crisp white wainscoting. Lavish citron silk curtains are updated with contrasting trim. A tasseled silk orb floats above the antique Regency table. While rooted in the past, the room is anything but dated. Modern elements punctuate the space—lacquered console tables designed by Langham flank the door, and shots of hot pink update the painted Georgian-style chairs.

    See the rest of the showhouse.

    Written by Jenny Bradley
    Produced by Jenny Bradley and Jo Ann McVicker
    Interior design: Richard Keith Langham

  • Werner Straube

    Stately, Modern Dining Room

    September 2012

    The inside of this stately 1922 Georgian-style home in St. Louis had fallen into disrepair. New York designer Marshall Watson convinced the homeowners that if they restored the house and incorporated more modern decorative elements, the architecture would shine—and he was right.

    A space admired in a Neiman Marcus catalog inspired the dining room’s backdrop. A painter took a month to reproduce the strié gray-green wall trimmed with silver leaf atop gold. The resulting paneled walls have a quintessential Louis XVI look but also offer a freshness ushered in by views through three arch-topped French doors that lead to the terrace and garden.

    Watson found “the perfect antique table” from a Long Island estate, then adapted Louis J. Solomon chairs by adding stretchers to their oval backs. “The stretchers give the Louis XVI-style chairs the look of an original,” he says. The Aubusson carpet and elaborate chandelier, both from Niermann Weeks, work with the chairs to give the dining room an 18th-century look.

    See the rest of this home.

    Written by Candace Ord Manroe
    Produced by Mary Anne Thomson
    Design: Marshall Watson

  • Werner Straube

    Modern, Dramatic Dining Room

    May 2013

    In the Lake Forest Showhouse, designer Darcy Bonner used furniture with clean, contemporary lines as a contrast to the rich ornamentation of the walls. As an added modern counterpoint, the designer extended the ivory tone of the marble fireplace surround with an oversized goatskin-framed mirror above the mantel. Its beveled frame reflects the classic wall paneling.

    Atop ebony-stained oak floors softened with a wool sisal rug, Bonner placed a sleek dining table in front of the fireplace. Chairs clad in hazelnut-colored leather surround the exotic Macassar ebony wood table. A Venetian glass chandelier illuminates the setting.

    See the rest of the Lake Forest Showhouse.

    Written by Krissa Rossbund
    Produced by Hilary Rose
    Design: Darcy Bonner

  • Francesco Lagnese