10 Essentials for the Perfect Vintage Dining Room

2020 has been a strange year – a strange year that’s had a strange effect on our dining rooms. What was once the center of eating has now become a home office, a homeschool, a playground, and 101 other things not remotely connected to the act of sitting down and enjoying a meal. But with a new year looming, it’s time to take back our dining rooms and restore them to their original purpose. And what better way to do that than with a makeover? But not just any old makeover. If you want to inject your room with a hefty dose of creativity and originality, you’re going to love the vintage look. A vintage dining room has one foot in the past, one foot in the present, and two very beady eyes on the future. It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and altogether a whole lot of fun. Better still, it’s simple to create, easy to style, and won’t leave you sweating over the bill. All you’ll need to create the look is a dash of ingenuity, a touch of creativity, and these ten very essential items.

1. A Feature Table

Regardless of its size, theme, or vibe, no dining room is complete without a dining room table. The right table can set the tone for the rest of the room, acting as an essential building block to any other fixtures and fittings you add along the way. Thanks to the eclectic style of the vintage look, there’s really no right or wrong answer as to what kind of table is best. If you’re struggling for ideas, you can’t go wrong with a sturdy farmhouse table. Solid and practical, the farmhouse table has enough up its sleeve to let you play around with style to your heart’s content. As suitable to more contemporary furnishings as it is to traditional ones, it can be dressed up or down in whatever way you like.

2. A Tufted Dining Chair

Now you’ve got the table sorted, it’s time to turn your attention to the chairs. The trick here is to look for something that manages to look both contemporary and classical at the same time. Modsy.com recommends a tufted dining chair. With its sophisticated shape, its slightly industrial edge, and its cozy quitting detailing, it marries the old with the new seamlessly. If you want to consider other options, the classic cross back dining chair makes a fabulous choice. With a style that’s reminiscent of French bistros and a look that manages to be both rustic and refined at the same time, it’ll blend effortlessly into the vintage theme.

3. A Statement Rug

The vintage look is all about eclecticism. While that’s great, it’s easy for a room to lose its identity if there are too many features working at cross purposes. To restore some cohesion and bring a sense of harmony to the room, you need an anchor. More specifically, you need a rug. A big, statement rug strewn across the floor will help ground the room and get all its disparate pieces working together as one big, happy family.

4. A Bar Cart

In most dining rooms, a bar cart is a nice optional extra. In the vintage dining room, it’s a necessity. It doesn’t matter whether you go for one in head-to-toe chrome or plump for an antique copper version, it just needs to be there. Once you’ve found the cart for the job, stock it with jewel-colored glasses, cut-crystal decanters, and a good selection of liquors. If you’re tee-total, use it as a storage stand for some scented candles, a few framed photos, or some cut flowers.

5. A Scattering of Accessories

The vintage dining room is where you get to have fun with accessories… but not too much fun. Apply too heavy a hand, and what started out as cute and quirky can rapidly descend into a kitschy nightmare. Keep the Elvis figurines and the Mickey Mouse alarm clocks for the kid’s bedrooms and stick to a select few pieces (a few scented candles, some bloom filled vases, a clutch of photo frames) that work hard for their place.

6. A Bold Wallpaper

The vintage dining room is perfect for the lover of eclecticism. It’s also a joy to anyone who despairs of plain white walls and yearns for the days when wallpaper ruled. If you like, go big and bold by cladding all four walls in colorful printed paper. If you’re worried about going overboard, limit your attention to one feature wall. The options are almost unlimited – choose a jungle-inspired foliage print for some 70s glamour, a subtle flocked style for timeless elegance, or some bold chevron stripes for mid-twentieth-century appeal.

7. A China Cabinet

The right kind of accessories might be crucial to the vintage look, but do they do raise a question. Where best to store them? If you want our advice, you can’t beat a proper china cabinet – it’ll give you a great place to stow away your knickknacks and lend just the right air of traditional glam. Do as biggerthanthethreeofus.com suggests and keep things modern with a selection of different objects – a variety of pretty glasses, some cookbooks, and a few textural vases will all rub alongside each other nicely.

8. Original Artwork

Forget about boring landscapes or generic prints. The vintage look is all about originality… and that includes the artwork. Pay a visit to your local art gallery to hunt down some original pieces from local artists – not only will you be getting a great statement piece for your home, but you’ll also be supporting a good cause too. Don’t limit your search to paintings – sculptures and murals can add a dash of drama that’s perfect for the vintage look.

9. Statement Lightening

When it comes to illuminating your vintage dining room, the bigger and the bolder the better. A sputnik chandelier is a perennial favorite, lending just the right amount of understated glam. Another great option is a ceiling light/ fan option – look for something that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1970s casino for a monumental hit of retro-cool. Just be sure that whatever option you choose, you follow the advice of thisoldhouse.com by matching the feature to the size and scale of the room.

10. A Glamorous Mirror

A mirror is a must for your dining room. It can reflect light into a dark room, add a sense of spaciousness to a small space, and inject visual interest into a boring one. If you can, scout around your local antique stores and flea markets for an original beauty from the golden days – the glass can be replaced if necessary, so don’t overlook a gorgeous frame just because the glass is a little clouded.

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