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The Big Question

What goes under the dining room table?

What goes on the table is pretty much clear, but what goes under it? Animal hides? Sisal rugs? Or nothing? Here are 10 ideas for your dining room floor.

By Clara Ott

You like the table, the chairs are comfortable but then comes the big question - what to put on the dining room floor? You would like your dining room to be a place to relax with friends and family, and so the floor covering should be comfortable but still stylish and formal if needs be. We are going to show you how you can make what goes under the table add to a relaxing dining experience.

White painted floorboards

Jeanette Lunde
Jeanette Lunde

Scandinavian design is bright, friendly and despite the supposedly cool colour, very welcoming. To outfit a dining room almost entirely in white like this with furniture, walls and white-painted floorboards is however, definitely daring.

Unfortunately with a white floor you will not only see dirt and footprints appear quickly, but also scratches and stress marks from the chairs. A good varnish is equally as advisable as felt pads under all the chairs. The latter are available not only in the glued variety but also in a nailed-in version, which work significantly better.

Photo: Jeanette Lunde

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Dark wooden floorboards

Specht Architecs
Specht Architects

Having a dining room on a raised platform can also visually lift the appeal of your dining table to a higher level. If you add dark floorboards, oak parquet or laminate flooring in a chocolate-coloured wood tone you'll get a rich and inviting dining room that might make you hungry just looking at it! Combining the 60's classic Cherner Side Chair by Norman Cherner with cream-colored paper lamps gives the dining area a cosy feel, even without a carpet.

Photo: Specht Architects

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Bright laminate

Holly Marder
Holly Marder

Rooms with large windows, bright floors and a friendly southern exposure look good with a dark rug - like this spotted cowhide - as a major accent of the room. The oak laminate forms are a nice contrast with the rug, giving it a light background upon which to stand out. Positioning the glass table and the Eames plastic armchairs separately - without an additional rug under them - is a good idea in that it keeps the room from looking overloaded. A second rug under the table would probably have been too much of a good thing.

Photo: Holly Marder

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Dark laminate

Stephani Buchmann
Stephani Buchman Photography

As a complement to the previous picture, here is a variation where the cowhide is directly under the table.
The mixture of brown-and-white cowhide, appropriate chairs and dark laminate oak floor is a harmonious solution. However, standing up and sitting down on the chairs might be a bit precarious as the chairs could move the rug around on the slippery laminate flooring - a rubber pad would protect here from dangerous rug-surfing.

Be aware that the hide will also wear slightly under the sliding chairs as time goes by.

Photo: Stephani Buchman Photography

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Carpet as a contrast

Frank Schoepgens
Fotografie Frank Schoepgens

Why not try a 'Statement Rug' to infuse a little energy into a colourless room?

The powerful red colour of this rug provides warmth and creates a terrific effect in an otherwise colourless room.
Without the rug, the leather chairs be uninspiring but with it they stand out and demand attention.

Photo: Fotografie Frank Schoepgens

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Patterned rug on a dark floor

Sutro Architects
Sutro Architects

A rug like this in a furniture store would, at first glance, make most people roll their eyes: too bright, too striped, too patterned, too playful, too whatever. You wouldn't think that this loud and bright rug would work in an otherwise dark dining room. Or would it?

With the focus on the dark grey chairs, the heavy wooden table and the extravagant chandelier, the colourfully striped rug offers an effective contrast.

Photo: Sutro Architects

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Oriental rug

Alan Design Studio
Alan Design Studio

When people think of rugs, they often think of the typical Oriental variety. They charm with their numerous pattern mixes and colour variations - as in this dining room.

These rugs are usually knotted wool rugs from the Middle East such as, for example, this southern Persian nomad rug. Once seen as too old-fashioned, these rugs now appear in modern dining rooms, combined with contemporary art and furniture, to bring a whole new aspect to a room.

Photo: Alan Design Studio

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Sisal rugs

Benco Construction
Benco Construction

Carpets of sisal or bamboo are seen as exceptionally robust, dirt-resistant and almost indestructible. That is why they are gladly used in dining rooms, on stairs or in hallways. But note that when choosing one for the dining room, sisal rugs with their coarse surface take getting used to for some — especially if certain members of your household run around barefoot at home.

Photo: Benco Construction

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Fia & Company
Fia & Company

In a narrow room, an additional rug can often seem stifling. If the room is also already equipped with high-value parquet, there is no need to talk about a rug anyway. Important here, too, are floor protectors such as rubber studs that fit both under the table legs and under the chairs.

Design accents are provided here by the turquoise green tiles of the fireplace whose colour is also reflected in the bowl on the table. A modest but nevertheless cosy and stylish dining room - this time without a rug.

Photo: Fia & Company

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Terracotta tiles

Caisson Studios
Caisson Studios

Tiles are installed in many kitchens - they are practical, easy to clean and robust, so they are also perfect for some dining rooms. Terracotta tiles can give a welcoming and homely Mediterranean feel, but remember that without underfloor heating they can lead to cold feet- no matter how hot dinner is served.

Photo: Caisson Studios

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First published on Houzz