Home » Small Dining Room Ideas for Multipurpose Living

Look here for ideas to turn your small dining room into a multi-use dining room/playroom combination, ideal for today’s multipurpose living, and learn how we transformed our space in just six weeks!

Multipurpose Dining Room

Whether or not you are lucky enough to be hosting frequent dinner parties, your small dining room is usually a mostly un-used space in your home. If you’re like me, you want to make the most of ALL the spaces in your home which sometimes means having a room pull double-duty. For example, your small dining room can function as both a formal room and a playroom for your kids. With a bit of creativity and proper planning, you can create a functional, beautiful, dining room/playroom that meets both your dream-hostessing needs as well as your crazy kids, as we did during the most recent One Room Challenge hosted by Calling it Home. Come on! I’ll show you!

multipurpose dining room - after

If you’re looking for the shopping guide for this room, you can find that HERE.

multi-purpose dining room_GETTHELOOK

Our home is average in size and traditionally designed, meaning we do not have an open concept, large roomed design. And, as much as I love a formal dining room and dream of hosting glamorous dinner parties complete with sparkling cocktails and titillating conversation, dinner parties aren’t the norm in my life.

Multipurpose Dining Room - Before

Instead, our dining room sits empty, collecting dust throughout the year except for special occasions – or at least it did until my youngest son discovered the peace that was the never-used dining room and started migrating his toys in there. In a hot second, we went from an out-dated, dusty, formal dining room to a very messy, dirty everything room with no rhyme or reason. I can’t say I was upset that the place had life in it, but the mess told me it was time for a change – a multipurpose room change! 


Multipurpose Dining Room - With Toys




Many of the rooms in my house serve as multi-purpose spaces. To design these spaces, and ensure I’m getting the most out of my home, I use a simple process that helps me to define what my goals are and how I’m going to reach them. I find it to be a handy tool – so useful, in fact, that I wanted to share it with you! Click here to download a free copy of the “Creating a Multipurpose Room” Guide that will help you reach your multi-purpose room goals!

For ALL the details on my plan, click HERE.

Feature_Multi-purpose dining room plan

“To create a fun playroom that occasionally functions as a full, formal dining room, with a casual, eclectic style, full of whimsy and color to appeal to kids but not so juvenile that it would feel like Romper Room during Christmas dinner. 

Naturally, a playroom and a small dining room function very differently which is where the challenge came in. Our needs included:

Dining Room Makeover


Flexible, multi-purpose furniture played a massive part in this make-over – especially our custom multi-functional table, inspired by this one. To keep the budget low, we DIY’d the table, the built-ins and much of the wall art.

multipurpose dining room - dining table 5

When the table is not in use, we arrange the chairs around the room, and the table moves back against the wall, leaving a large open area in the center of the room for play. In this location, the table serves as either a buffet or a large, flat play space. With its rustic appearance, there is no worry of marring the finish with rough play – the more weathered the surface, the better.

multipurpose dining room - open space

When it’s time to serve Christmas dinner, the table moves to the center of the room, and the table tops flip out to reveal its full-size, with comfortable seating for 10.

multipurpose dining room - benches at table

Carriage style lighting provides a bit of a pendant look while still keeping it neutral.


DIY Built-ins made from salvaged upper kitchen cabinets make not only an attractive focal point and showcase for decorative items but also provide much of the storage in the room for both toys, serving dishes and dining linens.multipurpose dining room - built ins

The lower cabinets hold favorite games and buckets of toys.

multipurpose dining room - playroom-storage toys

Upholstered storage benches on casters act as both significant toy storage and window seating when not in use.

multipurpose dining room - benches closed

multipurpose dining room - storage benches

The same benches quickly move into place on casters when dining table seating is needed.

multipurpose dining room - benches at table



China is stored high, out of reach of little hands and cabinets “not for kids” contain child-safety locks. Window coverings are cordless for safety – because you know if there is a cord my kid WILL put it around his neck!

multipurpose dining room - builtins china



To bring the colorful, playful, eclectic feel I was after into the room; I relied heavily on artwork, throw pillows and unique home accents to contrast against the mostly neutral furnishings and wall-paint color.

multipurpose dining room - book cart

Feature_Felt pillow Tutorial

Fun, whimsical accents intermingle with family heirlooms for a truly eclectic feel against the bold blue background of the built-ins.

multipurpose dining room - accentselephantplant

Cheerful artwork plays nicely against more serious, colorful abstract prints and patterns.

multipurpose dining room - carnival prints

decorative plates - decorative plate wall


freebie banner


Kids love imagining and reimagining in this space. Our friends like the opportunity to spread out during parties. Our entire family loves a place to enjoy our most precious holiday moments together. This small dining room is precisely what this family needed for today’s multi-purpose living!

multipurpose dining room - imagining

dining room_makeover_header

A six-week makeover was way more work than I expected. I couldn’t have gotten half as much done without the help of my entire family, my husband especially. This project was a joint effort! Thank you and much love to him and all the rest of my family.

Thank you to Linda, of Calling it Home, for putting together the One Room Challenge. And, special thanks to LampsPlus for sponsoring this post.

And thank you to YOU, for following along with me, and all of your encouragement along the way. Be sure to check back next Thursday for a full source list!  As for now, if you need me, I’ll be napping and catching up on a little bit of laundry. We may or not be running short of socks!

Pin me for later: Dining/Play Room – The Big Reveal


  1. Lindi Vanderschaaf says:

    Such attention to detail!! I LOVE it!! Seriously the bold colours are awesome, and that table is unreal! Great job!!

  2. Lindi Vanderschaaf says:

    Such attention to detail!! I LOVE it!! Seriously the bold colours are awesome, and that table is unreal! Great job!!

  3. Nicole Q-Schmitz says:

    The room turned out beautifully with all the custom DIYs you were able to accomplish – that converting table is amazing 🙂

  4. Vel Criste says:

    I love all the colors and your creative plate wall rocks! I also love that you found a space for everything your family needs and wants! Congrats and Cheers for another room done!

  5. Leslie says:

    So that table is pretty friggin' awesome. I love the creativity you used to solve a problem that so many people have with spaces like this!

  6. Krystle Pickens says:

    Form meets function… I love that you found a way to make this space not only work for your family, but pull double duty… so cool, and so well done too!!

  7. Uncookie Cutter says:

    KIM!!! It looks so freakin' great! Totally worth it! The table is absolutely amazing! Nice work my friend!

  8. Amanda says:

    I don't think I've ever seen a dining/playroom combo – but it makes so much sense. My dining room is easily one of the most under utilized in my house. I love all of your choices. Great job!

  9. You did an amazing job creating a transformational space. The table is fabulous!!! I love the little whimsical details that you included that give the space a great personality! Well done!

  10. Nicki Parrish says:

    I adore the way you made this space do double duty! I have never seen a table that does that before! It's awesome! My dining room is also an office,, so I understand the need to use a room for more than one purpose. Great job!

  11. Can't believe you pulled this off — when I initially saw your plan, I thought, well THIS isn't going to look good. Oh I was SO. WRONG>

    Really fantastic job — you did an amazing job of pulling together 2 completely unrelated functions in this space.

    For sheer creativity and execution, you get 5 gold stars. One of the best ORC Partcipating results . . .

  12. Pingback: Designer Lingo Unplugged: Focal Point - My Life From Home

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