Today is the last day of August and, by extension, the last day of carefree summer bliss. Before long, our weekend backyard barbecues will be replaced with holiday parties and intimate dinners at home. And while we're not quite ready to trade our summer slides and denim cutoffs for cashmere sweaters and ankle boots, we are excited by the prospect of giving our dining rooms a quick makeover before bringing the dinner parties back indoors. After all, food always tastes better on fine china than melamine, and we're not mad at the idea of eating hearty lasagna instead of the summer salads.
To make sure your own dining space is up to snuff, you don't need to spend a million dollars. In fact, we put together 10 simple tricks that will instantly elevate the décor you already have. So grab a paintbrush, call the electrician, and scour your favorite vintage stores—you'll want to follow these simple formulas to give your room a fresh sophisticated air.
Modern chairs don't have to be expensive. Plastic molded chairs add a design flair to any room without the price tag. They work especially well in extremely streamlined spaces. Mix them with an exposed-wire chandelier and monochromatic art for an edgy look.
Instead of splurging on a chandelier, keep your lighting simple but paint your ceiling a beautiful showstopping color. If your painted ceiling is the focus, simple paper pendants will do just fine.
When dealing with a smaller table, keep it elevated by hanging a big, bold chandelier. The space will instantly feel more chic with a shiny focal point, allowing you to keep what's underneath it a little more subdued.
One easy trick to make a space feel more curated is mixing periods and styles. Try using a contemporary chandelier with a set of antique chairs. Scour vintage shops to find beautiful antique dining chairs at a fraction of the price.
Choose one thing to splurge on, and save on the rest. For example, if you're working with a vintage dining set, splurge on a beautiful light fixture, and accessorize simply with plants and flowers.
Treat your dining room like a gallery. Paint your walls black, and showcase a selection of your favorite photography. Hang simple barn-light pendants for an understated (and budget-friendly) look.
If you have your eye on gorgeous designer chairs but have a long table, buy a pair to use as end chairs. Then save money by buying inexpensive side chairs. After all, are in.
Some iconic chairs are actually quite affordable in comparison to others and will instantly make your space feel well-designed. What you spend on a beautiful set of designer chairs, save on an affordable patterned flat-weave rug.
Keep your dining room extremely simple, and create a focal point with eye-catching art. Flank your favorite artwork with inexpensive sconces to truly make it shine.
When you only have space for a table for four, opt for a round table—they feel chicer than their square counterparts. You can even literally elevate it by using a counter-height table and bar stools.