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Staging a Small Dining Space for Success

dining table

When it comes to small spaces, the dining room is often overlooked. In fact, “dining room” is a term that may even be too generous to describe the setup – dining area is more like it. Particularly in urban areas, where consolidated living is key, dining areas are integrated into the living space like somewhat of an afterthought.

If you’re planning to sell your home or apartment, you may be concerned about how to make your limited dining space seem more appealing. There are a number of ways to make the most out of a compact dining area, none of which require much work – but all of which require you to manipulate the space to your advantage.

Keep it light & bright

It’s the most commonplace piece of interior design knowledge: light colors make small spaces look larger, dark colors have the opposite effect. Consider painting the walls in your small dining room a light color, like white, light gray, or powder yellow.

Cheery colors best accent a dining area, since it’s the space meant for socialization and enjoyment. Keeping the space light and bright doesn’t only come down to wall color, however. If possible, situate the dining space near a window and don’t weigh that window down with curtains.

Light furnishings make a difference in this regard too. Instead of staging the space with a dark wood (like cherry or mahogany) dining table, stage it with white or cedar furnishings.

Accent with a rug

The best way to draw attention away from how limited a dining space looks is to define the space yourself. Do so by placing an area rug directly underneath the dining table. All at once, this emphasizes the exact location of the dining area and adds a decorative touch.

There’s a science to choosing a rug for your space, however. If you opt for a rug that’s too small, this will only minimize the appearance of the space further.

Whatever rug you choose, make sure its circumference extends well past the edges of the table it’s housing. Furthermore, ensure that when the chairs are tucked in, the entire dining set is situated comfortably within the surface of the rug. Having furniture stick out past the edges of the rug will only make the space look cramped.

Use a round dining table

Square dining tables, with their sharp and definitive corners, can oftentimes restrict a space. Meanwhile, a round dining table gives an illusion of openness and comfort. Round dining tables also seat more people, which will give buyers the illusion of room.

Round tables also physically take up less space, which is absolutely essential when showing off a small dining area to potential buyers. If you complete it with nesting chairs that are carved perfectly to the edge of the table, it’s sure to be even more effective.

Due to the lack of corners, a round table makes for a better flow around the room. It’s easier to navigate around one, which gives the impression of space.

Avoid excessive décor

Nothing overwhelms a small dining space more than too many knick-knacks. A minimal dining area looks cleaner and more spacious. Accent the dining table with a centerpiece to give it an air of elegance, but don’t go too far beyond that.

Aside from some place settings and a centerpiece, the dining table should not contain too many items. Avoid placing more furniture in this space, however. Rather, adorn it with a bright or abstract painting/wall hanging that will draw the eye.

Stage it for two

This last piece of advice is most relevant for dining spaces that are tucked into a corner, or ones in studios and small apartments. The last thing a compact dining space needs is more furniture or chairs. So, create a bistro-style setup with just two chairs.

This gives a sense of intimacy and openness simultaneously. And, since small spaces like studios and one bedroom apartments are usually made for 1-2 individuals, staging the dining space as a two-seater helps potential buyers pictures themselves utilizing it.

Other considerations

Rather than leaving potential buyers wondering how many they’ll be able to seat in the compact dining space, answer the question for them. Don’t cram too many chairs around a small table in order to give the illusion of space – it’ll have the opposite impact. Rather, determine the correct size table for each seating arrangement and then determine the proper table size from there.

In a small space, go for a table circumference of 24” to 36” – the perfect measurements for a 2-4 seater. Staging a small dining space can be an art. The key is a light touch, a bright color palette, and a defining feature. Beyond that, it’s up to the buyer’s imagination.

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