81 Dining Room Design Terms

Explore essential dining room design terms in this authoritative guide. Elevate your expertise in interior décor and create captivating dining spaces.

In dining room design a profound understanding of the intricacies is essential for creating awe-inspiring spaces. As an experienced professional in the interior décor industry, delving into the realm of dining room design terms is an opportunity to unravel the language that breathes life into captivating dining spaces.

From architectural elements to furniture choices, each term holds significance in shaping the ambiance and functionality of these vital rooms. In this article, we’ll explore key dining room design terms that will empower you to speak the language of design fluently, elevating your expertise and enriching your creative vision.

Furniture & Furnishings

  1. Buffet [buh-fey]: A sideboard or storage unit used for displaying and storing dining essentials like dishes, flatware, and linens.
  2. Credenza [kri-den-zuh]: A long, low cabinet with storage, often used for serving food and drinks during meals.
  3. Dining Table [dahy-ning tey-buhl]: The central piece of furniture in a dining room where meals are served and enjoyed.
  4. Dining Chairs [dahy-ning chairs]: Seating options specifically designed for use with a dining table.
  5. Hutch [huhch]: A high, narrow cabinet or shelving unit, often placed against a wall, used for displaying and storing tableware and decor.
  6. Sideboard [sahyd-bawrd]: A long, low storage piece typically used for serving and storage in the dining room.
  7. Server [sur-ver]: A small table or cabinet used for holding serving dishes and providing additional surface space for dining.
  8. Chandelier [shan-duh-leer]: An ornate, hanging light fixture often placed above the dining table, adding elegance and illumination.
  9. Dining Bench [dahy-ning bench]: A long, seat-like piece of furniture without a backrest, designed to accommodate multiple diners.

Décor & Aesthetics

  1. Centerpiece [sen-ter-pees]: An eye-catching decoration placed at the center of the dining table to enhance the visual appeal.
  2. Wall Art [wawl art]: Artistic pieces, such as paintings or prints, displayed on the walls of the dining room.
  3. Table Runner [tey-buhl ruhn-er]: A long, decorative piece of fabric placed on the dining table for added style and protection.
  4. Tablecloth [tey-buhl-kloth]: A protective and decorative covering that drapes over the dining table.
  5. Area Rug [air-ee-uh rug]: A rug placed underneath the dining table, adding warmth and texture to the space.
  6. Wall Sconces [wawl skon-siz]: Wall-mounted lighting fixtures that provide soft, ambient light and enhance the room’s ambiance.
  7. Window Treatments [win-doh tree-tments]: Curtains, blinds, or shades used to cover windows in the dining room, adding privacy and light control.
  8. Mirrors [mir-erz]: Reflective surfaces that can make the dining room appear more spacious and bright.
  9. Floral Arrangements [flawr-uhl uh-reynj-muhnts]: Fresh or artificial flower compositions used to bring life and color to the dining room.

Flooring & Materials

  1. Hardwood Flooring [hahrd-wuhd flawr-ing]: Durable and elegant wooden flooring that adds warmth and character to the dining room.
  2. Tile [tahyl]: A hard-wearing flooring option available in various designs, suitable for dining rooms due to its easy maintenance.
  3. Area Rugs [air-ee-uh rugs]: Soft floor coverings that can be layered over hardwood or tile flooring for added comfort and style.
  4. Laminate Flooring [lam-uh-neyt flawr-ing]: An affordable alternative to hardwood, mimicking its appearance while offering easy installation and maintenance.

Layout & Space Planning

  1. Open Concept [oh-puhn kon-sept]: A design approach that integrates the dining room with the kitchen or other living areas, creating a seamless flow.
  2. Formal Dining Room [for-muhl dahy-ning room]: A dedicated room reserved for formal gatherings and meals.
  3. Informal Dining Area [in-fawr-muhl dahy-ning eer-ee-uh]: A less formal space, often part of an open-concept layout, suitable for everyday meals.
  4. Banquette Seating [bang-ket see-ting]: Built-in seating along a wall, often with a cushioned backrest, to optimize space and provide a cozy dining nook.
  5. Space Optimization [speys op-tuh-muh-zey-shuhn]: The strategic arrangement of furniture and decor to maximize functionality and visual appeal in the dining room.

