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Small Space Living Is Going To Get A Lot More Stylish...

Small Spaces: Dining Table Combos + What Shape Works Best For Your Space

Emily Henderson Small Space Dining chandelier black and white photography
Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

We’ve all been there… first apartment, tiny studio in the city, or maybe even just an area of your home that maybe isn’t quite as grandiose as the rest but still needs some love and some solutions. For this reason we are starting a new series all about small spaces. We get it because like we said, we have been there and not all of us have expansive dining rooms or large en-suite master bedrooms. Sometimes there is just enough room for a little pull out couch, a tiny dining room nook, and a makeshift desk area that also serves double duty as extra seating when you have people over. Small spaces are tough and often times there is a gap in the market of high quality and well-designed products that work for small spaces. So with this series, we intend to do our research, scour the market and bring to you the best of the best pieces to give that small space some big style.

small space dining table build in seating pendant
Photo by Bethany Nauert for EHD

Today we are bringing you dining room (err, dining nook) options. All of these tables are under 40 inches wide and are circular or square with room for 2 to 4 chairs which for a small space makes the most sense. But before we get into it there are a few rules ground rules to remember when designing with a small space.

  1. Function: How does the space or room function as that will dictate the type of furniture you buy and also if it has to do double duty.
  2. Scale: This is not the time to try and squeeze your chair and half into a 500 sq ft studio. You have to be reasonable with yourself and really think about how big the piece can actually be in order to work in your space.
  3. Shape: Shape is key in small living as the shape of the piece is going to dictate the flow around said piece. As we mentioned before a circular table is going to work best in your dining nook area to allow for an even flow around it, just as an oval coffee table might work best in your living area so that you give yourself more floor space by eliminating those square corners. But if you have a small NYC style apartment where you have to push your table up against one wall then a small square option or one that folds up and down will be best for you to use.

Here are 30 dining chair and table combos that are EHD and small space approved. We did pull these combos together based on looks but a lot of the tables and chairs could be swapped around so if you like one table and one chair then feel free to play a little musical chairs to find the right combo that works best for you and your space.

Emily Henderson Small Space Dining Combos Round Tables Roundup

1. Chair + Table | 2. Chair + Table | 3. Chair + Table | 4. Chair + Table | 5. Chair + Table | 6. Chair + Table | 7. Chair + Table | 8. Chair + Table | 9. Chair + Table | 10. Chair + Table | 11. Chair + Table | 12. Chair + Table | 13. Chair + Table | 14. Chair + Table | 15. Chair + Table | 16. Chair + Table | 17. Chair + Table | 18. Chair + Table | 19. Chair + Table | 20. Chair + Table

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And for those of you that don’t have the space for a round table, or need a table that can be pushed up against a wall with three chairs around it here are some of our favorite options for you.

Emily Henderson Small Space Dining Combos Square Tables Roundup Copy

1. Chair + Table | 2. Chair + Table | 3. Chair + Table | 4. Chair + Table | 5. Chair + Table | 6. Chair + Table | 7. Chair  + Table | 8. Chair + Table | 9. Chair + Table | 10. Chair + Table

Let us know if you have any questions on any of the combos below, and if you live in a small space let us know what you want us to tackle next. Is it a roundup of small scale sofas or love seats, or maybe you need furniture that does double duty and is multifunctional? We are open to whatever suggestions you may have so let us know below and we can start doing the research for you.

  1. Great – really looking forward to this series.

    I think small spaces are the most challenging of designs as everything has to come together perfectly – function, looks and above all size! Every last cm / inch has be factored and measured and re-measured (Will the bed fit against the wall? Can the door be closed? How wide can my shower cubical be before I can no longer use the toilet? There’s no closet and wardrobe space! How can I make my place look bigger than it is, uncluttered but functional and friendly? What would happen in a ship’s cabin, can a solution be found there or perhaps even in caravan design etc. etc. …) There are some great videos on YouTube that tackle these questions – just look up Living Big in a Tiny House, Paula MacDonald for Manhattan apartments, Go Downsize or Faircompanies.com.

    These tables are small, bright and airy, however, I think most of them would be difficult for “dual purpose”. Of course the pictures may deceiving but most look like they can seat no more than two people.

    Having lived in many small spaces, I think the best ones are those that convert either in size or function (e.g. the Ercol drop leaf table / gate leg tables or from coffee to dining table such as those produced by Dwell). They really function well in terms of design, can seat up to six people or more when friends are round and can be folded away when not in use.

