July 13, 2022

How to Use the Awkward Empty Space in Your Dining Room

Large, empty spaces are awkward. When you sit down to eat, you deserve a room that flows seamlessly and is inviting. If you're staring at a dining room that is empty, awkward and boring, I'd love to suggest some ideas on how to fill the space properly.

Let's start with items to put in your space aside from a table.

What to Put in Dining Room Besides Table  


What's the first thing people put in their dining room? A table. You need somewhere to eat, but the table is just one item to choose from. A few of the items to place in this space include:


Large tables are beautiful, but they often leave big voids in a dining room. If you have a larger table, consider adding in a centerpiece. Real flowers are a good option here, but if you know that you won't be diligent and change them often, consider a lovely fake bouquet of flowers. Scented options are an excellent addition, but be wary of anyone with allergies in the home.

Decorative Tablecloth.

Tablecloths are an optional choice for tables, and while some wooden tables bring their own natural beauty, others benefit from tablecloths. Ideally, you'll choose a decorative cloth that has a texture or color that "pops." Of course, there are formal options, usually white or ivory, and options for special occasions, too.


If you have large open spaces, which we'll be covering in greater detail shortly, plants may be a good option. Plants work exceptionally well if you have earthy colors in your dining room, such as browns. They also help bring the "outdoors, indoors" and can add a pleasant scent to the space, too.


If your space needs color, one option is to add a nice throw rug to the space. You can choose nearly any rug that you like, but we recommend staying away from any colors or patterns that are too loud.

Seating Options.

Seats take up a lot of space, but they're also essential to a dining room. You can choose conventional chairs or bench seating, which has become a more popular choice in recent years.

Wall Décor.

Blank walls are out. While every room can benefit from some blank space, you want to use wall décor to fill in larger walls. You can choose shelving with plants, fine China or artwork. Artworks are a nice option because they allow you to add a touch of color to your space.

We've seen a lot of fun, great ways to spruce up a dining room and make it more appealing. But we focused heavily on how to make the space around or on the table more exciting. So now, let's see a few more options to fill in empty space in your dining room.

If you have a lot of open space that you don't know what to do with, the next section is perfect for you.

How to Fill Empty Space in Dining Room 


Decorating a small dining room is much easier than a large dining room because you have less empty space to fill. Some design experts recommend that your table offer about 33" to 36" per person as a square.

This amount of space offers ample arm and leg space for guests.

So, you'll want to add chairs to fill in this empty space if you have a larger table. From here, you can opt to do the following:

  • Add a China Cabinet. Do you have a lot of fine China that you use for special occasions? If so, you may want to consider a China cabinet. These large furniture pieces add beauty and "class" to a room, and they're great for formal dining rooms. However, some people view these cabinets as dated, so consider some of the other options below if you don't appreciate this look.
  • Buffet Tables. You can add buffet tables to a space, too. These are small tables that fit up against the wall. Many people add their nicer dishware to these tables, much like a China cabinet. However, these tables take up far less space. Plus, you can add a nice centerpiece to the table, with a plant being a great option if you want to boost the mood in the room.
  • Display Cabinets. A nice display cabinet is also a good space filler. The key difference with a display cabinet is that it offers an open-faced design that allows you to see inside. For example, you can view all of the interior dishware and glassware in the cabinet.
  • Wall Sconces. If you add artwork or other decor to the walls, you may still find that the space is "empty." A good option is to add wall scones that add interest and light to the room.

Of course, you can add to this by using some of the other recommendations above, such as adding a nice throw rug or other options. Let's take a look at a few ideas for empty spaces in dining rooms.

What to Put in the Corner of a Dining Room?

Ironically, many homeowners choose to add seating into the corner of their room. You'll find oversized corner chairs or even "egg chairs" or "teardrop" chairs that fit nicely into the corner of a space.

These chairs offer a functional seat if additional guests come over, and they're a great place to sit and socialize.

If you do choose a larger corner chair, consider adding a colored throw pillow. A solid-colored throw pillow adds a nice contrast to the space. However, an ottoman is another common option if you don't want one of these chairs. A cozy ottoman is a nice space-filler and also offers additional storage space.

Additional corner options include:

  • Reading nook. Do you have book lovers in your home? If so, creating a reading nook is a great idea. You can add a small table, lamp and chair to the space. Dining rooms with nice windows are a great option for reading nooks and add natural light that's perfect for reading.
  • Shelving. Corner shelving is a good option, and you can find free-standing shelves, too. These furniture pieces offer space to put plates, dishware, and other decorative items.
  • Fireplace. Adding a built-in fireplace is an option, but the expense is often out of most people's budget. Instead, why not add an electric fireplace to the space? An electric fireplace makes the room warm and cozy.
  • Plants. Large corner plants, especially fiddle fig trees, are an excellent addition to the corner of a room. These trees grow tall, and they will add a nice touch of green to your space. One of these plants is a good addition if you have a windowed wall.
  • Lamps. Corner lamps are another option that adds light to a space and makes a great focal point. For example, a spotlight lamp that shines on a corner ottoman or chair is a nice touch to any dining room.
  • Secretary desks. Some people love secretary desks, and others think they're dated. These desks are free-standing and are a good option to add fine China and can hold linens, too. 

If you have a large dining room, these corner options can help you fill the space with functional items. 

Dining Room Space Ideas 

Finally, you can put all of these ideas together to make a dining room that you truly want to spend time in.

3 Ideas for Empty Dining Room Space

1. Farmhouse Style


This farmhouse dining room is exquisite and beautiful. At the center of the table, you'll notice that the design team uses a tablecloth along with candles and small plants as the centerpiece. Placemats are made with bamboo to add additional color to the space.

Against the wall, you'll find an empty space with a mirror reflecting the table to make the room seem bigger and more beautiful.

2. Lighting Focal Point


The best way to fill in extra space in some spaces is with your lighting. When looking at this picture, you'll notice that the lighting does a few things:

  • Becomes the room's focal point
  • Fills in empty wall space

But the rest of the room is minimalistic. You'll find two baby pictures on the wall and a slim buffet table behind the chairs. Otherwise, the space uses the industrial light fixture and minimal furniture to make a large, empty space feel filled with life.

3. Classic Earthy Dining Room


And the final option on our list also adds a nice, earthy addition to a dining room. If you want to create a calming space and add many of the elements we discussed above, this is a good option.

Deep browns are used extensively here. The table features a sprawling centerpiece made of a large, green plant that adds color to the space.

The chairs are a lighter brown to add contrast, and the large open wall utilizes a tall shelving unit to add interest to the room. A China cabinet would work equally well in this space.

Now that you have a few ideas for awkward dining room space, you can begin planning them out. Incorporate nice little additions to the space over time to transform it into somewhere special where you're excited to sit down and eat.

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Written by


An interior design professional with a Master's degree in Architecture and 14 years of practical experience.
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