There are too many people on the planet. I know this because sometimes I can’t get on the subway I want to get on because it’s too crowded. I know this because beautiful heritage buildings are being torn down and replaced by giant condo buildings. I know this because I’d almost always rather walk somewhere than try to find parking in this gosh darn city.
The world’s a-changin’, and one of those big changes has to do with living in smaller spaces. You’ve probably started noticing that the designs of homes are very different than even a few decades ago. Gone are the days of long hallways with no uses, so long are the times of having multiple sitting rooms, and some homes don’t even have dining rooms in them!
While I actually find that these changes aren’t so bad (a smaller home means a smaller light bill, after all), what’s cool is that people are getting really creative with how to stick dining rooms into smaller spaces. This collection of small dining room designs explores how we look at tight spaces, so hopefully, you’re able to find some inspiration for your own home adaptations!
1. The Mini Mid-Century Modern Dining Room
Layout: We’re starting out this collection with a wonderful dining room that is set in between two different rooms. In order to save space, you don’t have to designate an entire room to the dining area. It can be created cleverly by dividing an open area to fit multiple designated zones.
Furniture: Very simple dining room furniture that can be used for any meal. A modern white table with comfortable white chairs is fresh and simple in a room that has that gorgeous mid-century modern aesthetic that we all know and love.
Flooring: Stunning and simple wood floors with a very light gray stain are a nice twist on the classic wood floor, adding a lovely modern flare to the mid-century modern concept.
Lighting: Two matching globe pendant lights hang over the dining room set and imbue a comforting and warm white hue.
Decor: Not much is happening in the way of decor here, but I think that’s because the room is so beautiful all on its own. A wood fireplace with a precious nook to host the fireplace is the centerpiece of the room, in my opinion, while a vase of red tulips adds a gentle and fresh pop of color to the interior design.
PS Arkitektur designed this stunning and quaint mid-century modern dining space.
2. The Elegant Breakfast Nook
Layout: A great way to save space is to use your walls to the utmost ability. Having a breakfast dining nook tucked in right to the edge of the wall is a phenomenal way to do this, especially if you have the resources to build a bench seat directly into the wall. It’s incredible how much seating space you can achieve in such a small area!
Furniture: We’re really switching up aesthetics with this dining room design! This is a very suburban glam type of style, with super plush dining room chairs enrobed in creamy leather and studded on the seams, while a simple plush bench is adorned with mega puffy throw pillows.
Flooring: We have a two-toned floor in this space, with a classic chestnut-stained wood floor next to a brick facade which I imagine leads you into the kitchen area.
Lighting: This is a rather elegant light fixture, combining a candle-style chandelier, but it’s encased in an undulating lampshade in a beautiful shade of mauve.
This image was sourced from Wayfair’s “Get the Look”.
Layout: This is one of my favorite looks in the collection. This is a very clever way to incorporate different types of rooms into one small space. Using a super plush couch for half of the seating for your table is a way to blend a breakfast nook with a reading nook with a dining area! Having it tucked under the window and next to the fireplace feels wonderfully cozy and not crowded!
Furniture: This is a very wonderful way to decorate a small dining space such as this. A super plush couch really entices you to take a seat, while having simple chairs and a table with a very open foundation underneath them makes it feel like the room isn’t blocked off by big chunky furniture.
Flooring: Simple wood floors act as a great foundation for a simple room with tons of simple Scandinavian inspiration.
Lighting: A paper lantern in the center of this A-frame home is the perfect choice for such a modest, simple, and cozy home.
Decor: There really isn’t much in the way of decor in this room, but that’s nothing that huge windows with a beautiful view and a vase of fresh flowers can’t fix!
This lovely home zone was designed by Chango & Co.
4. The Private Diner Dining Room
Layout: This is another one of my favorites in the collection because the designer was so smart in incorporating an entire seating area simply set under a window frame! The huge windows make the small space feel open and inviting, don’t you think?
