Where to put a dining table if you don’t have a dining room – interior designers share their thoughts

Dinner parties shouldn't be limited to those of us with dining rooms, these spots can fit a table in wonderfully, without compromising on space

A wooden Ercol dining table with black chairs in a dark kitchen with black cabinets and white countertops
(Image credit: Ercol)

It is hard to deny that a dining table is an awkward piece to fit into a home if you don't have a designated space. That being said, there are some excellent alternatives to where to put a dining table if you don't have a dining room that designers say are just as good. 

Here, interior designers have shared their tips for where to put a dining table if you don't have a dining room, to help host no matter the size of your home.

Where to put a dining table if you don’t have a dining room 

Everyone knows the best conversations happen over a meal, whether it is with family, a partner, or friends, so having somewhere to sit and eat is an important element to consider when choosing your dining room ideas – even if you think you don't have the space.

1. Make a multifunctional space

Open plan kitchen dining and living room, wooden floors

(Image credit: Tim Waltman)

Whether you have an open-plan living room or not, it can be handy to make one room multifunctional, especially if you do not use a formal dining table very frequently.  

Kim Taylor shares that, in a recent project by Two Hands Interiors, they combined a formal lounge space with a dining room thanks to a drop leaf table that could be conveniently concealed as a sideboard when not in use. 

‘This room is used primarily as a lounge and then a few times a year, the drop leaf tables that usually live along the walls are moved to the center and set up as a dining table,’ she says. ‘We used an origami drop leaf rectangular dining table, like this one from Wayfair.

There are some beautiful folding chair options too, if you don't have any dining-style chairs around the house that you can corral together, they add, such as the Raylan Teak Folding Chair from Pottery Barn that, although designed for outdoor use, looks beautiful indoors too.  

2. Make use of outdoor space in summer

espalier trees behind outdoor dining scene in garden designed by Alan Williams

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs)

Of course, if you don't have space inside, outdoor dining is the best bet, says Jenny Kozena, interior designer and co-founder of IntroOnly

‘Make use of any outdoor spaces by adding a dining table whether it's a balcony or a garden you can create your own beautiful outdoor dining room. You can also convert your garage to an indoor-outdoor dining area if you need more space and want to host more people,’ she adds.

Although this alternative works best in summer, there are some smart yet stylish ways of staying warm when dining outside for spring and fall too.  

 Jenny Kozena
Jenny Kozena

Jenny is an Interior Designer originally from the UK and currently residing in California. With extensive experience in both commercial and residential design, she has honed her skills in creating stunning and functional spaces. 

3. Keep it traditional with kitchen dining

kitchen dining nook with banquette seat and round table wooden floor

(Image credit: Aaron Leitz)

Eat-in kitchens are nothing new, but they are a staple for a reason, says Simran Kaur, founder and editor of the home blog, Room You Love: 

‘It's quite traditional advice but if you have enough space in the kitchen pull the dining table into there,’ she says. ‘It’s rather practical to eat the food where it's cooked, and is great for hosting as you can converse with guests as you prepare.’ 

4. Use the area behind a sofa

home office with dark paint and dark gray sofa and arched window

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

If you avoid the common sofa arranging mistake of pressing your furniture up against the walls, then you can fit a console-type dining table being a sofa for intimate meals, Jenny Kozena, interior designer, continues. You can fit stools beneath for concealed seating, and style the table as a console to blend it seamlessly into the scheme when not in use.  

5. Use your kitchen island

Marble topped kitchen island with drawers and cupboards

(Image credit: Sarah WInchester Studios/Nicole Hirsch)

If your kitchen is big enough for an island to help with prep work, consider designing a kitchen island with seating for it to double up as a dining space, Meredith Marlow, principal interior designer at the eponymous design studio, recommends. 

‘We drop down one end to table height so that it is usable as a dining table or even workspace,’ she explains. ‘It's amazing how much space you save when you build the dining table into the island. You can even change the table finish from the main island.’ 

Meredith Marlow
Meredith Marlow

Meredith worked for over 4 years at a highly respected architecture firm in the Miami Design District before starting her own interior design company, which she has now run for over 10 years.


Is it okay to not have a dining table?

Although having a dining table helps with hosting and keeps food off of the sofa, it is okay to not have one if you don't have the space or don’t like the formal atmosphere. Consider still having some form of flat surface that makes it easier to enjoy meals, however, such as a coffee table you can sit at on the floor to eat traditionally, or a kitchen island with seating or bar stools.  

Can you host without a dining room?

It is entirely possible to host without a dining room. Not all gatherings have to be centered around a formal meal, you could go for a more relaxed evening with drinks instead, or, if you want to cook, go for food people can pick from as you play games, socialize, or enjoy a movie.  

Although these dining table solutions are a far cry from traditional dining room ideas, they open up different possibilities for hosting, from focusing on more intimate gatherings to switching it up and inviting people over a little more informally for snacks and drinks.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.