24 Small Dining Room Ideas with Big Style

Small dining room with wooden chairs and white table next to kitchen

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Space is a state of mind, but it can be difficult to think big when you lack physical square footage. If you've given up on that tiny space you should call a dining room and resorted to TV dinners on the couch night after night, allow us to inspire a much-needed redesign. Ahead, 24 tiny places that prove you can turn even the smallest amount of unused space into a formal dining room. Because even a small studio apartment in the city deserves a designated area for candle-lit dinners and early-morning coffee breaks.

  • 01 of 24

    Spin Me Round

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    Courtesy of Dazey Den

    If you're in need of extra seating in a tight space, swap the common square table design for a circle-shaped table. Without four getting in the way, you'll be free to comfortably fit more chairs.

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  • 02 of 24

    Feeling Cornered

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    Courtesy of Ashley Montgomery Design

    One of the best space-saving ways to create a dining area is to install a corner bench off of the kitchen for a breakfast nook. And the best part is if done correctly, your breakfast-nook bench can double as extra storage underneath. Dress it up with pillows and a comfy cushion and you'll be sure to enjoy this space morning, afternoon and night.

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  • 03 of 24

    Fake It 'Till You Make It

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    Courtesy of Calimia Home

    If you don't have an entire corner to spare, you can opt for a single bench to fake a kitchen nook for morning cappuccinos. To save space, push a bench up against a wall and hang a cushion back using a curtain rod and hanging pillows.

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  • 04 of 24

    Double Up

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    Design: LAVA Interiors, Photo: Ariel Camilo

    If you end up eating your meals in the kitchen any way, we recommend making your small space multifunctional. Placing a larger table in the middle of your kitchen not only converts it into a formal dining room, but it pulls double duty as a functional kitchen island as well.

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  • 05 of 24

    On The Road Again

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    Design: Pure Salt Interiors, Photo: Vanessa Lentine

    This stylish Airstream is proof that you can fit a dining room in even the smallest of spaces. The brown leather bench seating is the perfect place to curl up with a good book on a rainy afternoon, and the tiny table makes for a cozy breakfast, lunch, and dinner nook. And if you can do this in a trailer, imagine what you can do in an apartment.

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  • 06 of 24

    Think Big

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    Just because you're working with a small dining space, doesn't mean this nook doesn't deserve the attention you'd give the larger rooms in your home. Stylish touches like a bold paint color, gallery wall setup, a centerpiece, and hanging greenery will make your tiny dining room look and feel like a significant space.

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  • 07 of 24

    In The Spotlight

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    Design: Michelle Berwick Design, Photo: Larry Arnal

    Sometimes the most difficult part about carving a dining room out of limited square footage is establishing it as its own space. Hanging a statement pendant directly over your dining table will quite literally give it the spotlight it deserves. Doing so will create a much-needed separation from other areas, making it an established space with its own purpose.

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  • 08 of 24

    When One Becomes Two

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    If you have a single room to work with, who said you can't create two rooms in one? Position a rug in the living room and use the negative space as the perfect placement for your dining area. All you really need is a spare corner to sit and enjoy your meals.

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  • 09 of 24

    Eat Where You Work

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    Design: Michelle Berwick Design, Photo: Larry Arnal

    The truth is, you really don't even need a designated dining area to enjoy your favorite meals. Instead of designing a formal dining room, enjoy the perks of a larger kitchen when you take up unclaimed counter space. However, if you like putting labels on things, push a table up against the island for a casual dining area that feels less like a cooking space.

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  • 10 of 24

    Breakfast With a View

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    Rather than positioning a setup in the middle of the room, pushing a squared dining table up against a window or wall is the quickest way to save space. Plus, if you have a free window in your apartment, you'll love the feeling of enjoying your morning coffee, while soaking in the views. And the best part is you can pull the table out when you're entertaining and scoot it back in after they leave to maximize your small space.

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  • 11 of 24

    Float On

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    There's no space too small to establish a formal dining space. This tiny apartment proves you don't even need room for the legs on a table. Mount a tiny table onto an empty wall for a floating breakfast (and lunch, and dinner) nook that barely takes up any space at all.

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  • 12 of 24

    Neutral Walk

    small dining rooms

    Courtesy of Ashley Montgomery Design

    Sometimes the best approach for combating minimal space is to work with an equally minimal color palette. Incorporating bright whites and natural décor accents will give the illusion of a larger room. Looking at this light and airy dining room, you wouldn't even notice that it's lacking in space.

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  • 13 of 24

    Light As a Feather

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    Bulky furniture will always make a small space feel even smaller. When designing your small dining room, opt for minimal stools without arms to save space. Pair your stools with a dining table that mimic the same minimal design to give the illusion of a larger, airier space.

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  • 14 of 24

    Out In The Open

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    Courtesy of Ashley Montgomery Design

    If you have even the slightest bit of extra space between your kitchen and living room, consider making this your formal dining room. Establish a clear separation between your tiny dining room, your living room, and your kitchen by positioning your table and chairs on a rug and hanging a pendant light or chandelier above.

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  • 15 of 24

    What a Concept

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    If you're working with a studio apartment or a small open concept layout, a bookcase or modular shelving double duties as a cute breakfast nook, while also creating added storage. It's a win-win, especially in a place where storage is of the essence.

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  • 16 of 24

    At-Home Bistro

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    The smallest table with the biggest impact is none other than the French-style bistro table. This minimal black table with a marble top feels modern and will make your kitchen the most Instagrammable spot in town. And if you didn't believe you could comfortably fit three chairs at it, here's photographic proof.

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  • 17 of 24

    Meet Me At The Bar

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    No matter how small your apartment is, there's always room for a place to enjoy a meal with family and friends. If you have an empty wall, you have the space to mount a shelf that doubles as a breakfast bar. Pull up some stools and you've got yourself a 24-hour space to dine.

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  • 18 of 24

    Let's Take This Outside

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    If you don't have space for an indoor dining area, don't force it. Instead, take it outdoors for a roomier al fresco dining experience. A formal table and even a hanging pendant light will make it feel comfortable and homey.

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  • 19 of 24


    small dining rooms


    Wallpaper prints draw visual interest to the walls, making them dance around the room. Adding additional focal points throughout the room, like brightly colored chairs, a shiny backsplash, hanging pendant light, and honeycomb tile floors, create the illusion of a larger space.

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  • 20 of 24

    Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

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    No matter how small (or big) a space is, it can always benefit from a large wall-to-wall mirror setup. The reflection instantly creates the illusion that any room is larger than it really is. We also love how the mirrored pendant lamps in this small dining room add even more sparkle.

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  • 21 of 24

    Light and Dark

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    High contrast designs have a way of making any space feel bigger. This deep navy shade on the walls, paired with bright whites and black accents make this small dining room feel like a quiet space at the back of a trendy restaurant.

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  • 22 of 24

    Minty Fresh

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    With the right color combo and a built-in nook, this mint-colored breakfast bistro and checkered floor setup doesn't even feel small. This cute retro-inspired kitchen proves the quality of style always reigns supreme over the quantity of a space.

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  • 23 of 24

    So Fresh and So Clean

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    Clean lines and minimal decor will always leave more room for negative space. The more negative space, the bigger any room will appear. This desert boho setup feels modern and makes for the perfect place to have a cocktail after work.

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  • 24 of 24

    All Of The Above

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    Courtesy of Charlie Interior Design

    This stylish breakfast nook checks all the small-space decorating boxes, maximizing this little area. The corner bench seating along the wall, a round table, dedicated overhead lighting—it all works together to make the most of the limited square footage. And the best part is it doesn't lack on style one bit.