In a formal dining room, you can use just about any color combination that you like, however, the colors that you choose for your walls will determine the aesthetic of the entire room. Look for colors that complement your furnishings, and think about how you tend to use your room as you are deciding what colors would work best in your space.
Dining Room Style
First look at any architectural feature that your room offers, and then you can assess any of the colors of things in the room that you will not be changing like flooring or even window dressings. If your dining room chairs are upholstered, take this into consideration as well. You may also want to consider the impact that wall colors will have on your china and serving pieces as well. Look at all of the variables that you will not be changing and take note of whether they tend to be warm or cool colors.
Once you have taken a good, critical look at your room, then you want to consider your style of entertaining. Notice if you tend to host family style dinners, or do you tend to host black tie affairs. If you have a favorite type of food, this could affect your décor as well. For example, if you love Asian cooking, then you may want to create a simple, Asian aesthetic in your dining room. If you love French cooking, you may want to create a French country cottage style dining room. Once you have an idea of the style that you tend to entertain in, you choosing the colors for your room is almost elementary.
If you want to create a traditional style dining room, then you will want to create a room in gradations of neutral. Your colors may range from brown to cream, but they will all be neutrals. Then you can add a rich green or bold red accent as each of these colors works well in a formal dining setting. Traditional window treatments are generally patterned and darker color, and the trim and molding are darker hues as well. Keep the ceiling color light to add height to your room, and you have the makings of a traditional dining room.
If you want to create a modern room for dining, you will want to consider clean, crisp colors and a minimalist aesthetic. Keep your colors light in the range of almost white. Adding gray to your room design will help to add interest. Keep your ceilings white as well, and then you can add bold colors in your dining accessories.
If you prefer a more eclectic look in your dining room, then there is really no limit to the colors that you choose. If you maintain a consistent scale in your patterns and furnishings, you should be able to create an individual look that is uniquely your own, and it should look sensational.