Four smart tips from designers for making the most of your dining room design.


Include storage in your seating.

With only 600 square feet of space to work with in this Nanoose Bay, B.C., vacation suite, incorporating built-in storage was a no-brainer for designer Angela Robinson. She installed a custom-upholstered dining bench against a hand-stained wood feature wall that lifts up to reveal a stash of cleaning supplies. “If we’d used four chairs, the space would’ve looked too busy and cluttered,” notes Robinson; instead, she added just two Ikea chairs across the table to round out the seating options in this Scandinavian-inspired space.


Update an antique set for a wow statement. 

When the homeowners brought Calgary designer Sylvie Croteau-Willard of Collage Interiors on board to bring a modern update to their condo, they also brought a vintage piece along with them: a Duncan Phyfe dining set belonging to her grandmother. The standard update might have been just an all-white lacquer, but Croteau-Willard gave the captain’s chairs at each end a fun twist: one blue, one yellow. The seats are recovered in a grey faux snakeskin—perfect for a family with young kids, and perfectly fun.


Warm up a modern space with wood floors.

While concrete floors might have been the de facto choice in this ultra-modern space, homeowner Liana Fediuk flipped convention: concrete on the walls, wood on the floor. The finish of the wide oak planks—a custom oil treatment, with the wood grain shining through, gives a whitewash look—isn’t as easy to accomplish as it might appear. “It took about six months of samples,” says designer Tanya Schoenroth, who worked with Fediuk on the home.

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Let in the light with translucent materials. 

A gorgeous double skylight infuses this airy Burnaby living room with sunshine, even on the greyest of days. Designer Sarah Marie Lackey brought in a grey, white and cream palette to make the most of it, and had a creative solution for letting some of that natural light spread elsewhere in the home, too. “We installed a screen instead of a wall as a way to hide the entryway but still let the light be fluid,” she explains.