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How to Arrange Furniture in a Small Dining Room


Every design decision counts when you don't have a lot of space to work with. 

The choice of table, chairs, and even decorations matters more than for larger dining rooms. With a larger space, a bad design decision can make your room not look as good. For a smaller room, a bad design decision can prevent you from getting from one side of the room to the other. 

You shouldn't have to sacrifice functionality for the ability to get around in your dining room.

Make Your Dining Room Feel Open

For smaller dining rooms, you'll want to do two things:

  1. Make the room more open
  2. Make the room feel more open than it is

small dining room arrangement

The first is self-explanatory. Your room will feel open and spacious if it is open and spacious. Making your dining room feel more open than it is is like a magic trick. It involves "tricking" the eye into believing the room is larger. By combining these two tips, you'll be able to keep your dining room functional and unobstructed.

There are a few different ways to go about doing this. 

Table Location

Regardless of where you place your table, always try to have at least a meter on each side that will have chairs. Also be sure to keep a bit of distance between chairs, so your guests don't unintentionally elbow each other. 

Try placing rectangular or square tables against a wall. While this does limit the number of people you can fit at the table, it does wonders for opening up your room. 

dining table against wall

Round tables take up less space than other tables. This could make them a good option for you. A round table against a wall will not look as good, however.  

round dining table

There are other tips you can follow if you don't want to sacrifice seating for openness.

Glass is "Invisible"

Glass tables can be a perfect fit for smaller dining rooms. Glass furniture gives the illusion that no furniture is there taking up space. You can see through glass, so it has a clean, "invisible" effect when not in use.

glass dining table

And glass tables still hold just as much food and tableware as wood or metal tables. It's a win-win with glass tables — they make a room look roomier, and they are completely functional.

If you want to see how useful glass can be for expanding your small dining room, try the Elizabeth Glass Top Dining Table.

Say No to Rugs

Rugs can make a large dining room feel more comfortable and welcoming. However if your dining room is small, they can make it seem crowded and cramped. A rug on the floor is yet one more object in the dining room. 

If you do want a rug for the floor, try to get one that blends in with the floor. Too much contrast will make the rug stand out and catch the eye. A more subtle rug will allow the eye to see the floor as continuous and unobstructed.

Seating More People in Small Rooms

Larger rooms allow for more seating — more people at the dining table. This is true. But smaller rooms can get the most out of their size with a few handy tips. 

Keep Extra Chairs Elsewhere

For one, keep the dining table surrounded by only as many chairs as you need. Do you most often only use two chairs on a daily basis? If you only find yourself needing a lot of chairs rarely, keep all extra seats elsewhere. 

You don't need to surround yourself with two or three empty chairs for most of your meals. Keep a couple of chairs around your table until you need more. It’s best to keep the dining setting looking minimal to avoid clutter and excess. 

If you don't have anywhere to store your extra chairs, you can always borrow chairs from other rooms when you need them. Is your family coming over for dinner tonight? Grab a few more chairs from the living room and fit them around your table. Once everyone leaves and everything settles down, just place the chairs back in the other room.

Compact Seating Options

Another way to optimise for the small space you have is to have compact seating. 

Bench seats are perfect for smaller dining rooms. Not only do they take up less space, but they can also be pushed completely under the table when not in use. This keeps the room feeling open at all times. And you don't need to substitute all of your chairs for benches. If you have a square table, have one or two sides with chairs and another with a single bench.

bench dining seat

Benches also work great if you have kids. A single bench can fit more children in less space than chairs could. 

If you don't want a bench at your dining table, at least opt for chairs without arms. They take up less space than chairs with arms and look just as good.

Multipurpose Furniture

The location of your table depends on how the room will be used. If you have a single room serving as both your dining and living rooms, you'll want to arrange the furniture a bit differently. 

If your dining room also serves as a living room, you'll want to keep the dining table out of the centre of the room. Living rooms are all about entertaining guests, and yourself, so the dining table shouldn't be the primary focus. Try placing a dining table more off to the side. Or, if you have a square or rectangular table, push it all the way against the wall. This is an excellent way to save space for other things while keeping the table usable.

Storage and Extra Table Space


Buffets and sideboards are especially useful in smaller rooms. These can act as extra table space if your dining table cannot fit everything you need it to. Use it to store extra plates, drinks, and food so guests can more easily get second helpings. Buffets and sideboards are most space-efficient placed flat against a wall.

When not dining, you can use your buffets and sideboards as general-purpose storage. 


Decorations are the final frontier for your small dining room.

If your dining room has a higher ceiling, take advantage of the wall-space to hang artwork and decorations. This works to draw the eye upward and around the room. And this makes your dining room appear more spacious.

dining room decoration

Another useful decoration tip is to use mirrors. Mirrors give the illusion that your room has more space and dimension. So try hanging a mirror on the wall and seeing it work its magic. Just make sure your guests don't walk into your mirrors thinking your room is bigger than it is.