Dining rooms are considered something of a luxury these days, with many households choosing to eat in the kitchen or in front of the TV. If you are lucky enough to have a dining room, chances are that it’s on the smaller side, or used as an extra storage room. However, a survey found that 36% of people would use their dining room more if they had guests over more frequently, so how can you ensure that you’re making the most of the space?
Living rooms and bedrooms tend to be the largest rooms in a property, so you may find that your smaller dining room has been relegated to a storage space or home office. Don’t be put off by a compact room however; there are plenty of style tips and tricks available to help you create the ideal dining room design. If your small dining room has been neglected recently, see our guide to choosing the right furniture and other tips to make the most of this room.
Consider the colour scheme
Colour can be used to make your small dining room feel bigger or to add quirky touches to the space. If you want to stick to neutral walls, add a pop of colour with brightly coloured chairs or artwork. One feature wall also works well in a smaller space; keep three walls plain and add colourful, patterned wallpaper to the fourth.
Heavy, dark wooden furniture can swamp a small space but you don’t have to replace it entirely. Paint wooden tables and chairs in a light neutral or pastel colour to open up the area and make it feel light and airy. If you want to keep the furniture’s original look, try adding a colourful patterned tablecloth or table runner instead.
Different shades of the same colour also work well for a smaller space; try a pale shade on walls and a brighter colour for tables and chairs. A single-colour scheme ties the room together and makes it feel larger than it is.
Folding tables and chairs are ideal for smaller dining rooms and you’ll have more room when the space isn’t in use. Fold-out tables often extend from the middle on both sides, so they could double as a desk if you extend one side and push the table against the wall.
Wall mounted fold-out tables are another smart choice and the table is almost undetectable when not in use. Save even more space with folding chairs that can be stacked against the wall, or some dining tables even have built in storage space for chairs.
Minimalist furniture won’t overpower a smaller space and it gives a clean, modern look. Look for abstract designs with sharp lines; think chairs with slim metal legs over chunky wooden designs or fabric backed chairs.
If your dining area is part of your kitchen, not to worry, you can still create a functional dining space. Pair a floating shelf or breakfast bar with minimalist bar stools in monochrome or neutral colours. If you do have room for a dining table, look for one with thin or tapered legs to save space. A floating design is stunning and practical too; this type of table creates a unique look and there’s ample space to store benches or chairs underneath.
If you’re short on space in general, double up the use of your dining room with multi-functional furniture. Start with a table that can be used as a desk when you’re not dining (extendable tables are good for this). You could also look for a coffee table that converts into a dining table; these pieces of furniture have adjustable folding legs that lock into place to raise the table off the floor.
A long storage bench is another smart alternative to dining chairs and it gives a comfortable, informal feel. Look for a cushioned bench with hidden storage space for books, soft furnishings or even your dining room crockery.
If you’re looking for something more permanent, built-in seating and shelves really make the most of a small dining room. A built-in bookcase with an added bench seat can sit flat against the wall and free up as much floor space as possible. Leave the bench hollow for extra storage and you’ve got an amazing multi-tasking piece of furniture.
Choosing a table
The dining table is likely to be the biggest piece of furniture in the room, so choose wisely. Round tables have a smaller footprint compared to rectangular tables of the same size as there are no corners wasting valuable space. Many people prefer the informality of a round table too and it makes it easier for everyone to comfortably hear each other.
If you’d prefer a rectangular table, look for a model that can be extended as and when you need (you can purchase round extendable tables too!). These tables are highly versatile and allow you to accommodate last minute guests or a lavish meal with no extra hassle.
This solution is a little more extreme, but if you’re really struggling for space, consider knocking down a wall to create an open kitchen/diner. Most people would prefer one large, open room over two smaller, cramped ones, so it’s worth thinking about whether this would be possible. It’s unlikely that you’ll need planning permission (unless you live in a listed building) but you should always arrange an assessment from a structural engineer first.
Knocking down a load bearing wall can be disastrous, but a structural engineer will be able to identify which walls are safe, or how to make the project secure if you are knocking down a load bearing wall. An open plan kitchen/diner can add around 6% to the overall value of your home, so many people consider it a worthwhile investment.
Bay window space
If you’re lucky enough to have a bay window; make the most of it and choose furniture to compliment the space. Bay windows allow plenty of light to enter the room which can help to make a space feel larger. Don’t swamp the area with heavy wooden tables or large rectangular pieces, look for a smaller round table instead. Choose white or pale pastel colours (or paint the furniture yourself) to ensure the space remains light and airy.
Bench seating is an excellent space saver for smaller dining rooms and it brings a relaxed, informal feel to entertaining. Unlike chairs, each bench can comfortably seat two or three people and they’re easily stored underneath the table when not in use. If you’re worried about comfort, add a long cushion to sit on or position the bench so guests can lean against a wall.
Bench seating can be portable, or you can have it built into the wall if you want to free up the maximum amount of floor space. Built-in bench seating is particularly useful for tight corners or awkwardly shaped rooms and you can add extra storage space under the seat.
Customised dining tables and chairs from BoConcept Scotland
If you’re looking to buy dining room furniture for a smaller space, get in touch with the team at BoConcept Scotland. We offer customised furniture to suit your needs, including dining room tables, dining room chairs, side tables, coffee tables and much more. If you’re looking for dining room ideas we can help with that too, simply book an appointment with our dining room interior design service.
Our experienced designers will work with you every step of the way to create a dining room that’s ideally suited to your lifestyle and requirements. For more information about choosing the right dining room furniture or to discuss your design ideas, give us a call today or contact us via the website.