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Holiday hosting ideas to steal from 10 gorgeous homes

Tables and pepper mills, and everything in between—there’s something for every flavor

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Holiday meals can take many a form, but whether you’re serving paper plates at card tables or lighting taper candles surrounded by greenery arranged just so, the heart of hosting is in the dining room.

The room itself can create a mood for your meal—paint colors, light or dark, play with lighting—and of course the table and chairs literally set things up. But then details like serving plates, runners, and flatware tie it all together into a festive occasion.

In preparation for what are likely the year’s biggest meals at home, we’ve put together a list of inspiring dining rooms and table tops from our weekly home tours column, House Calls. We went a step further, in fact, and pulled out a few key pieces from each (in some cases, they’re similarly styled items) that you can purchase. Happy feasting!

Don’t miss other installments of this series highlighting bedroom, bathroom, and living room ideas.


‘We pinch ourselves that we get to live here’: Life inside Louis Kahn’s Esherick House

“We’re amazed every morning when we wake up,” says homeowners Paul Savidge and Dan Macey of their Louis Kahn-designed home in Philadelphia. After enlisting architect Kevin Yoder of YODER Design to carefully restore the historic structure, the home was brought back to its original condition. The dining room’s warm tone and authentic wood finishes offset the all-white walls and modern furniture—like the monumental glass table and midcentury dining chairs.

A Brooklyn designer’s own home embodies a quirky, open ethos

To catch a glimpse of designer Michael Yarinsky’s dining room, all you have to do is peek through the amoeba-shaped hole in the living room wall. Natural light, plants, and exposed brick offer a neutral backdrop to a dramatic black table—a modified Reform kitchen panel—surrounded by dining chairs by Folke Pålsson. His tablescapes often include the likes of Broste plates, Amelia Black bowls, CB2 flatware, Ferm Living glassware, Louise Roe mugs, an Anderssen & Voll candlestick, and a Workaday Handmade serving bowl.

Indianapolis couple swaps 19th-century townhouse for a new-build home

Maddy Barnas likes the hunt, and she can often be found rifling through vintage stores for antique rugs or just the right chair. In her and Evan Dickerson’s Indianapolis home, the dining room draws from a mix of eras—a burled wood table from CB2 and chairs from vintage Art Design International Inc., sourced from Everything But The House (EBTH) draw to mind the ’70s. A Nichols Style Chinese Art Deco vintage rug, also from EBTH, is underfoot, while a contemporary light fixture from Rejuvenation hangs above. The room gets a moody edge thanks to floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving painted with Valspar Nocturnal Green and finished with gold CB2 pulls.

A creative Berlin couple centers their home on plant life-indoors and out

Here’s another apartment chosen for its ability to house a large dining table, this time in Berlin, where a sleek black table from Hay allows homeowners Yiliu Shen-Burke and Taylor Dover enough room to host a 12-person dinner party. The other reason the duo chose the home? “When I stand in the living room and look out the window, all I see are trees,” says Dover. “When you look out the back window, it’s also all trees. It looks like we live in a forest.”

A creative couple in Richmond, Virginia, breathes new life into an old house

In Richmond, Virginia, colorful Emtek chairs, a collection of art, and a large custom-made wooden table sit at the center of artist Jennifer Elsner and David Sheilds circa-1895 brick home. With the help of ARCHITECTUREFIRM, the sunlit and playful dining room was transformed into an open space that blends with the home’s kitchen and living areas.

Couple trades in city life for an 1800s farmhouse

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, print designer Renee Shortell, artist EJ Herczyk, and their daughters have made a home in a renovated 1800s house that was once owned by John Graham, who was the design director for NBC in the ’60s. The kitchen and dining area exudes old European vibes, but is brought into the modern era with CB2 benches and vintage Paul McCobb Planner Group chairs from Mode Moderne that sidle up to a CB2 dining table.

In Brooklyn, a creative director embraces color, houseplants, and space to entertain

Dan Pelosi ended up in this apartment precisely because he wanted room for a giant dining table. Once he had it built, he began assembling pairs of chairs. “As for hanging the art, I laid it out on the floor in front of the wall, and then just started nailing. They are all hung randomly, and some are hung a little imperfectly,” he says. The comfortable, colorful atmosphere he cultivated in the dining room spreads throughout the rest of the home.

In Brooklyn, making a home in a former chocolate factory

The Bed-Stuy apartment of Adam Squires and Sofia Alvarez is housed in an old chocolate factory, and it’s got all the hallmarks of loft living, but supercharged. A duplex with expansive common space, soaring ceilings, and several nooks in which to nestle private rooms, it offered enough raw edges to take on a project here and there, but not so many that the couple would need to embark on a full-tilt renovation. The dining area is in the middle of it all, an old schoolhouse table flanked by Era chairs by Michael Thonet. A Rich Brilliant Willing pendant above keeps things whimsical and wonky, because there’s no need to get too serious.

A Portland couple trades in a farmhouse for their midcentury dream home

Kamissa Mort and Elizabeth Edwards’s Robert Rummer home in the Vista Brook/Bohmann Park neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, has that enviable indoor-outdoor-living vibe. It features floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto gardens, an atrium, and an open-format living/dining/kitchen space that required very little work to spiff up when they moved in. The dining room features pieces by West Elm, Design Within Reach, and Rejuvenation.

Inside a photo stylist’s picture-perfect Minneapolis home

Photo stylist David Anger and his husband Jim Broberg’s Minneapolis home is bursting with color and modern shapes, but their dining room is a study in restraint. The yellow and pink in an Andy Warhol print provides a soft backdrop for classic Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs that surround the dining table. A light fixture from Ikea hangs overhead, while an Arne Jacobsen floor lamp is tucked in the corner.

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