Posted on: 11.08.2022 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Whenever I host a formal party, I never feel like I have to worry about whether my dining room matches the theme. Since dining rooms are often only used for special occasions, they are naturally chic and elegant. However, a formal-looking dining area can backfire and make you less likely to use it.

Here’s how to make a dining room less formal:

  1. Change the wall colors.
  2. Get new dishes and table decorations.
  3. Get a new dining set.
  4. Change the rest of the decor.
  5. Change the lighting.
  6. Take down a few walls.

Regardless of your budget, there is a solution to make your dining room look more casual and less formal. In this article, I will only show a few ways you can make your dining room less formal and more inviting for everyday use.

1. Change the wall colors

One of the most effective ways to change the look of a room is to change your paint or wallpaper. That applies to dining rooms as well.

Often, dining rooms are painted in very classic colors, like different shades of white.

The walls of more modern formal dining rooms can also be painted in elegant darker colors like dark blue or chestnut brown.

However, these colors can make a room look much more serious, contributing to its formal nature.

If you want to change the look of your dining area, try painting it in a lighter or more fun color. Paint your white walls green or your chestnut brown walls light blue. After all, it’s much harder to think that a light pink room is too formal.

The same goes for wallpapers.

Find a fun pattern that you like, maybe one with texture or foil to make the design shine a little. Having walls that match the mood you’re aiming for in your dining room can work wonders in making the area more casual.

2. Get new dishes and table decorations

Another great way to change the formal look of your dining room is to change the table decorations you use. While it’s a tradition in most households to have “fancy” dish sets that they only bring out for special occasions, they usually look quite elegant.

Using fancy dishes makes your dining room look less casual.

If you have nice dishes, you can still keep them for when you actually want to have a formal meal, but the rest of the time, you could use something quirkier. You can find dish sets in practically every color and pattern imaginable.

You can even mix and match if you want a casual and versatile dining room.

It’s not just your dishes that can make or break the look of your dining room, but also your table decorations.

You might not think about how much your tablecloth can affect the look of your dining room. A lacey, expensive tablecloth, for example, makes even the most casual room look ready for a formal event.

When trying to make your dining area look more casual, opt for placemats or a more vibrant and fun tablecloth instead.

Try something bright and flowery or a checkered pattern, for example. The best part about this option is that you get the best of both worlds. You can choose which table decorations and dishes to use depending on how you want your dining room to look.

All you need is the space to store everything in between uses.

3. Get a new dining set

When you close your eyes and picture a formal dining room, what do you think of first? The dining table and chairs, right? Since the purpose of a dining room is exclusively for dining, the furniture you use to achieve that goal plays a big role in whether the area is formal or casual.

Do you use an antique dining set or a family heirloom? Do your table and chairs have intricate patterns carved or painted on them, or are they made of hardwood that just looks expensive?

While these types of furniture are certainly beautiful, they are more suited for an elegant space. If it’s within your budget and you’re willing to part with the dinnerware you already have, consider looking for a new one.

For example, a glass or acrylic dining table and chair set gives your room a more modern look that can easily appear casual. Look at different colors, materials, and shapes for your furniture so you can put together the desired look and prevent your dining room from feeling stuffy and too formal.

If you really feel like taking on a DIY project, you can even try changing the upholstery of the chairs you already have. That can breathe new life into your old furniture and may just be the change you need to achieve the less formal look you want in the room.

4. Change the rest of the decor

While it’s easy to focus on your dining set and table settings, these are rarely the only decorative things in a dining room. Even if you have a minimal number of other decorative pieces, they can still change the look of your dining room.

For example, if you have an intricate Persian rug on your floor, your room will automatically look fancier than something with lighter, brighter colors and a quirkier pattern. Use a fern or a bowl of decorative seashells, or a table runner to break up the look of your table and make the surface look a little more inviting.

You can even try hanging art on your walls that you would typically hang in your living room or office area.

Look at the rest of your home. How are the other rooms decorated? Why do you enjoy spending time elsewhere in your home? If any of those elements can be transferred to your dining room decor, that’s a good first step in deciding how you should change your decoration.

5. Change the lighting

Dining room lighting usually has a few different characteristics. These are:

  • They usually have dimmer, lower lighting to create an elegant ambiance.
  • They tend to have ornate wall sconces or traditional chandeliers.

