These days it is very common for people to live in new build houses or flats which combine the living room with a space for dining.
This is a real space saver and has great advantages for inviting friends over and having family meals – the space is more open and welcoming, and you can have dinner then retire to the sofa. Or you can even set the dining table up for a buffet and host your gathering in the living room.
However it can be difficult knowing what furniture to buy which looks good and also uses the space well. With a separate dining room, you would buy a table for the middle, and perhaps put a sideboard against one wall. In an open plan area you have less space, but still need the same amount of storage.
The first thing to think about is your dining table. There are some great options built to conserve space, such as extendable tables. Having all the chairs constantly set up on all sides of the table takes up space which is often unnecessary, so pick chairs which you can use in other areas of the house (for example in an office or at a desk in a bedroom, or even for extra seating in the living room) and push one side of the dining table against the wall.
Picking items which are multi-functional is a great way to make the most of your space. For example, if you need something to keep crockery on that also has to fit in with your living room, pick a bookcase in an attractive style, such as a French chateau piece which works well with a variety of colour schemes and designs. You can use it for both crockery and books and other bits and bobs that need a shelf. You can also get TV units with deep drawers, which can be useful for storing things in, like table cloths and place mats. These are little items which won't fit in many kitchens these days but still need a home, so as you need something to put your TV on you might as well make good use of the space. Similarly when choosing any other bits of furniture like a coffee table, look for options with drawers and storage space.
Look for ways to make the space feel bigger, like a mirror on one wall, but most importantly keep the area tidy and make it attractive and welcoming, with little additions like candles and flowers.