High‐backed bench on one side folding chairs on the other. The casual vibe of simple café‐style folding chairs is balanced here by a comfortable upholstered settee on the other side and slipcovered chairs at the ends. If you already have a stately traditional piece (like this settee) folding café chairs can make it feel more casual – plus they are easy on the budget.
Same chairs different colors. Take a basic set of matching wooden chairs and put your own stamp on them by painting each one a different hue. The trick here is to choose colors that have the same value (lightness or darkness) like all pastels all midtones or all bright.
Massive paper lantern. Suspended over the table like a full moon the paper lantern is on a grand scale making this dining space so impressive. And while an authentic Noguchi paper lantern is stunning there are paper lanterns available at all prices and in all sizes.
Diner table and cool wallpaper. To get this quirky charming look tuck a classic diner‐style table up to a corner banquette backed with a wall covered in fresh modern wallpaper. The combination of a corner banquette (to maximize seating) and printed wallpaper (to add depth) is great for small spaces.
Smoky glass chandelier. Smoky glass paired with filament bulbs creates a one‐two ambience punch that is ideal for intimate dinner parties. In the dining space shown here the sculptural chandelier is complemented by a smooth walnut dining table and midcentury teak chairs.
For buyers on the move choose a table that is easily transportable. For those who don't stay put a heavy table may prove to be an annoyance weighing you down each time you move. If you fall in love with a metal or marble table don't be discouraged from buying it but do think about how you might safely transport it. As suggested above choose a small round marble table or go for a wooden table with detachable legs. If you are looking for a table to suit an urban‐industrial decor theme don't go all‐out with a (heavy) metal table but consider a (lighter) wood table with some metal design features such as the one pictured here. Plastic as an alternative to wood is light and can be molded into some cool shapes but be aware that the color can fade over time.
Bench on one side chairs on the other. Putting a low bench on one side of the dining table in place of chairs is an easy way to break up a set typically costs less than buying individual chairs and is great for small spaces. Try an upholstered bench for comfort during leisurely meals or a wooden bench for a sleeker look.
Bright and breezy. This built‐in banquette needs little more than a small table and a couple of light‐colored chairs to complete a fine‐looking and functional kitchen nook. The window bench extends from the end of the kitchen cabinets to create an ideal space between two big windows. The banquette can also double as storage with a hinged lid seat covered by cushions.