Lighting & Ambiance

  1. Ambient Lighting [am-bee-uhnt lahy-ting]: Soft, general lighting that illuminates the entire dining room, ensuring a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.
  2. Task Lighting [task lahy-ting]: Focused lighting used to aid specific activities, such as reading menus or serving food.
  3. Dimmer Switch [dim-er swich]: A device that allows the intensity of the light to be adjusted, creating versatile lighting options for different occasions.

Color Schemes & Palettes

  1. Neutral Colors [noo-truhl cuhl-ers]: Subtle hues like beige, gray, and cream often used as a base in dining room design to create a calming backdrop.
  2. Accent Colors [ak-sent cuhl-ers]: Bold and vibrant colors strategically incorporated into the dining room design to add personality and interest.
  3. Monochromatic [mon-uh-kroh-mat-ik]: A color scheme that uses various shades of a single color to create a harmonious and sophisticated look.

Table Settings & Serveware

  1. Place Settings [pleys set-ings]: The arrangement of dishes, utensils, and glassware for each individual diner at the table.
  2. Charger Plates [char-jer pleyts]: Large decorative plates placed beneath the main dinnerware to add elegance and protect the tablecloth.
  3. Napkin Rings [nap-kin rings]: Decorative rings used to hold napkins in place and enhance the table setting.
  4. Serving Platters [sur-ving plat-ers]: Large, flat dishes used for presenting and serving food to guests during meals.

Dining Etiquette & Accessories

  1. Formal Dining Etiquette [for-muhl dahy-ning et-i-ket]: The traditional rules and practices that govern behavior during formal dining occasions.
  2. Dining Room Clock [dahy-ning room klok]: A decorative timepiece often placed on a wall, ensuring guests can keep track of time during meals.

Storage Solutions

  1. China Cabinet [chahy-nuh kabinet]: A glass-fronted cabinet used to display and store delicate china and glassware.
  2. Stemware Rack [stem-wair rak]: A hanging or wall-mounted rack designed to store wine glasses and stemware securely.

Technology & Entertainment

  1. Smart Lighting [smahrt lahy-ting]: Automated lighting systems that can be controlled remotely or programmed to create different dining atmospheres.
  2. Built-in Speakers [bilt-in spee-kerz]: Integrated audio systems within the dining room for background music and entertainment during meals.

11: Focal Points & Statement Pieces

  1. Accent Wall [ak-sent wawl]: A visually striking wall, often painted or adorned with wallpaper, to draw attention and add interest to the dining room.
  2. Statement Chandelier [steyt-muhnt shan-duh-leer]: A grand and eye-catching chandelier that serves as a central focal point in the dining room.

Styles & Themes

  1. Contemporary [kuhn-temp-uh-rer-ee]: A current and modern style characterized by sleek lines, minimalism, and neutral colors.
  2. Rustic [ruhs-tik]: A design style inspired by nature, featuring warm colors, natural materials, and a cozy, inviting ambiance.

Architectural Elements

  1. Wainscoting [weyn-skoh-ting]: Decorative wooden paneling on the lower part of walls, adding texture and elegance to the dining room.
  2. Crown Molding [kroun mohl-ding]: Decorative molding installed at the intersection of walls and ceilings, enhancing the room’s visual appeal.

Window Types

  1. Bay Window [bey win-doh]: A projecting window with a seating nook, providing ample natural light and scenic views for the dining area.
  2. Bow Window [boh win-doh]: A curved window that adds a sense of elegance and spaciousness to the dining room.

Dining Room Layouts

  1. Rectangular Dining Room [rek-tang-gyuh-ler dahy-ning room]: A dining room with a long and narrow layout, suitable for accommodating large gatherings.

Greenery & Indoor Plants

  1. Potted Plants [pot-ed plants]: Indoor plants placed strategically to bring a touch of nature and freshness to the dining room.


  1. Fireplace [fahyr-pleys]: A heating feature in the dining room, providing warmth and a cozy ambiance during colder seasons.

Window Treatments

  1. Drapery [drey-puh-ree]: Fabric curtains often used for dressing up dining room windows, adding elegance and texture.

Materials & Finishes

  1. Marble [mahr-buhl]: A luxurious stone material often used for dining table surfaces or countertops, adding sophistication to the room.
  2. Wood Veneer [wuhd vuh-neer]: A thin layer of wood applied to furniture surfaces to give the appearance of solid wood at a more affordable cost.