Both elements are perfectly fine, but not necessarily conducive to curating a less formal space.

Consider changing the lighting in your dining room to change the overall feel of the area.

If you feel like dim lighting is the issue, opt for brighter light bulbs or add more lights to the room. Avoid warm bulbs as they can create a slightly shadier look and instead use cooler white light bulbs.

If you only have a single chandelier, consider track lighting instead.

The number of light bulbs you use may stay the same, but track lighting distributes the light by not concentrating it all in a single spot. If you don’t mind the subdued lighting but want a more casual or carefree look, consider trying out different lamps and small decorative lights.

You can use fairy lights in your table decorations or let them line your walls, for example.

This way, you can still have the desired dim lighting but in a less stuffy way.

If the amount of light you have in your dining room is perfect for you but something still bothers you, look at the light fixtures you have. A traditional wall sconce or pendant light can prevent your dining room from getting the more relaxed look you might want.

Try looking for different lighting ideas at your local hardware store or home decor shop.

Just because it’s typical to have a chandelier in a dining room doesn’t mean you have to, especially if it’s preventing you from having the space you want.

6. Take down a few walls

If you’ve tried everything else and your dining room is too formal for your taste, then it might be time to take more drastic measures.

In most homes, the dining room is a separate room with its own doors and walls separating it from the rest of the house. This can make the dining room feel especially formal and prevent it from truly feeling like it belongs to the other rooms in your home.

If you own your home, consider tearing down one or two walls in your dining room to open up the space. This can be particularly useful if your dining area is adjacent to other areas of the house where you usually spend a lot of time, like the living room or kitchen.

Non-load-bearing walls can be safely removed without affecting the overall structure of your home, and you can create a less formal look in various ways by opening up your dining room.

These include:

  • The rest of your home decor can become part of your dining room decor.
  • During dinner parties, having a more open space can lead people to spread out a little if they’re not actively eating, making the area more casual.
  • If you don’t have a fully enclosed dining area, the space can feel more inviting, like an extension of the other areas in your home.

This isn’t an option to take lightly. It’s much easier to tear down a wall than to rebuild one. However, if you’re willing to do something more extreme, this could be the solution for you.

Why formal dining rooms exist

You might have the childhood memory of not being allowed to go into the dining room as a kid.

I know I do. I was often told that the dining room had to be kept nice and I shouldn’t go in there unless I had an adult with me.

But if you have a room in your house that’s so nice you don’t even want people going into it when it’s not being used, what’s the point? Formal dining rooms may be less common today, but they do serve a purpose.

For households that regularly hold special events and “fancy” dinner parties, having a well-appointed space can be a necessity. Often, the furniture, dinnerware, and cutlery used or found in these rooms are much more expensive compared to what you would find elsewhere in the house.

Even if elegant dinners and gatherings are rare, someone might still want a formal dining room, so they’re prepared in case they decide to entertain.

Casual Dining Room vs. Formal Dining Room

While formal dining rooms certainly have their place, they are not the most functional spaces in the house unless you regularly host elegant events that require elegance and formality. The term “casual dining room” can have different meanings, but it often refers to a dining area that is either more open or has a more casual decor compared to conventional dining room areas.

Why you might want a casual dining room can vary, but there’s no doubt that its more relaxed nature makes the space less “stuffy” and more suitable for everyday use.

Why you might want a cozy dining room

While some people might want a formal dining room, there are many more people who want a casual dining room. Why? If you ask people why they have or want a casual dining area, you’ll hear some common answers, including:

  • There’s less pressure and stress.
  • Casual atmosphere dining rooms are more inviting.
  • A simple dining room matches the rest of the house better.
  • They don’t host fancy events, so the space goes unused.

Whether you believe in making your dining room more casual, you tend to use it more, or you simply hate the look of your formal dining room, there are things you can do to make your dining area look casual.


There are many ways you can make your dining room look less formal. There is definitely a solution for you, from simply changing the wall color and your dishes to completely reconfiguring the space.

If you’re looking to make your dining room more relaxed, don’t worry.

With a little bit of planning, you can have the dining area you’ve always dreamed of.

Leave a Comment