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You don’t need a 60-inch-long sign that reads “Gather” in a swirly cursive font to encourage people to congregate in your dining room. An extra-long table that’s got a few nicks, chairs with faux sheepskin throws casually draped over the back, and a low-hung chandelier will send the right message. While there is no exact formula to designing a welcoming dining room—the kind that guests overstay their welcome in, long after dessert has been cleared—we’ve learned a lot from some of our favorite modern farmhouse dining rooms. So go ahead, put the sign art down and walk away with these eight tips instead. 

Mix Up Your Dining Chair Finishes

For instant character, have your guests play a riff on musical chairs; by mixing and matching everyone’s seats, you’re inviting them to pick their favorite spot (an activity that automatically introduces a fresh conversation to the room). Leanne Ford introduced similar chair styles in different hues in her farmhouse and topped them all with removable jute seat cushions to still maintain a sense of cohesion. 

Try Out Mid-Century Curves in a Small Space

The only new piece of furniture in Kelsey Duda’s Lake Michigan vacation rental is the dining table from Stoffer Home, but paired with mid-century modern Bertoia side chairs and a green thumb–approved centerpiece, you’d think she thrifted the whole setup.

Add a Glimmer of Glam With Velvet…

One easy way to achieve a modern farmhouse dining room is to split the duties between the two main pieces of furniture. In other words, stick with a classic long farmhouse table and surround it with supermodern chairs. Architects and designers Alan Barlis and Jessie Goldvarg of BarlisWedlick found a balance between formal and casual in this Hudson Valley house with an Andrianna Shamaris table and velvet-covered Paul McCobb chairs. 

…Or a Jewel-Tone Rug

Designer Luke Havekes made violet the star of his farmhouse’s dining room, opting for a sangria-hued floor covering. While the color could look too dark and overpowering in the beam-heavy space, around the corner, he lightened things up with supergauzy curtains. 

Break Up All That Wood With Brass

If you’re committed to a wood-on-wood look with your dining set, introduce a fresh finish with your lighting. Brass, as LaTonya Yvette shows us, is the perfect complement to orange-toned wood, especially when the tabletop is quite gritty (she never sanded or stained the vintage piece she sourced from Woodward Throwback). 

Keep Everyone’s Seat Extra-Warm

While fully upholstered chairs don’t always lend themselves to a modern farmhouse vibe, you still want your guests to feel like they can slouch, lounge, and stay a while—sheepskin throws will keep them there. The founders of Hawkins New York draped one on each chair in their New York home, and the result makes every meal feel like a holiday dinner. 

Make Your Dining Room Setup Permanent

Fashion stylist Dani Michelle consulted the queen of modern farmhouse design, Leanne Ford, when she set out to renovate her Los Angeles home. During their initial conversations, Ford told Michelle about SureCrete, a type of skim coating that adds Mykonos-worthy texture to walls and, in Michelle’s case, a built-in dining bench. 

Hang Plates on the Wall

The only thing more charming than the sherbet-hued arrangement of linen slipcovered chairs in this dining room is the plate wall. Naturally, the decorative dishes in the Australian farmhouse aren’t just mounted on plain ol’ drywall—shiplap was a must.