Formal Dining & Sitting Rooms

Formal Dining RoomQuestion:


We have lived in our home for over a year and a half. We still have not furnished our sitting room and our dining room is not complete. I don’t know how to decorate the two adjoining rooms. I would like the sitting room to be formal like the dining room, yet comfortable. These are the first rooms you see when you walk in the front door and they are empty! I cannot decide what I want to do. I have thought about having wall frames installed on the walls, but I love the feel of wallpaper. I have also thought about just having the bottom chair rail with lower wall frames. Another option is color? Do we paint the rooms the same? Do the walls in the two rooms need to be alike?

Formal Sitting RoomI have a traditional/Tuscan/French Country taste in furniture. I tend to be drawn to Damask, Toile, and Fleur-de-lis designs. I’ve thought about a settee and two wing chairs for the sitting room. I do know that I love every piece in your catalog! The window treatments came with the house when we bought it, so I am not against changing them.

Thank you


Dear Kim,

Thank you for your recent Design Dilemma. We have created an allover plan to help you with completing your sitting/dining room combination. We do think they should be treated as one area and we will achieve this with color and fabric coordination.

Let’s start with the dining room. Installing a chair rail will give you the formal feeling you are looking for. Since you love wallpaper as much as we do, we selected our Marianna Damask in taupe for above the chair rail. If you take a swatch of the wallpaper to your local home improvement store, they should be able to computer match the paint color for below the chair rail. Next we think our Bullion Fringe Panels in Off White Quilted would give you that French Country look. A collection of white dishes, like our Antique Beaded Dinnerware, hung on plate hangers above the chair rail would look spectacular!

Formal Dining Room

1 – Marianna Damask * 2 – Bullion Fringe Panels * 3 – Antique Beaded Dinnerware

In the sitting room, we selected our Hudson Upholstered Settee in Off White Quilted for an elegant look. We also chose two Louis XV Salon Chairs in a Walnut finish and covered in our Toffee Check fabric. The Preston Cocktail Table in Rubbed White placed in front of the settee would be perfect! Against the back wall, the Benedetta Console in Tuscan Brown with our Grande Bouquet Plaque in Antique White hung above the console and a pair of Bronze Chartres Buffet Lamps flanking either side would be perfect. On the front windows, try our Medallion Panels in White for an elegant touch. If you need a side table, our 30” Terrific Trio with Burlap Fringe will do the trick placed next to the Hudson Settee.

Formal Sitting Room

1 – Hudson Upholstered Settee * 2 – Louis XV Salon Chairs * 3 – Preston Cocktail Table
4 – Benedetta Console * 5 – Grande Bouquet Plaque * 6 – Bronze Chartres Buffet Lamps
7 – Medallion Panels * 8 – 30” Terrific Trio with Burlap Fringe

All in all we think these choices will create the elegant and sophisticated look you have wanted. By choosing various shades of beige and white, we have tied the two rooms together with a European elegance. We hope our suggestions will help you create that special look. Please let us know what you think, and don’t forget to send pictures when you finish the project – we would love to post them on Style Studio.

The Style Studio Team

Posted 12/11/09

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    February 1, 2010

    what about adding some of the red, gold, greens?

  2. Reply


    December 17, 2009

    Dear Kim: We love the understated look of the rooms. There is a subtle sophistication about them. We think punching up the color to a darker beige and adding pops of color with pillows and art work will give you the look you are trying to achieve. Do you have a color palette in mind? You can certainly accent with the soft blues, or you can use dark brown or terra cotta as an accent. If you know what tones you want to add, let us know and we will give you some suggestions for accessories and art work.
    The Style Studio Team

  3. Reply


    December 17, 2009

    This will all look great. I would like to add a little more color. Would you also wallpaper the sitting room?