Furniture: This custom dining bench is so gorgeous to me. Beautifully teak-looking woodsmanship is topped with a simple blue padded pillow for comfort. The table in the center provides such a fun pop of color and design, with contrast bouncing both off of the blue pillows and the greenery outside! Genius!
Flooring: Rich dark chocolate-stained wood floors look perfect in this room, especially against the lighter-stained diner bench.
Lighting: I really love this mid-century modern-inspired hanging lamp in the center. While it may look plain at first glance, you won’t think so anymore once you notice that the inside of it is made of bronze.
Decor: Another room that doesn’t have much going on with decor, but I both love the minimal appeal, and you don’t need much decoration when you have a view like that.
Kentfield Residence designed this impeccable eating space.
5. The Traditionally Simple Dining Room
Layout: While I don’t really find this dining area to be particularly small, it definitely still deserves to make the list. This smaller dining area is sunny and serene, with huge bay windows lining the entire space and a fireplace separating the dining area from the living area.
Furniture: While many of these other designs are thinking of ways to be smart in small spaces, this one isn’t really doing that. Though it’s modest in size, it’s still using one of the most space-hungry styles of furniture: the round table. The dining table doesn’t have much surface area, and you can only fit four chairs around it, but boy, oh boy, this sure looks like the perfect place to play a game of cards in the middle of the day.
Flooring: Shining and simple chestnut-stained floors are the perfect choice for this creamy and sunny bright room.
Lighting: A lovely candle-style chandelier is such a fun choice for this country-style home, really encouraging the feeling of being invited in to stay awhile.
Decor: This room features some very elegant home decor, starting with the fact that the fireplace has been painted this gorgeous green color. From there, we have framed photographs and vases of fresh flowers, but all of this would be far less effective if it weren’t for the incredible craftsmanship of the room itself, with its vaulted ceilings and gorgeously sculpted pillars.
CEILTRIM curated this stunning living space.
6. The Bricklay Dining Area
Layout: Here, we see another room that isn’t particularly small but small enough to warrant some smart design. This modern and rustic dining hall is made to feel way larger thanks to the fact that one of the walls is made entirely of windows!
Furniture: I really love the furniture in this room, especially with all of the clever craftsmanship found at the base of them. A white tabletop acts as a great contrast to the black leather chairs, while the modern legs of all of these pieces really elevate the room.
Flooring: The favorite floor choice among modern designers, this cement-tiled floor acts as a great foundation for a very stylish and contemporary room design.
Lighting: High ceilings do wonders for more narrow rooms, and this one is really putting in the work! Someone was really having fun with the lighting in this room, having multiple hanging lamps at different levels to create a very vibrant and dynamic effect.
Decor: The simplicity of the decoration in this room is wonderful. Having an accent dining room wall made of brick is a great way to bring color, warmth, and texture, while bright green candlesticks contrast so strongly against it, while simultaneously matching the plants outside. Incredible!
7. The Rounded Classic Dining Room
Layout: This smaller dining room doesn’t feel so small thanks to these beautiful bay windows, encompassing the room with light and glimpses of the beautiful yard outside. Additionally, using a mirror on one side of the room is a surefire way to make a space feel bigger, especially with a mirror as big and beautiful as this one!
Furniture: Classic furniture works wonders in this room, with studded leather dining chairs and a rounded wooden table with a glass topper. While all the pieces are a little bit mix-n’ matchy, the shabby chic aesthetic feels great in a more foundationally formal room.
Flooring: Deep and rich stained floors are decorated with a beautiful and ornate area rug.
Lighting: Modest and simple light fixtures play their part in providing light but don’t take away from the primary features of the room.
Decor: Wooden window shutters add an organic element to the decorating ideas, matching nicely with the wooden table. And any dining table without a tiny vase of fresh flowers is a table unseen!
8. The Woodland Charm Dining Room
Layout: Now, this is a small dining area! This room is doing space saving by tucking a larger table right against the wall and sacrificing one table setting to save the room. But no matter, having it tucked under a window brings the light directly to the surface.
