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How to Decorate a Small Dining Area with Five Easy Tips


Furniture placement and decorating ideas for a small dining room with creative solutions. Part of the One Room Challenge.

We are deep in the middle of the spring One Room Challenge and I’m really feeling the pressure this week.  Due to some foundation problems, I’m having to hold off on a couple of the really big projects I’m planning until the 24th. 

I did knock off a few things from my to-do list and am excited to share the results with you!  If you are new here or to the challenge, thanks a bunch for coming by.  I’m Kathy, the owner behind Up to Date Interiors and I love creating colorful, eclectic, and glam spaces. 

To prove how passionate I am about interiors I’m participating as a guest in the ORC which is a six-week-long challenge with literally hundreds of other like-minded individuals. 

Which means my house is a disaster zone until said challenge is complete.  So grab a tasty beverage and enjoy our small dining room update and scroll down for more participating bloggers.  You can also see twenty feature designers on the One Room Challenge blog.

*This post is sponsored by some wonderful companies.  As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting brands that help make this blog possible. 

Small dining room decorating ideas using a glass table pushed up to an upholstered bench up against kitchen counter.
Small Dining Room Ideas

Week One:  Eclectic and Glam Inspiration for an Open Concept |  Week Two:  How to Update Furniture with Peel and Stick Wallpaper | Week Three:  Small Dining Room Decorating Ideas |  Week Four: DIY a German Smear Mortar Wash for Under $10 | Week Five:  Stencil Your Foyer for a Beautiful Makeover | Week Six:  Eclectic Glam Open Concept Living Areas

How do I decorate a small dining room?

Add interest to your walls

Add interest to your walls with a surprising element like a unique pattern, architectural interest, pop of color, or bold wallpaper. You know that I’m leaning towards an eclectic maximalist vibe if you saw my inspiration and mood boards for our open-concept dining-living area

Since we are squeezing in a small dining area between the sofa and the kitchen I don’t have a lot of room for extra furniture or accessories.  I first added a fun stencil but later opted for white walls and a DIY-painted mural.

"How To Divide A Living Room And Dining Room Combo Ideas" with a DIY landscape mural in a small dining room instead of a tradtional buffet.
DIY Landscape Mural

Add a statement light fixture

Install a statement light fixture that can be flexible.   We enjoy trying different furniture arrangements in our small dining room to see what gives us the most room and still has an appealing look.   

I looked for a modern traditional chandelier on a chain since I like to remain flexible for possibly swapping tables and chairs and adding or removing other pieces of furniture. 

I found this beautiful Dilon chandelier at Hudson Valley Light that fits all of my requirements for this space.  A classic chandelier style with modern lines, tall shades, and my favorite metallic. 

A small dining area right next to the kitchen counters with a loveseat, glass table, and MCM chairs.
Gold Chandelier

Consider glass-top tables and nontraditional dining furniture

Use pieces of furniture that don’t take up a lot of visual space.  We started with a large wood farmhouse table that we had in storage when we first moved in six months ago. 

It swallowed up the entire room!  My grandfather found a Romeo Rega-style glass-top table and I knew it was a great solution for our small space.  Pairing it with smaller scaled chairs like these cute mid-century seats updated with Thread Bare fabric from Boho Luxe Home has really opened up our eating area. 

A colorful small dining area "booth" created with a loveseat and glass table next to a window.
Small Breakfast Nook Turned Dining Area

Try a new furniture layout

Be creative with your furniture layout.    We started with our table in a traditional placement by floating it in the middle of our small dining room but it made it difficult to get to the kitchen when the chairs were pulled out. 

I swapped the arrangement around once we added the glass top table and bought a small love seat to create a banquette style.  We sacrificed easy access to a drawer on the kitchen peninsula but utilizing the corner was a smart decision. 

We now have no problems getting through and have oodles of more floor space all around.  If you are unsure of something, try it!  You just might like it. 🙂

A loveseat and DIY long pillow in front of kitchen cabinets in a small dining area.
Loveseat with DIY Long Lumbar Pillow

Add interest in styling

Add fun details with textiles, plants, and accessories.   Create a small space with a big personality.  I quickly DIYed a pillow from a vintage Japanese obi to sit on our banquette and covered thrifted chairs with a bold boho fabric

Plants, chinoiserie patterns, and a window treatment make this small dining area cozy and welcoming.   I love mixing high-end pieces with thrifted or inexpensive items.  Try combining different styles or show off a collection of similar objects for an eye-catching display.   

Even though they aren’t from the same place I placed all of my blue and white items together to make my color palette more intentional.

A small dining room idea with a built in table and seating look using a loveseat up against kitchen counter and wall with glass table and mcm chairs with pink fabric.
Small Dining Room Idea with Built In Look Table and Seating

You can see this combo again for a colorful table setting.

A small dining area showing a love seat with green throw blanket draped on the back and green floral cushions with a glass table top and blue and white dishes.  Two wood MCM style chairs with pink boho fabric.
Color Table Setting and Textiles

Not to give away all of the goodies before the big One Room Challenge reveals but I hope these decorating tips show you how to decorate a small dining area that you can try quickly and easily.

Here’s a second look at the mood board for the dining room.  You can see some of the pieces and to-dos have made it into the space already!

Dining Mood Board for the One Room Challenge graphic.
Small Dining Room ORC Mood Board

Funky Fibers Wall Stencil | Dillon Chandelier | Gray Love Seat | Thread Bare Fabric for MCM Chairs

There’s still a lot to be done and I’m excited to announce our new sofa I bought online arrives tomorrow!  Keeping my fingers crossed it looks and feels good. lol  Before I sign off for now I have to say how appreciative I am to work with some amazing sponsors.

How to Divide a Living and Dining Room Combo

Update: Check out how the space looks now!

Dining room between kitchen and living room with a glass table top, blue chairs, and rug.
How to Divide a Living Dining Combo
Orc Sponsors (1)
One Room Challenge Sponsors

Velvet Finishes |  Plutonium | Brightech | Royal Design Studio Stencils | boho luxe home | Hudson Valley Lighting Group | Fanimation 

The to-do list:

  • Reupholster grandparent’s armchairs with blue velvet and bird fabric
  • Paint the front picture window black
  • Paint green focal wall
  • Hang new window treatments and remove old blackouts in the piano area
  • Makeover music cabinet with removable wallpaper and paint
  • Install new foyer light
  • Stencil foyer walls
  • Add fringe to arch floor lamp
  • German schmear technique on fireplace stone?  Feeling iffy about this now!
  • Hang curtains with rings
  • Create a faux roman shade for the dining room with an existing window panel. 
  • Reupholster two barrel chairs in mink or blush velvet or fabulous print
  • Purchase a new sofa
  • Trim sofa with fringe
  • Paint french doors trim black? (Having second thoughts….)
  • Paint leather chair cognac
  • Sew lumbar pillow
  • Reupholster two more dining chairs
  • Add fringe to the loveseat
  • Install chandelier
  • Paint the dining room wall
  • Stencil living room wall
  • Paint buffet
  • Add trim/molding if foundation issues are resolved
  • Add rugs, lights, textiles, and art
  • Style, style, style
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  1. That’s a brilliant solution! I don’t know if I ever would have thought to create a banquet seating area like this if my space was similar but I am so inspired by it. Also, still obsessed with that etagere.

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