go easy on the flowers
Cluster small blooms in a tiny vase for each place setting. For a splashy look, fill lofty, narrow vessels with towering stalks or leafy branches that spread upward.
lose the wine bottles
To avoid crowding the table with umpteen bottles of wine, use carafes that hold two or more bottles at a go.
utilize the whole room
After serving the main course, place the platters, on a nearby console, for easy second helpings.
keep things within reach
Position two large water pitchers near the table’s center, and install a sort of diminutive salt and pepper shakers set-up at each end.
skip placemats and use a tablecloth
Placemats clearly define a dining space, so it makes it harder to “fake it” and squeeze in a few extra settings at your table.
go for a non-traditional place setting
Skip the broad traditional setting with silverware to the right and left of your plate. It looks fun and unique and saves you much needed real estate.
no family-style service
Skip the platters and compose each diner’s plate in the kitchen just like it is done in a restaurant. Or use a console or extra table to set up a buffet.
ride the bench
If big, bulky chairs are occupying more than their fair share of space in your dining room, consider using a bench along one side of the table to accommodate one or two additional guests.
establish a kids’ table
It’s been done before, and usually youngsters prefer to be on their own anyway. For the holidays, if your guest list overwhelms your dining room’s capacity, consider creating a satellite table for the kids.