Ideas + Advice

Shopping Basics

6 Dining Table Alternatives That Will Save You Space

A traditional dining room table isn't the only option for eating, and it may not be the best fit for many homes. Changing up your eating atmosphere can be a stylish expression of your personal aesthetic or a way to maximize your dining space.

Bar-Height Table

A taller, bar-height table is a dramatic statement piece, and many of these can accommodate up to eight people. A bar-height table, also called pub-height, is the tallest option for dining. The higher bar stools and chest-high tables are the highest design available, with minimal distance between sitting and standing. Once seated, diners are in close proximity to one another, creating a feeling of closeness and camaraderie. Plus, once the meal is finished, this space becomes ideal for playing a board game or cards.

Counter-Height Table

Counter height tables measure 34-36 inches and are about the same height as your kitchen counter or island. They offer a compromise between the traditional dining room table height and a pub table and typically have a more compact design, ideal for a breakfast nook or smaller spaces. Counter-height dining sets also work well for outdoor dining, promoting a relaxed, casual feel.

Collapsible Or Expandable Dining Table

Having the option to expand a dining table if you have guests can make it easier to accommodate everyone comfortably. When you don't need the extra space, then simply remove the leaves and store them. A dining table with extensions is comfortable for a larger party, allowing everyone to gather together. Solid wood expanding dining tables are the most popular, and many can accommodate more than one leaf for flexible seating accommodations. Some collapsible dining tables also have "hidden leaves" which are concealed within the table itself and won't require extra storage of the leaves.

Kitchen Island and Table Seating

Kitchen islands can be perfect for casual dining or a quick breakfast or lunch. Any kitchen island can technically be used as a dining area, as long as there's space for chairs or stools to tuck comfortably underneath. If your kitchen doesn't have an island, then a free-standing island space can make meal preparation easier, giving you more space for meal prep, placing a buffet for guests, or adding chairs for a small eating area. Many free-standing kitchen islands also have storage space, which can be convenient for smaller spaces.

Dinette Table and Banquette Seating

A dinette set is a diminutive version of a dining table for small spaces and smaller dining parties. These tables come in either a rectangle or square shape and give you options for seating. A combination of a bench and chairs is a popular option, and for smaller spaces, sliding a bench underneath the table when not in use can give people with cramped quarters more flexibility when entertaining. Or, consider right-angle banquette seating in a corner, adding a dinette table and a couple of chairs for a cozy breakfast nook.

Coffee Table

While a coffee table may not be the first thing people think of when dining, a low-level table can be a fun alternative to sitting in a chair. Place several large pillows around the table and enjoy shared plates with friends, or set a charcuterie board on a larger coffee table for a night of movies and fun. Or, invest in a convertible coffee table with a larger tray table that lifts out of the coffee table to tabletop height. This gives you a more comfortable eating environment without you having to lean over a shorter coffee table. Paired with small cube seating, a convertible coffee table can also function as a "kids' table" for large family gatherings.

— More Great Articles —

More Dining Table Alternatives

Read the Latest

Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.