White dining room ideas can be a tough one to get right. Too cool, and you risk a cold and uninviting clinical feel. Too warm and it can very quickly look outdated.
While we love a dark and dramatic dining area to add atmosphere, you can't beat a crisp, minimalist scheme that begs for you to take it all the little details.
When looking at dining room ideas, don't think of them as just places for serving up mundane family dinners. Rather, they should be treated as a celebratory space to welcome good news, embrace distant relatives and show off to your friends with a glass or two of something special.
Come breakfast time, it's the perfect canvas to tablescape and sit down with a warm bowl of oatmeal, stacks of pancakes or maybe some eggs.
Plus, whether you're renting, buying or selling your home, white dining rooms are the perfect starting point to unleash your interior creativity... or indeed hand it over to someone else to use as a blank canvas.
White dining room ideas to wow
1. Take it outdoors with a staycation-style dining setup
'Enjoy a hassle-free break, make the most of lazy days by treating your home like a hotel,' says Helen Stone, interiors writer for John Lewis & Partners (opens in new tab).
'Your house has been working hard of late, but if it’s also set to be your holiday home then it’s time to take a new approach. Forget the chores, the working from home and the niggling jobs. Treat your four walls like your favorite stay-away and prep a few relaxation spaces where everyone can relax in peace.'
2. Add organic materials for a nature-inspired scheme
Add plenty of texture and monochrome decor in the form of black dining chairs and framed prints in your white dining room.
'Layering natural, tactile materials like seagrass and jute brings a neutral dining space to life. Reactive glaze ceramics will add further texture; try styled on open shelving to give the setting a curated yet laid-back feel.' says David Hutcheson, senior homewares designer at Habitat (opens in new tab).
3. Or use a shelf as a room divider to zone living spaces
Fresh, light and airy, this dining room features furniture made from planet-friendly materials, multipurpose shelves, and other clever solutions.
Use it to display your favorite decorative items and can be used in both rooms. We suggest candles, books, houseplants and maybe even a board game or two.
4. Add multiple sources of light to create atmosphere
No matter how time-poor we are these days, we should always make time for family. One of the most convenient times to do this is after work and school, at the dinner table.
Eating dinner is much more than chowing down a meal quickly. It's a time to talk, socialize and more importantly appreciate the food that chef mom or dad has spent time preparing. They say you taste with all your senses so it's important you can see what's in front of you.
As well as an overhead pendant light, supplement the dining room with floor lamps too. This will not only ensure that you can see who you're speaking to, but can also create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
5. Add white shutters to keep out light while eating
It's known that white can brighten a room and also cool it down too. You'll only need to look back at holidays in Europe to be reminded of the cosmopolitan Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini with their white-washed homes and buildings.
But there's nothing worse than sunlight beaming in your eyes while you're trying to eat. And that's where a good window treatment idea comes in handy.
These Burley shutters by Thomas Sanderson (opens in new tab) are an idyllic addition to your white dining room decor.
6. Create a focal point with a pop of color
We can always trust Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)to give us something a little different when it comes to white dining room ideas.
To create this look, paint your walls in Blackened No. 2011. Their coolest white, with the slightest hint of grey, was historically made with the addition of lamp black pigment gathered from the smoke of burning oil lamps.
Then, use a 'cleaner' unpigmented white, such as All White No.2001 on the ceiling to provide contrast and draw the eye upwards. Of course, you don't have to use these shades. Finding the best white paint shades for your dining room is a completely personal decision.
Here, in the wall inset detail, they've used Pink Ground No. 230, a dusty blush hue with lots of yellow pigment which stops it being too sugary.
To style your white dining room, add colorful details and keep everything at a height. Here, the combination of a curated 'shelfie' and dangling bauble pendants are talking points between the delicious food you'll be serving.
Joa Studholme, Colour Consultant at Farrow & Ball explains, 'Combining unexpected shades with clean white accents strikes the perfect balance of versatility and visual interest, making for a dining space that feels perfectly suited to everything from lazy weekend breakfasts to after-dinner drinks.'
7. Pair white with grey for a contemporary feel
Made from solid pine wood with a beautiful white washed finish, this dining table and bench design from Cox and Cox (opens in new tab) features a stylishly simple design which celebrates the finish of the wood beautifully and is a great canvas for all-year round styling. Perfect for any white dining space.
In the spring, decorate with Easter-themed accessories such as eggs and bunnies and come winter, adorn the table with faux furs, mini Christmas trees and Holly leaves.
The added round mirror idea works to make a small dining area look larger... and is great for checking if there's anything in your teeth!
8. Make white 'family-friendly' with wipeable and washable homeware
If you've got a large family, or one with small children, you'll know too well about spills and stains from all sorts of condiments and sauces.
Whether it's gravy, mustard, juice spills or ketchup, we're familiar with the face you pull wondering whether the pigmented food color will come out of your tablecloth and carpet.
Rather than spend hours scrubbing and laundering, a high-gloss table in a white dining room idea will allow you to wipe clean surfaces in an instant. So you won't have to ask kids to sit in another room to eat, and you can have something that suits your white kitchen ideas too.
Pop a washable rug underfoot to ensure that food debris stays in one place and can either be vacuumed off or popped in the washing machine and hung to dry.
'White has traditionally been associated with wealth as it takes time and effort to maintain such an impression of cleanliness but make it easy on yourself by choosing wipeable surfaces and removable chair covers that can be popped in the wash,' says Stone.
9. Apartment living? Paint the walls to add interest
Whether you live in a house, or you're looking for apartment ideas, your dining room decor has still got to look on point. But decking out this room or area with furniture can often eat into your budget.
So how else can you style a white dining room idea? The answer: Sample paint pots or leftover emulsion.
The world is your oyster when it comes to decorating your dining room walls, but be considerate to your guests! Less is more, as you don't want something that'll put them off their meal.
10. Mix and match chair decor for a lived-in look
When we think about white as a color, we often think clean and brand-new. But this can often result in a dining room idea looking cold and clinical. To change this, swap a clear glass kitchen island lighting idea for something smoky and choose a distressed table and mismatched chairs.
We love this trio of Upton pendant lights from Fritz Fryer (opens in new tab) which come with a choice of four metal finishes, including antique brass.
To style your table, snip cuttings from your garden and use assorted vases and even glass tumblers to house herbs and hand-cut blooms.
How do you style a white dining room?
'The simplicity of Scandi style uses natural materials, organic shapes and a soft palette to bring calm to open-plan spaces,' says Helen Stone.
'Of all the looks designed for the way we live today, the modern Nordic style is a dream for adding texture and interest to a minimalist aesthetic.'
'At its heart are natural materials including pale wood, leather, jute and linen, and a focus on organic shapes, low-slung furniture, sculptural lighting and statement ceramics.'
'Warmth comes from pale shades of plaster and chalky earth tones while hits of matt black provide bold accent. Blonde wood and fitted storage found throughout but there is a more forgiving softness here with wovens, rattan and woven jute promising warmth and comfort.'
'Layering up the accessories will make this look your own and you can afford to be bold. Look for interesting silhouettes and create families of mismatched lamps and ceramics that have a common profile or color palette'
'A mini art collection can be effective in this scheme, using bold graphic abstracts or framed black-and-white photos to tell your story. Mix up the sizes and formats to keep that relaxed, organic mood.'