Customization & Personalization

  1. Bespoke Furniture [bih-spohk fyoor-ni-cher]: Custom-made furniture tailored to fit the specific dimensions and style preferences of the dining room.


  1. Acoustic Panels [uh-koo-stik pan-lz]: Sound-absorbing panels installed on walls or ceilings to improve the dining room’s acoustics, reducing noise levels.

22: Sustainability & Eco-Friendly Options

  1. Reclaimed Wood [ree-kleymd wuhd]: Wood sourced from salvaged materials, contributing to a sustainable and eco-friendly dining room design.

Material Combinations

  1. Metal and Glass [met-l and glas]: A modern combination of materials often used in dining tables and furniture to create a sleek and contemporary look.

Seating Options

  1. Upholstered Chairs [uh-pohl-sterd chairs]: Dining chairs with padded seats and backs, offering comfort and style to diners.
  2. Armchairs [ahrm chairs]: Dining chairs with armrests, providing added comfort and support for diners.

Miscellaneous Terms Related to Dining Room Design

  1. Lazy Susan [ley-zee soo-zuhn]: A rotating tray placed on the dining table to facilitate passing of food items among diners.
  2. Salt and Pepper Shakers [sawlt and pep-er shey-kerz]: Containers used to hold and distribute salt and pepper during meals.
  3. Velvet [vel-vit]: A soft and luxurious fabric used in dining room décor, adding texture and richness to the space.
  4. Wireless Charging Stations [wahyuhr-lis char-jing stey-shuhns]: Furniture or built-in surfaces that allow for wireless charging of electronic devices like smartphones.
  5. Extending Dining Tables [ik-sten-ding dahy-ning tey-buhlz]: Dining tables with adjustable lengths, providing flexibility for accommodating different numbers of guests.
  6. Holiday Ornaments [hol-i-dey awr-nuh-muhnts]: Decorative items used to spruce up the dining room during festive occasions.
  7. Wall Decals [wawl dee-kals]: Adhesive decorations applied to walls to add patterns or designs to the dining room.
  8. Balance [bal-uhns]: Achieving visual equilibrium in the dining room design through the thoughtful arrangement of elements.
  9. Stone Cladding [stohn klad-ing]: Covering walls with natural or manufactured stone to create a rustic and textural look.
  10. Scandinavian [skan-duh-ney-vee-uhn]: A design style characterized by simplicity, functionality, and natural elements, creating a serene and cozy dining room.
  11. Sliding Doors [slahy-ding dorz]: Doors that glide on tracks, providing flexibility to divide or open up spaces in the dining area.
  12. Cork Flooring [kawrk flawr-ing]: A sustainable and resilient flooring option, often used in dining rooms for its comfortable feel underfoot.
  13. Antique Dining Table [an-teek dahy-ning tey-buhl]: A dining table from a bygone era, adding historical charm and uniqueness to the dining room.
  14. Eclectic [ih-klek-tik]: A design style that blends various elements, styles, and periods to create a visually exciting and personalized dining room.
  15. Herringbone [her-ing-bohn]: A pattern formed by diagonal rows of V shapes, commonly used in dining room flooring or wall treatments.
  16. Coffered Ceiling [kaw-ferd see-ling]: A series of sunken panels in the ceiling, often accented with molding, to add architectural interest and elegance to the dining room.
  17. Sculptures [skuhl-pcherz]: Three-dimensional artistic pieces displayed in the dining room, contributing to the overall aesthetic.
  18. Acoustic Wall Panels [uh-koo-stik wawl pan-lz]: Panels designed to dampen sound and minimize echo in the dining room, enhancing acoustic comfort.

Mastering dining room design terms paves the path to becoming a true authority in the world of interior décor. From familiarizing ourselves with foundational terms like “chair rail” and “wainscoting” to understanding the nuances of “space planning” and “layering,” this knowledge empowers us to craft harmonious and captivating dining rooms.

By incorporating the right terms into our design vocabulary, we enhance our ability to communicate effectively with clients, suppliers, and fellow professionals, ultimately leading to successful collaborations and exceptional results. So, let us embrace these dining room design terms as indispensable tools, enriching our experiences and honing our skills to create spaces that leave a lasting impression on all who dine within them.

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