How do you make the most of a small dining room? Trying to fit in everything you need and making it look good at the same time is a big challenge for a small room. Sometimes it seems easiest to forget about looks and concentrate on practicality while others of us focus heavily on visual beauty, yet have a completely dysfunctional space. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. You should never let a small area cramp your style and stop you from creating a space that meets your needs. From decorating and layout ideas to colour and lighting, these small dining room ideas will help you to create a room that celebrates both form and function.


2022's Best Small Dining Room Ideas

There were some great new interior design ideas in 2022 and some of these latest trends are perfect for small dining room inspiration. You’ve surely seen the curves trend by now, and what better way to maximise space in your little dining room than with a round or oval dining table? You’ll be able to fit more dining chairs around it and bring everyone in together.

Villager Dining Setting

Are you looking for small dining room decorating ideas? 2022 design has also focused on calm sanctuaries which encourages getting rid of confusion and clutter. A minimalist design scheme is perfect for decorating a small dining room. Focus on simple, quality furniture and only a few décor pieces that you love, rather than crowding it with too much ‘stuff.’

In other words, don’t buy what you don’t need. This also means trying to use one item for two functions where possible, as 2022 has shown us how multifunctional our spaces, especially dining rooms, can be.


Dining Furniture for Small Spaces

As they key element of a dining room, and usually the biggest, finding furniture that fits your physical space and personal needs, requires precise planning in which tables and seating always comes first. Sideboards, cabinets, and shelving are great additions to dining rooms but can be done without if space doesn’t allow for them.

An obvious answer for fitting furniture in a little dining room is to buy a little table. If you’ve only got one or two people living in the home, you don’t need a full-size dining table. If you just need a space to sit down for a quick meal or catch up with some after-hours work, try Coastwood’s smallest table- measuring only 900mm x 680mm.

Of course, if you have a few kids, or like to entertain, a table for two is not going to be your best option. That’s where extendable tables come in- shrink them down during the day so they don’t fill up your whole space and only expand to full size when necessary.

Waihi Oval Extension Table

Another table option is one with a pedestal base. These tables can usually fit more people around them because there’s no table legs to get in the way.

Alternatively, have you considered no dining table? It might sound a bit ironic but as it turns out, they’re not an absolutely essential item. If you have a good-sized kitchen bench, pull up some barstools and you’re ready to feast.

Ferngrove Barstools

Speaking of bar stools, what about bench seats? They’re ideal for small dining spaces because they take up less room but fit more people. If they sound a bit uncomfortable to you, just add a throw and some cushions and remember, casual dining is in!

Fenton Bench Seat

Or, you could build in your dining room seating. You can make the most out of corners and walls with a built-in banquette or a window seat. That way your dining table doesn’t have to be in the centre and take over the whole room.


Choosing Colours for Small Dining Spaces

Contrary to popular belief, though light colours are usually favoured for small spaces, there is no hard and fast rule here. The truth is, you can make both light and dark colours work, depending on what kind of vibe you’re going for.

If you want your space to be really light and bright, then obviously light colours are going to work in your favour by bouncing light around the walls and making your space feel open and airy despite its small footprint. This especially works well in dining rooms that already have an abundance of natural light.

Barclay Dining Table with Billie Chairs

However, if you’re really set on a darker colour, or your room doesn’t have a lot of windows, don’t fight it. Dark colours will absorb light, rather than reflecting it which can blur the edges of the room making it feel expansive rather than closed in, while creating an intimate and cosy feel. It’s a good idea to choose dark furniture when working with dark walls so it blends in, rather than becoming the elephant in the room and emphasizing the smallness of the space.

Waihi Dining Setting


Lighting Ideas for Small Dining Rooms

Ideally you want as much light as possible in a small dining room, so it doesn’t feel dingy and cramped, so maximise the natural light you have available. Mirrors are well known for reflecting light and making a small room appear larger and while common in bedrooms, they can definitely work in dining rooms as well.

Don’t be afraid to go all out with lighting fixtures in the dining room. Bold lighting above a dining table will help define the space and make it feel intentional rather than just a table and some chairs crammed into a corner.


The Best Layouts for Small Dining Spaces

The most important thing when planning a layout for a small dining room is allowing space to move around each piece of furniture. Placing the table in the middle of the dining room is a popular layout option, if you have enough space to move around each side. Remember to leave enough room for people to pull out their chairs without hitting into a wall or other piece of furniture.

Charlton Dining Setting

If this isn’t going to work, you can create a cosy space in a corner or against a wall or window- this is where built-in seating can come in handy.

Barclay Dining Table with Bruno Dining Chairs

You can always try a few different layouts to find one that suits you best. Changing it up every now and again can make it feel like a whole new space!



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