Our Tanglewood house has a small dining room that is open to much of our home. It is not only small but really doesn’t even have any full walls! So how do you decorate a small dining area to look welcoming, be cohesive with the rest of your home, and be a fabulous place to sit down for a meal and make memories!
Let’s talk about easy and smart tips for creating a beautiful one-of-a-kind area that is the perfect dining room for your small space.
These tips will work in a breakfast room, breakfast nook, or a larger dining area too!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The number one thing to remember when you don’t have a large dining area is to keep it simple! Keep furnishings uncluttered and simple and make sure there is lots of negative space in this small area. A small room needs lots of breathing space!
I like to keep this saying in mind when I decorate any room, LESS IS BEST DECORATING! And this certainly applies to a small dining room.
Stay away from fussy fabrics, lots of embellishments, anything overly visually heavy and oversized.
Here are a few posts that will help you to keep your dining area simple and beautiful…
THE RIGHT TABLE FOR A SMALL DINING ROOM
A dining table should be the focal point of a dining room. Here at the Tanglewood House it certainly is! Actually it is the biggest and most prominent thing in this room!
If you have a small dining room area make sure your table is the right proportion.
Our dining area table seats six comfortably, but we can get 8 around it without too much trouble.
Here’s a good rule of thumb:
Measure the size of the room and subtract three feet from each side of the table. This will give you the maximum size for a dining table. Remember that is the maximum size!
If your room is closed in with walls I would recommend a slightly smaller table.
Right now there is just a little upholstered bench under the window in our dining area and nothing else. What if you want to add a buffet or bar cart?
Use that same three-foot rule. A dining room table should be three feet away from any furniture in the dining room.
Follow this rule and your table will look great in your space!
USE THE RIGHT SIZE RUG
It’s so important to define the space in a small area, especially in an open and small dining room like mine.
A rug should be centered directly under your table. And most often in the center of your dining room.
Many home decorators make the same mistake I did when we moved into Tanglewood. I got a rug that was too small for the table and the room! I was so concerned that a bigger rug would stick out into one of the high traffic areas of our home.
I learned the hard way! The smaller rug looked so “off”! So I exchanged the rug for a larger one and it looked so so much better!
There is an easy rule of thumb for choosing the right rug for a dining room no matter the size. A dining room rug should be 30 inches or larger on all four sides of your dining table.
A rug creates warmth, texture, color, and beauty in a room. So don’t skimp on the rug!
MIX AND MATCH TABLE AND CHAIRS
One way you can add a bit of interest to a small dining room is by mixing and matching the furniture in it. A matched set can be a bit boring in a small room! However, by choosing a different table and chairs you can add lots of interest!
I opted for a concrete dining table in our dining area and paired it with four off-white upholstered chairs with black legs. Although they are very different styles they work and create a bit of fun!
Because this room is so open to the living room I choose to put two chairs on each long side of our table and not put any chairs at the heads. This keeps my dining room even more uncluttered. When we have company we have sturdy acrylic ghost chairs that work as host chairs at the ends of the table and don’t add any visual weight to the area.
CHOOSE WALL ART AND MIRRORS CAREFULLY
Choosing art is such a personal thing! Choose art carefully so it enhances and does not overwhelm a small dining area.
And if you have room, a large mirror will open your room up and make it feel bigger.
LIGHTING AND A SMALL DINING ROOM
A small dining room benefits from being gloriously lit up by natural light or a wonderful chandelier! Light always makes a room look better, brighter, more open, bigger, and lighter!
Keep window covering very very simple. And if you can, keep them open! The more light a window can add to a small dining area the better.
Choose a fabulous chandelier or pendant light to center over your table.
Here is a good rule of thumb about how large you will want your chandelier to be. Measure your table and choose a chandelier one-half to three-quarters the length of your dining table. And it should hang 30-32 inches above your table.
Always put your lighting on a dimmer so you can adjust the mood!
ABOUT COLOR AND STYLE
Our dining room is open to our living room, kitchen, and sunroom and can be seen from the foyer and also from the loft upstairs. It is very open!
So I keep the color palette and style of this room the same as all the rooms it adjoins. This gives my home a cohesive look and feel.
I chose a rug that works with the area rugs in the living room and sunroom.
And the curtains on the dining room window are the same as the ones on the living room windows.
A small dining room will feel part of a larger whole if you use the same or similar color palette and style that is in the rest of your home.
These tips are not just for small dining rooms. They will work for larger spaces too. Good design tips work no matter where!
The most important thing to remember about dining rooms big or small is to use them. Gather family and friends around your table! Deepen relationships and make memories!