How to Organize Dining Rooms

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Today we are organizing dining rooms, and I’m sharing some dining room organization tips to help you get it done efficiently.

How to Organizing Dining Rooms

Organized dining room with table and chairs plus storage

Not every home has a specific space that serves as a dining room. If yours does not, feel free to pick and choose from the ideas below to suit your needs. The important thing is that you follow the R-O-C-K pattern.

Remove Clutter

Removing all the clutter from your dining room at once room isn’t always practical. If you’re trying to organize a small dining room, you may not have a space to set everything. So, grab a few boxes and bags for trash, donations, and things that belong elsewhere. Then it’s time to declutter.

Throw Away the Following:

  • Old newspapers and magazines
  • Take-out menus (they’re online now)
  • Sales flyers and expired coupons
  • Empty food wrappers or containers
  • Anything that’s broken
  • Permanently stained table linens
  • Any other obvious trash

Once you’ve tossed the trash, it’s time to get more serious about dining room organization. To do this, you need to be ruthless about the things you’re planning to keep in this space.

Evaluate What’s Left

Still have a lot of stuff? Many times, clutter is stuff we’ve held onto with the best of intentions. Sometimes, it feels wasteful to get rid of a thing we paid good money for. Other times, we feel ungrateful for letting go of an item we were given or got for free.

If you need justification, realize that this very sort of scarcity mindset may be holding you back in life.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to simplify your possessions. You pay the mortgage or rent for your home and everything that’s in it. When things don’t serve your needs, it makes no sense to share your space with them.

So, the next step in organizing dining rooms is paring down the contents to just the things that make sense to store there.

Uncluttered dining table and chairs

Donate What You Don’t Use

Purging clutter while organizing the dining room becomes even easier if you remember you’re rehoming your stuff. The things you take to thrift stores or local charities will become someone else’s cherished items, maybe even their heirlooms.

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Some things to re-home:

  • Inherited items you’re keeping out of obligation
  • Formal dining stuff if you’re not the type to throw dinner parties
  • Decor or dishes that don’t reflect your personal taste
  • Specialized pieces you’ve never had any reason to use (like caviar spoons or chafing dishes)

Organize It

Organizing the dining room depends on what else your family uses it for besides eating. You were probably expecting me to say that nothing belongs on the dining table but dining-related stuff, but that’s just not realistic in many homes!

Maybe your kids do their homework at the dining table or your family likes to play board games in the dining room. Or perhaps you’re into sewing, and that’s the only place to set up your machine.

That’s okay! Your home should work for you. But unless you want your dining or kitchen table to become a clutter hot spot, you need to make it convenient to put those things away after use.

Have Ample Storage

Whether your dining room is used solely for dining or has to do double-duty as a homework or craft space, you need easily accessible storage.

Modern dining table with storage cabinet

A sideboard or buffet can hold dishes, table linens and serving pieces you only need seasonally or when you have company.

A bar cart or rolling utility cart can hold adult beverages and glassware, or even homework supplies, board games, and laptops when not in use.

Floating shelves with a dish rail can display platters and good china if you’re short on space, too. Or put attractive baskets on them to hold things not in use.

Consider hanging tablecloths and cloth napkins in a closet after laundering. If you iron and fold them neatly over a hanger, they’ll stay wrinkle-free without taking up space in your dining room.

Use an upholstered storage bench for seating. It’s a great spot for kids to sit on, and you can stash placemats or other things in the compartment.

Dining room with a tall plant and multi-colored chairs

A Tip to Discourage Clutter

A great way to discourage clutter is by keeping your dining table set as if you’re expecting company. Not only does this free up space in your cupboards, it looks beautiful, too.

But sometimes that’s just asking for trouble. If you have small kids, for example, or pets who think any horizontal space is theirs. You can still discourage clutter from piling up on the table by placing one or two carefully chosen decorative items in the center.

Organizing Dining Rooms

Clean It

Clean your dining or kitchen table by treating stains on any upholstered surfaces first. (Here’s how to get rid of food stains on a variety of fabrics.) Once those spots have dried, vacuum the upholstery.

Next, wipe the surface with a warm, soapy microfiber cloth to clean away greasy dust and grime. Don’t forget the underside and base of the table, as well as chair arms and legs, too.

Lastly, give it a good shine with furniture polish (or glass cleaner if appropriate) and a lint-free cloth. (Find out how to make natural homemade cleaners here.)

Keep it Clean

Keeping on top of the areas we’ve already ROCKed is essential, so don’t skip this part! Buzz through the entryway and check the coat closet — the two areas we’ve done thus far.

  • Make sure clutter hasn’t started creeping back into either place.
  • Throw away any trash you find.
  • Pick up things your kids have left out and assign chores that kids can do so they earn their things back.

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  1. Not Joanna Gaines :) says:

    I have to share my solution to table clutter. Years and years ago, Pam Young and her sister Peggy Jones wrote in their first seminal book that, as a daily task, you unload the dishwasher and set the table with the stuff you took out. They said it far more succinctly of course but you get the idea. I never really got on board with this but then I had my own light bulb moment. When my mom passed away one thing I salvaged from her home was a beautiful set of lemon yellow placemats. I had no room for them in my shallow drawer so I arranged them on the table. To those I found and added a set of beautiful cobalt blue chargers. I added a set of stemware, plus a set of blue and yellow print napkins with shiny silver rings and then laid out my flatware. In the middle a huge white Portmoiron bowl with plastic lemons. I’m telling you it looks like an ad from

    This inspired me to change it up seasonally. It’s like a page from a Joanna Gaines photo shoot. And no one puts their junk on my table any more. There’s nothing more magnetic than a bare surface. Not here though. Done with that. I now rotate a spring theme with a red white and blue theme, then a fall theme until Christmas. I don’t celebrate St Patrick’s day or Valentines Day so I don’t do those but I suppose it could be done. The single thing that makes this work is having no dinnerware that is not white. I have primarily Royal Doulton but pieces from garage sales and thrift stores. So no clashing colors. Fresh flowers can be added and sometimes I put the napkins inside the wine glasses. Very elegant. We have no children in the home but this could be a formal dining room and the kitchen could be less elaborate.

    One thing from my own childhood I remember well and carried out with my children also was the idea that each child should have a place to study, to do homework and especially to be able to set work aside to join the family at dinner. None of that scurrying about shoveling books and papers aside to eat. I saw this at my friend’s homes. I never could study amidst the noise of a blaring tv and squabbling siblings, personally. Getting kids a desk goes a long way to keeping this area clutter free and attractive.

    Getting of soapbox now…

    1. Katie Berry says:

      These are fantastic tips. Thank you for sharing them!