    I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series and what solutions your team will come up with.

  2. Yes please! I have a small open “study nook” area with desk and chair but also some extra space that is not being used… Ideas very very welcome!

  3. Great series! I am life-long small space renter and now owner. CB2 Dylan table (small size) is a great rectangular table for small space as well. For future posts – small space sectional, small space side chair, stool, extra sitting area, small space paint/ lighting. in addition to small space lots of us also don’t have great ceiling height — Small space enchantment with architectural details – crown molding etc

  4. I’m dying to find a small-scale sectional that is NOT from Pottery Barn’s PB Apartment line. It seems like the only options that exist are sofas that have a chaise on the end, which is not helpful at all. I need a back and arm on that chaise to make it a fully functioning seat! Any thoughts?

    1. looking for this too.

    2. Have you tried Room and Board? We have had a small sofa from them for over 10 years. The quality is excellent.

      1. I also saw that Joybird has some smaller scale sectionals – I think they are part of their Apartment line. Very cute, but just a couple of options.

  5. HI!
    Could you share the links to the photographs you’d posted? I cant remember the 2nd one – I know the first is Brady’s place – and I love that pendant light!
    Thanks

    1. The links have been added xx

  6. Thanks for this post! I’ve been searching high and low for a small table for a dining nook in my kitchen. Has anyone come across a small (under 40″) OVAL table? It seems impossible to find. Would love a smaller version of the oval tulip table.

  7. I would love to see you style a round table with place settings for four or even two. I struggle to make it look perfect.

  8. Of course you had to post that first photo. I have been trying to talk my husband into the Tangeled Chandelier for awhile now. He keeps saying, “we don’t need it”. So sad.

  9. I have a loveseat I want to keep in our guest room guest, and I am now looking for a new bed to go with it. Would love help figuring out how buy beds and sofas/chairs that work together in a bedroom. Thank you!

  10. Great series! We have an 1100 sq ft home, so these ideas will be very helpful! Thank you for all of the great work you guys put into this blog. It is my favorite!

  11. I like this series! My biggie right now: office furniture that can *occasionally* double as a guest room, without just shoving everything in a corner and blowing up an air mattress. I’m thinking small space desk and chair, pull out sofa or daybed, and some shelving/storage options.

    1. Yes, this is my thing right now as well. I am REALLY excited about IKEAs new Vallentuna series, and that seating module that unfolds as a bed. Maybe I will even splurge on a fancy linen cover from Bemz.

  12. I’m a small house owner dying for more looks for small spaces. I feel like there are two camps; tiny or normal size(for today/recent builds). I live in a 1940s colonial in the D.C. Metro area and everything is small with no closets but still pretty fuctional if you know what you’re doing (I do not). Id love to see designs for modest sized homes not just tiny aprtments! Love the EHD team <3

  13. Just a wonderful post. I like your three ‘guiding’ thoughts. Sometimes it is hard to slow yourself down and measure!

    Thank you for this series. Pam

  14. I’d love you to do a small space roundup focusing on a small space with a LOW ceiling. I feel like a lot of the roundups you have show inspiration where the ceiling is high and there’s a spaciousness that way that makes things easier. Smaller rooms with lower ceilings have a different challenge, especially with art. For example, what do you do with the TV gallery wall if your ceiling is low (and you don’t have all that room above your TV to place frames around).

  15. I love this series! As an added challenge I would love to see a “Small Spaces: Families”, as in sub 1,000 sq ft with 4 people! I would also love to see general size minimums of what is generally considered comfortable, because this would help for online browsing. My 5 year old daughter and I were recently talking about our dream house, and she said she wanted a table that could fit more people (cue heartstrings), and so now I am trying to figure out what we can do in our kitchen. To solve this problem I have been looking at smaller banquet benches, and of course the one that looks the most appealing is very deep, but for the rest, I have been having a hard time determining what would be comfortable.

  16. Definitely would like to see smaller sized living room design options-I’m having a hard time setting up my living room to where when I have people over they actually want to come in and sit! Seems like everyone is confused and just ends up standing around the kitchen island 🙁
    Glad your tackling this because it’s so tricky! I have a drop leaf for my dining/kitchen seating that can seat up to six and I love love it! I actually just bought new dining room chairs and have had to move them all around the house when company comes so comfy dining/kitchen seats was a must for me.

