Sneaky Ways to Add Seating for the Holidays

If you’re planning to entertain friends and family during the holidays this year, your first concern might not be the menu, or the playlist, but where you’re going to seat everyone at the dining room table! Here are some creative and stylish interior design tips to add more seating to your home for the holidays.

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Get Creative with the Kid’s Table

If you need more chairs at the dining table, get creative and create a separate kid’s table to maximize the number of adults that can utilize your dining room table and chairs. When you create a separate area for the kids to eat, make it fun: a living room picnic on the floor or a series of cushions encircling a low table. Or, if they’re content to eat in the family room while watching a movie, the Facet Square Coffee Table has ingenious pull out trays that will keep your sofa safe from spills and still make the dinner feel festive for the little ones.  Have special treats on hand (mini pies!) to reward excellent behaviour.

Add a Bench

To eke out extra seating at the dining table, use a long, narrow bench along one side. Guests can get cozy on the bench and you can squeeze the chairs that normally occupy that space closer together on the ends and along the opposite side of the table.  When the holidays are over, move the bench to an entryway or to the foot of your bed to involve it in your interior decor, so you can keep extra seating handy throughout the year. If you don’t have room for a bench, try a long and narrow ottoman like the Beacon Hill Ottoman, which can be used in a family room once the holidays are over.

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Use Cube Ottomans

Ottomans are really underrated but they’re so practical because they’re softer than traditional coffee tables – making them perfect for families with small children – plus they double as seating in a pinch. A large ottoman, like the Roundabout Ottoman, is a perfect place to perch during a cocktail party but a series of smaller cube ottomans, like the Mosaic Ottoman (which comes in a huge array of fabrics), can even double as chairs during a sit down dinner. During the rest of the year, a small cube ottoman can find a home just about anywhere in the house: as a side table, by the front door, in front of your favourite reading chair – you’ll wonder how you lived without them.

Borrow from Neighbours or Family

Because most people can empathize, neighbours and friends would surely lend spare chairs if you’re really in a pinch. In fact, I bet your neighbours would love to trade their spare chairs if they could borrow yours when it’s their time to host. Pick up an inexpensive set of slip covers to disguise the mismatched set – it’s a small investment that will make life easier each year (and your neighbours might want to split the cost if it benefits them as well).

Bring in the Patio Furniture

These days, patio furniture is designed to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor dining, so odds are your outdoor furniture is chic enough to come inside for the holidays – and it probably already complements your decor. If not, dress it up with inexpensive slip covers too. And if you’re shopping for a new set next spring, keep holiday entertaining in mind when choosing a style. Something simple like teak bistro chairs work well indoors and on the deck.

Move an Arm Chair into the Dining Room

If you’re only short a couple of chairs, move a simple living room occasional chair, like the Stiletto Premier Stationary Occasional Chair, into place at the head of the dining room to add a formal elegance – plus extra seating.

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Use Stools Instead

Stools take up a much smaller footprint and can be grouped closer together than typical dining room chairs – especially those with arms. Simple wood stools can be picked up for next to nothing (scour the classifieds for an inexpensive set) and painted to match interior décor, then simply stashed away when the season is over.

Rent Everything You Need

For a larger family affair, consider party rentals. You can rent tables, chairs, linens, and some cities even have services that rent dishes that you can return unwashed, alleviating pretty much all of the stress of holiday entertaining. As a last resort, this is a great solution for folks with smaller digs, but be prepared for the added cost. Shop around in advance for the best deal and consider making dinner a potluck to alleviate some of the financial burden of entertaining.

Host a Cocktail Party

If it feels impossible to seat all of your family and friends at one table, try swapping a traditional sit down meal with a more festive cocktail party. No one will turn down tasty hors d'oeuvres and petite desserts. Guests will probably enjoy mingling even better than a sit down meal and seating will become a non-issue. A sleek coffee table like the Modern Basics Rectangular Nesting Table features two additional tables tucked underneath which can be pulled out during parties to offer more spots to place drinks and snacks. The Mila Sofa Table is another great furniture staple for a cocktail party, offering a great place to set up tasty treats.    

Have Fun

Just remember that while you might be worried about where to seat everyone, and whether the house looks perfect and the chairs match, your guests are surely just be grateful for the chance to see their loved ones and enjoy some time together. So don’t stress too much if someone ends up sitting on a bean bag chair – they’re there for the pie, anyway.


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Tanya is the blogger behind the DIY and Lifestyle blog, Dans le Lakehouse, a blog about creating a colourful, happy, handmade home.  She shares easy DIY projects, bold home decor ideas, real life renovating highs and lows, delicious and healthy recipes, and snippets of life on the lake.