This just in: dining rooms are making a major comeback in 2020. For too long, we’ve eaten dinner while watching Netflix, with our plates perched on our laps. Too many takeout meals have been consumed while standing at the kitchen counter. It’s time for a change! Time to unplug and connect with family and friends while we nourish our bodies. It’s time to design our dining rooms to be places where we actually want to spend time.

For most of us, our dining rooms are probably not the first space we design in our homes. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore them altogether! While designing this space may seem simple at first—all you need is a table and chairs, right??—they can turn out to be trickier than you might think.

That’s because the physical space you have for a dining room hugely impacts the design. Are you designing for a dining area in a studio apartment? Working with a large, open living room/dining room space, a formal dining room, or even a pass-through dining space? There are a lot of variables to consider!

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Below, we’re featuring dining room layout ideas for all kinds of spaces, room layouts, and styles. Because this is your year to bite the bullet and design your perfect dining room! And hey, designing your dining room may even inspire you to get some friends together for a casual, fun dinner party!

Formal Dining Room Layouts

In a formal dining room, you have a space where the whole room is dedicated to one thing: dining. These spaces, where the dining room table is the focal point of the room, are perfect for entertaining, as they typically have space to accommodate a larger table and 6+ seats. Other design elements formal dining rooms tend to have? A statement light fixture and a credenza or console for china and linen storage. Keep reading for some of our favorite approaches to formal dining room layouts!

dining room layoutThe Essential Dining Room

This space is what dining room dreams are made of. It has all the classic dining room elements—a table, chairs, and storage. But with simple shapes and clean edges throughout, it has a contemporary look that feels anything but traditional.

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The Key Elements

A spare, minimal layout makes the space feel open and functional—and makes the most of an amazing view. But it also lets you be bold with foundational pieces, like this stunning, sculptural dining room table.

To keep this space feeling decidedly contemporary and minimal, we used a mix of textures, materials, and finishes, giving it a layered and dynamic look. We love the mix of the concrete table with metal and upholstered chairs and a wood credenza. Upholstered dining chairs are perfect for long dinners or for work-from-home days when you don’t have a home office.

Also key to this space: plenty of lighting options. With a mix of overhead lighting and table lamps, you’re able to set the ambiance for any mood or situation—whether that’s a late-night dinner party or homework time with the kids.

This Look is Perfect for…

Those with a contemporary, minimalist aesthetic. It might not be the best for households with youngsters. But if you have kids and still can’t get enough of this look, simply opt for a performance fabric in a darker color or for chairs made of wood for those inevitable spills!

dining room layoutAll About Those Bay Windows

This is a fun, bohemian take on the traditional dining room, with bold colors and rich textures throughout. But, style aside, what this space is really focusing on is those bay windows and making the most of that architectural element in the space!

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The Key Elements

Taking full advantage of bay windows doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice other key dining room design elements. Rather than a traditional credenza, in this space, we opted for a bar cabinet in the corner so it doesn’t block the beautiful view but still gives you space to store alcohol, barware, and extra dishes! This upright cabinet is perfect if your dining room doesn’t have a lot of wall space.

A sleek table and slender chair legs help make the overall space feel larger and more open—great for small spaces that can’t afford a lot of visual clutter. And opting for various wood tones in the furniture keeps the space family-friendly and approachable.

This Look is Perfect for…

Family dinners—or even casual dinner parties!

dining room layoutThe Refined Connoisseur’s Dining Room

This is a dining room made for formal entertaining. With a mix of traditional and contemporary shapes, along with clean, smooth surfaces, this look is refined and intentional. But, despite its formal vibe, it has a relaxed finish that keeps it approachable.

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The Key Elements

This space takes a minimal approach to styling—aka, there’s not a lot of stuff in here. This leaves room for more traditional and ornamental foundational pieces. A neutral color palette keeps this smaller dining area from feeling cluttered. To lean into the formal and traditional vibe, incorporate plenty of natural touches—like a rustic wood dining table, flowers and woven accessories to add a fresh feeling to the space, and a marble-top* credenza.

*Cleaning tip for marble: Make sure to use gentle, non-acidic cleaners on marble surfaces, as harsh cleaners will stain the surface. To clean, wipe down with a damp cloth, soaked in warm water.

This Look is Perfect for…

Someone wanting an approachable yet refined space for entertaining.

Dining Room + Kitchen Layout Combo

Small layouts can present a challenge for dining spaces. Sometimes you need to sneak in a dining area as part of your kitchen. This is often the case in small apartments and studios, or even if you have a home but it doesn’t have space for a formal dining room. But being short on space doesn’t mean you have to forego a dining area. Below, you’ll find a few examples of ways to approach this type of layout, along with tips for how to make them shine!

dining room layoutThe Look: Le Petit Dining Room

This dining space is small, but it’s certainly not lacking in style! With just a corner off the kitchen to dedicate to formal dining, there’s not a lot of space to work with. But the wall color and thoughtful design elements make this space feel intentional and oh-so-chic.

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The Key Elements

A round table gives you more flexibility to squeeze extra seating around the table—and it also won’t draw attention to any awkward angles within the space that could emphasize how small it is. To maximize seating in a smaller area, pair a bench with chairs. You could even opt for a storage bench to maximize this space even further! Overall, opt for furniture with open bases, which will be visually airier and make the space feel less cluttered.

This Look is Perfect for…

Someone who won’t let a small space keep them from having the glam dinner party they deserve.

