5 Fresh Dining Room Layout Ideas

Designers share five original ways to rethink the traditional dining room arrangement.

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A mixture of custom-made benches and high-back chairs provide ample seating for guests at this oversize dining table. Photo by Peter Murdock, courtesy of Metropolitan Home magazine.

Sometimes, a single long table really is the best option for a particular room. But that doesn't mean you're stuck with matching chairs.

"In one dining room we did," says New York-based interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz (http://www.bnodesign.com), "the owner had a very long dining table. Having 14 chairs around it made the room too busy with legs. Our solution was to select four high back chairs that divide the table in two sections, and then to design a banquette that was repeated four times. The host and hostess sit in the middle chairs, so that they have access to all guests."

If you'd like to recreate this look on a modest budget, you needn't have benches and chairs custom-made. Many furniture stores sell settees that could work quite nicely at a table; just make sure you select pieces that coordinate well with the upholstered chairs so the arrangement looks thought out, not thrown together. 

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