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25 Tricks to Make Your Dining Room Look Expensive (Without Emptying Your Wallet)

A luxurious dining room with a chandelier over the round wooden dining table.

Are you tired of your drab dining room but don't have the cash to give it the major overhaul you're dreaming about? Then do the next best thing and start small and use smarts to transform this space. Get started with these fantastic tricks for making a dining room look expensive without being expensive.

You know the maxim, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Smart words that have helped many get the confidence and respect they need to move further in their career. But did you know that these same words can apply to your home? Your home environment, after all, speaks volumes about who you are and who you want to be. So if who you want to be is someone more successful, professional, and admired, then why not dress your home to do so? A good place to start is with the dining room and you don’t even have to break the bank to do so.

While every room is important, the dining room tends to be among the most social and the most used room of the home in terms of entertaining and socializing with family members. Even if every member of your family is on a different schedule, you’ll always 25 fantastic ways you can decorate your dining room to look more expensive and do so without breaking your budget.

1. Add Decorative Moulding

A beautiful dining room with gorgeous white moulding.
Source: Lowes

Want to give your dining room a more sophisticated estate appearance? Then one fantastically cheap and easy way of doing so is by adding decorative molding to all of your walls. This is an especially cheap trick if you have some DIY know-how and can do it yourself (although calling in for a professional isn’t too expensive).

2. Paint Your Decorative Moulding

A close-up of a moulding being painted using a brush.

If you followed that last step or if you already have decorative molding in your home, then the next step is to enhance the look by giving it a quality paint job. However, painting decorative molding can be tricky as it’s easy to leave paintbrush marks if you’re not careful. Avoid doing this by sanding the area first with something close to 150 grit sandpaper and by using a primer first. When choosing paint colors, go with either the exact color you have on the walls or work with a paint color expert to get a paint just a shade lighter or darker than what is on your walls (or plan to have on your walls).

3. Update Your Linens

Close-up of a dining table with a lovely table cloth.

Don’t have table linens? Then now is the time to head to a place like IKEA and start shopping. A simple yet stylish tablecloth can completely change the look and feel of an old table within just a few seconds. With a tablecloth, you can easily cover up ugly scratches, watermarks, and other table blemishes and instead have a smooth, clean tabletop. When choosing other table linens like placemats and napkins, avoid using the same color as the tablecloth. These items should be seen more as accents that nicely contrast with the cloth so go for either complementing colors or choose colors that you use elsewhere in the dining room.

4. Have a Long Table? Add Side Benches

Signature Design by Ashley - Bennox Dining Table Set - 6 Piece Set - Contemporary Style - Brown
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This trick will depend upon the type of style you’re going for in your home. For those looking for a more country contemporary appearance, then swapping out the side chairs for two long benches can really enhance the look of the space and offer the dining table itself more versatility as you can sit more people on a bench. Plus, you can neatly tuck it completely under the table for a cleaner and space-saving appearance when not in use.

5. Infuse the Space With Desirable Scents

Spring table setting with rosemary and yellow napkin.

Sight is only one sense and so why limit your decorating to just visual aesthetics? The scent is just as important, indeed more importantly for some, at giving a room a desirable feel and mood. Fragrances like natural beeswax and rosemary offer subtle scents that won’t overpower the room but will give it a fresh and upscale mood. Plus, when you add those scents with true items like sprigs of rosemary at the center of the table, you also add to the overall appearance of the space.

6. Hang a Statement Light

Truelite Industrial 3 Light Dining Room Pendant Rustic Oil Rubbed Bronze Wire Cage Hanging Light Fixture
Click the image for more information

What furnishing has as much of a dramatic look and expensive feel than a chandelier? Glass and diamond chandeliers certainly are the definition of fancy, but you don’t have to go extravagant to enjoy some of the same mood-enhancing appeals these light fixtures have. Simply remember that their main purpose is to serve as statement lighting and by choosing a similar hanging light fixture to hang over your table, you can transform your dining room into something more elegant, seemingly more expensive and at a fraction of the cost. For best effects, choose a mid-range size for your table and hang it low to give off a more intimate dining atmosphere.

