Going Informal: Alternatives to the Formal Dining Room

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Time always moves at exactly the same speed, but our perception of it alters over time.

The end result is impressions such as ‘summer used to last longer when I was a kid’ or ‘it can’t possibly be spring already!’ Just like our perception of time as individuals, time moves on for society overall as well. This can be seen pretty clearly when you examine homes built at different times in history: Rooms that were once absolute necessities become oddball spaces no one knows what to do with, floor plans evolve and change, and buildings that were once grand mansions get subdivided into more humble apartments.

new and shiny modern dining room setting

Image via pixabay.com

The Formal Dining Room is quickly becoming one of those dinosaurs of a past age. While there are certainly still families that use and love their Formal Dining Room, there are more and more families that are embracing a more casual use of space and have rarely, if ever, used the Formal Dining Room for its assigned purpose.

Ask yourself: When was the last time you invited a dozen people over and used your buffet, China Cabinet, and good place settings? If the answer is pretty low, you might consider doing something else with your Formal Dining Room – because it’s turning into wasted space.

Keep Things Appropriate

Once you decide that the Formal Dining Room is a waste of space, you can, of course, do anything you want with it. Some folks have turned it into a game room complete with pool table. Others into a home office or children’s play room.

traditional dining room

Image via pixabay.com

However, just because you suddenly have a few dozen square feet to play with doesn’t mean that the room can be anything and remain appropriate in the home. While you can decide to use your space any way you like, the fact is Formal Dining Rooms tend to be off the kitchen, and that means having an office or a playroom – while perfectly sensible – won’t flow well with the house. To truly re-imagine your Formal Dining Room without ruining your home’s flow and balance, keep the new use in line with its placement.

Dining Room Reinvention Ideas

Here are some ideal uses for the space that make the room more useful and keep things making sense in your home:

Kitchen Renovation

The Dining Room is right off the kitchen – and thus could easily be where you expand in order to create the eat-in kitchen of your dreams. If your kitchen’s a bit tight or a bit dark, this is the easiest way to recreate it and gain valuable square footage. Of course, this is a drastic step as it removes the Formal Dining Room from the house – which could impact resale value. But the trend is with you; chances are in a few years almost no one will be looking for Formal Dining Rooms anyway.

Laundry Room

If your laundry is located in the basement or is a cramped, unhappy place, the Formal Dining Room could be remade into a spectacular, roomy laundry room. Situated just off the kitchen, the plumbing work won’t be an issue, and its placement there will make perfect sense to everyone. The added convenience is ideal as well. Just remember, when decorating your shiny new laundry space, that your wall art should be acrylic glass in order to withstand the damp and humidity of a laundry room.

Author: Sam

Samantha Winterland (Sam) is the owner and creator of Best Home Ideas. Having graduated from the Withehouse Institute of Design Australia, she has devoted her blog to exploring the latest innovations in interior design. Sam admits she loves everything DIY and is always ready to face a new challenge.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Judith and Corina. I am so happy you liked the post!

      P.S. I love your website. Truly delicious ideas.

      Post a Reply
  1. I like your idea of choosing a paint that comes close to the wood. I think that is by far the best solution because it will have a unifying effect, and I think it’ll look bigger than it already is.
    Dining Room Ideas

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