It is more common than you know; there’s one in almost every home in America – The formal dining room that maybe gets used a couple times of year. The room that is all decked out, but never gets used. The kids aren’t allowed to go into it, the dog can’t as much as walk by it. But it is the room the builder told you is the formal dining room, so that’s what it is going to be….right? Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but most homes come with a formal dining room as well as a breakfast room, and even a breakfast bar. So Formal dining rooms are really quite redundant unless you entertain a lot.
The truth is, most of us don’t live formally, and so the breakfast room or breakfast bar off the kitchen is where most families dine daily. In my home, my kids dine in the game room. The formal dining room really just gets used on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. So let’s hear it…….how often do you use your formal dining room?
I have been on a mission lately to get families to think outside of the box and make the formal dining room a useable room. Who says it has to be a dining room? Why not make the room’s purpose one that works for your family and the way you live?
Here are some ideas of how you can rethink the purpose of your formal dining room.
Make it less formal. If it has to be a dining room because you entertain a lot, make it more of a loungey dining room. Instead of a table with six or eight chairs, bring in a bench or settee, and some upholstered chairs. Mix up the chairs to create a more collected and casual feel. Here in this dining room project, we used three different types of seating to create the loungey, casual feel you see here.
Make the room into a family gathering room, especially if you are short on space elsewhere in the home. Bring in a few comfy chairs and maybe even a game table for board games. Here, we used this dining room as a sitting room with these leather chairs and cocktail ottoman. Great place to get together for a few glasses of wine
Make it a comfortable home office, study or library complete with a reading nook. Now you don’t have to run your home based business from your kitchen table. Here, this space was intended by the builder to be a formal dining room, even though the breakfast room is just a few feet away. We decided to turn into into a more functional home office area where the homeowner can get some serious work done
Here we converted this formal dining room into a home office with seating area
Make the room multi-purpose. If you have to keep some aspects of dining as part of the room’s function, there is no reason you can’t also make it a sitting room or a study or a craft/hobby room. Here we are using this space as a morning meditation room. The table is adjustable and can adjust from coffee table height to dining table height. This way, it can easily become a dining room if needed
Here we added the dining room to an existing seating area and used the formal dining room for another purpose
Make it feel like that exotic get-away that you enjoyed so much on your last vacation. Here this dining room boasts beautiful colors that remind me of the tropics
Make it a bedroom (nursery, mother-in-law suite or guest bedroom). Depending on the location of the room in the home, you can easily add a door and make it a bedroom.
Make it a kid’s playroom, or game room. Be sure to add lots of storage to keep it organized
Make it a wine room. If you are a wine collector and love to host wine tastings, why not make it a room where you can show off your collection.
Can you think of any other purposes you would use your formal dining room for? Better yet, tell us when was the last time you used your formal dining room.
Hopefully I have inspired some changes in a few dining rooms out there.
If you need help creating a functional and comfortable space in your home, you can take advantage of our eDesign service.
You get the same great Casa Vilora Interiors design that our full service design clients enjoy for a fraction of the cost! You get a full room design with furniture layout, color selection, fabric selection, window treatment design, furniture shopping list and even a 30 minute Skype session if needed. Check our website for more details on this service. Click here.
Wishing you beauty and inspiration!