As the trend for dedicated dining rooms starts to disappear, more and more of us look to eating in our kitchen spaces instead, and no matter the size of yours, we've got some great tips for squeezing in a spot to do so.
Small kitchen ideas can inspire a whole new look for the hub of your home but working out how to fit small kitchen table ideas into your plans too, can leave you feeling stumped. Luckily we've gathered plenty of ideas, as well as some expert advice, to ensure all mealtimes can be marvellous, no matter the size of your space.
Small kitchen table Ideas
While tray dinners in front of the TV on the weekends feels like a treat it's not a preferable solution to a dining table for everyday mealtimes. And while not every kitchen can accommodate a full-sized dining table, you'd be surprised how many smart small kitchen table ideas can offer even the tiniest kitchen layout a fine place to dine.
'From a design perspective, a dining table is a clever way of creating the illusion of a bigger kitchen, thanks to the light that beams through the empty space that sits underneath the table' explains Andy Briggs, Interior Designer at Optiplan Kitchens. 'As a result, the effect of a larger floor plan is created, making your kitchen feel bigger and brighter.'
'For those whose tastes are ever-changing or homeowners who like to keep up with the latest trends, dining tables can be replaced very easily and fairly cost-effectively,' continues Andy.
'They can be spruced up with a new set of chairs, refreshed by injecting colour with soft furnishings or accessories. They can also be moved, turned and pushed against a wall if more space needs to be made.'
So let's explore our small kitchen table ideas to maximise your living space...
1. Go for glass
Glass furniture is a great choice for small spaces as it appears less bulky and solid, allowing natural light to easily travel around it and through it. It's also a good choice for open-plan kitchen-diner spaces as it won't create a distracting divide, one of the most common small kitchen problems, but yet helps blend the two areas together.
Although glass-topped tables are a little harder to keep clean and mess-free (especially if your have small children!) they are worth it for the aesthetics and could be the ideal option for a small kitchen table.
2. Keep it colourful
If your home is already full of colour, and you're looking to add some small kitchen paint colours ideas to your space, then your small kitchen table should be no exception, and is a great piece to have some fun with. Paint the base, legs or the whole thing a vibrant shade to really make a feature of it and inject some joy into the space.
Team your table with some colourful tableware, linen and dining chairs, for a cheerful spot to enjoy mealtimes in the kitchen.
3. Build a banquette
Create clever banquette seating with handy built-in storage by turning a simple shelving unit on it's side and adding cushions for comfort. It's a great space-saving idea for how to make a small kitchen look bigger and is easy to do yourself.
Start by building your shelving unit as per the manufacturers guide, here we've used a Kallax shelving unit, £45, Ikea. Move the unit into place on its side and secure to the wall using brackets.
Next fix an upholstered headboard to the wall above the unit to create a comfy back rest. You could even make your own by covering a piece of foam topped MDF in a length of fabric. Finally add baskets of varying designs to each cubby hole as a place to store kitchen essentials.
4. Squeeze in a shelf
If space is seriously lacking in your kitchen and the idea of small kitchen table is struggling to register with your room, try just opting for a slim shelf to sit at for mealtimes instead. Acting like a breakfast bar, it won't take up any floor space and will make the most of an area against the wall, an ideal small kitchen layout idea.
Slot in a couple of bar stools and you've got a great space for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, cocktails, after-work drinks... need we go on?
5. Zone the space with a rug
A great way to define a clear area for your small kitchen table is to use a rug to zone the space, a smart kitchen flooring idea. Opt for a rug that is slightly bigger than your table, and can fit your dining chairs or bench on it too.
A rug will help your kitchen table become more a feature in your room, rather than what seems like a piece of furniture that has been added as an afterthought.
6. Boast a bijou bistro table
To avoid breaking the flow and feel of a compact kitchen, choose a less intimidating small bistro table and chairs set for your small kitchen table ideas. The round shape of this Ercol Ancona breakfast table, £875, Furniture Village, offers a softer feel, without hard edges to avoid as you manoeuvre around the space, making it flow more freely, a big kitchen trend.
There's a reason bistro sets are so popular for balcony spaces, because they offer a small-space seating solution fit for purpose without taking up more space than needed.
7. Soften the edges to make it more compact
There's something about soft edges in design that makes furniture pieces feel less oppressive, especially when talking tables in small kitchen layouts. Choosing round or at least rounded edge small kitchen table ideas will help to create a sense of flow, rather than feeling like a block shaped in a small space.
Same goes for the chairs you choose to match. Opting for rounder designs automatically makes them feel less intrusive to the space.
8. Make it multifunctional
A small kitchen table is best used as a multipurpose surface - from a kitchen work prep small kitchen island idea to a tiny dining table the next. Choose a design of small kitchen table that can lend itself to all manner of kitchen tasks.