7. Add Well-Placed Art

A black wall beside the fireplace filled with frames.

Dining room art can be tricky. You want something that complements your room but doesn’t take away too much attention as attention should be focused on the dining room table. When creating a more expensive-looking and feeling atmosphere, generally, things are less personal. This means removing candid family photographs and replacing them either with professional framed shots or choosing more neutral art. When hanging artwork, remember that people will more often than not be sitting in the dining room, so hang art at a lower level than you might otherwise. You might even choose a theme, such as black and white prints of bicycles, and create a mini art gallery along an accent wall.

8. Punctuate With Patterned Fabrics

Christopher Knight Home Phinnaeus Fabric Dining Chair (Set Of 2), Black/White
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Patterns don’t have to be complex to make a big impact. In fact, if you’re going with a minimalist design overall, adding just the right, simple patterns into some of your dining room’s fabrics will result in a very dramatic effect. For example, consider using patterned window drapes to contrast solid-painted or solid wood furnishings. Or keep the patterns more subtle by using them only in the seat upholstery of your dining room chairs. The above Amazon link is to a more expensive set of chairs, but the handy DIY-er can make a similar set for less on their own.

9. Swap Out a Boxy Table for a Round One

Kitchen in suburban home with a wooden round table.

For a more intimate and expensive dining room feel, consider losing the boxy dining room table and instead opting for a round one. Such tables tend to require more space, but when you put them at the center and pair them with lighter colored walls and an elegant hanging light as mentioned above, then the result is very elegant and yet also intimate.

10. Add a Buffet or Service Station

Giantex Buffet Server Wood Cabinet Sideboard Cupboard Table Kitchen Dining Room Restaurant Furniture Wine Cabinet with Wine Rack Open Shelf Drawer Cabinets, Black
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Buffets aren’t just the name of a certain type of food. This word is also used to describe a certain type of furniture that is typically found in dining rooms and serves as a place to store cutlery with an elongated tabletop for storing and serving food and drinks. While there are plenty of expensive options on the market, you can also easily buy a cheap version either online or at a place like IKEA, or you might re-oufit an appropriately sized dresser for the service.

11. Hand-Painted Accent “Wallpaper”

If you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, then maybe skip this trick. But if you do have some craftiness and can keep a space clean while you paint, then applying hand-painted ‘wallpaper’ to one wall or area of space can really transform the look and feel of your dining room into something more upscale and contemporary. The trick here is to keep the design simple and even. The great news is that you can have this look for the cost of just a sponge and a gallon of paint.

12. Decorate With Glassware or Other Collectibles

A collection of colorful old bottles on shelves.

If you have built-in shelving in your dining room or have furniture with shelves that are going unused, then consider decorating with glassware or a similar type of collectible (such as antique pots). A mix of old and new handblown glassware is great because it both draws attention when noticed but at the same time will blend into the greater atmosphere. Quality glassware is also one of those simple yet elegant things that really upscale a space.

13. Add Floral Arrangements for Every Dinner Party

A black table setup complemented by the white floral arrangement.

While having a floral arrangement would be desirable for every day, this often isn’t possible. Instead, when decorating for a dinner party or similar occasion in which you’ll be showing off your home to friends, family members, and colleagues, consider going that extra step and bringing in a floral arrangement to put at the center of your dining room table. A well-made flower arrangement is often used by upscale restaurants and catering groups to add that creme de la creme to a curated tablescape. Adding such to your own dining room table will likewise create a more thoughtful and upscale aesthetic.

14. Switch to Gold Flatware

Flatware Set, 20-piece Silverware Cutlery Set with Serving Pieces, Heavy-duty Stainless Steel Utensils, Include Knife/Fork/Spoon, Mirror Finish, Dishwasher Safe, Service for 4 (Gold)
Click the image for more information

Another one of the easiest things you can do to transform your dining room and table set-up is to simply swap out your flatware. Gold flatware is a small and simple addition to your table and yet it has long been at the forefront of dining decor trends due to the sharp look of gold flatware’s high-sheen metallic finish.

