Monday Musings: Small Dining Room Tables
I love the challenges that come with designing small spaces. Atmospheres that require hours of styling to produce in large rooms, are remarkable easy to create in tight quarters. They are naturally endowed with elements like intimacy, warmth, and ambiance. A small dining room or nook is a great place to play up all of these features. But it all starts with the table. Small dining room tables are this weeks' inspiration.
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3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Table for Your Small Dining Room
By selecting just the right pieces, a compact dining room can become a large focal point for the home. But there are a few things to remember when selecting a table:
- Size - What are the measurements of the room?
- Scale - The size of an object (in this case the table) in relationship to other objects in the room like the walls, windows, doors, ceiling, and of course other furniture. Ideally, you should have 36" between the table and the wall - or the next large piece of furniture in the room. If you don't have a 36-inch clearance, then consider purchasing a smaller table.
- Traffic flow patterns - nalyze how you will need to move around in the space, from the entry point, to the area around the table, to the exit door. This is especially critical if your dining room opens to other rooms in the home.
These are important factors to consider when shopping for a dining room table. Ignoring any of them, can result in a space that is either too cramped, or one that feels like it's been outfitted with toddler-sized furniture. Let's take a look at some examples of petite dining tables done right.
Examples of Perfectly Proportioned Dining Room Tables
One of my favorite ideas is to use a glass table to create the illusion of more space. Notice that the glass table top below showcases the beautifully patterned chair seats. What a clever way to introduce color into a room, and "decorate" the table at the same time!
Normally I would recommend pairing a round table with arm-less chairs. But this photo shows how choosing the right scale can help you get around common barriers when decorating a small space. Similar versions of this table can be viewed and purchased here and here.
Simply adding a built-in banquet will create more floor space. Pair it with a smaller sized rectangle table and you're done. Secret Tip: The table below is actually an office desk. Click here to see it. Yes, you will have to ditch your seven-foot farmhouse table dreams. But the mixed seating options, coupled with the scaled down table, make it so easy to entertain a party of six here.
The simple, yet functional sideboard can double as a buffet table, a cocktail bar, or even a desk. Now THAT'S what I call making a space (and the money you put into creating it) work for you! Who says a small space can't have BIG style? Click here for a great desk that could also serve as a sideboard.
It's almost always recommended to float the dining room table in the center of the room. I am personally not a fan of pushing every piece of furniture against the wall. It just looks like everything is under arrest (chuckles). But when in doubt - or out of space - do it! Push that baby right against the wall.
A drop leaf table, like the one below, is a great alternative for someone who doesn't mind moving other pieces of furniture every once in a while to have a formal sit down dinner. Check out these alternatives here and here.
The beauty of a small dining room is that it's so easy to get away with just the essential items: a table, chairs, a piece of wall art, and maybe a rug. Check out this stunner below.
This is clearly an e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e table, but an affordable - more streamlined version can be found here, here and here. You can even find a similar mirror here and here. And if cow is how you roll, I found a faux version that received great reviews here.
But what if you have a small hand-me-down table that is neither glass, nor chic, and buying a new one is just not in the budget? Well, for a few bucks you can always paint the table to get the look of the one above, then pair it with a completely new set of chairs. Or, if the lines and color of the thrifty table are pretty good, why not leave it as is, and reverse the "illusion-of-more-space" effect by adding ghost chairs. You can read my post on affordable chairs here.
How about a restaurant-style counter for a dining room table? Notice the clever use of a half table below. My guess is that they removed the back legs and mounted the backside to the wall. Genius! Check out this really hip alternative here, and here as well. I bet you could also score this look by shopping at a thrift store or, one of my favorite stores, IKEA.
As the photos and links above show, there really are ways to get a high-end, luxe look in a small dining room without spending a jaw-dropping amount of money.
Tell me, what's your small dining space dilemma?