The Best Dining Room Layouts Have These 3 Things in Common

published Apr 2, 2023
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If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the dining room is the (full) tummy, where family and friends gather to share meals, celebrations, and memories. A well-designed dining room can enhance these experiences and create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone. The best dining room layouts have a few things in common, and we’ve gathered insights from top home stagers and real estate pros to help you create the perfect space.


The first thing that the best dining room layouts have in common is functionality. A dining room should be designed around its purpose: to serve as a comfortable and functional space for meals. This means that the table itself should be the centerpiece of the room, with enough space for chairs, traffic flow, and additional furniture, such as a sideboard or buffet.

As Martin Boonzaayer, CEO of the Trusted Home Buyer, explains, the table should be proportionate to the size of the room. “Ideally, there should be at least 36 to 48 inches of clearance between the table and the walls or other furniture to allow for comfortable movement around the table,” he says. 

If you need a space that works for various gatherings (think: intimate family dinners to huge Thanksgiving dinners), ”consider incorporating multifunctional furniture or flexible seating options, such as benches or foldable chairs, to accommodate different types and sizes of gatherings,” Boonzaayer suggests.

Additionally, in a perfect world, the dining room should be located in a convenient and accessible spot within the home, preferably close to the kitchen and living areas. This will make it easier to serve and clear meals and allow seamless transitions between different spaces when entertaining.

Style and Personality

The best dining room layouts aren’t cookie cutter: Style and personality are also a must. A dining room should reflect the homeowner’s tastes while incorporating elements that create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere.

“Intricate details offer a sense of home away from home and add the personal touch to your house,” advises Rob Wysocarski, the CEO at Wyse Home Team Realty, a brokerage firm based in Daytona Beach, Florida. “A family picture, a DIY, or your own artwork brings in a warm and inviting environment. Also, it reflects an individual’s personality through these intricate details.”

This can be achieved through color, pattern, texture, and lighting. Boonzaayer, for instance, is a big fan of adding a rug. “A rug can help define the dining area and add warmth and texture to the space,” he explains. Just make sure it’s big enough — the rug should accommodate all the dining chairs, even when pulled out from the table.

Smart Furniture Choices

Whether you’re working with a condo-sized dining room or one in a spacious country home, the best dining rooms maximize their space with tables and dining sets that suit the size and feel of the room. 

“Some people like the classic marble top or a large Victorian table, but these styles make the room feel very heavy, and a small space might not efficiently hold it,” explains Matt Ward, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Tennessee. Ward recommends avoiding these larger sets in smaller rooms, instead opting for modern, rustic designs with sleek curves and colorful chair covers. 

“My job is to sell square footage, so any tricks I can use to make a space feel bigger are a plus,” explains Ellen Mann, the president and principal staging stylist at British Columbia-based Chrysalis Home Staging

Mann chooses round tables for small dining areas to give the illusion of more space. She also uses a clever trick to make the room feel more spacious: “If the table is placed near a window, we always position chairs, so the chairs aren’t facing the window directly. That way, the view isn’t compromised, and the room can breathe,” she explains.

The best dining room layouts have a few critical things in common: functionality, style and personality, and intelligent furniture selections. By incorporating these elements into your dining room design, you can create a comfortable, welcoming space for gathering with family and friends.

As Brian Smith, real estate agent, home stager, and the founder of Louisiana-based Cedar Cash Home Buyers, shares, “The best dining room always becomes the heart of the house, so the best arrangement will keep that style intact while reflecting a more intimate side to the rest of the house.”