Ideas + Inspiration

Small Dining Room Ideas

It’s not the size of the room that counts, but the love within it, right? This is a good sentiment to stick with if you’re working with a small dining room—the area where you invite friends to gather, toast, and share meals on the regular. In other words, a small dining room doesn’t mean you’re limited in hosting guests around your table. But it might take some creative design, layouts and furniture pieces to make the most of your small space all year long. Here, some of our favorite ideas for designing a dining room in a small space:

Get an Extension

…Table, that is. An extendable dining table is a small spacer’s dream, sporting a compact size by day and stretching out to an ultra-accommodating frame by night. The difference in size varies by table, but can range anywhere from 2-4 people when un-extended and adjusting to seat 6-12 people when fully extended.

Layer Your Lighting
Faux-Extend Your Countertop

Scooting your table to butt up against and island or countertop keeps bulkier furniture in one streamlined area, plus can be used as a little extra counter space when cooking or baking. In this case, having the table flow into the island keeps walkways wide and clear and gives the illusion of a longer u-shaped kitchen versus the square shape around the island alone. Shown: A110 Hand Grenade Pendant Light from Artek

Image via: Dwell

Layer Your Lighting
All A-Round

We love Victoria Smith of SF Girl By Bay’s masterful combination of mix-matched chairs around a classic Saarinen table. The space as is right in line with Victoria’s aesthetic seen in the rest of the room, and that cohesion lets the dining space act as its own area for dining, but can also seamlessly be a part of the rest of the living room. In an open area, consider making your table and chairs arrangement not just a place to dine, but a sitting space that serves a nearby living room, office space, etc. Shown: Nelson Pear Bubble Pendant from Nelson Bubble Lamps

Layer Your Lighting
Trick Mirrors

It’s a designer’s oldest trick in the book: adding a mirror to a space reflects light back into the room and makes it appear bigger. In this case, we love the idea of taking that tip to the extreme: an extra-large mirror that gives the illusion of a grand, long dining table. The mirror also doubles as a statement piece for the space, serving the room like a great piece of art. Shown: Nur Gloss LED Suspension Light from Artemide

Image via Home Adore

Layer Your Lighting
Chairs Equal Art

If you’re working with limited space, every piece in it has to count. These 4 chairs are each mid-century icons in their own right, and paired together feel like a prized museum collection. The punches of color pay tribute to the era as well, but also add a playfulness that livens up the space.

Shown: PH 5 Pendant Light from Louis Poulsen

Image via: HomeDSGN

Layer Your Lighting
Small But Mighty

This petite dining space went big on design, from the patterned banquette to the upholstery on the chairs and bench, to the curvature on the table and chairs. It’s a good reminder that small doesn’t need to equal minimal—it can carry bold design choices just as well.

Shown: String Light Cone Pendant from FLOS

Image via @methomemag

Layer Your Lighting
Cozy up in Corners

Corners aren’t exactly the most coveted space in the house, but we love the way this one is using it to its advantage. A window seat lets in generous light and doubles the seating without the additional bulk of chairs. It has the intimacy and comfort of a reading nook, with the style and function of a formal dining room.

Shown: Big Bang Chandelier from Foscarini

Image via @danmazzarini

Layer Your Lighting
Make Size a Minor Detail

Again, a square footage challenge shouldn’t stunt your design dreams. This room is packed with unified details that cater to the space they’re in. A large mirror for extra light and depth; a wall-hung buffet-like cabinet for displaying bar items and adding extra storage.

Shown: Modo 4 Sided Chandelier - 15 Globes from Roll & Hill

Layer Your Lighting
Divide and Conquer

There’s small dining spaces, but another not-uncommon floorplan is, well, no dining space. Large open floor plans can broken up into separate functions by adding an element that serves as a wall—in this case, the open design keeps the “wall” from being too obtrusive in the space, but creates some division from the adjacent living area.

Shown: Gala 7220 Chandelier from Rich Brilliant Willing

Layer Your Lighting
Do it All for the Nook

We love the ingenuity of Molly Madfis in creating her own cozy breakfast nook with a pair of low-to-the-ground chests of drawers (with bonus storage!). The bench seating left room to splurge a bit on Knoll’s Cesca Cane Chairs. The result is a super-inviting corner dining space that we’d use much more often than just meal time.
Shown: Karam Pendant Light by Tech Lighting, Cesca Cane Chairs by Knoll

Layer Your Lighting
Keep it Clean and Minimal

While we’ve said a small space doesn’t need to mean small design, there is always something to be said for a monochrome palette for achieving a look that’s open and airy. The white-on-white-on-white of this dining space keeps it visually lightweight and makes it easy to create a coordinated look.

Shown: Glo-Ball Pendant Light from FLOS

Image via: Link to source

Layer Your Lighting
Go Bold

Pops of color are a surefire way to inject a little personality in a dining space, no matter what the size. The bold palette of these chairs paired with the rug help define the dining space, which otherwise might feel like it was plopped in the middle of the room.
Shown: HAL Colour Tube by Vitra

Photo via Claire Esparros

Layer Your Lighting
Create Height

Often, the most underutilized space in our homes is those above our heads, which is a why a tip for tight quarters is always to leverage that vertical real estate. The same goes for lighting a small dining space—here, the fixture is more tall than wide, making the most of the high ceilings without overpowering the small table below.
Shown: Constellation Aquila Minor Chandelier from SONNEMAN Lighting

Layer Your Lighting
Ghost ‘Em

Materials like lucite and glass are great go-tos when you want to cut down on visual real estate in a space. Transparent Ghost Chairs by Kartell literally fade into the background, allowing a clear visual to the other side of the rom and below the table that makes the space feel larger and more open.

Shown: Monarch 3 Light Multipoint Pendant Light from Vermont Modern

Layer Your Lighting
Layer Your Lighting
previous arrow
next arrow

A small dining room might have its challenges, but careful editing can make this space function exactly as you want it to day-to-day and for special occasions. While it’s important to choose pieces you love, making sure they also fit the space is equally important for making the space feel as full as it might if square footage wasn’t a challenge. Shop more modern dining room furniture, lighting and more at YLighting.


Back to Dining Room Ideas

For more modern dining room ideas, follow our favorites on Pinterest:

Team Y

Team Y

Each YLighting article is backed by the authority of the highest rated service team in the industry. Our design experts are ALA-certified (American Lighting Association) and have an average of 10+ years in the interior design, architectural lighting and home renovation industry. Chat on-line or give us a call toll-free.

Use #YintheWild to show us your modern space. VIEW GALLERY