Looking for some dining room design ideas? Whether you’ve recently moved and are designing a dining room from scratch in a new space or you’re simply assessing dining room essentials, size is a big factor in considering furniture and layout for your space. What you can fit in a large dining room will be vastly different from what you can fit in a small dining space.

Different sized dining rooms have different layout and furniture needs. So, the size of your dining area really dictates what will go inside. It will help you choose a dining room table that’s the right size and shape (see our guide to choosing a dining table if you need extra help in that department) and how many dining room chairs to include.

It can be overwhelming to assess what all can fit in your space. So, we’ve created a layout guide for small, medium, and large dining rooms, complete with images and tips to help you know what to include in your space. Keep reading for our ultimate dining room layout guide!

small dining room layout

For a Small Dining Room

The Challenge: Getting all the functionality you need out of a small space.

When planning a small dining room layout, it’s important to keep everything in proportion. A small space means opting for a smaller table and fewer chairs. If you’re including an area rug in your layout, you’ll want to keep that on the smaller size, too (the rug pictured here is 5×8, for reference) to keep it proportionate with the smaller table.

small dining room layout

The Key Furniture

A Round Dining Table: We love using round dining tables in small dining areas, as they offer a lot of surface space for eating, but their shape creates a better flow for movement throughout the space. Here, we went for a tulip-style pedestal table, which also allows more foot room in a small space. In a particularly small dining room or a breakfast nook, you could even go for a cafe or bistro table and only two chairs to really minimize the footprint.

Leggy Dining Chairs: Opting for chairs that are leggy and open helps keep the small space visually open and light. And if you want to have extra dining room chairs on-hand for entertaining but don’t want them to clutter your small dining area, consider other places you can put spare dining room chairs throughout your home.

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small dining room layout

Lighting and Decor

A Petite Pendant: When you have a small dining table, keep your light fixture on the smaller side. This pendant is about one-third the size of this round table’s surface size, which is a good proportion to keep in mind. Keep the tabletop decor on the smaller side as well. A simple duo of a small plant and a candle feels considered and also proportionate to table size.

Decorative Mirrors: To help open up the space a bit, hang a mirror on the largest wall rather than artwork. Mirrors are great to use in a small dining room on the wall opposite a window or natural light source. This opens up the space and helps light bounce around, one of our favorite small space hacks. A piece of artwork on the opposite wall, next to the window, balances out the look.

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small dining room layout

The Supporting Furniture

Bar Carts and Benches: While a small dining room doesn’t offer much space for supporting furniture, you can likely squeeze in a few small additional pieces to help with versatility in the space. A small bench adds an extra seating option for when you need to entertain extra people—but it can easily be tucked into a corner or against a wall so it’s out of the way for daily use. A small bar cart offers a surface for mixing drinks, or simply adds storage for cookbooks, glassware, or as a serving tray. Plus, it can be wheeled around for extra room when needed.

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The Key Elements of a Small Dining Room

  • A small, round dining room table
  • A small light fixture and simple decor
  • A petite bench for additional seating
  • A bar cart for storage and serving versatility

small dining room layout

For a Medium Dining Room

The Challenge: Designing a functional and stylish dining space.

A medium-sized dining room is the most typical sized dining room. It’s where you’ll be able to fit a standard sized table and seating for 4-6 people. To keep everything in proportion, go for a medium sized table, which typically runs around 60” and seats six people, along with a standard rug size, like an 8×10, beneath.

small dining room layout

The Key Furniture

A Rectangular or Oval Dining Table: Either a rectangular or oval dining table is suitable for a medium dining room—though an oval table gives you a bit more versatility to seat more people, since there are no corners to contend with. The standard size of the table and the room itself means you can take more liberties with your combination of chairs and seating options.

Versatile Seating Options: Four chairs suits the size of a medium dining area, but you could keep more on-hand for entertaining. You could go for mismatched dining room chairs, or combine a few chairs with a bench. Either way, you have the flexibility to create a more interesting look with versatile seating.

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small dining room layout

Lighting and Decor

A Proportionate Chandelier: Keep your chandelier in proportion to the table and your art in proportion to the room size. The light fixture pictured here is medium sized, still about one-third the size of the table’s surface.

High-Impact Wall Art: To keep the art in proportion to the space, consider your ceiling height. Here, the ceilings are high, so we took advantage of them with a vertical gallery wall. However, keeping it simple with three pieces keeps the room open and maximizes the visual size of the space. With a more standard ceiling height, you might want to do a horizontal trio of coordinating art pieces.

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small dining room layout

The Supporting Furniture

A Credenza For Storage & Display: Instead of a bar cart like in the small dining room, a medium dining room allows you to upgrade to a credenza. Not only can you display either your bar accessories or even a record player on top for playing background music during dinner, but credenza offer tons of hidden storage as well. You can store table linens, fine china, and glassware or seasonal decor inside. And, while adding plenty of function, credenzas also add a sophisticated and polished touch to a dining room.

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The Key Elements of a Medium Dining Room

  • A standard-sized dining room table
  • Four chairs or a mix of chairs and a bench for more versatility
  • A credenza for added storage and to help proportionally fill out the space.

small dining room layout

For a Large Dining Room

The Challenge: Making use of all the space and filling it out in an intentional way.

For a large dining room layout, you want to make sure you proportionally fill out the space. This means scaling up the size of your furniture and the rug (going for a 9×12), but also adding in additional furniture pieces that you wouldn’t have space for in a small or medium dining room. However, the layout is still spaced out enough for visual breathing room and makes it easy to move throughout the space.

small dining room layout

The Key Furniture

A Standard-Sized or Large Dining Table: While the table size in this large dining room is similar in size to the one in the medium dining room, it has a different look and feel due to the tables around it. However, you could also go for a larger table—perhaps in a farmhouse or rustic style, that has more visual weight to it.

Six Substantial Chairs: We included six chairs around the table to help proportionally fill out the space and make entertaining a breeze. Opting for armchair-style chairs not only further fills out the space but also creates a more formal feel to the table setting. But you can also explore other more substantial types of dining chairs.

Lighting and Decor

A Larger Light Fixture: Since the chairs give the dining table area a larger footprint, we opted for a larger chandelier to be more proportionate to the table and chairs and to make more of a visual statement in the space. We also placed a large lamp on the buffet to give the option for layered lighting in the space.

Surfaces for Styling: With more accent furniture, there are more surfaces to show off art and decor. Make use of the long buffet by styling it with plants, books, and small decorative items. You can also use some shelves in the glass-door bar cabinet for additional display. All of this lets you add extra bits of personality to your dining room.

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small dining room layout

The Supporting Furniture

A Long Buffet: A long buffet offers a lot of concealed storage for dining room essentials. The long surface area not only offers a place for a lamp and styled decor, but it can also be a serving station when you’re hosting guests. If you’re using your dining room as a home office, you can also use your buffet or credenza as a place to stash your work things at the end of the workday to keep your dining area functional for meals.

Accent Chairs: Adding in two flanking chairs adds extra seating options as well as being decorative space fillers to visually fill out the room.

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small dining room layout

A Bar Cabinet: In a large dining room, you have enough space for both a buffet and a separate bar area. But, instead of a bar cart, include a bar cabinet if you have the space. This offers a designated place for bottles, glassware, and bar tools—while also being a beautiful statement piece in the space.

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The Key Elements of a Large Dining Room

  • Furniture that helps fill out the space, including a large table, buffet, and bar cabinet
  • Six dining room chairs, perhaps in an armchair-style for a more substantial look
  • A bar cabinet rather than a bar cart for more storage and to create more of a visual statement

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