If you’ve only rented for your entire adult life, chances are you have never had a “formal dining room” which you can find in a lot of larger homes or newly built homes. A formal dining room was a secondary dining area used for formal dinner parties or holidays—probably not something you will find in a small apartment.
So with your small apartment dining room, or lack thereof, what can you do to create a great dinner table?
A table that folds into a smaller size is an incredible way to make your small space as functional as possible. IKEA sells a great foldaway dining table that can seat two to four people. With built-in drawers, the table remains just as useful folded out, as it does sitting against the wall. Keep your extra plates and silverware in the drawers and have easy access when you need to serve a small dinner party! There are also fantastic shelving units that have a drop-down table so you can combine storage, cabinet space, and a dining table all in one.
Combining storage and dining into one piece of furniture can not only save you a ton of space in your day to day activities but can also allow for a single person breakfast to a small four to six person dinner party, even in your tiny space. Even TV-trays can be a great way to allow for more people to dine in your home, especially for sports games, and they store easily when not in use.
If you are someone who enjoys entertaining but does not have a large dining room, or even a dining room at all, the best thing you can do is get a convertible dining table. Like many, maybe you grew up in a household that had to break out the “leaves” of the extendable table for holidays. You pull apart the table and put in one to three leaves in the center to make the table grow to fit everyone.
Drop-leaf tables are similar to the foldaway tables but are often a round table, with a stable center, and the drop-leafs hanging down on the sides. Because it comes as a single unit, there’s nothing to store away, and you can quickly and easily convert within seconds.
Butterfly leaf tables pull apart to open up the middle to lay in your leaves. Some tables have the leaves attached underneath for easy storage, but others will have to be put in. Either way, it can be a great way to be able to host larger parties without having to have a large table all the time.
Benches are an effortless way to be able to create more seating in less space. Plus, bench seating can be reasonably simple to do yourself with a cheap or thrifted bench or shelving unit and some added throw pillows or seat cushions on top. Fit them against a wall or in the corner and push your table right up to it. And just like that, you have a spot for multiple people without taking up any space with chairs around all four sides of a table.
You can also use a bench seat on one side of the table with chairs on the other side to save a lot of space. Push that table up against the wall over your bench seat for more room, then simply pull it out away from the wall when you need to!
You’ll often find in many apartments a breakfast bar, or option for a breakfast bar, off of L-shaped kitchens. Since you don’t need a full place setting for breakfast, these small narrow counters are easy to belly up and have your breakfast rather than sitting down for a formal meal at the dining table. They are generally just a small counter where you can have a drink or snack quickly and easily. High bar stools and chairs can easily slide up to the breakfast bar.
In the case of small dining areas or studio apartments, there’s no shame in using the breakfast bar as your actual dining area. You don’t need to take up crucial space with a dining table, and for single people or families of two or three, it does the job just fine!
Built-in or portable kitchen islands can be multi-use, especially in a small space. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so having a kitchen island can act as a gathering place to eat, prepare meals, talk over drinks, or even use it as a workspace if you work from home or do school work!
Kitchen islands can have cabinets, drawers, storage, and even extendable countertop that hang down like a drop-leaf table. Pushing bar stools underneath the ledge can leave plenty of room for food prep around the counter while having accessible seating.
Getting yourself some nice folding chairs can ensure accommodations for guests and can be stowed away in a closet or storage unit until you need them. But, getting yourself a set of stackable round stools can even be used as a table or extra plant stand when not in use.
Round table-like stools can be stacked in the corner of your kitchen or living room and be utilized rather than stored. Use them as plant stands or book tables around your apartment when not in use. Then in the event of a dinner party, it’s a lot easier to store and move your decor off their tops than it may be to store the stools. They are a nice upgrade from folding chairs, and can easily be used in both your kitchen or living area for extra seats. Voila!
So, even if you don’t have a formal dining room or a dining room in general, you can still utilize the space you have. From your small two-person dinner to hosting a holiday gathering, try some of these great tips! Convertible tables, kitchen islands, and stackable chairs are your best friends in your small space dining. We can say with great pride that our units are well suited for small apartment dining, and we can’t wait to show you! Check out our available units here.