Dining room ideas for apartments – 11 beautiful ways to style a small space (2024)

There are a host of dining room ideas for apartments that can maximize space without compromising on aesthetics.

'When styling a smaller dining room in an apartment, it’s important to strike the balance between function and form,' states Sue Jones, OKA Co-Founder and Creative Director.

And Wayfair’s Resident Style Advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill, agrees: 'It’s essential to create a space that is easily adaptable, somewhere you can play host, dine alone or even spend time focused on hobbies and mindful pursuits such as crafts or reading – all while looking chic.'

Dining room ideas for apartments

From utilizing large mirrors to bounce light around the room to installing practical but pretty banquette seating, there are so many dining rooms ideas you can use for small spaces.

'Designing a dining room in an apartment can be challenging, especially if you are limited on space,' says Louise Wicksteed, Design Director at Sims Hilditch. 'If you are working with a smaller space, we suggest choosing a room with lots of natural light, this helps to open the room up and sets an inviting and social mood.'

1. Make the table a stand-out piece

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(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Bring a whole new meaning to table talk, and make the table itself the star of the show in a small dining room. After all, it's the piece you gather around to while the away the hours making memories with loved ones.

'Of course, the most important piece in a dining room is the dining table itself and so the key is to make this a stand-out feature in the room,' says Camilla Clarke, Creative Director at Albion Nord. 'In our recent project in Holland Park (above), we have used strong sculptural shapes and natural materials to add tactility and interest.

'Oversized live edge timber tables are especially effective if you want to create a showstopper piece or put focus on your dining table decor.'

2. Opt for a round or oval table

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(Image credit: Polly Wreford)

Apartment ideas for living can sometimes be shorter on space, so a round or oval table is a practical choice. As well as being sociable – you can always squeeze one more in – it's a more compact and versatile shape.

'For a sociable set up, consider a round table; they are great if you’re limited on space,' suggests Sue Jones, OKA Co-Founder and Creative Director. 'Finish the look with a selection of velvet cushioned chairs – the comfiest accompaniments to leisurely evenings with friends.'

And Elliot Barratt, of Elliot James Interiors, concurs: 'Oval dining tables are great for apartments where space is often at a premium as it removes any corners and allows for easy access around the dining space.'

3. Keep your color scheme curated

(Image credit: Violet & George)

'The dining area is often linked to another room or between two rooms so it is important that the decor and furniture choices link the spaces together,' advises Cherie Lee, of Cherie Lee Interiors.

Louise Wicksteed, design director at Sims Hilditch, emphasizes the point, adding: 'If your dining room is attached to the kitchen in an open plan design, then keeping a similar color scheme helps to create flow between the two.'

This beautifully designed room by Violet & George (above) shows how keeping a similar scheme throughout can open up the space and create a cohesive look. We love how the matte black table and pendant ties in with the dark kitchen island and door framing; even the artwork is in keeping with the sleek look.

4. Choose stylish yet space-saving banquette seating

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(Image credit: Simon Brown)

A built-in bespoke banquette seating area can often be added to a kitchen and is a great space-saving dining room idea for an apartment. As well as being sociable and practical, you can also use it to add color and pattern to the room with beautiful fabrics and cushions.

And if you don't want to go fully bespoke, you can always make the most of bench seating by positioning it flush to the wall to save space.

Interior designer Raili Clasen suggests: 'For apartment style dining, installing a small bench up against a wall is a great look and space-saver. Add a cool treatment such as wood siding or wallpaper to the wall and the small space becomes a visual moment.'

5. Don't be afraid to add ornate details

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(Image credit: Violet & George)

You don't have to live in a sprawling country manor to enjoy a dash of grandiose detailing. Use ornate dining room wall ideas to dress up the space.

The space designed by Violet & George above is a lesson in how to dress a dining table. Plus, it shows how you can create a grand aesthetic with brass wall lights, rococco mirrors, vintage art and a pretty ceiling pendant. Velvet chairs add a sumptuous finish as well as a splash of color.

