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Are Dining Rooms Dead? 5 Better Ways to Use That Space

Photo: West Elm

How many times did your family use your dining room last year? If you can count the meals at the table on one hand, then you may want to consider repurposing that room. It can be hard to let go of the dining-room dream, but let’s be realistic. A room that only gets used during holidays isn’t worth keeping.

If you’re willing to break out of the traditional dining-room mold, the possibilities can go a lot further than three-course meals and dress shoes. Here are five ways to get more from your dining room.

Convert it into a home office. Picture your large dining room table. Now picture that same dining room table with one chair. Boom! You now have the home office you’ve always wanted. Let your china cabinet double as office supplies storage and use this space as an office for 360 days a year. For the 5 days that you host large dinners, simply clear off your office supplies and add the extra chairs back to the table!

Keep it as the party room. If you love entertaining people but hate the idea of hosting a formal dinner, turn your dining room into hang-out central. Replace your dining room table with a pool table and install a bar along one wall for finger food and cocktails. The dining room will quickly become the most popular room in the house!

Make it a morning cafe. Instead of squandering every square inch of the room with an oak table that sits eight, place a couple small, café style tables in the room. Small tables are more inviting when you’re enjoying a cup of coffee, reading the paper or even opening the mail. Plus, smaller tables are easy to move around and join together (just in case a dinner party of eight does actually happen).

Turn it into a guest room. If your extended family treats your house as their free hotel, consider installing a Murphy bed in your dining room. Most of the time it will simply look like a shelf and you can use the room for whatever your heart desires. Then, when guests arrive, it instantly turns into an impromptu guest bedroom.

Make it playtime central. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen and love the idea of your kids playing close by, then turn your dining room into their playroom. Ditch the fancy table and replace it with a craft table and add toy bins or book shelves. We also recommend adding a comfy rug for optimal toy enjoyment. 

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