  17. Great series! Even people like me with a big house with a big dining room have small awkward spaces. We rarely use the dining room and, instead, usually end up eating in a corner of a sitting room that’s open to the kitchen. It’s an awkward small space and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it more functional. This has given me a lot to think about.

    Thanks

  18. Yayyy! Me and my downtown condo life are so excited for this series!

  19. I would love some suggestions on how to make a guest bedroom double up as a study. It’s a double bed sized room, but has built-in-wardrobes all along one side of the room making it tricky to have a bed along the one side, and a desk along the other. The blow-up mattress just isn’t cutting it anymore. Ta!

  20. Not sure about the west coast, but on the east coast if you live in a city, you live in a small space – and you could be any age -and with or without children. You just prefer city life.

  21. Great series especially for us oldsters who are downsizing into condos. I’m looking for a rectangle dining table that is only about 32 inches wide where you can add leaves when “the kids” come over. A pedestal type base would work best to give maximum room I know that restaurant tables are narrow but the bases are so ugly.

  22. I highly recommend Ikea’s Norberg wall-mounted drop table. I’m using it for my “dining” table (meaning: small table that sits in my kitchen and sits 2-3 people). And it is SO cheap. I thought I would only use it in my last apartment, but it’s so versatile that it traveled with me to my new one. I have a spare bedroom that I want to use as an office and I might buy another Norberg to use as a desk in that room.

    Oh, and another great thing about the Norberg (besides the price/simple design) is that there are no legs, so it doesn’t take up a lot of visual space and my chairs can be pushed underneath if I want.

    Thanks for this!

  23. Hi, NYC apartment dweller here. Thanks for starting this series! I like your suggestions. In our dining nook, we have a 42″ round table with four full time chairs and two folding chairs. (We have the West Elm arc pedestal table and red Tolix-style chairs, we got from different Craigslist sellers.) Where I’ve struggled is in finding a storage piece– we have room for a narrow sideboard with a maximum depth of 12″ and don’t have the budget for custom. I’m leaving towards an Ikea Ivar configuration (inspired by the blue painted unit you had in your old office). Another challenge is lighting for multi-functional spaces, especially ones that are not hardwired for ceiling fixtures. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from your blog over the years. I appreciate that you try to show different styles, spaces, and price points. Thank you!

  24. Love these!

    I’d also love to see some options for how to make a small bedroom work as a master? My little 50s house has an 11 x 15 “master” and part of that has to be closet. I plan to rebuild the closet across the 11′ back wall opposite the wall of windows. That leaves me with an 11×13 space for a king bed… I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem. Is there a headboard that you can float in the room, and the back of it is shelving? I’m kind of stumped right now.

  25. Yesss. Me and my 1300 sq/ft cape without a dining area thank you! <3

  26. I’m looking for a round table and seating for two for a corner in my kitchen, by I would prefer a counter height table a stools/chairs. I love the Parisian style woven stools from Serena and Lily but cannot find a small round counter-height table that I like. Ugh.

  27. So excited to see more in this series!! Thank you for doing this!

  28. Just wanted to note that I appreciate you putting the prices under the pictures and not making us click on every product link ^^. Thanks!

  29. Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared an informative and interesting blog post with people. https://ios12update.com/

  30. Great post, can’t wait to see your ideas for a small living room.

  31. I would love to find a round or oval table with a leaf! Any sources?

  32. I prefer drop leaf table for my tiny 1920s kitchen. I can pull it all the way out to use as a workspace and then drop it down to store out of the way while keeping a space for 2 people to eat comfortably.

  33. Love this new series! It’s going to be great inspriation for our lovely old home with small everything. Oh charm, you are a big price to pay for everyday, modern living! Ha. Also, could you direct me to the source of the pendent and roman shades in the beautiful breakfast nook photo shared?

  34. Great dining room combinations! Would you consider doing a post on dining room rugs that are kid friendly?

  35. LOVE this! I’ve never commented before, but this series is encouraging me to be an active participant 🙂 I live in a ~350 sq ft studio in Brooklyn and am constantly thinking about how to maximize my small space. So often I see studio inspo that looks extremely minimalist and while it’s beautiful, I always wonder where they actually keep their stuff. I would love to see more overall studio layout recommendations, as well as furniture that does double duty… thank you!

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