These days, our dining rooms do a lot more than simply serve as a place to eat. For most of us, they’re a family room, an office space, and a canteen all rolled into one. But the added responsibility can quickly take its toll. If your dining room is drowning under the weight of a thousand piles of plates, paper, children’s toys, and magazines, it’s time to restore some order with a brand-new theme. But not just any old theme. The minimalist look gives us what we could all do with – less stuff and more space. It’s a look that’s clean, simple, and eminently practical. It’s also a look that’s perfect for the dining room. If you love its pared-down style but aren’t sure where to start, help is at hand with our list of the 10 essentials every minimalist dining room needs.
1. An Absence of Clutter
Ok, so this is less of a ‘thing’ and more of an ‘absence’ of a thing, but that doesn’t make it any less essential. What are we talking about? Clutter – the easiest thing in the world to get and the number one enemy to the minimalist space. But we aren’t just talking about dirty coffee cups and piles of magazines here. Minimalism is about cutting back to the bare essentials. If a piece of furniture, an accessory, or a painting wants a place in your dining room, it needs to work for it. If it doesn’t serve a purpose that’s 100% necessary to the function or aesthetic of the room, get rid of it… and be very ruthless about any new pieces you bring in.
2. A Neutral Backdrop
Whatever the minimalist look is, it’s not millennial pink. Neither is it floral wallpaper and rainbow accents. It’s not that there isn’t a place for color in the minimalist dining room, it’s just that that color needs to be in pops, rather than in great big swathes. Before you start to even think about adding any vibrant accents, get the backdrop right. And the right backdrop involves crisp neutrals and stark monochromes. Think white, black, charcoal, and ivory – once you’ve got the main color scheme sorted, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the rest of the room falls into place.
3. Something Decorative
Some people think minimalism is all sleek lines, neutral colors, and negative space. And to an extent, it is. But that doesn’t mean it has to be impersonal or cold, which is the way a lot of slightly misguided amateur designers take it to be. Your dining room may have a theme, but that doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little of your own personality into it. As home-designing.com recommends, add a few decorative touches of your choice: a tall glass vase filled with your favorite flowers, a couple of wooden framed photos of your kids, a decorative bowl filled with nuts in fall… these are just ideas, of course. The idea is that you add something that’s personal to you, or that reflects your own tastes. Don’t feel you have to try and recreate something you’ve seen in a magazine: this is your dining room, no one else’s.
4. Natural Materials
As blog.modsy.com notes, minimalist interior design isn’t just about white rooms and spare furnishings. It’s about natural materials. Wood, glass, and natural fibers will all inject your room with some much-needed warmth. Choose pieces that show off their natural provenance with pride: nubby woven rugs, raw wooden furniture, and unbleached sheepskins can all work to stop a room from looking cold or flat.
5. Sleek Chairs
A minimalist room needs a very particular style of furniture, one that understands the importance of sleek curves and clean lines. Forget about anything heavy, cumbersome, or overly ornate and invest in a set of dining room chairs that feature simple lines, sleek curves, and, most importantly of all, a comfortable seat. The minimalist look might have about a certain aesthetic, but it’s also about practicality. If a chair isn’t comfortable, no one is going to want to sit in it, no matter how pretty it is.
6. A Serving Tray
Embracing minimalism means embracing the idea of ‘less is more’. If a piece of furniture wants to be part of your home, it’s got its work cut out. That said, there’s always room in a dining room for a serving tray, particularly if you make it pay for its keep by serving 101 different purposes. Do as houzz.com suggests and use it as a bar set-up at parties, as a mobile coffee station, or even as a convenient platform for displaying a few decorative pieces on a coffee table. Just remember to keep the style simple and sleek.
7. A Statement Light Fixture
The right light fixture can make or break a theme. Choose the wrong one, and no matter how on-point the rest of the room, it’s never going to come together in the way you want. Suffice to say, dusty old lampshades with fringes and floral embroidery don’t have a place in the minimalist dining room. Eye-catching pendant lights or contemporary chandeliers, on the other hand, most certainly do. Depending on the size of the room, you might want to consider adding wall lights or floor lamps in addition to a central fixture – if there’s one thing the minimalist look benefits from, it’s plenty of light.
8. A Few Pieces of Greenery
While we’re not suggesting you turn your dining room into a jungle, don’t overlook the importance of a few pieces of greenery. The minimalist look can easily look cold if you’re not careful. Introducing a few potted plants or even just some simple cut flower arrangements will breathe just enough life and vitality into the room to keep it the right side of warm.
9. Lots of Storage
Remember what we said about clutter? We meant it. If something’s not needed, get rid of it. That said, we also recognize that there’s going to be plenty of things that ARE essential, but that might still get in the way of your minimalist theme. If your dining room doubles up as an office space or family room, there’s probably piles of paper, games, or other things that all need to stay. But that doesn’t mean they need to be on display. If you want to keep your stuff AND your theme, do as architectureartdesigns.com recommends and invest in enough discrete storage options to keep everything out of sight, but still within easy reach.
10. A Streamlined Dining Table
Unless your dining room is more about style than substance, you’re going to need something to eat from. As the centerpiece of any dining room, choosing the right table is crucial. Look for a frill-free option with a streamlined silhouette and strong lines.