Furniture: This is clearly an antique dining room set, and I believe that the table folds down in half so that it can be tucked away if it’s not in use. Talk about smart space saving! Robust, matching dining chairs are topped with cozy green pillows to tie the whole space together.
Lighting: A classic candle chandelier feels like the only choice for this dining room. It feels very festive and very inviting. We are almost giving you the idea that we’re approaching the holidays.
Decor: Bucolic wallpaper feels very well suited to this dining area and matches the feeling of the antique dining set perfectly. A potted plant in the deep window frame is essential for a country home, and while not a decoration, the sleeping cat is still certainly a nice touch.
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9. The Rustic Picnic Dining Room
Layout: This is a great layout for small dining room ideas, as it uses a corner window area to get as much seating as possible in a small space, and it really succeeds! This is a casual setup with a corner diner bench and a picnic table-style table in the middle, coming together to create a quaint and ergonomic breakfast nook.
Furniture: This room is very cleverly furnished with a lovely picnic-style table and a corner bench built right into the wall. To save space even further, the bench is made to be a bit more shallow and has throw pillows instead of a built-in back pillow. Very smart!
Decor: This room is minimally but beautifully decorated with a vase of fresh flowers and a candle centerpiece, surrounded by cooler, neutral-toned throw pillows for a very serene ambiance.
1o. The Littlest Breakfast Bar
Layout: This is probably one of the teeniest dining areas that we have in this collection, and though I don’t love the decor, the way the room is set up is a very clever way to utilize a small space!
Furniture: Sometimes you have to sacrifice comfort in order to create a chair that takes up less space, but this designer decided to use 2 deep chairs instead of 3 or 4 shallow and uncomfortable ones. The bold pattern and plastic frames are super modern, while the wooden square table is a little more on the rustic side.
Flooring: Crisp and clean white tile floors act as the perfect foundation for this minimal space.
Lighting: A fun hanging lamp adds another element of flare to the space, working double time thanks to the mirror placed right in front of it!
Decor: With a bright teal wall, you can afford to tone it down with the decorating, and that’s exactly what this designer did. They also did another smart thing by placing a super long mirror in front of the dining area, making the room feel extended beyond its means.
11. The Open Room Dining Room
Layout: Now, this is my favorite room in the entire collection. I love anything mid-century modern, I love anything with huge windows, I love anything minimal, and anything with an open concept, and in this room, I get all of that! Though not necessarily a small room, sometimes it’s nicer to have more open floor space than it is to have a huge dining table, ya know?
Furniture: Modern and simple furniture with clean lines and bold colors are very characteristic of a midcentury modern design, and the furniture choices here go so well with all of the clean lines and bold shapes in the foundation of the space.
Flooring: This is my particular favorite shade of wood stain for floors as it resembles the color of sand, and the lighter color refracts the daylight rather than absorbs it, creating a warm and airy feel in the room – something that a dark hardwood or cement floor wouldn’t achieve in the same way.
Lighting: While we have our standard spotlights built into the rafters, we also have a lovely paper floor lantern to create ambiance, and of course, the most important light source of all: the ample natural light streaming in from those huge windows.
Decor: This space really uses the home itself as decoration. Everything is so simple and clean that you don’t need much more than a potted plant and an irreplaceable view outside the window.
12. The High Top Dining Spot
Layout: Here, we have an actual separate dining area in a classic square shape, but it’s small enough that it requires some very deliberate design and furnishing choices.
Furniture: Using a high-top table is always a surefire way to make a room feel bigger and to save space since high tops are usually a bit more narrow both with the table and the chairs. Chances are that they wanted enough room to fit this beautiful dark hardwood credenza.
Flooring: Mahogany-stained hardwood floors are a robust and lovely accent to this neutral space. Having a light-colored area rug does a nice job of separating the two tones of wood from the floor and dining set.