Nicky Mudie, of Violet & George, says: 'The key thing is that the dining room is likely to be in the centre of the living space as there often isn’t a separate room, so it needs to look fantastic and not only be a functional dining table but also a good looking central hub for hanging out and playing games.

'You need to be able to dress it beautifully to elevate it for special events –and make it functional the rest of the time while ensuring it looks good in the centre of the living space.' All it takes is a few good dining table styling tricks to nail the aesthetic.

6. Play with print and color

(Image credit: Studio Duggan)

Breathe life into an apartment dining room by adding colorful printed fabrics to the seating. This works particularly well on bench and banquette seating, and helps to create mood-boosting visual interest, especially in a modern dining room, as shown in the space by Studio Duggan above.

7. Put an emphasis on comfort with oversized chairs and sofas

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(Image credit: Violet & George)

Substitute a bench for a small sofa to make your dining room ultra-inviting, or use large, squishy chairs in place of traditional choices.

Large, armed, comfortable dining chairs help to create a statement in any space, and they give the impression of a larger space in a kitchen diner or open plan scheme. What's more, they can also double up as additional living room seating when required.

8. Make the most of multi-functional furniture

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(Image credit: Cherie Lee Interiors)

Ensure your dining room works as hard as possible by utilizing clever furniture.

'Multi-functional furniture is a must have for making clever use of the space,' says Wayfair’s Resident Style Advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill. 'Opt for extendable tables, sideboards and shelving units , perfect for storing extra cutlery and dinnerware for last minute soirees when you are feeling extra sociable.

'A stylish serving trolley or drinks cabinet decked out with refreshing tipples, twinkling candles and draped greenery makes a showstopping addition to any apartment dining area, ideal for cozy nights in.'

9. Use lighting to create defined zones

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(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

Dining rooms in apartments are often part of an open-plan space, so using lighting to help define your separate spaces is a handy design trick.

'Pendant lighting or chandeliers over the table give the dining area a focal point, help to zone it off, and also give it a more intimate feel,' says Elliot Barratt.

This stylish room by Kitesgrove (above) perfectly highlights how a statement pendant not only adds chic flair to the space but also fully defines the 'dining' zone.

Below, K&H Design used lighting to great effect in a London apartment. Katie Glaister and Henry Miller-Robinson, Co-Founders of K&H Design, explained: 'In this New York loft-style apartment in Knightsbridge, we created a sophisticated dining area by zoning the space with an elegant Lambert & Fils Dot Line Suspension pendant in brushed brass, by day it disappears into the background and by night it creates moody and atmospheric lighting to dine by.'

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(Image credit: K&H Design)

10. Utilize large mirrors to give the illusion of space

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(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Oversized mirrors will help to bounce light around a room, helping to give the illusion of space and make it feel bigger.

If you're feeling daring, take a tip from the designers at Sims Hilditch and create a whole mirrored feature wall for a dramatic style statement that really opens up the space.

11.Embrace bar-height dining

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(Image credit: Brent Darby / Future)

Is your apartment particularly space-starved? Don't panic, you can create a 'dining room' in your kitchen with a kitchen island or breakfast bar.

'Bar height dining is perfect for an apartment,' says Cox & Cox Product and Creative Director Dani Taylor. 'It can be used for dining, or indeed as a bar if you're entertaining. Perfectly compact for a smaller space, stools can be tucked under out of the way.'

Or choose statement, comfortable bar stools if you have the room; try adding a printed, colorful fabric, or sumptuous velvet for an elevated finish.

How can I decorate my dining room apartment?

Dining room ideas for apartments may be short of space but can still make a stylish impact in your home. A carefully designed studio apartment that incorporates plenty of bespoke and multifunctional furniture that is tailored to the space can achieve a sense of comfort and convenience that belies even the smallest dining room.

