The only dining space in our main house is the eat-in nook in the kitchen. It’s very small and has an awkward layout with patio doors to the back deck behind it and stairs and a doorway on either side! It was a bit of a design challenge, but we managed to make our small dining space functional & pretty!
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Below is one of the only pictures I have of the space when we first bought the house. 90’s decor was in full swing with popcorn ceilings, basic beige tile, bright yellow paint, and strangely angled walls.
Our space is now bright and airy. It feels so much larger even though it’s a small space! Here are the changes we made!
We covered the popcorn ceilings with a faux wood plank product. And we used a plant hook on the ceiling to move the chandelier to a centered position over the table without moving the electrical box.
We also painted out the area with a creamy white paint, which helped to minimize the strange angles of the walls and ceiling.
We replaced the tile with hickory hardwood, which runs throughout the main floor. Adding a rug grounds and delineates the space. Since it’s so open, putting a rug under the table pulls the space together. It makes it feel like more than a hallway to the various doors and stairs that it’s surrounded by.
I chose a 48″ round table, which comfortably seats 4-6 for everyday living. However, it does extend with the addition of a leaf to seat 8-10 for special occasions and holidays!
Because the table is round, it takes up less space than a rectangular one to seat the same number of people. If we had put a rectangular table in the space it would have been a tight squeeze to get past it to the stairwell!
And just because it’s small, doesn’t mean it doesn’t function well for our family. In the photo below, the table is set for Easter and there’s plenty of room for place settings as well as decor!
When you have a small dining space like this it’s important to use every nook and cranny to maximize function. We put a china cabinet in the corner by the entrance to the mudroom. It houses all our extra dishes, placemats, cookbooks, bbq utensils and more.
We’re planning on building in cabinetry to this corner to maximize storage space even more. But for now, the little cabinet looks pretty!
There isn’t room for any furniture on the other side of the dining table. Anything placed there would block access to the top of the basement stairs. But it has great light, so I put my plants in the corner. And I put them in mix & match white pots and baskets for a cohesive look.
I also created a photo gallery for family photos and favorite art pieces along the long wall above the stairs.
The gallery wall draws your eye away from the half-wall below it. We painted the half wall the same creamy color as the rest of the space so that it blends in to the wall behind it.
I hope this summary of how we made our small dining space functional & pretty has been helpful! And I hope it’s given you some ideas for your own eating nook or small dining room! You don’t need a formal dining room if you design the eating space you have well!
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