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Defining a dining space

Create the ultimate dining experience without walls, regardless of room size, décor or light. Here are six easy ways to creatively define your dining room space when building a wall isn't a viable option.


If you enjoy entertaining but don’t have room for a full-time dining table try a pedestal-style drop-leaf table. Push it up against the wall, fold down the leaves and add a flower-filled vase or framed family photos to create a handy hall or console table. When the guests arrive, it’s ready to expand. Pull out one leaf for a romantic dinner for two, or keep both leaves for bigger gatherings.

Vary furniture styles
Differing furniture styles can set your eating area apart. Think complementary, not contrasting, though. For example, the simplicity of a cottage style table and chairs works well with similarly clean-lined contemporary surroundings.

Create a virtual wall
If your space is large enough – in a wide-open loft, for instance – use furniture to create a “wall.” Position a sideboard with a presentable backside or a bookcase open on both sides to separate your dining area without creating a floor-to-ceiling boundary.

Switch on a light
Lighting can create visual boundaries where no physical walls exist. Think of the comfort a campfire in the wilderness can bring.

Hang a ceiling fixture – a simple chandelier or a track of three or four pendant fixtures – over the table, to highlight the meal. Add a dimmer switch so you can adjust light levels to suit the mood of the occasion. If electrical connections are difficult, candles are always great ambience-setters.

Pick a defining colour
Accent walls add a splash of colour, drawing attention to a special space. If your table is at one end of a large, neutral-coloured space, paint the adjacent wall with complementary colour. Choose a hue from elsewhere in the room – the sofa upholstery, say, or an armchair throw pillow. Like lighting, an accent wall will help guests gathered at a table feel they are sitting in a spot created just for them.

Art smart
Artwork is another way to spotlight a special space. A painting or framed poster hung on an adjacent wall will draw visitors’ eyes to your eating area. Attach a picture light to the frame as another subtle source of boundary-setting illumination for your dining space.


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