Space Saver: A bench in the dining room
May 19, 2010
Whether you have a small dining room or just a diminutive nook in the kitchen, this tip can buy you precious inches without a big expense. Take a look at the space plan below showing a table and six chairs in a typical small dining space. Yes, I think most builders and designers of spec house plans think that 8x9 is all the space one needs for a family dinner. And worse, that the light fixture should always be wired dead center. This causes people to plop the dining table directly under the light (of course), but it's the worst way to use space in a room this small. There's little room for circulation and no room for storage furniture.
Here's a solution that changes the way the room functions. By eliminating chairs on one side of the table and replacing it with a bench, there's ample room for moving chairs in and out, plus space for a narrow buffet to store dishes, glassware, linens, kids' projects… whatever you need the most in that room. The table now seats an extra person, and there's even room to store a spare chair in the corner. Of course, the pendant light has to move. This is an easy job for an electrician, or you can install a hook in the ceiling and swag the fixture to the new location.
Here are some inspiring photos of benches in dining rooms and breakfast nooks. Built-ins are nice but not required for a polished look. A freestanding bench is flexible, so you can change the room as your space requirements change. Always consider comfort. A bench should have some sort of cushioning, and the table should be positioned just right: with its edge even with the edge of the bench.
A sunny kitchen nook maximizes a small space. Photo: Better Homes & Gardens.
Casual and comfy with assorted throw pillows. Photo: R. Majumdar via Apartment Therapy.
A tufted leather bench contrasts with clean lines. Photo: decorpad.
Beadboard creates a cottagey, easy-to-maintain backdrop for this bench. Photo: decorpad.
Upholster a bench with black-and-white striped fabric for a European feel. Photo: decorpad.
A bench need not feel casual. Luxurious upholstery and a comfy back make this work in a more formal setting. Photo: decorpad.
Long and narrow spaces are particularly suited to this technique. Photo: decorpad.
Need a little help rearranging your space so it looks better and works right? I can help, either in person or online. In the Traverse City area, make an appointment for a Dwelement Interior Redesign Session and we'll have that room looking great within 2-3 hours. Elsewhere, order a Mini Makeover for a space plan and color plan along with a list of recommended improvements. For more info, just email me. There's never a commitment.—Diane
TAGS: small dining room breakfast nook how to arrange furniture need more space tiny room floorplan bench dining table storage ideas
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