small space dining solutions.
by victoria comment

10/9/19

modern dining area with black chairs. / sfgirlbybay

so, i need your two cents: my cottage has a very small dining area, and it exists in the same space as my living room — it’s one pretty good sized room, but it’s literally a wall with an unsightly (but useful in the winter months!) wall heater that shares this dining space. i’ve been trying to figure out a way to make it work but also be interesting, and i think (oh i hope so!) i’ve got it figured out. i was on the hunt for a dropleaf table that i could extend when necessary to accommodate guests, but i couldn’t find one that had great legs, so to speak. they were all too cutesy country looking. so i opted for a small library-type, vintage Rustic Light Wood Table i found on chairish. i plan to put the narrow end against the wall with a mix of two white Baumann Seagull Chairs i found on elsie green and my two existing thonet chairs around it. i think there’s room to pull it out from the wall, too if i need to seat six.

dining area before photo from laguna beach cottage. / sfgirlbybay

i think the wall needs something bold hanging there, to avert your eyes from the space heater, so i was thinking of blowing up an old photograph of the sea — something kind of grainy and funky just for fun. we shall see. and the other idea I had was to hang a curtain rod high across the wall and then slide a drapery panel over the space heater when I’m not using it to cover it up — almost like a ‘faux window’ or a loft curtain that you’re just not sure what’s behind it. i think it could work! the rest of the room is covered in french doors with white loft curtain panels on them, so i think it will blend in well. anyway, just bouncing ideas off you guys. any thoughts? in the meantime, here’s some small space dining inspiration for you that i’ve been saving from my pinboards.

modern dining space with oversized art poster. / sfgirlbybay

small space dining room inspiration. / sfgirlbybay

rustic modern dining space. / sfgirlbybay

vintage modern dining room. / sfgirlbybay

whitewashed dining room with white bookshelves and vintage chairs. / sfgirlbybay

rustic wood table with ikea stools. / sfgirlbybay

sleek wood dining table with mismatched modern chairs. / sfgirlbybay

black thonet chairs and minimalist wood table. / sfgirlbybay

• photography credits in order of appearance: stadshem; my current dining space; kat teutsch photography; the former covet garden magazine via sfgirlbybay; archlux; my new table from chairish; my thonet chair; tessa neustadt photography for leanne ford; @saarmanche; the style files; @alyssakapitointeriors; bridge and burn; becoming roux; kat teutsch photography; my new Baumann Seagull vintage Chairs from elsie green; idea for seaside photo blown up and framed; inside out magazine via homes to love; @saarmanche; light locations; @studioquotidien; scandinave; angi welsh photography.

31 responses to “small space dining solutions.”

  1. first time I have commented on your blog (which I love). A white curtain panel seems like a cheap trick and doesn’t seem like your jam. That teeny tine sconce all by itself randomly place on the wall cracks me up. OK, my thoughts. Replace pendant light with something fabulous and big (center it on that wall). I would totally work around with the heating vent. To work with around I think you need salon hung art. Not dinky littles. Maybe a couple of largish pieces with smaller pieces. Lastly, if at all possible I would not push table against the wall. Experiment with more or less space between end of table and wall.
    Wow. I don’t know where all that came from.
    But don’t know how the rest of the space works….

    • haha!! i know the curtain maybe is a little bit of a cheat! ;) . you guys all have such great ideas, i’m so glad i put it out there to you! thank you for commenting (for the first time, too!). :)

  2. I like an end-on table. Just a thought – is that heater far enough out from the wall that you could have some pots of very drapey plants along the top of it? And perhaps a big plant image on the wall? Or large mirror? That might reflect the length of the table and give an impression of greater size. Good luck, whatever you do.

  3. I like the curtain idea, plus there are some pretty good ideas out there about how to cover radiators to make them more attractive and blend into the space. In particular, there’s one that is hand cut metal screen constructed as the face of a box that covers the radiator. Another idea would be to have someone construct a cover box made from a wood frame with woven cane as the front. That would look great.

    • i know – i saw this really pretty mesh screen covering a radiator and i’ve been wondering about doing something like that. i must hunt that image down. thanks for the reminder!! good ideas!

