15 Small Dining Room Ideas to Make the Most of Your Space

Dining area with bench and woven chairs
Photo: Helen Norman

Turn a small dining room into an inviting gathering space with these no-fail design tips and tricks. Whether you have a designated room, a corner nook in the kitchen, or simply a blank stretch of wall, you can create a comfortable spot to share everyday meals and entertain guests. These small dining room ideas will make your space look larger, help the flow of traffic, and increase storage in a small footprint.

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Small Dining Room Design

open kitchen dining area
Lincoln Barbour

If your kitchen connects to an open great room, carve out a small dining room in the area in-between with a few design tricks. In this combined space, extending the kitchen floor tile out into the living room helps separate the cooking and eating area. Choose a dining table and chairs with simple, streamlined shapes that won't take up too much space, and hang a light fixture above to define the table area. A small cushioned bench provides extra seating and adds a sense of comfort. A large window dressed in simple window treatments brings in light to help the room feel more spacious.

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Small Dining Nook Packed with Pattern

dining nook with black and white stripes on wall and floral cushion
Nathan Kirkman

A variety of patterns adds interest to this small dining room. Black-and-white striped walls provide a striking backdrop for colorful furnishings. Patterned cement floor tiles introduce vintage character that pairs well with antique bistro chairs. Floral fabric on the cushioned banquette bench adds a splash of personality. This simple setup demonstrates how to define a small dining nook within a larger kitchen area.

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Stylish Small Dining Room Ideas

dining room with wall art
Annie Schlechter

This small dining room lives larger than its footprint thanks to bright colors, natural light, and a few smart design tricks. Small dining room furniture, like this four-set pedestal table, is a good starting point. Simple wood chairs with cane details add stylish, low-profile seating. Layered rugs beneath the table help delineate the dining area, while pastel walls make the room feel more expansive and inviting.

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Small Dining Room Setup

Dining area with bench and woven chairs
Helen Norman

For a savvy use of square footage, turn a blank stretch of wall into a small dining area. Start with a comfy cushioned bench that can serve as seating for multiple people. To maximize the limited space, choose a round table with a streamlined base that can accommodate extra chairs if needed. Mount wall art above the bench to distinguish the area, and finish off the dining room with a pair of minimalist chairs. This small dining table and chairs setup is the perfect solution for small spaces, especially in apartments.

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Cozy Neutral Dining Room

wood dining table black chairs
David Tsay

Neutral colors and a mix of textures give this small dining room a cozy feel. Sleek black Windsor chairs juxtapose slipcovered chairs at the head of the table. A simple wood buffet provides plenty of drawers for out-of-sight storage and a tabletop surface to display art and accessories. Above, a round mirror reflects light to make the room appear larger. A patterned area rug features warm colors that play up the table's rich maple finish.

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Employ a Small Dining Set

black caned back chairs at dining table
John Bessler

This small dining table with a bench provides both function and style in a tight space. Placing the bench against the wall maximizes the available floor space, and airy caned chairs give the illusion of extra room. Narrow furniture legs help keep this segment of the house feeling open and light.

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Defined Dining Area

Dining area in front of window with booth seating
Erin Kunkel

Creating a dining area can be difficult with a narrow open floor plan. Define the dining room with a large area rug that will easily accommodate a small dining set. The clean, simple lines of modern furniture provide stylish and space-saving details. This midcentury-style dining set has simple legs that leave the space open and inviting rather than heavy.

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Small Dining Room Wall Treatments

White and blue dining area
Jean Allsopp

Dress up a small dining room with an interesting wall treatment, such as board and batten or wainscoting. In this dining room, white wainscoting extends two-thirds of the way up the wall and is topped with a band of light blue. While the two-tone walls are light, introducing dark peacock blue on the chair seats and drapes add dimension, proving that dark colors have a place in small dining room decor.

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Small Dining Nook Ideas

Corner dining area with booth seating and blue and white chairs
Laura Moss

Small dining rooms are often nooks carved out of larger spaces. Unify the dining area with the surrounding spaces by employing similar design characteristics. Just a step away from the kitchen, this nook carries the sleek black-and-white color scheme of the adjacent space but is distinguished by plum accents. A round light fixture contrasts the square table and cabinets and adds a modern touch with its silver lining inside. Small dining room furniture, including minimalist chairs, provides additional seating to the kitchen banquette without overwhelming the space.

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Small Banquette Dining Area

Nook dining area with booth seating and wooden table
Erica George Dines

In a small dining area, choose a table that follows the lines of your banquette bench for optimal seating and movement. A rounded banquette bench works well with an oval-shaped table. The rounded corners make it easier to move in and out of the banquette. Curtains that cover half the bay windows allow the room to maintain its soft, natural brightness while providing privacy and adding character with a unique pattern.

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Colorful Small Dining Room

Corner dining area with bookshelf and pink and white chairs
Tria Giovan

Employ pops of color to enliven a petite dining area. Hues of pink and orange bring vibrancy and energy to this nook, which features a corner banquette to save space. A bold print on the Roman shade and coordinating throw pillows pairs with shiny mod chairs to bring a contemporary touch to the corner.

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Small Dining Booth

Dining area in front of window with booth seating
Philip Harvey

A dining booth design is perfect for conversation and relaxation, while offering a savvy way to utilize a corner of space. Windows surrounding this booth expand the view of the small dining room to the outdoors, creating a more spacious feel. White benches with striped cushions contribute to the light-hearted, comfortable look. A simple pedestal table, without legs on the corners, makes it easy to get in and out of the booth.

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Vintage-Style Small Dining Room

Corner dining area with booth seating and display shelf
Edmund Barr

A white corner banquette blends in beautifully with the white walls and vintage decor in this small dining area. Cream-colored cushions and printed pillows add color and texture to the corner. A dark table contrasts the white color scheme but keeps with the room's simplicity. Small lamp sconces on the wall provide subtle light, while framed and canvas artwork adds more character and color to the space.

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Simple Small Dining Area

dining room nook
Emily Followill Photography

Tucked away in the corner, this small dining room idea is plain and simple in the best way. Set against a white backdrop, a chestnut pedestal table brings a traditional, homey touch to the corner. A small window banquette seats two to three people and provides extra storage in the drawers below. Simple chairs are lightweight and easy to reposition, allowing seating all around the table. A lantern-style light fixture draws attention to the space and differentiates the area from the rest of the kitchen.

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Comfortable Small Dining Ideas

Booth dining seating with rustic bench
Edmund Barr

When quarters are tight, opt for extra comfort. While most banquettes provide seat cushions, this space takes comfort to the next level with back cushions mounted to the wall. Drawers in the base of the banquette provide extra storage space while the three-sided wrap-around bench provides plentiful seating. Located right inside the back door, a slim white bench tucks in close to the table and doesn't jut out into the adjacent walkway.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a small dining room called?

    A small dining room can be called a dinette or a nook, depending on where it's located. A nook is usually in the kitchen, while a dinette is attached to the kitchen.

  • How do you separate a dining room and a living room in a small apartment?

    There are a few simple ways to do this. For example, use a sofa to create a division, add a divider to the room (such as a folding screen), or use an area rug to define the living space. You can also use directed lighting to designate each space or add an accent wall with paint or wallpaper.

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