How is your dining room working for you? How does it make you feel when you walk in the room? The kitchen, living, and dining rooms are the three rooms in the home where family and friends gather for food, conversation, and just to be together. So it’s important that these rooms function well and feel comfortable.
Remember my friend who needed her dining room to serve two functions – dining and office? We were able to make the room work for both. Today, we’re focussing just on using the dining room as a family gathering place.
In my last post, we talked about another friend of mine, Annie, her kitchen, and how we transformed an old TV cabinet into a functional organization station. If you missed it, you can check it out here.
Today, let’s talk about Annie’s dining room.
As I mentioned, Annie’s home is a basic colonial floor plan with a dining room off her foyer. At 10’x 12′, the dining room is average size, but for a family of seven it can get a little tight.
Walking Space. The large table fills almost the entire room, leaving very little walking space between the chairs and the wall. There are two small end tables sitting in the corners. Once holds a lamp, the other miscellaneous books and glass items.
Storage. The bookcase has collected books and other miscellaneous items. There’s no place to set up a buffet or dessert station on holidays. There’s no storage for linens or other serving pieces only used on holidays.
Artwork. Each wall has a small piece of miscellaneous artwork hanging just at or above eye-level. Most of the pieces are unrelated.
The goal is create a more comfortable atmosphere that also functions well. Let’s start with the walking space.
Annie has a large, oval dining table with eight chairs. The black-painted-and-cherry-stained table is beautiful and seats her family of seven perfectly, so that stays.
She also has two small end tables in each corner and a bookcase between the two windows. The two end tables in the corners are a light, natural maple. They don’t fit well in the corners, are visually too low, and their finish is mismatched with the dining table. Both tables will be removed from the room and find new places to live the house.
By removing the two small tables, we created a bit more walking space around the table and visually, cleaned up some of the clutter in the space.
Currently, a bookcase sits between the two windows. While bookcases can serve as great storage, the wood is mismatched and it has collected clutter over the years – visually creating chaos. The bookcase sticks out about 15-16″ from the wall, leaving just enough space for someone to squeeze into the chair on the side of the table.
There isn’t enough space between the table and any one of the walls to add in a large hutch or sideboard, so the plan is to remove the bookcase and replace it with a long, thin (no more than 14 inches) buffet, console, or sofa table. The thin table will function as a buffet or dessert station on holidays, a place to set lamp, and when not in use, a place to display one or two nice display pieces.
If we find a sofa table with drawers, it will also hold linens; otherwise these can be placed in covered storage baskets underneath.
Finally, the artwork. When you enter the dining room through the large open, double-doorway off the foyer, you see there are several small pieces of art spread out evenly around the room. We’ll take a few of the like-pieces and group them together on the smaller walls to create collections.
According to Feng Shui, you should feature a family photo in the dining room. So on the large, most prominent wall that faces you as you walk into the room, the plan is to create a gallery wall of family photos.
You can tell how important family is to Annie when you walk around her home. Every tabletop is filled with framed family photos – they’re beautiful. Our goal is to showcase them on this feature wall in the dining room and as an added bonus, this will free-up tabletops around the house and make the rooms feels less cluttered.
Most of her frames are already black which works perfectly with the black and cherry dining table. For those that are not, we’ll simply paint the frames. Hanging several small frames that are all the same color close together will create the appearance of one large piece of artwork – thus creating a harmonious atmosphere in the dining room.
To make this entire room function better, the only piece of furniture that needs to be changed out is the bookcase for a long console table. Following are several thin options that will work in a dining room with very little walking space.
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