Decor: I don’t personally love the decoration in this room, but with a simple paint job and maybe some different wall art, this could be a really top-notch space to eat your dinner!
13. The Decorated Dining Spot
Layout: This little dining area is tucked in beside the kitchen, and though not super small, a lot is going on in this precious dining nook! Of course, having huge windows always works to make a room feel more expansive.
Furniture: This is probably my favorite dining set here, with some very contemporary-shaped dining chairs with gorgeously grained wooden backs and metal legs and a matching table with a glass top to tie it all together. Very stunning choices indeed!
Flooring: Classic hardwood floors act as a canvas simply to place this super bold circle patterned area rug that ties in colors that are present all throughout the room.
Lighting: This is a super fun bubbling light fixture. A modern take on a chandelier, this statement piece brings just the right amount of kitsch and fun while still creating an ambiance appropriate for digestion.
Decor: A patterned mirror sitting on the floor makes the space feel bigger, and it acts as a piece of modern art thanks to its contemporary aesthetic. This is a unique dining room through and through!
14. The Modern Minimalist Dining Room
Layout: This is a stunning dining room space that utilizes an open concept room to its utmost ability. The dining room is set right behind the living area, using a small credenza as a backer for the living room sofa and as a room separator. So smart!
Furniture: A sleek dining room set works wonders in this space with a clean white tabletop and gorgeous mustard-colored chairs. A mirrored credenza feels both camouflaged and makes the room feel bigger, while shelving built right into the walls does wonders in creating a light fixture and an area to place your knick-knacks. Incredible!
Flooring: While so much of this room is so modern, it’s nice to have a classic hardwood floor in a classic stain to make sure things don’t get too ahead of themselves.
Lighting: A very interesting light fixture built right into the ceiling does a great job of making the room feel expansive because nothing is hanging down and impeding your view, while rail lights built right into the shelving units built into the walls create that warm glow we like to call ambiance.
Decor: I love a room that features little knick-knacks, especially when they’re all so cohesive.
15. The White n’ Light Dining Room
Layout: Here we have another gorgeous open-concept room that is using one huge space to fit three different areas. The living room in the back, the kitchen in the center, and the dining room on the tail end of a quaint little breakfast bar. I love the railcar style of this space.
Furniture: We have a white concept going on here, with white everything but the floors. This feels super modern and clean but without being too stuffy, thanks to the wooden legs on the dining room chairs and breakfast bar stools.
Flooring: A modern but warm stain was used for the floors here and brings a little bit of a different feel to this space, maybe even bringing it into the Scandinavian inspiration station.
Lighting: While the bulbous light fixture on the ceiling feels standard, I honestly love the little house-shaped lantern on the dining room table. It feels so cute and inviting and emits such a warm glow that I feel very enticed to sit down.
Decor: This space is so minimally decorated but in the way that I love: relying on the beautiful view outside the huge windows and dappled plants throughout the room. The bouquet of wilting roses on the table is an unexpected but honestly really nice touch.
16. The Quaintest Dining Space
Layout: We’re finishing off this collection with the most ergonomic for last. This is clearly a design suited for a tiny home layout as its incorporating the living room and dining area into some very narrow square footage. Such a smart design by placing the dining area under the television, which is usually a space that is left wasted!
Furniture: Though the living room furniture isn’t really turning my knobs, I do really appreciate the sleek and elegant dining set with clean chairs and a warm wooden table. It was a nice touch to have the facade around the television made of the same wood as the table, really making this side of the room feel like it is meant to be attached.
Flooring: I’m also not a huge fan of this particular shade of gray wood for the floors, but it’s the right choice if you’re keen on making something feel modern.
Lighting: Built-in recessed lighting is found under window frames and shelving units, while a super-compact floor lamp probably creates some lovely ambiance once it’s lit.
Decor: I don’t think that this room is entirely lived in yet, but that’s nothing that a few hanging plants and cozy throw pillows and blankets won’t fix!
The smart little room was designed and curated by URBANUS.