Special Nonexistent Furniture

Transform an overlooked corner into a cozy dining nook with a banquette or built-in bench. Don't forget the throw pillows!
If your dining room is lacking a view, hang a wall mirror to mimic a window and reflect light.
Try a round rug under a rectangular table for an eclectic look. Just be sure it's large enough.
Achieve a laidback look by mixing different shades of wood finishes (and even painted) on your dining table and chairs.
Keep your decorations unstructured. Adorn your walls with collages of artwork or decorative plates, and keep space on shelves or sideboards for accessories to change with time.

Family breakfasts, dinner with friends, coffee for two.
These are just a few of the dining experiences that feel more comfortable in casual, not formal, spaces. We're not knocking traditional dining rooms—they're fantastic when you want an occasion to feel extra special—but for daily dining, most of us are just looking for an inviting spot to enjoy a meal while enjoying the company of those we care about or (let's be honest) catching up on email.

Whether you're trying to define a dining space in an open-concept living area, creating an eat-in kitchen breakfast nook, or are decorating a separate dining room, there are some things to remember to keep the look fresh and friendly. Keep reading for design inspiration and tips from our editors.

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