Get more out of your dining area in a small home

Lily Cichanowicz Lily Cichanowicz
homify KitchenTables & chairs
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In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re fighting for space. Real estate is quite expensive, after all. Yet we don’t feel that being tight on space should have to affect your quality of life. Space optimisation in itself is something of an art. There are plenty of techniques to choose from for each room and living scenario, but some rooms seem to get more attention than others. The dining room tends to be a space people opt out of in lieu of other uses. 

Despite this, there is certainly a case to be made for creating a solid dining space no matter how small the home is. Sitting down with family and friends to enjoy a meal is a fundamental part of enjoying the company of others. This is one of the reasons most cultures have specific dining rituals to accompany their national cuisines. We at homify believe that you don’t have to miss out on a dining area in your home… you just need to apply the right strategies!

Foldable dining table

If your home or apartment is really crammed, a folding table should do the trick. This way, you can simply slip it away when it isn’t needed and preserve valuable living space. Then, once it’s time to eat, just fold it out and it’s ready to use. We love the setup in this beachy kitchen by Atim Spa

If you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to dining and your kitchen is too small for a permanent dining setup, there are plenty of options like this to choose from. There are kitchen islands in many styles with fold out tables, and you can also have a foldout table attached to a wall or inside of a cabinet. You can always choose to use a freestanding folding table as well—there really is so much to choose from!

Round table

For those of you who have the perfect nook for a dining area, but are having a hard time finding a dining table to fit the space, don’t shy away from choosing a round table. These are ideal not only for small spaces but for irregularly shaped rooms or alcoves like this rounded one. 

You can fit 4 chairs at a much smaller round table than it would take to fit 4 chairs at a rectangular one specifically if the table has a pedestal base. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to go too large with the size of the table or else it will be difficult to reach the centre.

Use the dining space as a study too

Of course, another option is to go multipurpose with your dining table. One way of doing this is to combine the dining area with the study. Typically, this option is best for those who only use the dining table for special occasions. This way you don’t have to move all your important papers or computer each time you and your family are ready to sit down for a meal! 

If you work with a laptop, however, this scenario shouldn’t be much of a problem. Alternatively, if you live alone or with a small number of other people, the computer could be situated at one end of the table while the other end is reserved for eating. We suggest you keep in mind that if you have young children or messy roommates, keeping your computer in proximity to the dining area isn’t the best plan.

Wall mounted shelves to save space

When it seems that fitting a dining table and chairs into your home is challenging enough on its own, finding a place to store dishes, glasses, and linens reserved for special occasions can feel completely out of the question. This is especially the case when traditionally speaking, a china cabinet or other piece of bulky furniture would be used to stow these belongings. 

Luckily, there is a modern, space saving variation available. Mounting some shelves in the dining area will help you to take advantage of the vertical space in your home. Plus, the shelves can help give focus to the dining area if it exists within the kitchen or an open plan layout. Floating shelves are especially space efficient because of their minimalist nature. Lastly, painting the shelves the same colour as the walls behind them will help them to blend in.

Folding chairs

STEEL chair, Stilst Stilst Dining roomCrockery & glassware

STEEL chair


If you have a dining table that doubles as a desk, it’s a good idea to keep some folding chairs on hand. When guests come over you can simply add the chairs to the table to accommodate the extra bodies. While folding chairs typically come in sets of two or four, you can always mix and match them like the ones arranged around this dining table in order to create a trendier look. 

Folding chairs don’t have to look cheap or out of place, either. These wooden and painted folding chairs, for instance, are both stylish and practical. Another useful option is to get a table that allows you to expand it when guests come over. There are tables with flaps that fold out as well as ones that extend at the middle.

Bar in a shelf

It’s best to be realistic about your needs before delving into the task of creating a dining area in your home. If the primary reason you have friends over is to try out new and different cocktails or to enjoy a craft beer, perhaps you’ll want to focus more on creating a bar space than a dining area. 

On the topic of adding mounted shelves for holding dishware and glasses, it can also be useful to use a shelf for setting up your favourite drinks, tumblers, and wine glasses. The best shelves for the job are either floating shelves or built-in shelving. The occupants of this chic home dining area opted for a smaller table in order to save some room for the built in cupboard and shelves where drinks can be stored properly.

For more clever tips on how to maximise every square centimetre in your home, check out this guide to making the most of the space beneath the stairs. Happy decorating! 

These are just a few tips for getting the most out of the dining area in your small home. Tell us what you think in the comments section!

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