If you're lucky enough to have a dining room, you have probably already begun to use it for several other purposes.

What remains are small, often leftover spaces alongside kitchens or living rooms. Those at the end of a long, rectangular living room can be quite habitable. A low divider between the living room furniture and the dining table can be an effective visual screen between the two functions. Plants may be used as a divider, too. The arrangement of the seating group in the living end of the room can also "divide" the two functions.

The dining room that is a left-over corner is another problem altogether. trying to squeese a table, four chairs and storage and surface space into this awkward space is a real challenge.

One way to do it is to place a square table on the diagonal. In this way, two sides of the table are parallel with two walls that form the corner, extending the table and providing sufficient room for chairs on all four sides. eThis is fine arrangement if there is ample storage elsewhere for tableware or placemats. To set the space aside, two related prints or posters may be hung on the right-angle walls to emphasize that the corner is part of the plan.

A corner dining area can be treated in a less symmetrical fashion; the short sides of a rectangular dining table may be placed up against one of the rightangle walls. This works best with two chairs places on each of the long sides, seating four. With this arrangement, it would be best to accent the wall at right-angles to the table wall, either with a color or with a distinctive work of art such as a vertical wall hanging or a brightly colored rug fixed to the wall.

In a corner dining area I looked at recently, the problems were compounded by a window on each of the right-angle walls. Fortunately, these were the same size and were equidistant from the corner. In the space in front of each window, from sill to floor, I put a narrow cabinet on concealed casters. Two doors hide a two-shelf unit that holds everything needed for the table.

In the corner itself, to make more room for serving and displaying attractive tableware, and a small art collection, I built a shallow shelf. We bought a round table for this space. Four armless chairs store neatly under the table when it is not in use.

When the table extends for extra seating, the twin cabinets can easily be moved away from the windows and placed neatly, side-by-side, in front of the table on the living room side, for buffet serving.

I painted the walls a warm, camel-beige to match the natural oak wood floor. The table top, corner shelf and the cabinets of plastic white laminate, match the Roman shades made of off-white linen. The chairs, in bright green lacquer, add a bright note of color to this small, but more-than -adequate dining corner.