Just because a dining room is small, doesn't mean it can't be stylish and comfortable. Make it inviting and make it a space where family and friends will love to visit and linger over dinner, dessert and good conversation. A dining room doesn't have to be large and formal to be welcoming and functional. Here are a few suggestions to make a small dining room gracious and comfortable enough for everyday entertaining.
Color and Light
- Choosing a light bright palette will make the room appear larger. The room will look expansive with lighter colors that get even lighter toward the ceiling. For example, to create a sunny dining space, run a chair rail around the perimeter of the room. Paint the wall below the rail in a shade of light butter yellow and choose a complimenting very pale shade of yellow above the rail, continuing it right up on the ceiling. Painting the chair rail and wood trim in the room in a clean crisp white will keep the room looking as fresh and inviting as a daisy. Add a small wrought iron or porcelain chandelier above the table to keep from overwhelming the space. Many styles can be found, with French country twists, floral embellishments, crystals and beads, letting you choose a traditional look or something a little fun and funky.
- Don't block the windows with heavy window treatments. Keep it light and airy with sheer panels that can be mounted on an inexpensive tension rod inside the wood trim. If privacy or strong sunlight is an issue, a flat folding shade can be used beneath for light and privacy control or mount a shutter on the inside of the window frame at the bottom half of the window. Shutter louvers can be easily adjusted as desired to control light. Purchase budget shutters at the home improvement or discount store and paint or stain them yourself for a very affordable twist on this classic window treatment.
Furniture & Decor
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- If purchasing a table and chairs consider a round one which will take up less space while seating more people. It's always easy to press another chair into service with a round table. They also complement the square dimensions of a small dining room better than a square or rectangular table.
- Look for other pieces that can do double duty. A small console can offer storage below and display space above. Hang a mirror above it to create the illusion of more space and cluster candlesticks, a tray and glasses, tea set or other items below. To make every inch count, choose useable pieces rather than merely decorative for accents; for example, the candlesticks and glasses can go from decor to table in minutes.
- Think vertically for storage. A tall armoire will take up less floor space than a wide buffet. Vertical standing storage ladders allow you to arrange items on their shelves or in decorative baskets. Stylish storage is not only practical, it can help you define a style. For example, open wall shelves mounted vertically one above the other can turn a narrow wall into storage space for serving pieces, stacked plates and glassware displayed as in a French bistro.