How to Design a Family-Friendly Dining Room That’s Also Chic

Susana Simonpietri, creative director of Chango & Co., provides five strategies for doing things right.

Beach bungalow in Bay Head, New Jersey, designed by Chango & Co. Photo by Jacob Snavely

“When possible, I try to allow for L- or U-shaped benches because they encourage lounging, which translates into a great spot to lay, chat, read the paper or spend a few hours getting lost in Pinterest,” says Susana Simonpietri of Brooklyn-based design firm Chango & Co. “Couple that with a window overlooking some trees and you’ll have a nice family time.”

In the breakfast nook of this New Jersey beach house, an L-shaped banquette is topped with a tufted cushion and throw pillows, and the dining chairs are topped with Chango & Co. cushions in Perennials fabric. The bubbly pendant lights above the table are by Pelle.

Westhampton Beach Playhouse - Dining Room by Chango & Co

Westhampton, New York, beach playhouse by Chango & Co. Photo by Sean Litchfield

“For some people, cozy translates into intimacy, but sometimes the most playful spaces can translate into the most disarming environments. Nothing allows for real connections between people in a dining room like a space that was designed with charm.”

Simonpietri set a fresh, whimsical tone in the dining room of this home in Westhampton, New York, by adding pineapple decals to the walls and surrounding the table with a mix of black and yellow chairs. She grounded the space with a custom sisal rug.

“What could be cozier than designating a room with a fireplace to be your dining room? We often use rooms based on what was done by a previous owner, but I recommend sitting and analyzing what would actually be best for your family. You’d be surprised to find that the space someone once thought best to be a study works pretty well as a dining room for you.”

Pumpkin-colored walls, a dark wood dining table and a pair of upholstered chairs topped with throw blankets add to this Connecticut dining room‘s inviting feel. A collection of vintage pendant lights hang over the table.

Beach Haven Waterfront by Chango & Co.

Beach Haven Waterfront by Chango & Co. Photo by Raquel Langworthy

“The left side of this room has the best ocean view you can possibly imagine. We opted to keep things as clean and simple as possible and drive that eye out onto the water. After all, you could not possibly compete with Mother Nature’s ability to create beauty.”

In this vacation home dining room, a set of white Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs surround the long wooden table, which is topped with Chango & Co. accessories, including an olive wood dish and bowls filled with succulents. The basket-style pendant lights and sisal rug enhance the room’s beach vibe.

Daybeds often make the best dining benches. Couple them with a tailored seat cushion and lots of pillows to allow for comfortable lounging and you’ve got a relaxed and easy dining room. The bonus is that these daybeds are often so beautiful on their own that you can relax on the table and let that bench/daybed do all the talking.”

A trio of drum pendant lights add a sense of drama to this East Hampton, New York, dining room, which is furnished with a wooden table, a daybed with a custom cushion and a set of wooden dining chairs. The accessories and throw pillows are by Chango & Co.

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