If your living space is on the small side, it can be difficult to carve out a designated spot exclusively for dining. However, it would be even more confining to forego this essential home comfort. No one wants to be forced to eat every meal standing up or with a plate balanced on their laps–and even if they do, it shouldn’t always be the case. Shared family meals are an important ingredient in a healthy lifestyle, even when the family consists of just two people or one person simply having guests over from time to time. Here are some ideas on how to create a cozy dining area when space is at a premium:
Make the area serve double duty
There’s no reason why the dining nook can’t also be a work space, a prep table, a gaming surface, or all the above. Just be sure to clear away anything that isn’t dining-related when it’s time for dinner – it doesn’t count if the laptop is still balanced on the edge of the table.
Choose furniture wisely
Obviously, a dining table that seats six (complete with wing-back chairs) is out of the question, but there are plenty of other attractive options out there for those with limited space. To name just a few:
- Low, narrow trestle tables
- Benches or banquettes (some of these will even have additional storage underneath, providing more bang for your buck)
- Round, bistro-style tables (even ones that are meant for patio use can work well in a small space)
- Stools that fit easily underneath whichever table you choose
- Folding tables and chairs that can be stored elsewhere when the meal is over
Paint in light colors
Neutrals and light pastels will help to “air out” more cramped areas even if the rest of the room is painted in a darker shade. A light accent wall could be just the ticket. If the furniture can be painted as well, choose either the same color or a complementary hue to round out the look.
Opt for shelves instead of cupboards
In small kitchens, shelves can be a dream come true–they open the flow of the room and provide storage for just about anything the homemaker can think of. If a renovation on this scale isn’t in the cards, simply removing a few of the cupboard doors will work wonders.
The dining nook is the perfect place for that extra mirror you weren’t sure what to do with, as the reflection will provide the illusion of more space. If you don’t have one to spare, invest in an inexpensive one that will suit your tastes.
Use the shape of the room to your advantage
For long, narrow spaces, choose a table with a corresponding shape and benches that will fit easily underneath. If the dining area is to take up a corner of the room, shake up the geometry with a round table and a banquette that fits against the wall. The idea is for the pieces to look like they belong without sacrificing style and function.
Don’t forget the tape measure
Know the dimensions of the space you’re looking to fill and bring the measuring tape along on any shopping expeditions. It wouldn’t do to purchase what appears to be the perfect piece only to come home and realize it doesn’t fit in the spot it was meant to go.
Small spaces don’t have to be confined spaces, nor does one need to be overly skilled in interior design to create a dining area that serves its vital purpose. Armed with a good sense of the room’s visual flow, its dimensions and measurements, and these guidelines, anyone can create a quaint place to dine in a cozy space!
Olivia Warfield is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Port Orchard Roofing. She writes for a variety of DIY and lifestyle blogs.