Festive Dining Guide- Dining Tables & Furniture For Holiday Events

Tara Dickinson
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Holiday Party Prep: How to Create More Seating & Other Solutions for Holiday Dining

The holidays are upon us, the season of sharing, gathering, dining together, and all other manner of related festivities this fall and winter. To prepare your home, your apartment, or any other space where you’ll be holding these festive soirees, take into account the amount of seating and dining or table space you have available. If you need to plump-up your layout, there are many ways to arrange, commander, and find inexpensive ways to organize the perfect dining room for holiday fun.

  • Living room and dining room are the main hangout areas. Don’t have a lot of extra space for seating? Follow along.
  • Don't have formal dining room furniture and your budget might be a little tight? Inexpensive solutions to this decorating dilemma are on hand.
  • BONUS: Fall Themed Rooms Furniture & Decor

Creating A Dining Room On A Budget

First let’s get creative in our thinking about what you might already have one hand.

  • Do you have any porch or patio furniture you can bring inside and ‘borrow’ for your events?
  • The type or look of the outdoor tables doesn't matter as they will be covered with table cloths and other decorations. This decorated table now becomes the focal point of the room.
  • Consider storing one-half to a dozen folding chairs in the garage that can be brought out at mealtime or as needed rather than investing in new chairs.
  • Another idea for more seating is the ‘borrow’ method, taking chairs from other areas of the house: bedroom, office, kitchen. 


These few months during the holidays, living and dining rooms need additional storage now more than ever to hold food and decorative accessories. The addition of a storage style buffet piece will add a nice decor touch plus much needed storage for your hosting needs.


The happy room, where conversion and drinks flow with ease; where everyone is fed and nourished, and bellies are full of homemade lovin’. To make sure that everyone can enjoy this part of your celebration, let’s look at how to get the most out of your space and set-up any additional tables and seating arrangements to accommodate all in your dining area.


Using a bench, with some soft pillows for comfort, verus dining chairs, is one way to fit in at least one more person on each side of the table. Make sure they are the same height  as any chairs you’ll be using. DIY reclaimed wood benches or those found at second-hand stores are the sustainable choices.

Islands & Countertops

If you have a significant number in your gathering you may want to reconsider the dining layout. For example, if you have an open kitchen layout (kitchen flows into dining with no walls or doors separating) you can easily seat guests in there. At the counter or island is acceptable, especially if it’s a group of teens or younger relations.

Table Leaves

Table leaves (or extensions), if you’re not familiar, are inserts that some tables come with, allowing you to install or remove a piece for more or less seating (usually one more per side). This is a great feature to consider if you are buying a new (or gently used) dining set.


Other furniture you may need for your holiday entertaining events will be those pieces that make your living room the perfect place to gather, relax, and chat, play games or enjoy a holiday movie. To fully savor this time with family, you want to provide adequate support for everyone so the focus is on the fun.

Accent Chairs

  • Accent chairs provide seating when you need it.
  • Accent chairs also elevate the decor with style and pizzazz.
  • Accent chairs allow you to add a pop of color or luxurious texture to your space.
  • The result: additional seating plus a well designed and good looking room.

Floor Cushions

  • Beanbags, egg seats, and large body-pillow type cushions are great additions to a comfy living room, especially for the younger members of the group.
  • Floor cushions are easy to store when not in use, and can be used all year round when needed.


Serving as a necessary and functional footrest when not in use at holiday gatherings, ottomans come in handy all year long.

  • Ottomans offer an excellent way to get some additional seating in the living room.
  • You can choose them based on style or more for function.
  • Options include one large ottoman for two people to use or a couple smaller ottomans for a single person to sit.

Sofa Table

Console tables and hall tables are other names of the ‘sofa table’. The tables are long and thin, about as tall as the back of a couch, and serve many functional purposes.

  • Align a sofa table against the back of your couch that can easily seat an additional two to four people.
  • This is an excellent way to get some extra seating without taking up too much space.
  • If some of your guests need to eat in the living room for lack of space in the dining room, this also offers a great spot for guests to enjoy their dinner- especially if they want to watch the game while they eat!


Sawhorse Table

A simple sawhorse table is a great last minute rescue when you need a lot of additional dining space fast!

  • A snap to set up and fold down when not in use.
  • Sawhorses are very easy to build.
  • You can use an old door or other flat slab of available material as the tabletop.
  • Cover with a tablecloth or left as a rustic centerpiece, this is plenty of room for everyone to dine in style.

Construct a Bench

Need to pack ‘em in for your dinner event? Bench seating is one of the most effective. Making your own dining bench is a simple DIY project. You can build a bench with a solid top, or use several pieces of wood.

  • Best bet for small spaces.
  • You can seat several more people than with traditional dining chairs.
  • Ideal for kids who need much less elbow room.
  • When the holidays are over, a bench makes a great garden decor item.
  • Add soft comfort with pillows in complementary colors. 

Kids Table

Photo: Courtesy of The Bright Ideas Blog


Set up the kid’s table with supplies for holiday crafts to keep them entertained during dining times.

  • Kids tables are the perfect place for little ones to gather and have a celebration that feels like their own.
  • Kid-sized tables, chairs, and benches also fit well in a small space.
  • You can use stools, foot rests, or smaller furniture pieces for their seats.

Repurpose Furniture

This was mentioned above, but don't be shy in repurposing furniture from other rooms.

  • It’s fine to use desks and tables from other rooms to create an area for guests to dine.
  • A collection of smaller tables near the main dining area makes for a cozy restaurant-like atmosphere that still allows for conversation.
  • Keep things festive by adding decorative centerpieces to each table.


After all your thoughtful planning, you have now, not only provided abundant space and comfort for everyone who visits your home, but you’ve also created a place where holiday memories are made. Enjoy!



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