  4. other ideas for blocking the heater (when not in use):
    – leaning surf board (of course!)
    – narrow open bookshelf
    – vintage wallpaper roll, hung like a scroll
    – japanese style table-runner fabric
    – build a “box” frame to cover, with big vertical artwork
    – leaning “ladder” with textiles hanging
    you’ll come up with something great, i’m sure. please don’t wait until things are “perfect” to share the place with us – seeing the stages and thought process of interior design is equally fun!

  5. We had to hide a phone jack that was placed weirdly high on the wall. I used a shallow lightweight wooden box (attached w/ velcro) to cover it. I glued some washi paper on the flat side facing the room and added a mat so it looked like a picture frame. Can’t wait to see what you decide to do.

  6. I’d put a 3-panel screen there in a fabric you love which can also be used in other areas when needed but doesn’t hamper the heat function. I’ve always wanted a 3-panel screen of cork so I can pin pics/fabrics et al. Also Eskayel has great fabric mural panels that are subtle if you wanted to go that way.

  7. digging the curtain idea. My neighbor has done this in a hallway to dampen sound and it looks fab. I think it could jazz up that doorway along with covering the vent.

  8. How about a tapered cedar bookshelf with a lattice back covering the heater(mmm, smells so good). Then a beautiful driftwood piece mounted to it across the whole wall to hang a framed picture. And if you need a leafed dining table I know this guy….

  9. Love the carved “box” idea around the heater, maybe a metal one with cutouts, painted white and distressed. Then use the box top for a fabulous framed piece of art leaning agsinst the wall. Light stools or chairs against a neutral table will make the area appear much larger. Love your endless energy, ideas, and imagination Victoria.

    • I like that idea! I just need to get on the hunt, or try and make something myself. I’m not all that DIY, but maybe it’s a project I can take on! Thanks, Laurie!

  10. i wonder if going with grill look of heater instead of trying to hide by adding another grill type object , or large grainy grill picture.. whimsy, graphic. or maybe but a salvage one
    next to it as a pair in a just right color so you would see the two but you would see them as intentional whimsical sculpture.

  11. Hang 2 or three other pieces on the wall that match it — large, textural, gridded, graphic — so that the eye think it is a piece of art too. And paint it either black or an ombré stripe pattern.

  12. I love all your suggestions so this has nothing to do with art but if you have a crawlspace beneath your house or an attic, I’d consider adding a furnace and ducting your home. So much nicer looking than those wall heaters and so much cozier in the winter months. Your little cottage is gorgeous, btw.

  13. I love this blog. Thank you for all your fabulous posts! Cool small space. I agree not to push the table against the wall and get a larger light fixture to ground things. To hide a weirdly placed outlet and thermostat in my living/dining room I got an old straight, dried stem off a cup plant from my yard (about 18 inches) hung it with waxed twine on an vintage square nail and draped a really long woven vintage fabric from Thailand on it. Hides it all beautifully and pairs well with an african mask and a huge fin de siecle german graphic poster. Sounds weird but it works! Good luck decorating!

  14. I like the “if you can’t beat it, join it” idea.

    Maybe cover the heater with a cool cut-out metal box and make 2 more identical pieces to put on the wall for a triptych?

    Decades ago I had a thermostat placed not quite centered on a small wall. A found-object artist friend found and hung 4 other objects the same size (a little plastic pinball machine game & a Prince Albert tobacco tin are what I remember). Voila! the eyesore became a piece of art.

    When I moved I left it there.

    That’s when things got weird — Turned out a friend of a friend of a friend rented it after me. Met him at a party one night and we discovered this. He said it had been a fun mystery and great conversation piece.

    • that’s a funny story! I met the granddaughter of the woman who lived in my old house at a party one night, too.

      and thanks for the tips! i’m working on it.

  15. If you want to cover the heater with a panel, look for someone in your area with a WaterJet (a machine shop would be a good place to start). It uses a high pressure stream of water and sand to cut through any material (metal, wood, glass, plastic, anything really!). My husband runs one and regular cuts decorative panels, I could easily see one being used to cover your heater!

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