Whether you’ve got a dedicated dining room or a dine-in kitchen, we’ve sifted through our Livingetc.com archives to pull out the best small dining room ideas. We’ve found two-seater dining nooks, clever extendable tables, tables that incorporate shelving, and we’ve even found dining areas that sit in a hallway space. They may be small but these dining room ideas all have one thing in common; they’re all cleverly space-saving while being effortlessly chic and stylish too.
One of the most popular space-saving ideas is wrap-around banquette seating that incorporates under-seat storage for table linens or children’s toys. This is ideal for kitchen nooks near windows, but also works along kitchen walls as a straight bench or an L shape too. In example 5 below, the owners installed a two-seater banquette bench by the window, perfect for sipping coffee with a newspaper in the mornings. The tiny breakfast nook takes up barely any space at all, but is still wonderfully stylish, with a trio of Lee Broom pendant lights – accentuating the ceiling height – and a buttoned back banquette that also lifts up to reveal hidden storage.
Or make like architecture studio De Rosee Sa and place a petite round table in a kitchen corner, illuminated by wall lights. A round table gives a softer look than a bulky square one. Make sure all storage is built-in, to keep floor space free.
In Casey Keasler’s design below, the table acts as both a dining table and kitchen island, with plug sockets under the table – ideal for plugging in the owner’s much-loved fondue set for dinner parties (and useful for other kitchen gadgets too).
For a super clean and minimalist look, take a leaf out of Lauren Weiss’ book (example 10) with a floating banquette bench that frees up floor space, and keep the rest of the furniture streamlined and minimalist too. To make more of a style statement, it’s worth bearing in mind that large furniture can ironically look more impactful (see example 8). In this dining space by Lance Thomas of Room Service, a round table was placed in the centre, surrounded by upholstered chairs that tuck neatly under. A striking ceiling pendant and artwork help make this small room feel grand and chic.
Last but not least, a space-saving favourite is the design by Shanghai-based X+Living for a tiny family apartment. The designer sectioned off a tiny corner and turned it into the dining booth, with a table that extends out to double its length. The nearby sofa can be separated into individual seats and pulled up to the table for dinner parties, while the high chair comes apart to become two separate children’s chairs. Genius.
Ready to get inspired? We’ve found 23 gorgeous small dining room ideas that pack a punch while making the most of a small space.
This clever bespoke dining table acts as a wall too, in that it separates the kitchen from the living space. Display shelving runs right through the middle of it.
Get the look: Dining chairs – Scarlet Splendour 88 Secrets Orion Chair Blanche Rose
The classic 'Les Arcs' octagonal table by Charlotte Perriand can be pulled right up to the custom made banquette bench. It creates a cosy and informal breakfast nook in this bijou Paris apartment. A striking grey lacquered vintage stool by Philippe Starck makes a style statement.
Get the look: classic ‘les arcs’ octagonal table by Charlotte Perriand, grey lacquered vintage stool by Philippe Starck. Above the corner seat is a watercolour by Giulia Andreani. Designed by Sophie Dries.
In a compact but tall space, you can detract from the floor space of a dining area by emphasising its height instead. In this kitchen diner, Robert Rhodes Architecture + Interiors installed double-storey pivot doors to inject drama and grandeur.
This industrial-style dining table sits in between a wall of kitchen cabinets and the living room area of a London apartment. The table is extra narrow, freeing up as much floor space as possible around it.
This tiny breakfast nook takes up barely any space at all, but is still wonderfully stylish, with a trio of Lee Broom pendant lights – accentuating the ceiling height – and a buttoned back banquette that also lifts up to reveal hidden storage.
Get the look: The lights are Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb and Pendants. The table is an eBay find and the banquette was made by Christophe Clement at The Ugly Room. The cabinetry, which houses the fridge and freezer, is by British Standard by Plain English.
