Cali Cool Dining Room Designed With Lizzy Mathis

Cali Cool Dining Room Designed With Lizzy Mathis

This guide is part of our Overstock Brand Ambassador series, home design tips provided by industry experts.


With Lizzy Mathis
Brand Ambassador

Lizzy is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Cool Mom Co., an all-inclusive, diversity-driven, digitally native destination for moms and moms to be. As an entrepreneur, advocate, actress, host, producer, and powerhouse mom of three, she offers a fresh, approachable, and real point of view on millennial motherhood. Lizzy brings the coolest in food, style, living, and beauty back to mom life, all while keeping self-care, sustainability, and community top of mind.


How It Came Together

Mood board designed with Teisha Ahlstrom

Natural Elements

I lean more towards natural elements. I love wood, but not a whole lot of glass, especially with kids. It’s important to be able to transfer the space into entertaining adults, but it has to be safe and friendly for my family to enjoy the space — whether that be every night, during dinner, or holidays and special occasions.

I don’t want to go wood on wood – I like mixing in different materials, and chairs are a nice opportunity to do that. I love the nice movement that’s happening with rattan, for example. I like upholstered chairs, as long as they’re easily washable, especially stains. I don’t want anything too hard to wash and I want it comfortable.

I love clays and ceramics and wish I could make them all day long. I recommend bringing in a ceramic vase or pretty earthenware dishes that don’t have a symmetrical shape. They feel like they were made from someone’s hands. I like the imperfection of it.

Subtle Palette

As far as greenery, I don’t like too many pops of color. I like a neutral flower palette. I love the idea of mixing in what you can get from your own garden. It’s cool when dinner parties aren’t so stiff – they can be more personable, relatable, and bringing in something foraged and snipped from your garden is a simple way to do that.

For a dining room rug, I’m neutral on the floor and don’t lean towards towards anything too shaggy that can’t be vacuumed up easily, or that kids can stain. Machine washable rugs fit this lifestyle. Or a jute rug, which brings natural, earthy tones together. A flatweave, low-pile jute rug allows easy access to dining chairs. I don’t go for pattern in rugs, and because jute is more fibrous, I’d want pattern and color to come out in decorative pieces. People can change these in and out, while a rug is more permanent.

Meaningful Place Settings

I’m always big on food because it’s a passion for me, but also because preparing food and setting the table are things I do out of love. I’m going to share these things with the people within that space. So I like to showcase simple things, like a charcuterie board, or place to hold dinner rolls. A big wooden bowl with a green salad looks natural, lively, and adds color to the table.

Our traditions are all about giving thanks and counting blessings. One cool visual thing to do is write a message of gratitude on each place card, like “thankful,” “happy,” “grateful,” etc. Or if you’re big into crystals, place a different crystal at each place setting, like rose quartz or selenite. It’s a fun way to represent a meaning for the individual dinner party guest.

Unexpected Details

I’m open to live edge and round tables for a shape and style that’s outside of the expected. I like trying anything different than normal. As far as lighting, there should be something over the table. I gravitate towards one bigger piece than several along the table. In terms of art, I lean more towards graphic. I love idea of a dining room incorporating family artwork, but graphic lends more of that cool mom vibe.

Chic Storage

When you have kids, storage makes sense everywhere. I’m not a rule maker. Whether it’s little pillows or a throw — kids get cold and want a nap at the table. I like a storage bench for these moments, however, storage can feel heavy. My only fear in a dining space is that everything looks too heavy. I enjoy idea of airiness — so maybe your buffet has legs so that you can still see the floor. Heaviness also depends on your chairs — I want them to feel lighter if there’s more furniture in the room. Floating vs. freestanding shelving can also help here.

Home Design Tips With Lizzy Mathis

What is the first thing want someone to say/feel when they enter your home?

I want them to feel welcomed. When it’s an instantly airy environment, you’re walking in and feeling at peace and calm. It’s that serene, modern, Cali-cool vibe that’s not too heavy on color. If color is involved, it’s an earth palette. Everything would be chic, but not to the point that it’s unrelatable. I like to make it feel lived-in, and this is achievable by mixing materials and shapes.

Go-to material?

I like a mixture, and knowing that it’s not all wood. It’s cool to show people that you can mix elements and it can be seamless. In college, we all feel like we have to get the matchy-matchy, same pieces that look alike, because we feel like it’s cohesive if it comes from one line. But adulting is about flow. It also dates a space to have same look and material throughout.

What is your favorite item in your home?

Bedding. Where I sleep is my sanctuary, my easy, safe space outside of the kitchen. In a dining room, it would be vases – something focal that you design around.

Any colors you steer from or combos you don’t like together?

I steer away from anything super bright, and go towards earthy, rustic tones. Even coral or an earthy deep green. I love an airy feel because I don’t like it too dark, or rustic for that matter. I hate to use the word “bohemian,” because I’m not by any means. But maybe “boho chic” – it’s more elevated. I’m not afraid of color or pattern, but definitely don’t fully focus in on in it. If the chairs and main pieces are one tone, then I might bring in color and pattern through place settings and cutlery. I personally love a navy, but it can sometimes feel nautical.

What’s a holiday or dining room tradition you enjoy with family?

Have you ever heard of Green Light Night? I grew up with my mom and grandma laying out our favorite candy, desserts, and sweets on platters and charcuterie boards. We could eat as much as we could until Mom said “red light.” It felt like 80 hours, but was maybe 5 minutes. This allowed them entertain adults and keep the kids happy.