The Look: The Breakfast Nook

Have a small corner? That’s all you need to create a cozy breakfast nook! We love the bright and airy vibe of this space. And you know what? It’s not just for breakfast. Who says you can’t host a small dinner party in a breakfast nook??

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The Key Elements

The key to a breakfast nook is appropriate and ample seating. Our favorite solution is a corner banquette bench. It provides plenty of seating and makes the best use of the space. A mobile bar cart next to the dining area is great for storage, but can also be used as a serving station for brunch! And a round rug is great for awkward spaces or corner set-ups, as it doesn’t draw attention to the shape or size of the space!

This Look is Perfect for…

Making the most of a small corner and bringing the breakfast nook of your dreams to life!

Living Room + Dining Room Layout Combo

Open living room/dining rooms are a very common feature in modern homes. And as wonderful as open layouts are, it can be difficult to design two rooms in one! These living room/dining room combos appear in many different types of open floor plans—from large and expansive to small and cozy, or even split-level. The key to nailing this look and making the entire space feel complete is knowing how to place your dining area within the context of your open space. Keep reading for more tips!

dining room layoutThe Look: The All-In-One Space

This space has it all: a living room, a dining room, and even a kitchen! Completely open floor-plans can feel intimidating to tackle, but the openness also gives you the opportunity to create some major flow and cohesive style in your space!

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The Key Elements

In an all-in-one space, a larger dining table is key—and leaving ample space around the table creates flow and allows for easy movement throughout the room. In this space, we opted for a rectangular shape, which echoes the shape of the room. This larger table easily seats six, which is great for entertaining. A consistent color scheme throughout all three areas makes the overall space feel cohesive. With varying shades of grey contrasting with bright whites, this space feels contemporary, polished, and considered.

This Look is Perfect for…

Someone with a large, open floor plan who wants to create a cohesive space for living, dining and evening entertaining.

dining room layoutThe Look: The Long and Narrow

Some open living room/dining rooms are long and narrow—which creates a whole new design challenge to contend with. These spaces can be tricky to design. But they’re certainly not impossible.

The Key Elements

Start by dividing the two spaces into zones, using your sofa. By floating the sofa between the two spaces, with the back of it facing the dining area, you’re making it feel like it’s own space. Round dining tables work well in this type of space. With no hard angles, it creates easier flow in tighter spaces and doesn’t feel as rigid in the space as a rectangular table would. And this particular table has a visually interesting base which makes this space feel unique and considered. The addition of a hanging plant adds dimension to without taking up precious floor space.

This Look is Perfect for…

Someone who wants to maximize a long and narrow living room/dining room without sacrificing any style.

dining room layoutThe Look: Two’s Company

When it’s just you and a roommate or significant other, a sweet, small dining corner is all you need. And sometimes, that’s all the space you can afford in a small house or apartment! Even if your home only offers one, smaller space for both living and dining, you can certainly maximize what you’ve got to give your space a dual purpose.

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The Key Elements

In this type of space, think small: an apartment-sized sofa and a petite dining table. This will allow you to create two zones without the space feeling cluttered or overwhelming. Then, look for small but mighty storage options to maximize functionality and minimize footprint. A mirror helps reflect and light and can help open up a small space, and a light fixture over the dining table helps that space feel intentional. Finally, a rug in each area helps create distinct “zones,” but the addition of a cowhide rug layered over the edges of both connects the spaces and keeps the overall room feel cohesive!

This Look is Perfect for…

Sneaking in a dining space in a small home or apartment—a perfect arrangement for dinner for two!

Dining Area In A Studio Apartment

Studio apartments are tricky spaces to design, no matter what. You’re trying to fit all the elements of a home into one small, open space while keeping it from feeling cluttered. Add in a dining area and it might feel impossible. Might as well just eat dinner on the sofa, right? No, don’t give up! If you want a distinct dining space in your studio, rest assured that it can be done. You’ll just have to combine it with other functions to get the most out of your small space. Keep reading for some of our best small-space dining tips and tricks!

dining room layoutThe Look: The Corner Table

This cute dining space is made possible by clever design tricks that not only complement the fun and eclectic feel of this space, but even enhance it! This small space is big on style and creative layout solutions.

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The Key Elements

For a small, eclectic space, cash in on a few pieces that will help your space feel lighter and brighter! Namely: a large mirror and clear dining chairs. You can also cut some (literal) corners by going for a round table, which is more suitable in a tight space. The tulip base allows chairs to tuck neatly under the table. Tucking the whole arrangement in the corner helps you take advantage of a space that might otherwise go underutilized or unused!

This Look is Perfect for…

The studio apartment-dweller who still likes to entertain! (Or just wants a dedicated space other than the couch to eat dinner.)

dining room layoutThe Look: The Work-Dine Station

Dual-purpose furniture is an absolute necessity in a small space. Combining a dining and working area is perfect for students or if you often work from home. And placing the table in a corner nook makes the dining space feel like it’s own cozy zone!

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The Key Elements

For this set-up, we love the idea of using a bar-height table. Varying heights in a small room helps the space feel more dynamic and less visually cluttered. And if you opt for stools rather than bar chairs, you can even tuck them completely underneath the table to save on floor space when the table is not in use!

This Look is Perfect for…

Someone who likes to work from home—and therefore needs a desk set-up—but who doesn’t want to sacrifice the option of having a friend or two over for dinner!

 

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  1. […] Find the best layout for your dining room (aka home office and homeschool center) […]

  2. […] expected—giving a sense of order and curation to the space (peek this guide to learn all about dining room layouts). You can finish off this look with vintage touches, like an antique-style mirror or a […]

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