How To Live Without a Dining Room: Advice & Ideas from 15 of Our Best Posts

updated Jan 2, 2023
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Creating the look and feel of a dining area when you’re short on space is tricky—and it’s a big reason why those of us who live in small spaces feel like we can’t entertain. But where there’s a will there’s a way! And the way to create a dining room in a small home involves a little space planning and a lot of research on tables. Here are 15 posts to help you on your journey to creating a functional and stylish no-dining-room-dining room.

How to create a dining space with limited room

There are plenty of creative workarounds when you’re working with limited (or no) dining space.

(Image credit: Angela & Tania’s Beadle Box)

1. Mount your dining table

Mount your dining room table: Angela and Tania created a “murphy table” that folds flat against the wall shelving when not in use.

(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

2. Invest in custom

The rustic dining area in Kip & Saadia McConville’s Park Slope home is their favorite element. “We commissioned our dining room table and benches from our friend Ethan Abramson. I think one of the biggest challenges living in a small New York apartment is finding furniture that fits into tiny and specific spaces, and it was great to give him the dimensions of the nook between our living room and kitchen and have him create exactly what we wanted,” they say.

“The benches for the table are a bonus, as we can pull both out for extra seating when a lot of people are over, or use one as a piano bench. On rare occasions, we use them for what they’re actually intended for and eat at the table!”

(Image credit: mi casa via Homedit)

3. Go low

A low coffee table and floor cushions might not be the most comfortable for long-term sitting, but it’s a viable option for a small space, like this fun and funky little spot from mi casa via Homedit.

Small Space Solutions: 7 Small But Stylish Eating Spots for Tiny Homes

(Image credit: Bo Bedre)

4. Retrofit your other furniture

Michael Kristensen, a creative director who splits his time between Copenhagen and Bangkok, fell in love with this apartment when he first saw it, but he knew it would take some creative solutions.

Michael loves to entertain, a feat which is made possible, even in a 430 square foot apartment that’s essentially just one room, by a custom-built sofa that stretches all the way along one side of the room. His dining table seats six but can be easily rolled out of the way when it’s not needed.

(Image credit: 101 Woonideen)

5. Go small

The wall-mounted kitchen table from 101 Woonideen above can be folded up when not in use.

DIY Project Ideas: Wall-Mounted Tables for Every Room in the House

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

6. Try an expandable table

Emily Schildt, co-founder of Thing of Wonder and renter of the amazingly stylish, 400-square foot studio pictured above has a dining table that expands to seat eight—three on each side and one at each head—though she’s had as many as 11, bringing in the bench from the end of her bed and the chair that sits in the corner of the dining room.

Inspiration from Our House Tours

These are a few great examples from our house tours that show the possibilities of creating a dining area that is functional and attractive—even ready for entertaining—without a formal dining room.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)
(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)
(Image credit: William Strawser)
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)
(Image credit: Samara Vise)

Small-Space Dining Shopping Resources

(Image credit: David Dines)