The dining room is usually the first thing to go when shrinking a space plan down to the modern compact size so often seen in condos, town homes and other smaller dwellings. Faced with fitting your life into less square footage, how do you still fit in three square meals a day comfortably?The answer lies in your living room. With a few tricks, like adding banquette seating, folding tables and clever seating, you can make your living space perform double duty for movie nights and intimate dinners. Here’s how.

Meghan Shadrick Interiors

The idea of pairing a dining table with a wide banquette or bench is nothing new. It’s been a popular trend for stylish and functional eat-inkitchens, like the one seen here, for some time. But this idea can work well for living rooms too.

id 810 design group

By moving the combination of sofa-like seat and full dining table to the living area, you create a functional space than can serve multiple needs without wasting precious space.A fully built-in bench seatcan create a classic gentlemen’s club appeal …

Toronto Interior Design Group | Yanic Simard

… but a stand-alone sofa works perfectly too. It’s an idea I love so much, I used it in my own home (shown here). During my rare moments of downtime, the sofa still provides a place for lounging and catching up on TV while also giving me plenty of space for dinner guests whenever I need it.

Janell Beals – House of Fifty Mag

A sofa and two chairs are already a common seating grouping around a fireplace (for cozy nights in), so why not add a dining table and start enjoying the warm fire a little earlier over dinner?Notice how this combination can feel elegant and charming but relaxed, like the perfect private supper club where you aren’t scared to put your elbows on the table

Keep in mind that your existing sofa may be a little low for comfortable dining, as dining tables require an approximately 18-inch seat height. I designed a custom-height sofa for my space, but you could easily lift your sofa by switching out the legs.

Rikki Snyder

Or choose a collapsible table to save even more space between meals and expand to fully serve guests during bigger get-togethers.

HUISSTYLING

You could also cluster a few stools together as a coffee table and move them aside later to make room for a folding table and use the stools as dinner seating.

Southern Living

And don’t worry, the term “foldable table” may conjure images of chunky plastic and metal, but elegant campaign-style folding tables like this one can look elegant in traditional or modern spaces and fold away flat between uses or stay on display every day!

Calligaris

And speaking of transformable tables, this table changes from coffee table height …

UPinteriors

… to dining height with just a few clicks. Convertible or space-saving tables typically snap between a range of heights, perfect for pairing with your existing sofa and allowing you to dine at a comfortable level.

David Howell Design

So go ahead and blur the lines between eating and living spaces. You may find yourself enjoying a few more meals in.