7 Tips to Optimize Dining Room Space for Your Next Dinner Party

7 Tips to Optimize Dining Room Space for Your Next Dinner Party

Interior Design
How To
By Alex Mikayelyan March 17, 2022

We love having family and friends over for the holidays or pretty much just about any occasion. It’s at these times that we appreciate the dining room or any other area where we can sit with our loved ones and munch on some of our favorite dishes. But as pleasant as these gatherings may be, having to sit elbow-to-elbow with your guests is not always a comfortable position to be in as you eat. Having to make room for dishes on a small dining table, squeezing between your guests just leaving the table, and not having enough seating are all common problems that homeowners have with their dining rooms.

While even a cramped dining room may bring back some warm and fuzzy memories of those holidays feasts, being cramped as you eat is not always a fun experience. This is why interior designers and home organizers recommend trying a few tricks that will help you optimize the space in your dining room and maximize comfort and space for all your dining room essentials. So, if you’re getting ready for a big dinner party, family gathering, or any other event that’s going to have a lot of people sitting in your dining area, these tricks should help you prepare.

1. Round Dinner Table

How the Shape of Your Desk Changes Your Dining Room Setup

How the Shape of Your Desk Changes Your Dining Room Setup

The shape of your dining table is not solely a matter of stylistic preference. Whichever dining table shape you choose will in turn shape your dining experience. For example, a round table is a lot more intimate than a rectangular one, as everyone is in your line of vision. This makes the dining experience more friendly and casual since you can speak to everyone around you and easily be a part of any conversation. Round tables can also be more ergonomic than your standard rectangular dining table set. Without those sharp corners, there’s a lot more room to move around as you won’t have to worry about bumping into the edges every time you leave the table. You have more room to walk around when leaving the table and even have a little space for a corner sideboard that wouldn’t have been possible with a rectangular table.

2. Replace Sideboards with Shelving

Ergonomic Dining Room Shelving That Saves on Floorspace

Ergonomic Dining Room Shelving That Saves on Floorspace

If sideboards are taking up too much space, you could forgo them entirely and simply invest in a bigger or expandable table. Having both a huge dining table and sideboards will significantly cramp up the room, leaving little room to walk around in. A bigger table makes it more convenient for your dinner guests to reach for the food, as they won’t have to turn around and get something off the sideboards. Also, there is more visual clarity when there are no sideboards in the dining area, making it more visually open and less cramped. Instead of using sideboards, you can install wall-mounted shelves in your dining room that offer pretty much the same amount of storage room and flat surface area without taking up valuable floor space. 

3. Being Mindful of Dining Room Lights and Decor

How to Best Use Dining Room Lighting and Decor to Visually Minimize Clutter

How to Best Use Dining Room Lighting and Decor to Visually Minimize Clutter

Optimizing the dining area goes beyond the physical space. If you have plenty of room to move around in, but still feel like the room is too small, it may just be that there is too much visual clutter. While this may not hamper you physically, it can cause discomfort visually and make your dining space seem smaller than it actually is. This is why it is not uncommon to find dining areas that are almost entirely devoid of any decorative details. Contemporary dining rooms minimize visual detail and instead let the surfaces, textures, and colors do most of the work in terms of stylizations.

Consider getting rid of those kitsch paintings and faux flowers, opening up the walls, and observing as your dining room looks more spacious. The dining area lighting is also a crucial part of optimizing visual space and clarity in your dining room. The base of your lighting should be on the table. This is done for two reasons, one being that the table is the centerpiece of the dining room, so it needs to grab the most attention. The other is for the practicality of seeing your food and everything else on the table. For additional moody vibes, you can use accent lights which can be either recessed or platform fixtures. These don’t offer much in terms of practicality but are a great way to help everyone in the room relax and enjoy their meals.  

4. Living Room Dining Setup

How an Extra Dining Table Setup in the Living Room Comes In Handy

How an Extra Dining Table Setup in the Living Room Comes In Handy

Dining is not solely relegated to the dining room. If there are far too many guests and your dining room does not have enough room for all of them, you can have an auxiliary dining area in your living room. This extra dining area can be used as a kids’ table, freeing up a few seats for the adults. A living room dining setup could also serve as a temporary snack bar for those who don’t want to remain in the cramped dining area but still want something to munch on. The key here is to maximize the space in your dining room without sacrificing any of your guests’ ability to eat and have fun.

5. Bench Seating

The Advantages of Dining Benches

The Advantages of Dining Benches

Chairs are the most common types of seating in dining areas. But the amount of seating space they offer does not always justify how much space they occupy. We won’t go into the mathematics of why single dining room chairs take up too much space but compare them to a single bench that takes up the same amount of space as the three individual chairs. Each individual dining chair is going to seat one person, whereas the bench can seat more if they can find a way to fit onto it. Since you don’t have those little boundaries in between each individual chair, a bench is a great way to maximize the seating but also minimize the space they take up. 

6. Outdoor Dining Area

Outdoor Dining Area When the Indoors Is Just Not Enough

Outdoor Dining Area When the Indoors Is Just Not Enough

If the weather outside is nice enough for a picnic, then it will most assuredly be perfect for a dinner party. If you’re having guests over for a summer celebration you can set up a dining area outside instead of sitting in the dining room. An outdoor dining area is a perfect place to host an open-air dinner party without having to be cramped inside the dining room. Now, this isn’t exactly a solution when it comes to optimizing the dining room itself, but it is a great way to mix up your dining experience as a whole and allow for a larger number of guests.

Use your patio or deck as a dining area by placing a table and chair set, as well as a few sideboards, in the outdoor living space. You can even split your dinner party into two, by having some of the guests sitting in the dining room and the rest in the outdoor dining area. This works exceptionally well if you can create indoor-outdoor modern dining room sets by the bi-fold doors which lead to the backyard. This way you have the best of both worlds and have optimal space as you can extend the seating outside if there is not enough space indoors. The one difficulty of an outdoor dining room is maintenance since outdoor living areas tend to be much dirtier than indoors, meaning you’d have to be extra mindful of the kind of chairs you place outside. Your best bet, in this case, would be to invest in outdoor furniture that can withstand whatever nature decides to throw your way. 

7. Kitchen Island Table

How Your Kitchen Island Can Double As a Dining Table

How Your Kitchen Island Can Double As a Dining Table

If you’re really low on space and have pretty much no room for a bigger dining table, you can convert your kitchen island into a dining area. It doesn’t have to be anything overly complicated or fancy — just a big enough surface that can accommodate a number of guests and enough space for the food. A kitchen dining room setup comes with a slew of advantages. First of all, you won’t have to race from and to the kitchen every time you want to bring more food to the table. Also, there are plenty of countertops to use as extra surface area for the food, dishes, and other tableware that does not have any room on the kitchen island table. To transform your kitchen island into a table, however, you will need to open up legroom. Most kitchen islands are basically cabinets with a solid countertop. The bottom of the island can be opened up to allow for legroom, turning into a completely functioning dinner table.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan