Dining Room Decor Mistakes, According to an Interior Stylist

For most people, the dining room is one of the most aesthetic rooms in their homes.

It’s the place where people gather for important events, so it’s natural to want it to look good. But it’s also easy to make missteps as you put your dining room together, from overspending to overfilling it with decor.

Kiva Brent, an interior stylist and content creator, spoke to Business Insider about the most common mistakes people make when decorating their dining rooms.

The table needs an ‘anchor’

Brent said of one of the most common mistakes people make in their dining rooms is “failing to anchor the dining table.”

According to Brent, it’s a good idea to put a vase or candle sticks on your dining room table to help draw the eye to it. But the decor doesn’t always stand out the way people intend it to.

“People put decor on the table, but it’s either the same color or it’s glass and it really blends right in,” she said. “So you barely notice that you decorated it. That happens all the time.”

Brent recommends putting your decor on top of a runner or a tray to make it stand out, giving the room a center of gravity. She’s partial to trays, as they’re more convenient to move.

A dining room with a table with flowers on it.

The table decor should stand out.

Carlina Teteris/Getty Images



“If you’re having a big party, instead of having to move each decorative accent, everything’s on the tray,” she said. “You just pick it up, put it on the floor, or put it somewhere else and keep it moving.”

Your buffet table is probably too full

Many people have buffet tables in their dining rooms, both to act as a place to serve food and for decor.

But Brent said she often finds that people lose sight of the function of buffet tables, putting too many knickknacks and decor items on them.

“I feel like they overstyle them, and then when you’re actually eating, you’re like, ‘I don’t have anywhere for food or the servewear,'” she said. “It’s so common because we just want it to look good, but then we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m burning my hands with this pie.'”

A dining room with a table and a buffet table.

The buffet table shouldn’t be overcrowded.

John Keeble/Getty Images



Brent recommends only decorating two-thirds of the buffet table to ensure it’s as functional as it is decorative.

“Leave a third of it open so that you have a practical place to put things on it,” she said.

And if you find yourself buying too much decor generally, Brent says “delaying gratification” can help you cut back on buying knickknacks you don’t need.

“I’ll go shopping and instead of buying anything, I say to myself, ‘If I remember that I want this in seven days, I can come back and get it,'” she said. “Delaying gratification is really, really important.”

You don’t need to splurge on your dining room chairs

Your table and its accompanying chairs are typically the focal point of your dining room, so it makes sense for them to have aesthetic appeal. But Brent said it’s probably not worth it to splurge on your dining room chairs if you don’t use your dining room much.

“I think people spend a lot of money on dining chairs,” Brent said.

A dining room with one chair pulled out. A green arrow points to the chair.

You don’t have to splurge on chairs.

imaginima/Getty Images



“When I work with clients, that’s something that’s always a real high-ticket item, and in reality, most of us either eat at the kitchen island or in front of the TV,” she said. “And there’s nothing wrong with either of those things.”

Because you probably won’t use them daily, Brent doesn’t advise spending a lot on your dining room chairs.

“Unless you have a big family and you sit there all the time, save on those chairs, and then actually spend more money on the other seating in your home,” Brent added.

She also said that there are plenty of chair options at an affordable price point if you know where to look.

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