Go for a single-colour decorating scheme in a small dining room. In this space, the same pale grey shade has been used on walls, fireplace, table and chairs so that the backdrop seems to recede, making the room feel larger than it really is. Pick one element of the room and use it to introduce a contrast shade – here it’s lilac curtains that provide the interest. The tabletop has been left plain in keeping with the floor, while seat covers introduce a touch of pattern.

Pair a Round Table With a Banquette

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This classic combo is a highly efficient use of space. Together, they transform a bare corner into an elegant eating space.

Flip Out

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Apartment living generally devotes little more than a wall to eating. To make a dining room appear magically before her eyes, this homeowner installed a a sleek table that easily folds out at mealtimes.

Use Walls Wisely

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Often considered a design no-no in other rooms, placing furniture against the wall frees up space for walking in this narrow dining area. Folding chairs stored neatly on the opposite wall can easily be grabbed when company arrives.

Choose Shelves Instead of a Cabinet

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China cabinets or sideboards are lovely, but their bulk can dominate a room and uses space inefficiently. Floating shelves, on the other hand, can be customized to fit your needs (fill the whole wall with them, if you like!) and offer more flexible storage than standalone pieces.

Build in Seating and Shelves

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Both built-in bookcases and banquettes are meant to be directly next to the wall, offering as much seating, storage, and open floor space as possible — so when combined, they’re a like small dining room superhero.

Choose Dual-Purpose Furniture

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If you had to sacrfice part of your dining room to your workspace, get the best of both worlds with a pretty desk. For parties, this blogger clears off this stately oak piece to use as a buffet.

Get a Bench

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Unlike chairs, a bench can seat more than one person (a handful of kids, if you’re lucky!) and tucks completely out of the way when not in use.

Invest in a Mirror

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Employ this bit of visual trickery to make any small room seem bigger: A mirror’s reflection is great at faking extra space, and bounces light around the room to make it seem airier.

Collect Matching Dinnerware

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Open shelves are often the best storage option in a tight space, but you have to fill them wisely. Coordinating plates and serveware, like this pretty creamy collection, add a decorative element with a culinary tilt.

Create a Booth

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Two banquettes are better than one! This clever set-up makes room for an entire family in a tight corner — and offers hidden storage under the seats.