Formal Dining Room Meets Swanky Lounge

Most thirty-somethings rarely use their formal dining rooms. But what if the formal dining room felt inviting and hip, like a stylish restaurant where you and your friends love to hang out?

That’s what designer Samantha Friedman wanted for her space at Urban Elegance-themed Washington Design Center’s Spring Design House (running through June 27).


“Number one, I wanted to make it more loungey,” said Friedman, who trained in “hardcore, heavy, traditional furniture.”

“I love mixing traditional lines with more modern, clean elements,” said Friedman. She wanted it to be swanky and comfortable, and more functional than the traditional formal dining room.


She started with Century Furniture’s stunning round, espresso-finished pedestal table to invite conversation. She encircled the table with six sexy, navy mohair dining chairs from Niermann Weeks. Above, she suspended John Richard’s ginourmous contemporary-meets-traditional chrome chandelier, to play off the table’s chrome feet.


Also in dark, espresso tones is lounge-central. Friedman designed a custom wall unit with an illuminated bar, beverage and glassware storage. She flanked the bar with upholstered storage benches and backed it with the contemporary “Willow Glen” Robert Allen/Beacon Hill fabric.

She tucked an intimate spot for a cocktail on the opposite wall (top), with chic Edward Ferrell and Lewis Mittman side chairs enveloped by a metallic Henredon Asian screen.

The navy, gold and silver color scheme began with the dining chairs and was carried onto the fabrics, the dark navy paint, the gold-metallic striee wallpaper and the gold silk-and-cotton rug.

The painting, from Kaller Fine Arts is “Pondering Celestial Bodies” by Artist Sabre Esler

Friedman chose the table partly because it easily expands from 60 to 84 inches to accommodate various gatherings. Yes, the Thanksgiving turkey, but also the Martini party, wine tasting or even the poker game.

So there’s your recipe for a dining room lounge: One part tradition, two parts swank, and three parts good friends. Throw in a Mojito and I’ll be right over.

Samantha Friedman, ASID, can be reached through her personalized interior design company, Samantha Friedman Interior Designs, in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

What do you think of the Dining Room/Lounge concept?

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5 Comments for “Formal Dining Room Meets Swanky Lounge”


I agree, Alex. And a creative use of a formal dining room space.


I think the idea is just ingenious and I love it and everything about the room especially the light fixture.

Hi Pam!

Isn’t that light fixture stunning?

You are right; I think Samantha is on to something with this concept. I know there are lots of underused formal dining rooms out there. Why not set them up for a bit more fun???

I appreciate your visit to HomeWorkshop. Come by anytime.
— Kathy

Absolutely fabulous design. The colors, the textures, and that light fixture in particular–you really created an exceptional space.

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