Form and Function: Stylish Dining Ideas for Large Families

Have a large family? Like to entertain? It can be a challenge to come up with a stylish dining area that comfortably seats large numbers of people while still functioning well in a “regular” sized space. You can buy a large dining set, of course, but what if you feel like you have more personality than that? Is it possible to even create a dining room that has form AND function for large groups of people? Of course it is. And here are some inspirational ideas to get you started.

Use a circle

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Round dining tables are highly versatile and flexible in that they don’t have corners to work around when it comes to seating. This means that if you can squeeze in a place setting on the table itself, you can squeeze in another person without having someone eating uncomfortably off the corner of the table (as would be the case with a square or rectangular dining table). Plus, a circular dining table provides a nice contrasting shape to an otherwise generally squarish room.

Substitute a bench for chairs

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Visually, the bench is less noticeable than chairs because it’s down below the eye-level of the table. This works great in naturally small dining rooms. Plus, there is not a set number of “seats” on a bench, so the number you can squeeze onto the bench is, shall we say, flexible.

Add pillows to your bench

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This may not free up more seating, of course, but it adds a sense of luxury to the dining experience. So if you have a gorgeous table, such as this Jalan inlay dining table, that invites people to linger longer after dinner, providing comfortable seating pillows just might do the trick.

Paint mismatched chairs the same color

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The thing about large dining seating requirements is that it can be tricky to find chairs that (a) fit around the table, and (b) match. Make the matching part easier by simply painting out all the chairs in the same glorious color – see? Instant dining “set.”

Use a couch

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A couch or sofa upholstered in outdoor fabric is a fantastic way to squeeze in more optional seating because couches, as we all know, can fit two people, four people, maybe even six people as needed. We like the comfortable, homey vibe this gives the dining room, too.

Build in benches

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This is an optimal way to utilize dining room square footage, getting maximum seating out of a small space. Plus, it capitalizes on a stunning view, if your dining room is so luckily situated.

Choose different chairs of the same style

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These leathery-wood chairs may not be dining chairs per se, but when paired together around a dining table, they give a distinct industrial vibe that’s neither frumpy nor stuffy. We love the flexibility this dining chair method gives for stylishly and seamlessly adding or subtracting to the “set” as needed.

Keep the head chairs luxurious

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Everyone loves a comfortable, luxurious chair, even (especially?) at the dining table. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible when many seats are required. If you keep the head chairs large, though, you can retain the style of luxury without actually having each seat use up that kind of real estate. Smaller (and, thus, more) chairs can be used on the sides of the table – an excellent marriage of form and function.

Opt for ornamental head chairs

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No matter how large or small your dining room is, when you switch up the table’s head chairs and make them stand apart, it automatically ups the sophistication of your dining space. Keep the chairs all in the same color palette for cohesion, but use chairs with graceful or artistic lines as the head chairs, because these are the most noticeable.

Consider a large rectangular dining table

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Some people love the idea of a dining table of “equality,” that is, where there is no head to the table. A large rectangular dining table such as this is a good choice for greater seating capacity without requiring that much more real estate. If your dining area is shaped to be able to accommodate such a table, it’s definitely a functional style worth considering.

Use dining chairs as décor

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When your dining table all but fills the dining room by itself, a great way to make the space feel comfortable and inviting without feeling cluttered is to use the chairs themselves as part of the décor. Paint them a bright, cheerful color, for example, to add personality and spunk to the space while keeping things light aesthetically.