This Notting Hill apartment had no space for a separate dining room, so architects at De Rosee Sa created this eat-in kitchen diner instead. A round table gives a softer look than a bulky square one, and a wall of built-in storage for table linens and glassware frees up as much floor space as possible. The dining area is illuminated by wall lights instead of any bulky floor lamps, further maximising space
A wall of windows in this kitchen now serves as the dining area. U-shaped banquette seating now wraps around this dining table like a hug, utilising every inch of space, while also incorporating handy under-bench storage. This casual dining nook features a sculptural bleached wood table and striking leaf-shaped wooden chairs. The built-in banquette seating is deep and generous, and plump cushions make it extra inviting, while wall-to-wall windows frame the garden views.
Get the look: Design by Intimate Living Interiors
Ironically, sometimes a smaller room can be made to feel bigger and grander by larger furniture. In this dining space by Lance Thomas of Room Service, a round table was placed in the centre, surrounded by upholstered chairs that tuck neatly under. A striking ceiling pendant and artwork help make this small room feel grand and chic.
Designer Caroline Cobbold transformed this corridor / hallway space into a dining area. It was the walkway between living areas and the kitchen, but the dining table actually fits here perfectly – even if you have to now walk around it.
Floating banquette seating reveals the floor underneath, while the dining table and two chairs also feature streamlined, minimalist design. It makes this space feel lighter and brighter, as it allows for more light and space, thus making this space feel larger.
Get the look: Chairs by Hay Design. Table is a custom design. Interior design by Lauren Weiss
This dining room is illuminated by a Flos wall light, which can stretch away from the wall and position over the table. It's more compact than bulky pendant lights and can be moved out of the way, and frees up floor space as there's no need for a floor lamp.
Get the look: The dining table is by Hedge House Furniture. The light fixture is by Flos from Murphy Waldron Interiors. The sculpture is an Alexander Calder family heirloom
This table acts as both a dining table and kitchen island, and is where the prep-work happens, as well as the dining. There are plug sockets under the table – ideal for plugging in kitchen gadgets and the owner's much-loved fondue set.
Get the look: The kitchen rug is from Kat + Maouche. The dining area’s Salt Chairs are from DWR. The Factory Light 9 Pendant is from Schoolhouse.
Designers at X+Living sectioned off this tiny corner in a small Shanghai apartment and turned it into the dining space. It may look more like a breakfast nook, but the table extends out to double its length, and the nearby sofa can be separated into individual seats and pulled up to the table. Genius.
Here you can see the clever design in action.
For the same apartment, a custom-made high-chair was made which comes apart as two separate children’s chairs – ideal for drawing, reading and playing. Then just stack them on top of one another to create a highchair for the youngest child. Space saving, and stylish.
In this compact dining area, a single pendant hangs above a super skinny dining table, framed by just two benches. But despite being compact, this table can still comfortable seat six.
Get the look: The Sunday armchair is from sofa.com. The cushions are made from old linen sacks found in France. The ruler, discovered in a junk shop in Sri Lanka, is part of a theodolite measuring tool.
Here a banquette bench was created to make the most of a long kitchen wall, and wraps right around the corner towards the back door. Under seat drawers create additional storage.
This dining room by Zoe Feldman feels luxe, yet the table itself is actually very compact – seating 4-6 when fully extended like this. It can also retract back, making it a perfect square. Drama is achieved through the striking ceiling pendant and painted black ceiling.
Get the look: This is Pierre Frey’s “Indus Tise” wallpaper, and an Andrew Neyer pendant.
Interior designer Crystal Sinclair added a narrow dining table with bench seating in this small and cosy dining space. A neon sign on the wall makes it funky.
Aside from being space-saving by often incorporating storage within the seats, bench seating also adds comfort and cosiness, and helps transform cold corners into something snug and inviting.
Get the look: Dining table, Ikea. CH36 dining chairs, Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn at The Conran Shop. Pendant, Cox & Cox
This holiday cottage in Cornwall features a tiny dining table in its open-plan kitchen / living room, but it's cool perfectly suits the beachcomber theme.
This in-kitchen dining area has been zoned and defined by a rug and pendant light, grounding the dining area.
Casey Keasler used a neutral base palette for this dining space, and layered in lots of texture. It creates a calming dining environment.