Dining rooms are a luxury that small-space dwellers often can’t afford. But a compact dining table in the kitchen or living room can double as a desk or workspace and offer a place for guests to share stories, laughs and, of course, meals.

“These small spaces may at first appear to be a design challenge but are a great opportunity to highlight a sculptural piece,” interior designer Lonni Paul says. The HGTV “Design Star” alum’s clients include actor Robert Downey Jr. and TV personality Giuliana Rancic.

Counter- or bar-height tables, for example, can help draw up the eye, and round or oval tables can make a room feel bigger. Extendible and drop-leaf tables offer versatility and additional storage.


“Take the entire space into consideration,” Paul suggests. For example, “in basic spaces, use a more unique table,” and “for rooms with a view or a beautiful chandelier, choose a simpler table.”

Maximize every inch of your space with one of Paul’s top table picks.

SPLURGE: Bernhardt Abbot round metal dining table with glass top (houzz.com ), left. SAVE: Acme Rasia 72105 dining table (houzz.com ).

SPLURGE: 60-inch stacked square dining table in cerused gray oak (restorationhardware.com ), left. SAVE: Tahoe square dining table (highfashionhome.com ).

SPLURGE: Saarinen dining table with white base and Carrara marble top with shiny finish (knoll.com ), left. SAVE: Docksta table in white (ikea.com ).

SPLURGE: Invisible table in transparent amber (shopkartell.com ), left. SAVE: TPratt table in satin etched tempered glass with orange base (roomandboard.com ).

SPLURGE: Silhouette pedestal dining table (westelm.com ), left. SAVE: Gold-and-marble Leilani tulip dining table (worldmarket.com ).

SPLURGE: Solid-wood Redondo round dining table with walnut-veneer base (houzz.com ), left. SAVE: Sheryl dining table in walnut (allmodern.com ).

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