Select a dining table and chairs that are in proportion to the size of your room – oversized cabinets, banquettes and armchairs can make a small room feel narrow, so instead look out for benches and foldable seating. Furniture that is the same color as your walls tends to blend into the wall, making it look wider, and make sure you hang mirrors on your dining room walls to create the illusion of space in the room.

Dining room ideas for apartments – 11 beautiful ways to style a small space (2024)


How can I make my dining room look beautiful? ›

There are endless ways to dress a dining room — think statement lighting, area rugs, modern furniture and striking wallpaper patterns. For storage, consider console tables, built-in shelving systems or designate a space for a stylish home bar.

How do I maximize my dining room space? ›

To maximize the limited space, choose a round table with a streamlined base that can accommodate extra chairs if needed. Mount wall art above the bench to distinguish the area, and finish off the dining room with a pair of minimalist chairs.

How do you split a living room and dining room combo? ›

Hang curtains, as it is one of the most affordable ways to demarcate living and dining spaces. Choose between opaque drapes or a sheer curtain that allows light to pass. A folding screen functions as a portable partition and is one of the quickest ways to demarcate the living from the dining area.

How to make a luxurious dining room? ›

How can I make a dining room look expensive?
  1. Invest in statement lighting. ...
  2. Focus on standout chairs. ...
  3. Add a talking point with some artwork. ...
  4. Choose luxury wallpaper, millwork, or paint finishes. ...
  5. Mix luxury materials with antiques. ...
  6. Find good quality floor coverings. ...
  7. Customize furnishings to create an expensive, bespoke look.
Oct 1, 2023

What to do in a dining room that is not being used? ›

Turn that unused space into an office, a library/reading nook, or a second living space just for the kids! You could always throw a folding table in there if you ever find yourself in need of a large table to host a meal on. But until then, make the room a spot you will love and use.

How do you fill empty space in dining room? ›

How to fill empty space in a dining room
  1. Treat yourself to a large and elegant sideboard.
  2. Add a statement dining table.
  3. Introduce wall art to your dining room.
  4. Add side tables for your extra dishes.
  5. Fill up empty space in your dining space with the perfect pieces of furniture!
Feb 3, 2023

What is the best table shape for a small apartment? ›

Oval dining tables

If you have a narrow space but still want to be able to seat a lot of people, consider an oval shape. An oval dining table combines the best of both rectangular and round worlds: You get the length of a rectangular table without the harsh corners and you get a little more floor space back.

What 3 factors affect the dining room size? ›

  • Number of people. The required size of the dining room depends on the number of people you want to fit in. ...
  • Walkways. Besides the room needed for the dining table and chairs, people often forget the required space to get around. ...
  • Decoration. Besides the dining table and chairs, people often want to decorate the dining room.

How to make a dining room dual purpose? ›

Open-shelf bookcases are an instant, easy-on-the-wallet way to create two rooms from one, as demonstrated by this cheery dining-slash-living room. Two area rugs and a cool pendant light fixture help define the separate spaces, while the eye-popping wall color ties it all together with amazing style.

Can I put a sofa in my dining room? ›

I've always thought that sofas have many more uses than just being a piece of living room furniture. You can put one in your kitchen, bedroom, or even a dining room for example and it'll certainly make that place warmer, cosier and more pleasant to be (and sit!) in.

How do you combine a living room and dining table? ›

Position the sofa with its back to the dining table to create a sense of separation from an adjacent dining area. Use lighting to anchor individual zones, such as a large pendant light over the dining table to define it as a separate space while using table or floor lamps around the living room area.

How do I make my interior look luxurious? ›

40 ways to make your home look and feel luxurious
  1. Paint a feature wall.
  2. Go big with wall art.
  3. Redecorate/paint.
  4. Use colour cleverly.
  5. Declutter.
  6. Decorate with candles and mirrors.
  7. Add house plants and flowers.
  8. Update your glass and tableware.
Feb 23, 2022


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