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Design Dilemmas: Dining Room Edition

Today, we’re taking another look at everyday design dilemmas with — the dining room. We’re sharing our designers’ expert solutions for common challenges faced when creating a gathering space fit for any meal!

Mid century modern dining room with curved arm chairs and textured rug.

PHOTO: LD Shoppe, Leclair Decor


There are two key factors to keep in mind when selecting a statement light fixture for a dining space: aesthetic and scale.

Lighting is jewelry for a dining room—it catches your eye and builds ambiance in the space. A modern fixture in a brass finish with exposed bulbs adds contrast to more traditional elements, while a traditional fixture in black iron with drum shades brings formality to a more relaxed overall look.

PHOTO: Los Angeles, Leclair Decor | Shop the Look

Lighting should also fit the space. In a room with 8-foot ceilings, our rule of thumb for hanging height is 30-36” from the bottom of the fixture to the top of the table. If your space has taller ceilings, hang the fixture 3” higher for each additional foot of ceiling height, up to 42” from the bottom of the fixture to the table. As for width, allow at least 12” from the edge of the fixture to the edge of the table on either end.

PHOTO: Riverside Modern, Leclair Decor


Layering a rug beneath a dining table adds texture and purposeful pattern and can anchor the entire space. We typically always recommend incorporating a rug in a dining room, unless you have an open floor plan where a rug in another room would sit too close and clash.

In terms of material, we love rugs made of polypropylene, polyester, or P.E.T. (eco-friendly, recycled polyester) for their durability and resistance to the occasional spill. Choosing a short-pile rug will make clean-up simple and allow chairs to move ease.

We also keep sizing simple. Ideally, you’ll want to have at least 24 inches from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug all the way around. We recommend an 8’ x 10’ rug for a 74”-long table and a 9’ x 12’ rug for a 98”-long table.

PHOTO: Cedarbreeze, Leclair Decor


Look to balance visual interest and function when selecting seating for your dining space.

Long-gone are the days of matching dining sets! Contrasting chairs will add depth and elevate the overall look of your space. Mixing wood tones or pairing wood with other materials like metal, fabric, leather, or natural fibres will draw the eye in and invite your guests to sit down.

PHOTO: Carp, Leclair Decor

It’s also important to consider your family’s needs. If you’re concerned about spills and stains, we recommend chairs crafted in wood or performance fabrics. Armless chair options optimize seating and create a streamlined look, while comfortable arms may be practical if you expect your meals will lead to hours of conversation. Elbow room is important to everyone at the table—ideally, each chair should have 24”-36” of space allowance to maximize comfort and avoid a cluttered look.

PHOTO: Leclair Home, Leclair Decor | Shop the Look


The dining room tends to be more formal than other areas of the home, so we lean on minimalistic, large-scale pieces for a sophisticated styling result.

Keep conversation in mind—decorative pieces that are large in size but low in height allow for open sightlines while guests are seated around the table. Styling on sideboards and buffets should also be minimal to leave space for serveware when hosting larger gatherings. Large-scale botanicals and dramatic, layered lighting are essential to setting a welcoming mood.

PHOTO: Richmond Project, Leclair Decor | Shop the Look

Find your dining room inspiration on our Shop the Look page!


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