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5 essential design considerations for small dining spaces

Your goal is to create a gorgeous dining nook that oozes style, but you’re short of space. What to do? In such a situation it’s all to easy to feel disheartened, but in fact it’s tricky challenges like these that can unlock creativity you didn’t even know you had. Like having a limited amount of time when you go clothes shopping or sofa hunting – you often end up making the best decisions under pressure.
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Having a smaller space means bending the rules a little, yes, but isn’t that the way masterpieces are made? It requires a reasonable amount of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking but it’s this kind of thinking that can lead to unexpected showstoppers – those miraculous feats of interior design that make you stop and ask yourself why you didn’t think of this as a career (it’s never too late!).

So, if you’re faced with a tiny room or long to turn the backend of your kitchen into an atmospheric nook (hello cosy, candle-lit suppers), read on to find out how to make your dining dreams a reality.

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1. Pair a round table with wall-mounted benches

Square dining tables might be more traditional but, let us assure you, it’s all about round when it comes to making use of space. And there’s something effortlessly appealing in a cosy eighties-movie sort of a way about round dining tables. We love how they can be nestled cosily into the corner of a room, surrounded by comfy padded benching and swathed in dim lamplight for an intimate atmosphere. The whole setup simply cries out for cheeky late-night cocktails, leisurely breakfasts, family gatherings and romantic meals-for-two. Whether it’s in the corner of your kitchen or at the end of your lounge, just be sure to finish the look with plenty of low lighting and relaxed scatter cushions.

Quick tip: In general, opting for a round dining table set will save you plenty of space if you’re working with a whole room too. Think of it like a maths equation. Less angles mean more space for guests to manoeuvre – and it makes for a more integrated group at dinner parties. We love this Arles Round Extending Dining Table which can be made bigger for dinner parties but won’t fill the room up in the day to day.

2. Consider a flip-top dining table

If you’re really tight for space, don’t shy away from flip-top dining tables, which can be pushed up against one of your empty kitchen walls and extended when needed. This Furnitureland California Extending Flip Top Table is really neat and definitely won’t eat up space, but extends to a decent size with ease when you need it. Then, all you need to do is find a space to stash a set of stackable chairs or stools and you can create an instantly larger dining space in a matter of minutes.

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3. Ditch the display cabinets

If you’re working with a small dining room, it makes zero sense to take up half the space with a dominating sideboard or display cabinet. Instead, install a few tasteful, rustic shelves directly onto the wall, and use them to show off your favourite pieces of crockery as a design feature. Alternatively, you could opt for a cleverly designed, corner-hugging cabinet like this Orbit Tall Corner Unit, which is the best-friend of smaller spaces.

4. Get wise with furniture

Doubling up on furniture use can also be a clever way to solve your dining conundrum. For example, if you need a desk for work, choose something that can be easily cleared and turned into a dining table at the end of the day. Again, trendy stackable chairs or stools are a must for this approach – just be sure to stash any important documents away before dinner. When it comes to aesthetics, you could go for something in polished dark wood with a vintage feel, which works excellently for both dining tables and desks. How about that?

5. Create a booth (just like in the movies)

Booths are, by nature, very practical when it comes to smaller dining spaces because they’re sort of self-sufficient, utilising every inch of whichever nook you put them in. Set up two benches on either side of a sturdy rectangular table that evokes that cosily enclosed diner feel. Alternatively, we love curved dining booths, paired with a round dining table for a slightly quirkier look.

While TV dinners are all good and well, and kind of charming in their own rebellious way, a house isn’t complete without somewhere to ‘sit up’ and eat. No matter how small the space you’re working with, you’ll appreciate having that carved out area for meals, for years and years to come.

Weather you opt for for a round dining table and chairs, the revolutionary flip-top table, or something else, one thing’s for sure – your very special little dining space will become the heart and soul of your home.

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