Our home has a WONDERFUL square footage for a young couple in their first home together. Unfortunately, despite a wonderful open plan we have some serious wasted square footage. One of the worst offenders is the dining room. After moving in late this summer it's the only room left with boxes piled in it.
We're young and don't host holidays at our house but since I'm beginning to make design choices based on future remodels I'm curious to see how other people feel about having dining rooms in their home.
Do you think they are a fabulous selling point for a home? Do you eat at the couch or in a more casual eat-in kitchen? Could you never give up the option to host the family Thanksgiving gathering at your house in a separate dining room? Any opinions you have to offer would be so helpful in making our decisions about updating our floor plan!
Re: Formal Dining: Wasted Space or Tradition to Stay?
I think you just do what works for you at the time. If you know you won't be hosting formal meals, make the space purposeful and work for you. As a child, half of the house I grew up in was "for show." Now, my feeling is that if you aren't enjoying it, then why? Kudos to you for having the flexibility that the extra square footage allows!
As a newlywed and a first time homebuyer, we bought an old house for the character and charm, but neglected to think about other things that we really regret. One is a dining room. Our little house has a dining area (a small dining room that is about 7 feet wide) but also serves as the only path from the front of the house to the kitchen. At the time, we weren't concerned, however now that we are still in this house with two children, the only place to have a meal together is to gather around the coffee table. I wish we had thought that one through. Because we have such limited space, I would be more than pleased with just one dining table. Nothing fancy, just one table where we can all sit and have a conversation.
If we can ever move to another home, a formal dining room is on the list - but only to be converted to a homeschool classroom near the center of the home. I think a casual dining space is plenty for us.
Use it as a second tv room! Being military, we move often and not always use the designated spaces for what it was intended to be used for. I have used mine in the past for my exercise room or tv room. If you like crafting, make it a cute casual craft room!
Re: Formal Dining: Wasted Space or Tradition to Stay?
We looooove actually having a dining room :) We use it for dining once in awhile, but the long, flat surface is also good for:
b. a place to use a laptop without it on my lap constantly
c. THE place for wrapping and storing all the Christmas gifts
d. a wide open space free of clutter for "brain peace" when the whole house is exploding from legos and laundry :)
So yeah, we totally use it, but not always for dining ;)
I wish I could pass along some of our extra space! I'm considering allowing for an eat-in area of the kitchen once it's remodeled. I think we would use that most right now but a bar height counter won't be condusive once children are in the picture. That hadn't crossed my mind. Thanks for the food for thought!
Here is the plan and maybe that gives a better idea of what we're looking at. Our kitchen is HUGE and so wasted. We would like to eventually remodel the whole thing. You can see that the kitchen conveniently opens to the dining room on the right. Just above the kitchen we use the wall with the fireplace along it for our living/family room. To the right of that (and closest to the entry) we are utilizing the space for our Christmas tree (which is sadly not year 'round!) and bookshelf parking with 2 chairs for a mini-library.
Matt and I never use the dining area or the library. Maybe we should consider walling in the "dining room" to create an office? Then the Library could become the dining and lay claim to crafting 3/4 of the time! Is it weird to walk INTO the dining room of a home? Haha- suggestions from outsiders are always the obvious things that you've masked yourself from seeing since it's so personal to design your own space.
I would not remove the dining room completely since there is no other eating area besides a future bar. We have a small two seater bar off our kitchen and it took some serious shopping to find affordable bar stools with arms so the kids wouldn't fall out. No luck with the arms, but I did find a killer black Friday deal at lowes. Another consideration on the bar; we kept ours the same height as the counter and it made for a much more open feel than the high version we previously had before we remodeled.
Along the rear wall of the dining room that opposes the kitchen- you may consider counter-height built-in shelving to span the entire wall area. You could enclose some cabinets behind doors and leave some open to relocate your library area, store craft supplies or whatever, plus it would give you a great surface for art display. And it would be a functional buffet if you ever do find yourself entertaining.
You know, you don't have to put a super traditional table in there since you would most likely be using it for other purposes, but Amy is right! It's a pain when you don't have a large surface area to work. I find myself having to cut fabric and. such on the floor. Having a big table certainly comes in handy for more than eating. Try footling craft or homeschool rooms for examples.
My new house (been here 1 year) is the first time I've ever used the formal dining room. In past homes it's been the playroom (great because I could see the kids while I fixed dinner) and also an office.
Now that we have 4 kids, the breakfast nook is just too crowded. I finally bought a formal dining table and it's great to stretch out. The breakfast nook is used for homework and kids crafts.
If you're going to be in that home a while I'd keep your options open. Maybe make a library/office space that can be converted easily?
I have to admit that I'm totally trying to integrate a banquet into a less formal dining situation! Always wanted one since we had a small bench at our house growing up.
Another stroke of genius- I totally blocked out using a regular counter height "bar" to eat from. I've even designed one before. Love it! Thanks!
Once I get plans drawn up I'll be sure to post on my blog and refine as we go.
As for the craft/storage/large surface needs: possibly a way to conceal storage & surface in a custom piece of cabinetry? I've been plotting a small version over the last few months but maybe bigger is better! Then it can be a piece of furniture and not a built in for flexibility. I like it!
Many built-ins are simply freestanding pieces of furniture (sometimes a few cabinets banked together) with just one piece of molding around the bottom and one solid countertop to give the look that it is one huge unit when it reality it is several pieces stuck together. You can easily give the look that it is "built-in" without having to remove your molding and attach it to the wall. Here is an example of one built from Ana White's site. This is actually one big honkin' piece of furniture, but doesn't the granite top just make the thing look like it has been there forever? It sure seems to ground the piece, in my opinion. You could easily do that with Ikea shelving if you weren't the builder type. I can't paste the image for some reason, so here is the site link: Dining Room Buffet Cabinet. They're actually using it for crafts too!
I love that one. But I'm also a fan of the ones that are walled in with overhead shelving. They feel like such a cozy cubby and lend way to lots of storage. I would put shelves on either side and put a little TV in there so I could watch it while I ate a sandwich. Ahh, a girl can dream.
At Marlo Furniture you can Buy Dining Room Furniture Sets that can suits and fit to any home, whether it's a simple dining room or an elaborate formal dining room. We have a broad selection of dining room tables, pub tables, chairs, bars, bar stools, baker's racks, buffets, servers, china cabinets, and more.