Skip to main content

10 small dining room ideas that cost almost nothing

You don’t need to have a huge dining room to host wonderful meals, but it certainly does help. Nobody likes bumping elbows with their dinner guests or tripping over chair legs. But if you don’t have a lot of space in your dining room, this experience is probably all too familiar. Thankfully, the welcoming and beautiful dining room of your dreams is within reach. We’re not suggesting you move to a new house. With just a bit of visual trickery and the right furniture, you can make your tiny dining room feel spacious and grand — without breaking the bank. Keep reading to learn a few small dining room ideas on a budget.

Modern dining table pushed against a wall
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Use the walls to your advantage

Though it’s typically considered a design faux pas, placing furniture directly against a wall in your dining room may be a viable solution to your space problem. It can free up valuable walking space in a narrow dining room. And when guests arrive, you can scoot the table out to make room for additional seating.

Optimize your storage

Storage is always an issue in small rooms. Cabinets and sideboards are often bulky and can dominate the space. If you want to increase the amount of storage in the room, install floating shelves. Not only are shelves generally less expensive than a large furniture piece, but they can also be customized to suit your storage needs.

Swap chairs for a cozy bench

Depending on the dining set you have, even extra chairs can add bulk to a limited space. Swap out a few chairs for a cozy bench to ensure you have plenty of seating around your table. Benches can seat multiple people without taking up extra room. And when you’re done eating, you can tuck the entire thing under the table and out of sight.

Small, white dining room with natural light
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Choose light colors

In general, darker colors make a space look smaller, and lighter colors make rooms appear larger. Try to keep things light in your tiny dining room. If you don’t mind a simple DIY project, paint the room in a light shade. Or simply let the natural light flow in by hanging light-colored and breezy curtains.

Use mirrors to your advantage

Hanging a mirror can instantly make any room appear larger than it is. This visual trickery works twofold. The reflection is excellent at faking extra space. Plus, mirrors bounce light around the room, making it seem brighter and thus larger.

Choose the right lighting

Make the dining room feel bright and cheerful with the proper lighting. Prioritize natural light from the windows and select fixtures that provide soft lighting. Hanging lights are a great option for dining rooms. They can make the room look lighter and, if you choose a stylish and ornate one, it can draw the eye up toward the ceiling, making the space feel taller.

Dining room with Scandinavian furniture
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Scale down the furniture

When dealing with a small space of any kind, scale is key. If a piece takes up too much space, it can overwhelm the room and make it appear smaller than it actually is. Avoid filling your dining room with lots of large, heavy pieces. For furniture, try searching for streamlined and airy pieces to create a more open feel. With wall art, choose smaller pieces that are more suited to the space.

Find an extendable table

In most cases, your home (and dinner table) won’t be at full capacity every day; your beautiful, large table will just serve to take up space in your already crowded room. Consider trading your current table for an extendable one. You can add the leaf in for special occasions, but you won’t be bumping into the furniture every time you need to pass through the room.

Choose a circular table over a rectangular one

In addition to choosing an extendable table, you should also try to find one that is circular or oval-shaped. Round tables are generally smaller, freeing up more space in a crowded dining room. Plus, the lack of corners allows you to comfortably seat more people around the table.

Put away the clutter

Rooms packed with stuff, both furniture and clutter, tend to look more cramped, disorganized, and small. Start by putting away all the extra things that have accumulated in your dining room. Then, consider moving any bulky and unnecessary furniture out of the room. Keep the floor as bare as possible to make the room feel more spacious.

Making your small dining room look spacious, bright, and beautiful doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or even take a lot of time to do. Push the kitchen table against the wall or choose a circular table with a removable leaf. Allow plenty of light to fill the room using mirrors, light paint colors, and the proper lighting fixtures. Finally, prioritize smaller furniture pieces and decor that won’t overpower the space. With these few minor changes, you can make your room appear much larger than it is, and your guests will never know the difference!

Editors' Recommendations

Shannon Cooper
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
What colors go with taupe? Striking ways to design your home
Looking for a versatile neutral? Try using taupe and pairing it with some fantastic complementary hues
Taupe wall paint with taupe chairs and a large plant

With a range of dark and light shades to choose from, taupe is a versatile color fit for sleek wall tones, soothing accents throughout the room, or simple shades on furniture. While some people avoid this neutral tone, worried that it will appear drab or dull in their spaces, knowing how to use taupe in your home design will help you best take advantage of this stunning neutral color. And whether you love this hue or not, knowing what colors go with taupe can aid you in choosing the right tones for your color palette, especially if you need a gorgeous neutral backdrop.

So, if you love taupe or are eager to incorporate it into your design, then we have a few tips for you. Below are some of the best complementary shades for taupe, as well as the most striking ways to style it in your home.

Read more
An entryway mirror can enhance your space: When you should (and absolutely shouldn’t) have one
Decide if an entryway mirror is right for you with these tips
Woman welcoming friends at the front door

An entryway gives guests their first impression of a home, so you don't want it to feel dark and cramped. The easiest solution? Add an entryway mirror. Mirrors are among the best tools in a homeowner's design arsenal since they reflect light and automatically make a space feel more open. Plus, from vintage-looking pieces to modern displays, you will surely find an entryway mirror that suits your home's aesthetic.

Yet, sometimes, an entryway mirror isn't the best idea. Find out when you should hang one and when you shouldn't.
Why you should have an entryway mirror
There are plenty of great reasons to get a mirror for your entryway that go beyond just filling that blank space on your wall. Here are some of our favorite things mirrors can do.
Reflect the light
Mirrors are an excellent way to bring light into your home. If your entryway is directly across from a window or other natural light source, a mirror can enhance that light and make your entrance feel more expansive. Even without the light source, mirrors create the illusion of space.

Read more
Blinds vs. curtains: Which should you choose?
A guide to deciding between curtains and blinds
Curtains in large living room

When moving into a new home or redecorating a room, one step that can be difficult is choosing between installing curtains or blinds. Before you finalize a purchase of either, consider what look you’re trying to achieve. Factors such as cost, ease of installation, maintenance, lighting options, and energy efficiency may sway your decision when it comes to decorating your home. This research takes time and patience, but there's good news!

We’ve consolidated all relevant information into a comprehensive blinds vs. curtains guide for your convenience. Here are the pros and cons you need to know when searching for window coverings that will best suit your needs.

Read more