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Design Tips for Small-Space Dining Rooms

A small dining room can feel limiting at first, but it likely has more potential than meets the eye. With the right furniture and a few design tweaks, it can become a great place for everyone to come together and enjoy a meal. Use some of these design tips for small dining rooms to pull together a space that’s both functional and beautiful.

Finding the Right Furniture

The right furniture is the foundation of any room, and the dining room is no different. The right furniture complements the space and can even make it look bigger, while the wrong pieces overwhelm or clutter. When picking furniture, look for pieces with simple, clean lines rather than a heavy, ornate feel. You want your furniture to open up the area without overwhelming it.

Table Options

The dining table is the focal point of the room. Thoughtfully consider how this piece will fit inside your space, keeping in mind these considerations:
  • Round tables: These complement a small, square space and they offer maximum seating
  • Narrow tables: If you’re working with a narrow room, a rectangular, narrow table is often the best choice.
  • Square tables: If your dining room is a section of a larger area or room, create a dining nook with a square table and a banquette or corner benches.
  • Folding tables: If you’re short on space but still want the option to host large dinner parties, opt for a folding table placed against the wall. Keep one side of the table out for everyday use, and unfold the entire piece when you need more seating.

Seating Picks

Seating is just as is important as the table. Look to these seating options to help maximize your capacity:
  • Benches: Benches allow for the most seating possible and they have the added space-saving bonus of sliding under the table when they’re not in use.
  • Armless chairs: Chair arms can create a bulky appearance and limit the amount of seating your can fit around the table. Instead, opt for armless chairs for your small space.
  • Bar stools: If you’re transforming a kitchen island or even a countertop into a dining area, bar stools are the way to go. These come in a wide range of styles and their slender build makes them ideal for smaller dining areas.

Brighten it Up

Don’t underestimate the power of light and color to enhance a small space. If you’re working with a small area, there are some color considerations you should keep in mind. For instance, painting the room a very dark-color is a no-go, since it tends to make a space feel smaller. Instead, heed these styling tips.

Wall Color

When picking a wall color, opt for light, neutral paint, which makes a small space feel more open and airy. If you want to incorporate bright colors or fun patterns, choose accessories like throw pillows or window shades to complement the area with a pop of color rather than painting the whole room. Textured furniture or fabrics also complement the neutral walls without overwhelming them.


Natural light is always the best lighting source. Since you’re working in a small space, opt for sheer curtains to let as much light in as possible. Another option is to hang curtains high above the window frame. This gives the illusion of added height and more light to the room without eliminating the decorative touch that window treatments add.

Lighting Fixtures

The lighting fixtures you choose also play a big role in the overall feel of the room. Make sure the room is well-lit and offers several lighting sources, including one directly over the table. Try mixing a variety of different lighting options throughout the room, including a chandelier or hanging pendant light, sconces on the wall, or a corner floor lamp.

Decor Matters

Keep in mind that the wrong decor can overwhelm or clutter a small room. Keep it simple, choosing options to enhance the space. Such decor could include:
  • An oversized mirror to give the room a larger appearance.
  • An area rug to center the table and define the space. This works well if you’re creating a small dining space out of a bigger room.
  • A painting or wall art to bring a touch of color to the space.
  • Houseplants to freshen the room and give it a sense of peace and beauty.

Storage Solutions

Storage can be a challenge in a small dining area. The best way to approach it is to think outside the box. Since cabinets can make the room feel smaller, try mounting open shelves on the wall instead. These can be used to display dishware or other decorative items. Alternatively, opt for furniture pieces that do double-duty, like benches that also have storage inside.
If you’re decorating a small-space dining room, CORT Furniture Rental has you covered. From tables and chairs to decor and storage, CORT has everything you need for your dining space.