One of the biggest secrets of budget dining room design is to use what you already have! Begin your design project by thinking about what it is that you want from your space, and how your existing furniture differs from your design. If your existing furniture is still sturdy, there are lots you can do to improve or alter the aesthetic appeal. The solution could be as simple as a coat of paint in a fun new color, or replacing the top or your old table with a new one in a more contemporary shape. Buff out old scratches, and give aging wood a new coat of polyurethane or furniture wax.
Another way to maximize space in a small dining room is to use a table with table leaves. Because you obviously can remove those leaves on an everyday basis, the table can be smaller. Then when you have company or you have more family members at home, you can put the leaves in, and you have room for everyone at the table.
One of the best ways to encourage lingering after a meal is to provide comfortable furniture. Hard wooden chairs with no padding don't encourage people to sit for long periods of time, and you may find your family and friends eager to jump up from the table after a meal. If you choose soft furnishings or padding for wooden chairs, guests can sit back and relax without feeling uncomfortable. The table should be a comfortable height, with the edge not too low where it hits people's knees. Any larger pieces of furniture should match your colour scheme and feel warm and inviting and not too formal.
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