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Storage ideas for smaller spaces pt2. The dining room

Dining rooms should be both chic, and practical and functional. We discuss how you can save yourself valuable kitchen storage, keep all your dining essentials close at hand, and keep your dining room looking stylish and uncluttered.
Hints & Tips

Getting savvy with storage is all about maximising the space you have, and that includes the dining room. Read on to find out how to use this humble space for much more than special occasions and dinner parties.

To those living in small homes, and those living cramped homes, and those living in big-but-just-plain-awkward-homes – you have our utmost sympathy. It’s no easy feat to find enough storage space when you’re working with all the room in the world, let alone when you’re trying to squeeze a lifetime’s worth of belongings into a property whose seams look fit to burst before you’ve even begun.

While we love our cosy homes with their nooks and crannies and undeniable character, we can’t help but feel short-changed when it comes to finding somewhere to put our stuff. And there’s a lot of stuff. If it’s not pots and pans spilling out of the cupboards, it’s clothes bulging against the doors of wardrobes, or books toppling off shelves. And that’s not mentioning the array of miscellaneous objects setting up camp under the bed.

If this sounds familiar, worry not, in part two of our series ‘Storage Ideas for Smaller Spaces’, we’re here with more useful storage solutions – this time paying particular attention to the humble dining room. Starting with tip number one…


Don’t dismiss the dining room

For reasons undetermined, the dining room in many homes often carries a sort of ‘No Man’s Land’ status. Devoid of anything genuinely useful, its barren walls gather dust in the long stretches between dinner parties, with an unspoken rule forbidding anyone from entering this elusive universe unless it’s a ‘special occasion’. The display cabinets are filled with old crockery that could either do with being stored in the attic or thrown out altogether, and then there’s simply nothing else, bar a too-large table and chairs that aren’t very comfortable anyway.

To get things kicked off with your dining room storage revolution, start by looking at this space as a real asset in your home. Think of the things you can fill it with – tastefully of course – and start putting together a mood board of storage savvy furniture and DIY ideas. Which leads us directly to our next point…

Invest in storage-savvy furniture

If you’ve put up with the same dining set for more years than you care to remember, take this opportunity to shake things up and finally give your dining room a whole new look. You can add more storage space simply and easily by making wise furniture choices. Think deep sideboards that look great and that can be filled to the brim with stuff you actually use. Ditch the ‘posh’ china that’s been gathering dust for decades (or at least put it in the attic) and fill your display cabinets with the crockery you love to use daily. It’ll clear up some storage space in the kitchen and give you easy access when you finally start using your dining room for more than just special occasions. If you’re working with a particularly small room, explore the idea of mirrored sideboards – they have the power instantly open up any room, creating the illusion of space.


There’s also a fantastic range of storage seating available on the market, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. There are a range of styles to choose from, from sleek and modern to farmhouse chic. Add character and storage space to smaller dining rooms with gorgeous bench seating set against the wall, which can double up as an extra cupboard. That way the table doesn’t have to dominate the centre of the room and there’s no need to fit space-eating dining chairs all around it. Use the extra space for something useful, such as a book shelf. That way you’ll add even more personality to the room and clear some storage space elsewhere in the house too.


Don’t shy away from DIY

If ever there was a time to conquer your fear of DIY, the opportunity to turn your dining room into an all-singing, all-dancing, super-stylish storage mecca is it. Think outside the box and install shelves high up on the walls to make use of vertical space. Install your own storage bench by the window and place pretty cushions on top for an instantly chic window seat. And don’t just ignore that unfortunate nook in the wall. Fill it with shelves or set about making your own uber-slim bookcase, perfect for storing all manner of knick-knacks.

If you’re really tight on space, why not install shelves directly into the wall? By creating an alcove, you’ll instantly add another layer of space to the room. This is a good trick for particularly cramped rooms where standard shelves on walls will only wreak havoc – catching on elbows and making the room feel even smaller.

There’s so much great inspiration online, not to mention an infinite number of how-tos, that there really are no excuses when it comes to turning your DIY dreams into dining room wins. We love Pinterest as a starting point, as it allows you to create your own mood boards and explore others’ interior design and DIY ideas.


Throw out the rule book

The term ‘dining room’ tends to conjure images of chunky eight-seater tables and oak chairs that are so heavy it takes two people to lift them. But who said you had to stick to conventions? If there’s only a couple of you in the house and you’re not the dinner party-types, go for a four seater or less to maximise on space and make more room for storage cabinets and sideboards. Round tables are particularly good at making a room feel bigger, and if you want to really go for space-creating gold, opt for a transparent table top and chairs, which instantly add a light and airy feel to any room.

Whether you’re a firm believer in only using the dining room when the Queen comes to stay, or have the whole family running riot in there every night, with these simple tips you’ll be seeing it in a whole new light. From quirky design features to your newly found DIY dexterity, once you get started, the possibilities will feel as endless as the storage space you unleash.


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