I’m just curious. Do you use your dining room? How often? Do you really think you need a room you use two or three times a year, or do you want it because your realtor told you that you needed it for resale? I have thought about it many times in my own home. What else could I use this room for in the front of my house? Especially in these economic times, where less is becoming more, could I give up my dining room and create a function for the room where I would get more use out of it? I started thinking like this back when I was working on my Interior Design degree, when the book “The Not So Big House” by Sarah Susanka was introduced as reference for a project we were working on. (A great book and great concept.) Since then, I have been hooked on the idea of “living better, not bigger.” Do we entertain formally anymore, or do your friends tend to congregate in the kitchen? Some may still entertain formally but I know I don’t. How about just one really nice place in the house where you could eat every day, and nice enough that guests could eat there too? It’s a lot like going ahead and using the good dishes every day. What are you saving them for? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you really need a separate dining room?
I use my dining room twice a year. The rest of the time it has picture frames on it that I’m trying to fill with the perfect pictures. I MUCH prefer eating in the kitchen. If I had my choice, I’d have a great room that was visible from the kitchen. No formal dining or living room at all.
I don’t know. I mean I think you were spot on in saying that when I entertain it seems that everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen but at the same time when it comes time to eat, it’s nice to have a nice room to sit in and enjoy the meal. I think the question really is, how often to most people entertain formally? In the summertime we usually have cookouts and eat off of paper products, and that certainly doesn’t require a nice room to sit in. Around the holidays however it is nice to feel like you’re having a “special” meal in the dining room. I’m torn. I think it’s nice to have a formal room for special occasions, but like you point out, are there really enough special occasions throughout the year that warrant having a room set aside soley for celebrating? Probably not.
I would say that we use our dining room for its intented purpose about 3-4 times per year. We do use the table year round though for “projects”. Also, our china closets hold a lot, so I would definitely need a lot more kitchen cabinet space if I didn’t have the china closets. Overall, I like having a dining room…if I had to choose between a dining room or formal living room, I would go with a dining room in a heartbeat.
A beautiful dining room usually makes a great opening statement when you enter a home. But, most of my clients get the most use out of it as a location for homework or projects. I do believe that the way we are entertaining is more casual than it has been in the past.
I am a VERY “senior” homeowner, and I use my formal dining room every day! That will be a surprise to many! That is much like using the fine silver and china daily, why save it! My compromise was no formal living room, but a den and enclosed 4 season Florida room. All guests congregate, depending on the occasion, either in the Florida room or the dining room. LOVE THIS “INTERIOR DESIGN” CHOCK FULL OF VALUABLE INFORMATION. B. Matthews
So far it is 2 for and 4 against(including me). I guess that is reason enough to keep them, and least for the resale value, but the trend from this small amount of data indicates that they may be on their way out. Any other thoughts?
I think if I were building a new home for myself I’d definitely drop the separate formal diningroom and opt for a much larger open-concept kitchen with a great big island that had seating and a dining area that had an expanding seating capacity. Right now I have a large formal diningroom and while it is nice for the holidays, it really doesn’t see much use on a daily basis.
I like formal dining room and feel I should pay a lot less if the house doesn’t have one. I am ok with living / dining combo, but can’t stand kitchen/dining combo. To me table in a kitchen, I don’t care how big it is, it is a kitchen/breakfast table. I think you use the kitchen table for breakfast, prepare meals, pay bills, homework, etc. but I don’t like the idea of seating my guests in the kitchen. Makes me think of the kids table of the old days. And it will not pretty and elegant. Even if I only use the dining room once a month for hosting dinners and holidays it looks nice to have a formal dining room. I also want a casual kitchen table for all the things I sited above. As to guests all congregate around the kitchen, it is a matter of the host’s style. I am the type that like to mingle with guests and I am usually all done with cooking when the guests arrive. I also notice at some of my friends’ dinners, the guests may like to stand around the kitchen having cocktails and chatting with the hostess while she cooks. Everyone is still scrambling for a seat when the dinner is served and its almost uncomfortable if the seating area if not defined. I also don’t like to be bothered when I am cooking. I don’t like dirty dishes lying around for all to see.