Choosing a lightweight design will ensure the table can be manoeuvred with ease around the space, to create a sense of freedom and flow. Moveable kitchen furniture aids a small kitchen idea because it feels less restrictive.
9. Incorporate storage to save space
When space is limited smart design is a must. To afford the space for a small kitchen table try seeking a multifunctional design that doubles as a savvy small kitchen storage idea. This brilliantly clever design, provides additional storage while serving as a dining table.
The underside of the table features storage compartments to keep placemats, tableware and kitchen clutter – even laptops and home office must-haves if needed. The smart design also accommodates the chairs when not in use, to prevent them taking up valuable floorspace.
'IKEA’s range of drop-leaf tables, such as the KALLHÄLL table, £199, IKEA can be pressed up against any free wall space, and extended only when needed' explains Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Manager, IKEA. 'The table also multi-tasks as storage where you can keep foldable chairs when not in use.' Genius.
10. Keep dining chairs to a minimum
When your kitchen is lacking space any surface is valuable, whether it be for dining or preparing food, so knowing how you organise a small kitchen is key. By keeping the seating less formal your kitchen table can feel more flexible in use. For example, small kitchen table ideas placed adjacent to the units can create a galley-style kitchen and form more of a worktop when not being used as a dining table.
Choose a similar style tabletop to the kitchen counter makes it feel even more forgiving – creating a sense of an extension of worktops.
11. Team with a space-saving bench
When space is tight it helps to keep furniture to a minimum, to avoid a feeling of overcrowding. Having said that what's the point of having a dining table with no chairs?
The smart solution to get around this type of small kitchen problems is with bench seating. Bench seating is flexible enough to provide plentiful seating while also having the ability to hide away, under the table out of sight, when not in use.
Having seating that disappears is also a great solution if you have a wall to push the small kitchen table ideas flush against. This gives you the freedom to move the table to one side and use the wall as a buffer for stacking items against. Or also idea for a party buffet table, over to one side out pf the way.
12. Create a window seat dining area
Place a small kitchen table directly in from of a window seat to create a banquette booth-style arrangement. The window seat idea will provide plentiful seating to one side to balance the feel of the small room. Use low level stools on the opposite side of the table so they don't feel imposing.When not in use they can simply be tucked under the table out of the way, a smart way to make a small kitchen look bigger.
An extending table design is always a welcome way of making more of a limited space.
13. Choose highly adaptable designs
'With kitchens being the place for entertaining guests, everyday dining and grabbing a quick morning coffee – it’s often a space we need to adapt to several different scenarios,' says Clotilde from IKEA. 'Even if your kitchen is cosy, there are clever small kitchen table solutions that allow you to entertain, without compromising your day-to-day space.'
As with any kitchen, but particularly those on the more petite side, choosing kitchen space savers like multifunctional designs allows you to tailer your space to suit your needs. A drop leaf table that extends means you can go from slimline breakfast bar feel to a generous banquette table in no time at all. Folding chairs ensure surplus seats aren't taking up unwanted space when not in use.
14. Opt for a wall-mounted design
A wall-mounted small kitchen table is always a winning way to save valuable floor space in a room. Elevating the design frees up the space below, leaving room for extra storage and even a moveable kitchen trolley. As long as there is space for legs to fit under the small table when seated, anything goes.
How do you put a table in a small kitchen?
Put a table in a small kitchen with careful consideration. The last thing you want to do is make the already small space feel constricted by a bulky table. Choose a smart design, one that extends, folds away or offers a storage solution to make it multifunctional and therefore justifiable for the space.
'Even if you have a smaller kitchen, keep the dining table central to the room so people are still immersed in the space' advises Andy from Optiplan Kitchens.
Choose smart small kitchen table ideas which works harder in a compact space. 'Whether you’re planning an intimate sit down dinner party, or simply need a functional space to enjoy dinner with your housemate, as opposed to squeezing on the sofa, the NORDVIKEN, INGATORP and IDANÄS drop leaf tables are great options' says Clotilde from IKEA. 'They give you an all-important space to sit properly for meals.'
It's likely if a kitchen is on the small size the rest of the downstairs will be limited for space, meaning it's important to give each room its own identity to help make the layout feel more generous.
What shape table is best for a small kitchen?
Generally speaking the best shape table for a small kitchen table is round from a visual perspective – because the soft edges feel less structured and therefore less intrusive on the small space. If you're looking for more of a classic dining table the best shape is a narrow oblong, to take up less space but still provide plenty of room to cater for your dining requirements.
Any extending small kitchen table ideas are perfect because it can be made bigger or smaller depending on the needs of the occasion.
What can I use instead of a kitchen table?
If your space really is too wee for a kitchen table, you could think of some alternatives. Using a kitchen island as a table is a good one, as all you need is a bar stool to sit up at it. The same idea applies to a shelf bar or end of a kitchen worktop- just pop a stool along side it and you've got yourself a space for munching!
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Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.
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