Interior Kitchen & Dining Kitchen Design

14 Ways to Pull Off a Double-Duty Dining Room

The dining room is often an extra space that gets used only for holidays or special occasions. But if you're plagued by small square footage—or if you're trying to make your house more functional overall—then this dedicated eating area may be eating up precious space. Never again have to sacrifice one room for another with these 14 ideas for making your dining room work doubly well.

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Pull Up a Chair

Zillow Digs home in Skokie, IL

If your dining room and kitchen share a wall, consider using (or building) a pass-through that can put in some serious overtime. Just pull up a few barstools to create an eat-in breakfast bar, perfect for extra seating for large gatherings, casual weeknight meals with the family, or just a little cozy relaxation after cooking.

Use Furniture Wisely

Open-shelf bookcases are an instant, easy-on-the-wallet way to create two rooms from one, as demonstrated by this cheery dining-slash-living room. Two area rugs and a cool pendant light fixture help define the separate spaces, while the eye-popping wall color ties it all together with amazing style.

Related: Buy or DIY: 10 Room Dividers to Remake Your Space

Don't Waste Wall Space

Don’t let your dining room’s blank walls go to waste. Instead, use them as an opportunity to incorporate a home library. Whether you spring for built-ins or simply mimic the look with a few freestanding bookcases, you’ll love the amped up storage and style that comes with this space-smart trick.

Related: 10 Novel DIYs for a Better Bookshelf

Combine and Conquer

So often the dining room just collects dust from January through November. Rather than letting it lie fallow, use it for other activities that don’t have their own area. Here, a home office and craft station team up with the dining room to create a three-in-one space that easily adapts to the present need. Cabinets sneakily stash supplies, while vibrant yellow accessories throughout ensure a cohesive feel. 

Related: 8 Organizers for the Little Stuff You Always Lose

Merge Dinner and Drinks; photographer: Eric Craton, Highlight Homes Architectural Photography; designer:

Cheers to this clever idea that makes the most of every inch of space in the dining room. Cabinets store spare dishes and serving ware, while built-in fridges and wine storage racks keep beverages cold and close at hand. 

Related: 17 DIY Mini Bars to Mix Up Your Home Decor

Coordinate Colors and Finishes

A small piano makes the most of an awkward corner in this boldly decorated eating space, ensuring that this family’s limited square footage won’t stop the music. The trick to making everything copacetic? The upholstered bench, similar furniture styles, and red-painted accents throughout, which lend a high-end look with unique charm. 

Related: Multiple Personalities: 10 Fantastically Flexible Spaces in Today’s Home

Display Storage as Decor

Practical storage doubles as wall art in this ingenious DIY dining room idea. To re-create the look in your home, start by brushing chalkboard paint onto inexpensive pegboard. Then, plan your layout—here, the wall holds cookware and utensils, but you could also display hats, baskets, or just about any collection you can imagine. This solutions lets you hook up your kitchen extras for a practically free way to make practical use of every inch of dining room space. 

Related: 9 Ways to Get on Board with Pegboard

Disguise Functional Details

In an astounding feat of multitasking design, this room serves as an entryway, laundry room, and dining space—and it looks gorgeous too. At one end, curtains and cabinets hide laundry essentials, while on the opposite end, roomy wardrobes stow coats and gear. The natural textures and black-and-white palette keep the space looking sharp.

Related: 17 Design Inspirations for Mudrooms and Entryways

Swap Utensils for School Supplies

This dining room works double time as a gathering space and charming homeschool room. Here, the centerpiece holds writing utensils, while the shelves host educational materials. Both, however, could easily be swapped for utensils or floral arrangements when company calls, making this a truly multifunctional space.

Related: 10 Reasons to Go Crazy for Chalkboard Paint

Decorate with Convertible Furniture

The key to a truly multifunctional dining room is convertible furniture. To create a space worthy of a James Bond film, consider this slick dining table with a twist: Its top slides back to reveal a full pool table. Rack up a game or two, then store the cues and balls inside when it’s time to dine.

Related: Double-Duty Furniture: 9 Affordable Favorites That Save Space

Make Dinner Fun Again

When you think about it, this combination playroom/dining room makes a lot of sense—both playing and eating involve family members enjoying good times together. The formula for success? Stick to simple white walls (no cartoony painted murals), choose storage that can double as a buffet surface, and select durable, good-looking furniture that works equally well whether dressed up or messed up.

Related: Too Many Toys? 13 Easy DIY Storage Ideas for the Whole House

Opt for an Open Floor Plan

The move toward an open kitchen has been one of the biggest trends in home design over the last decade, and with good reason. Knocking out the kitchen wall provided this homeowner plenty of room for cooking, ample space for dining, and a more airy and welcoming interior. This type of renovation can often be done at a surprisingly reasonable cost—and can completely transform the way you use your home.

Related: 11 Big Ideas for a Small Dining Room

Mix Work with Pleasure

With no other spot in the house for a home office, this crafty homeowner carved out space in her dining room for a sweetly organized workstation. To maintain the ambience of the eating space, she stuck with a clean color palette—white, neutrals, and just a splash of blue—and keeps clutter and papers hidden from sight in simple boxes.

Related: 10 Space-Smart Ways to Squeeze In a Home Office

Sip and Sit

Zillow Digs home in Tega Cay, SC

If you’re working within an open floor plan, harness the free space to squeeze in as many zones as possible. Here, the dining area is bordered by a cozy couch—the perfect landing spot for enjoying a good book or postprandial glass of wine. Matching upholstery on the chairs and sofa tie the look together, while an area rug helps distinguish one section from the other.

Related: Own Your Open Floor Plan with 8 Smart Design Tricks