Some people have a dedicated space for a dining room, and others don’t…but whatever your house looks like, turkey day is coming, so it’s time to dust off the dining room table. Oh it’s one of my favorite holidays…I love to cook, and gathering with family and friends to eat is probably my favorite activity. Thanksgiving is the holy grail of food holidays.
The dining room pictured above is one we did for a client a few years back. I love how it came out. It was originally a very large living room, but she wanted to be able to seat her extended family of 20ish at a real table in a formal dining room so she swapped the living and dining room spaces (there were plenty of other ginormous living spaces in this house so it totally made sense) and she used it. A lot.
BUT many people ONLY use their dining room for holidays and that is a travesty. If you spend hard earned cash money on furnishing a room, it should work more than 4 or 5 days a year!
The answer, according to most of HGTV anyway, is to take down all the walls between the living, dining and kitchen spaces because OF COURSE you want ‘open concept’ (along with gray walls, granite counters, and stainless steel appliances … blah blah blah… Yawn.). And while open concept can be useful in some situations, it is not always the best answer for every house or every homeowner. For example, I don’t want to have to look at the mess I (or my daughter) made of the kitchen while we are eating in the dining room, and while I no longer have a TV, if I did I wouldn’t want to have to hear someone screaming at it because their team isn’t doing so well…or complaining because they can’t hear it over the happy roar of the kitchen appliances whilst I am cooking. Togetherness is only ideal to a point.
Then there is the mess and expense of taking down walls, which may not be practical or possible for many people.
Most older homes were built with separate dining rooms, but here is the good news - these rooms do not need to be restricted to JUST dining! Creating a multi-function space is a great way to use the dining room every day.
Dining rooms are ideal combined with a library space.
The next few pictures are examples of dining rooms with libraries, or libraries that contain dining tables…however you want to look at it!
Imagine afternoon tea or an intimate dinner at this charming table. The windowseat could function as extra table seating too.
I love the little paintings tucked onto the shelves. And that rolling library ladder…
Imagine a candlelit dinner in this all black library/dining space! Both cozy and dramatic. The touches of silver on the top shelves will glimmer in the chandelier light. And gold-lined black chandelier shades always cast the most wonderful light. We used them on the paris flea market style chandeliers in the dining room at the beginning of this post.
This is a stunning penthouse dining room/library. The settee complements the bookcase wall beautifully and doubles as dining seating as well.
Dining rooms can also double quite nicely as a home office.
With appropriate storage for all your office supplies, the dining room can make an ideal home office. Most office set ups will need at least a printer, and possibly an extra monitor. But if you plan furnishings to stash the work out of sight at the end of the day, it can convert from chic office to company-ready dining space quite easily. A dining table makes an expansive desk surface to work on or can double as a conference table. Be sure to include adequate lighting for whatever type of work you will do in the space.
Above images via Martha Stewart
Above is the home office/dining room of blogger Emily A Clark
A dining table is a great large surface for wrapping gifts or doing crafts, or for playing games. It is an ideal surface to spread out paperwork or read an actual newspaper (does anyone still do that?)
Or in casual homes with young families, how about double duty as a craft or play space…what kid would not adore making a fort under a dining table?! The key is appropriate storage so your room can transition to dining space easily when it is needed for that.