6 Dining Room Space Saving Ideas & Tips

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Dining rooms are the pinnacle of home entertaining, so finding yourself with limited dining space can put a damper on your party hosting plans. When you invite guests over for dinner, you don't want them to feel crowded or cramped, but you also want your dining room to maintain the same personality and character as the other rooms in your house. Be smart about your space, and create visual distractions and illusions to make the area seem larger and more accessible. If you are stuck with a space that seems too small for you dining vision, then try a few of these suggestions.

  1. Light-colored walls: Dark walls and patterned wallpaper can make any room appear smaller than it is. Choosing to paint your walls with lighter colors will make the space appear more open. You don't have to feel stuck with white. Soft versions of your favorite colors can also make your space seem liberated and open. Selecting a color that you enjoy will make you feel much more familiar and at ease with the setting. If you're feeling creative, then you can paint your walls in different colors. Complementary shades on all four walls are aesthetically appealing, and keep the eye moving from one place to the next. Contrasting two walls of white with two walls of color will also add dimension to a small space.
  2. Mirrors: You can give any room the illusion of being larger with a few strategically placed mirrors. Place two mirrors on opposite walls, and watch as your moderate dining space begins to appear seemingly limitless. Don't be afraid to use large mirrors, either. They should begin above eye level, and continue down lower than the torso. These create a dramatic full-body space opening, and make it seem as though there is more room to walk. If they are strategically placed, then small mirrors can have the same effect, but if you add too many, you run the risk of attracting the eye too many places at once.
  3. Stripes: Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but stripes are her strongest ally. Women know the value of a good set of stripes: They are flattering and slimming in all the right ways. Fortunately, stripes are no longer just a secret weapon for your wardrobe. Adding some classic stripes to your room will give it the illusion of being longer. Lay a rug down where the stripes run along the longer side of the room. This will draw the eye to the length of the space, and make it appear larger than it actually is.
  4. Lighting: Proper lighting can make all the difference in the overall feel of a small space. If your dining room has windows, then make sure you don't bury them with thick curtains or heavy plastic blinds. Use light-colored drapes that you can tie back to allow the maximum amount of natural light into your space. Placing items in front of or next to windows will draw attention to the light outside, making the room appear lighter and more vibrant. Try placing room accessories like plants, framed pictures, clocks and other items near the window to make it the focal point of the room. If your dining room doesn't have any access to natural light, then you can install track lighting above the table. Chandeliers may look nice, but if they hang too low, then they cut the height of your room in half. Corner lamps are also a welcome addition to a small room: They illuminate dimly lit spaces and create the illusion that the walls are further back than they are.
  5. Fold-out table: It's impossible to maneuver in a dining room when the table takes up almost all the space. On the other hand, it's hard to find a dining room table that will fit in a limited space, and seat the right amount of people. Large dining room or not, you don't want your dinner guests crowded around an overgrown coffee table, or piled on the couch. To maximize space in your dining room while allowing enough space for multiple guests, purchase a fold-out dining room table. For family meals, keep the extenders lowered, and for dinner parties and events, raise the extenders to allow for more table settings.
  6. Utilize kitchen and living room space for extras: If you're the type of decorator that loves to flaunt what you've got, then you might become frustrated with limited dining space. Your wine rack, china cabinet, and mini bar might look great in your dining room, but if the area doesn't allow for it, then try utilizing the empty space you have in other rooms of the house. A fully stocked wine rack will amp up the sophistication of your kitchen, and might even prove more convenient when preparing meals. Setting up a bar area in your living room will expand your entertaining space, making it less awkward to have guests floating around the common areas of the house.

Making the most of your space isn't all about practicality. Much of it is illusion, too. But with the right combination of both, you can easily convince your guests (and maybe even yourself) that you have the perfect amount of room for roaming, dining and fun.

Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com.

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