How to Furnish a Small Dining Room

Table setting in light filled dining room
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Furnishing a small dining room can present a challenge, as any small space can be challenging. However, you may very well end up having a more efficient and attractive space since the lack of space can force you to focus on the essentials, and let go of what is unnecessary.

Furnishing a Small Space

  1. Consider Scale

    Scale might very well be the single most important factor to consider, especially when you are furnishing a smaller sized dining room. Your dining furniture should be scaled according to the space you have.
    Read more about scale here. Basic Interior Design Principles.
  2. Select a Limited Color Palette

    A limited color palette may be a good place to start. It is easier to work with a lighter or neutral color palette as it can make your room look airier. Contrasting or complementary colors should only be used as accents.
    But then, while this is the safe approach, you might end up with a safe space that lacks excitement. If you are looking for a more adventurous look, then, by all means, go all out for a bold color scheme. That could work just as well. The simple trick, in either case, is not to get too fussy and keep to the fewest colors possible.
  3. Use Mirrors

    A mirror is a small room's best friend. It opens up space like nothing else and reflects light. Use strategically placed mirrors on the wall. Using more than one might be an even better idea.
    Choosing Mirrors
    Decorating With Mirrors
  1. Decide on Simple Window Treatments

    Simple window treatments help keep fussiness away. Ornate swags and valances could be distracting and too overpowering in any small space. Simple panels can do the job nicely. If you need more privacy, layer with blinds.
  2. Choose the Best Table Shape

    • A round table is the best pick for a small dining room. You might want to pick one with an extension leaf if you have enough space to open it. Otherwise, a simple round table will do in a squarish room.
    • Pedestal bases are great because you can fit extra guests around the dining table without table legs getting in the way.
    • A narrow rectangular table might work well in a narrow dining room. The idea is to leave enough space for people to move around easily.
    Dining Table Shapes
  3. Pick Armless Chairs

    Armless chairs work best in a small room as arm chairs require more room. You might also want to pick chairs that have a smaller or more slender profile. The idea is to take up as little physical or visual space as possible, again leaving room for people to move around more freely.
  1. Consider Transparent Furniture

    A transparent material such as glass, plexiglass, or acrylic can make your dining furniture "disappear" leaving you with lots more visual space. Remember, though, that this is more about appearances than anything else. You will still need to measure to make sure that you leave enough space for people to maneuver easily. See Through Acrylic and Glass Furniture from CB2
  2. Use a Small Profile Chandelier

    A large or fussy chandelier could take up too much visual room. Pick a chandelier that has simple lines and a small profile. That will create the effect of making your space appear larger. And that is how we come full circle to the scale. Remember it is all about scale.