Dining in Disguise: Genius Hide-Away Furniture Solutions

updated May 4, 2022
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(Image credit: Handimania)

The longer you live in a small space, the sooner you come to realize that having a dedicated dining room or eat-in kitchen truly is a luxury. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat every meal on your couch in front of the television, I mean, unless you want to (and have a lot of streaming to catch up on). Plenty of people have figured out the whole dining without a proper dining room situation, and it’s really just a matter of going a little 007 with your table.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Murphy beds have been around for years, and at some point, somebody genius decided to apply that drop-down, hide-away concept to tables. If you ask me, a murphy table actually makes more sense than a bed because you don’t have to sacrifice as much wall space or potential storage to make it work. Take Angela and Tania’s fold out table, for example. They commissioned a local designer to build theirs out of a door and piano hinges right into their living room’s floor-to-ceiling shelving unit. Very few books and objects lost their real estate in this design decision, folks, and that’s a wonderful thing.

(Image credit: Handimania)

Typically when these murphy-style tables are not in use, they look like cabinets. But if you’re a sucker for a double duty design like me, then you’ll definitely be into this mirror folding table on Handimania. A full tutorial is here, but it’s basically the same concept as Angela and Tania’s table above just with a mirror mounted to the front panel, which is great for throwing light around a tiny apartment.

The main thing to keep in mind with these drop-down tables is that they typically have to be high top, because mounting them any lower would look weird on the wall. Invest in a great pair of stools, and that’s all you really need..

(Image credit: Jelanie)

Another (and arguably easier) way to sneak a full scale dining setup into your space is with a collapsible table like this one from Jelanie. When folded up, these guys look like consoles. So you can pretty much place them flush to a wall, and they’re super easy to get around, even in tight quarters.

(Image credit: Cup of Te)
(Image credit: Cup of Te)

Or try one right behind your sofa, like Cup of Te’s Roxy Te did with her own design from Society Social. Move your coffee table to another room, and you can fold this guy out right in the living room for a meal. Or fake a breakfast nook by pairing one with a bench.

(Image credit: Susie Nadler)

Even better if your dining table is also on wheels like David and Susan’s castered situation. My guess is it collapses, too, and probably looks pretty industrial. But that’s the beauty of patterned textiles. You can make anything utilitarian look fancy with a table cloth. And then just wheel it out of the way easily if you need to make room for something else.

(Image credit: Bo-laget via Kitchn)

Leave it to the Swedes (via our friends at Kitchn) to come up with the ultimate creative dining solution: a pull-out table. From the looks of it, the legs must attach to the tabletop once it’s pulled out from the kitchen cabinetry. So you’d have to find a place to stash them, but foldable legs are much easier to store than an entire table, right?

So the next time you feel like you can’t possibly throw a dinner party in your tiny place, remember these ideas and get crafty.