13 Small Dining Room Ideas, According to Designers

Some of the best restaurants in the world are more like bonbons than tiered layer cakes. Equally appetizing, but on a more intimate scale. And while our own homes are not always like a Michelin Star restaurant, we can gather ideas for our own dining room. Plus, even small dining rooms can be every bit as delicious as large ones—sometimes even more so. We spoke with designers about small dining room ideas that have a big impact, so you can you make your space feel grand no matter then square footage.

How do you make a small dining room feel larger?

“A small dining room can feel larger by enveloping it all in one color or even tenting the space,” says New Orleans–based designer Chad Graci. “Don’t forget: Mirrors add depth and dimension.” Graci also suggests considering a small space dining room that does double duty. “For instance, a tiny dining room lined with bookshelves can double as an intimate study or lounge as well. One must think of maxing out storage and surfaces. Every space counts.”

What’s important to know about designing a small dining room?

Scale matters. Clunky seating can ruin an otherwise graceful small space—and the reverse is also true. “With undersized furniture, a room can appear smaller, while squeezing oversized or too many pieces into a space can feel overcrowded,” says Nina Venice, associate design director at Four Hands. “The goal for any dining space is to feel welcoming, open, and homey, and it’s important to ensure the pieces are suited to the size of the space.”

One longtime trick when you’re feeling pinched is to opt for a bench on one side of the table. “Use a banco (banquette) to gain as much space as possible,” says Heather French, the Santa Fe–based designer behind French and French. “Tuck it into a corner or use a walkway turning it into an opportunity.” French also suggests employing a round table over one with squared edges. “Using a round table is a good way to create flow and make a space feel larger.”

What design hacks make a small dining room feel larger?

If you’re considering keeping things sparse and minimal in an effort to make your small dining space feel large—white walls, white everything—you may want to think twice. Sometimes, more really is more: it can translate to a sumptuous feel in a shoe box. “The iconic silhouette of Louis chairs paired with fabulous lighting can add drama to a dining room without making it feel crowded,” says Richmond, Virginia, designer Sara Hillery, who often gravitates to Louis Stark ghost chairs. “Custom built-in millwork can provide storage solutions for a perennial entertainer even in the smallest spaces. Finally, don’t forget about the power of mirrors and windows if you need to visually open a room.”

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