Short on space for entertaining over the festive period? Here's how you can make your dining room furniture work harder when you've got a household full of guests. 

cool yule dunelm christmas decorating - dining -

Image: Dunelm 

Not all homes are built to the right scale to host the whole myriad of extended family over the festive season. But, even if you're short on usable space to allocate to entertaining, there's plenty of ways to create a welcoming, comfortable environment for guests. 

From investing in the right furniture to being a bit more thoughtful about how you serve food and drink, we've pulled together our top tips for surviving Christmas dinner in a compact dining space. 

Extendable tables 

john lewis snowy christmas table - dining -

Image: John Lewis & Partners

Extendable dining tables were made for Christmas entertaining, and if you're in a small space, don't imagine that they're not available in more compact sizes. The likes of this Yoko dining table from John Lewis & Partners has only a small extendable section, but it means you can fit 2 more people around the table with ease. 

Convertible furniture

dwell rise convertible dining table - christmas  -

Image: Dwell

When space is short, a lot of homes don't prioritise a dedicated dining space. But when it comes to Christmas, this can be problematic - if there's one meal a year you don't want to eat on your lap on the sofa, it's Christmas dinner. 

If this is your home, have you considered convertible furniture? The likes of this Rise coffee table from Dwell is just one example of a stylish design that can also convert easily into a desk and dining table, giving you flexible options when it comes to a more formal dining experience. 

Be smart with serving 

villeroy & boch artesano etagere serving dish - dining -

Image: Villeroy & Boch

When table surface space is at a premium, it's best to divise a menu where the majority of food is served onto plates in the kitchen. 

Where you do want to use serving plates and platters at the table, be clever with you choices. If using bowls, choose deeper, narrower designs and pile food high. Likewise, consider how you can create levels as part of your tablescape - this three-tier Artesano Etagere from Villeroy & Boch would be a great choice for serving up Christmas dinner sides, but has a small footprint on your table. 

Simplify table décor  

lights4fun winter lake dining table -

Image: Lights4fun

Decorating trends for Christmas dining tables are often maximalist, but if you're squeezing around a small table, pare back on bulky decorations that take up too much surface space. Look out for simple, minimalistic schemes to leave room for serving dishes and elbows on the table. 

Zone your space 

sue ryder cocktail trolley - dining room christmas -

Image: Sue Ryder 

To control traffic of guests around a small space, set up dedicated zones when entertaining. As an example, using a drinks trolley is not only an on-trend option, it means guests don't have to hang around the kitchen when they want to top up their drinks. Put it in an area that's close to your space, but out of the way, and show guests when they first enter where to make themselves a festive tipple. Shop the best drinks trolleys of 2019


How to you manage to squeeze guests around your dining table? Let us know by Tweeting us @goodhomesmag, or post a comment on our Facebook page



How to create a guest-ready spare bedroom

5 tableware trends for autumnal dining

Sustainable swap: plastic-free Christmas crackers

Dining Room

7 of the best on-trend dining chairs

Choose statement dining chairs to amp up a plain table and transform your current dining space.
Dining Room

Christmas dining: decoration ideas for your table

Impress guests with your Christmas dining table by following some of these quick and easy styling ideas.
Dining Room

Aldi's new extendable dining table is just £99.99!

Host all of your guests comfortably this Christmas with Aldi's extendable dining table for just £99.99.
Dining Room

The best space-saving extendable dining tables

Save on space with an extendable dining table that can be made larger or smaller when necessary.