The holidays are coming, which means family-style entertaining is just around the corner. Whether you have a spacious dining room that can fit 24 or a cozy space more appropriate for 4, the key is maximizing every square inch of space. From your dining room table to the chairs around it, here are 8 ways to get more out of your space, maximizing the enjoyment of the meals and your family joys.

1. Clear the Space

If your dining room is filled with nonessentials and knick knacks (and on a small dining room that could mean everything but the table and chairs), it’s time to clear out the clutter! At least for the holidays.  This “less is more” approach will make the room seem more spacious, and a spacious room is more comfortable. Also, removing unnecessary ‘stuff’ will place emphasis on the beautifully decorated table and the delicious food you spent hours cooking.

2. Set Up a Buffet

Small dining room space? No biggie! Take the burden off your dining room by serving food in the kitchen on a table, countertop or island. For second helpings, guests can simply return to the kitchen, or the host can take a mid-meal lap around the table.

3. You’re Benched!

The ‘rough luxury’ look is all the rage these days. Embrace it with a big wooden bench! If this doesn’t fit your home’s decor, get something more antique-y or decorative or simple — there are options galore!  Instead of bulky chairs, consider placing this bench along one side of the table to accommodate one or two additional guests.

4. Extend the Table

Need to squeeze in a few extra guests? Extend the dining room table width 1 foot and the length an extra 2 feet by simply placing a sheet of standard plywood on top. While most dining tables are made in standard sizes of 36 inches wide by 72 inches long with one leaf, with a tablecloth draped over the surface, no one will be any the wiser.

5. Limit Table Decor

A beautifully decorated table is a must for the holidays, but often, the food is all you need! While it may be tempting to adorn your table with an elaborate centerpiece or grouping of candles, if space is tight, ppt for minimal ornament and make the most of your table’s total surface area with the meal’s gorgeous array.

6. Make a Kid’s Table

Let’s face it, most youngsters prefer to be on their own anyway. And if your guest list overwhelms your dining room’s capacity, don’t feel bad creating a satellite table for adults.

7. Take it Outside

We do live in Orange County — why not take advantage of our gorgeous weather and move the feast outdoors? With a few strategically placed space heaters, you might find this a lovely option. And this way, you can use the dining room table as a buffet station.

8. Rethink the Space

If your extended table is a tight fit for your dining room, brainstorm ways to position it differently.  Don’t be afraid to move cabinets and artwork around.

No matter the size of your dining room, enjoy the holidays — don’t forget, ’tis the season to be merry!