How to make a multipurpose dining room

In recent times, it’s likely that your dining room has transformed from a space used only for special occasions, into a multifunctional, all-purpose corner of your home. Rather than creating a makeshift space, using clever layout and furniture decisions can help you to repurpose the space. This way you can use it regularly for other activities, while still keeping the functionality that you need from a dining room.

Read on for our top tips of all of the different ways you can create a multipurpose dining room to work around your needs.

Farmhouse style painted and wood dining table, dresser and sideboardBrindle dresser / Brindle dining set / Brindle sideboard (@ourhousetohomejournal)

How to make a dining room more functional

1. Create a flexible home office

Parquet desk in home office with green wallParquet desk (@elliesdecorandmore)

With many of us having to work from home more than we used to, a good home office is becoming more of a necessity. Transforming your dining room into a work area is probably the most obvious choice, particularly if you’re pushed for space or budget as you can just use the dining table as a desk. All you need is a convenient place to store your work equipment and access to a power source.

Alternatively, you can add a desk to your dining room to create different zones for work and pleasure. If you don’t want to see your work during the evening you could get a fold-up desk or a curtain that pulls across to hide the area. Make sure to measure your room first – here’s our handy guide on how to measure your dining room.

2. Get creative with a music room

Dining room and music space with pianoPhoto by Beazy on Unsplash

Another great use for a multipurpose dining room is to combine it with a music room. If you or your kids play instruments, or want to start learning, dining rooms can be a great space for playing and storing your musical equipment. Smaller instruments can be stored in a sideboard or cabinet, or you could even make a fun display and hang them from the wall.

Is it odd to have a piano in the dining room? Not at all, in fact it’s actually traditional. Before smart phones and TV, playing live music after dinner was a popular way to entertain guests. Fitting a small upright piano in the corner of your dining room makes it multipurpose without using up too much space, and can add a touch of grandeur to your decor.

To create this multipurpose room, all you need is somewhere to sit while you play and storage space for stands, instruments and sheet music.

3. Become a host with the most with a guest room

Jasmine sofa bed

Jasmine sofa bed

If you don’t typically use your dining room, why not repurpose it as a guest room? The best way to do this depends on what you’ll use the space for the most.

If you think you’ll use it more as a guest room, then consider having a fold-up dining table, either attached to the wall, or one which you can slide into or behind cupboards. With this option it may be best to use a sofa bench instead of dining chairs, as that could go at the end of your guest bed and still work in a bedroom setting.

If you’d like to keep a dining space as an option for socialising or family events, then consider getting a sofa bed which can fold up as a comfy seating area, and be pulled out when guests are staying. For this you’ll need somewhere to store the bedding, and a side table that could work as a bedside table.

When styling this multipurpose room, use the same colour schemes for both dining and bedding decorations, as this will save yourself a lot of time and money changing out accessories.

4. Level up with a study space

Home working from wooden dining table with grey fabric chairs
St Ives extending dining table (@mrs_roobottom_home)

An easy and teen-friendly way to multipurpose your dining room is as a study space as this requires very few changes. You just need somewhere to store any placemats or decorations that you would have on the dining table, a close power socket, and some upright and comfortable dining chairs for sitting on while they work.

Hide any ugly textbooks or scrappy notes in a sideboard with closed storage. Again, make sure to think about where your charging cables will cut across, and hide extension leads behind cupboards and seating. An extendable dining table could work best for this, as you could have a small daily study space during the day and a large dining table for entertaining and eating in the evening.

5. Tidy up with storage

Parquet sideboard in green feature wall dining roomParquet sideboard (@atnumberfourteen_)

Worried you might have too many things in your dining room for all of these activities? Storage is your answer. The space around your dining room table gives you loads of room for built-in or freestanding storage. Use cupboards, shelves or sideboards to store any miscellaneous items that you want regular access to. Just make sure to consider whether or not you want your things on show when choosing between open and closed storage options.

If you get a space-saving dining table, like an extendable or fold-up table, you can make even more space for large storage furniture. Get some inspiration for some stylish storage solutions in our handy blog about decluttering.

6. Give yourself a second living room

Living and dining space with table and grey sofa
Morgan sofa (@life_inside_our_home)

There is no rule to say that you can’t put a sofa in your dining room. Sofas and lounge chairs can soften your dining room and make it feel more comfortable and relaxing. Adding a sofa is also a great way to fill an awkward or empty space in a long dining room.

It can also make the space multipurpose, as when you’re not using the room for meals you can still relax in it. If you’re short on space, use a padded sofa bench instead of dining chairs. Just make sure you get a sofa that is high enough that you can eat at the table, or consider installing built-in benches with cushions as a more permanent option.

7. Have a living room/dining room/office combo

Feeling ambitious, or short on space? Put three rooms into one with a multipurpose dining room, lounge and home office. This is more simple than it sounds, you just need to think carefully about your layout and use clever furniture. A sofa against the wall can double up as living and dining seating, and an extendable or fold-up dining table and a fold-up desk tick both work and dining options.

This creates a really flexible space, but to keep it cohesive, stick to a shared colour palette throughout and indicate different zones through rugs, furniture, lighting and contrasting textures.

8. Make memories with a playroom

Parquet dining set in green kitchen with open shelving
Parquet dining set (@hausfifteen)

A dining room can make a great playroom for young kids. Why not use your multifunctional dining table as a space for them to do their colouring in?

To keep their play safe, ensure that your dining table is too high for them to climb on top of, or use a fold-up dining table. Store all of the toys you want for the playroom in closed storage in a sideboard or cabinet. Your dining room wall decor could also double up as playroom art if you can find fun but classy prints that work for both kids and adults.

If you need more space for play, keep a wall clear and temporarily push the dining table against it to make more room, and lay a cosy rug or foam playmat for them to sit on.

9. Relax in your own library

Home library shelf with booksPhoto by Ines Sayadi on Unsplash

If you’re a bookworm you may have always dreamed of having a library, but where do you find the space? A library is in essence just large bookshelves and a good place to sit, so it’s definitely something you can create in a dining room.

Cover a wall top to bottom with built-in or freestanding bookshelves, and put a comfy reading chair, side table and floor lamp in the corner of your dining room. This is a great solution if you’re looking for small dining room ideas or ways to fill odd nooks, as built-in bookshelves don’t take up too much room but can create a big impact. Plus, it can be great fun to style them with not just books, but vases, house plants, candles and picture frames, which add a homely feel to the space.

10. Combine with your kitchen

Dining table with fabric chairs in kitchen

Hercules dining table / Scroll Back dining chairs

Combining your kitchen and dining room is a fantastic way to save space while keeping functionality. One way to do this is by installing benches in the corner of a room with comfortable, custom-made cushions, with a dining table next to them.

If you have a breakfast bar but want a larger table for entertaining, you can also use a fold-up dining table on a free wall of the kitchen, and use either a sofa bench, built-in bench or dining chairs for seating.

Hopefully this has inspired you to create your dream multipurpose dining room. If you make any changes to this space we’d love to see them – just tag us @oakfurnitureland or use the hashtag #OakFurnitureland.