15. Utilize Other Metallic Materials

A simple and small dining area complemented by the metallic ornament mounted on the wall.

If you really want to make your dining room look fancier and a touch more extra without the extra cash flow, then look at other types of metallic items you can add to the dining room. A gold leaf mirror over your buffet, a brass side table beneath the window, and a matched set of vintage silver plates in the cabinetry can all help to make a dining room look and feel more expensive without being more expensive.

16. Add an Accent Rug

A beautiful Southwester-style dining room with an antler chandelier and orange area rug.

It doesn’t matter whether you have hardwood flooring, tile flooring, or even short-cropped carpet flooring, a different color or patterned rug beneath your dining room table can make for a very dramatic effect.

17. Switch to Dimmers

Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch with Remote (Requires Hue Hub, Installation-Free, Smart Home, Exclusively for Philips Hue Smart Bulbs)
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This dining room trick works best with round tables and center-hung lighting. That’s because when you dim down the lights for an evening meal, the walls and further spaces become more shadows and the table and your fellow diners become the lit center. This creates a more intimate space but yet also can make a room feel larger.

18. Bring Nature Inside

A decorative setup of succulents on a log planter.

While the aforementioned floral arrangements are for more for special occasions, houseplants can be an everyday thing that brings color and beauty into your dining room.

19. Add a Large Mirror Opposite a Window

A simple bright dining room decorated with a large circular mirror.

This useful dining decor tip can actually be utilized anywhere in your home to enjoy many of the same benefits. By putting a large mirror opposite a window, you bring in more natural light and make space feel much larger than it actually is. However, to get the benefit of it also adding a touch of elegance, don’t just buy any mirror slab. Go for a nicely framed piece or one that’s more artistically built.

20. When Choosing Wall Colors, Choose Light

A dining room with dark leather chairs to contrast the light tone of the walls and ceiling.

Unless you have a very large dining room, it’s almost always best to choose light, airy colors for your walls. This is because the necessary design set-up of a dining room will already limit your walking space, as your dining table will undoubtedly be at the center with key cabinetry and shelving on the walls, and so you want to do whatever you can to keep the room feeling open and light wall colors are a key component of that. Good base paint colors include grays, light blues, and light yellows with greens being a more recent trending choice. All of these colors will work fantastic with the other tips and tricks on our list, such as pairing with white or lighter trimmed decorative molding and patterned upholstery.

21. Add Statement Lighting Along the Walls

Black Iron Single Light Wall Sconce with Clear Glass Shade,Home Lighting Wall Light Lamp for Dining Room,Bedroom Bedside, Living Room, Hallway(1 Light,Black)
Click the image for more information

In addition to a hanging center light, consider adding small, yet eye-catching light fixtures along the walls that can be adjusted for mood lighting.

22. Use Fine China

A close-up of a table setup with beautiful silver plates.

If you have fine china packed away, unpack it. Enjoy those beautiful pieces of artwork and use them as they were meant to. Doing so will undoubtedly class up your dining room table and the room’s overall environment.

23. Get Rid of the Clutter.

A simple and minimalist dining room with pink walls.

Sometimes, it isn’t about what you add, it’s what you take away. Remove any piles of mail, dog toys, and mismatched furnishings and make the dining room space for and only for dining.

24. Move Your Curtain Rods Higher

A luxurious dining room with tall windows and ceiling.

A sneaky trick that can make any room, including the dining room, look more elegant and elongated is to simply place the curtain rod a few inches higher and choose long window panels. That’ll have the impact of making windows and walls look taller and more stately than they actually are.

25. Raise Your Furniture Up  

Richards Homewares 98041000 Espresso Wood Bed Lifters (Set of 4) Fits 2.75 x 2.75 Bed Feet
Click the image for more information

You don’t have to stop by raising just the curtain rod! Where possible, add height to the buffet, side tables, cabinetry, and other types of dining room furnishings. Like the curtains, raised furniture creates the illusion of a grander, more airy space.

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