What Defines A Dining Room?

November 6, 2014





My house has a very small footprint. It was built in the 1920's as the first year round home in a small summer beach community. While a four season home should've boasted a bigger frame than most of its cottage style neighbors, equal sized lots kept it in check.
The depression era was also not the decade of McMansions. People built for efficiency, not extravagance. The original dwelling had two small bedrooms, one bath, a living room, tiny kitchen and a screened in porch that later became the dining room.  In the 1960's the original owners, still in possession of the home, added a master bedroom and bath.

When my husband and I bought the home, we loved the charming footprint, but we decided that the teeny, tiny kitchen was just not functional for modern family living, so we put on an addition to enlarge it. By now the basement had been finished and the living room was lovely, but my husband was craving an old fashioned den in his newly remodeled home. He wanted to take over the old dining room, add a tv and a couch. After all, he debated, we eat in the kitchen, how many dining rooms do we need?

It was a good question. As much as I had always longed for a formal dining room, it really wasn't a practical space in a home where square footage was at a premium. So I gave in and we turned that old dining room into a very well loved and constantly used family room.


The old dining room

So where do we dine? Well, in the kitchen of course!

We actually have two tables in the room. One is a pretty round table that is tucked into a windowed corner, overlooking the pool and the yard.


Spring!


Summer!

Fall!


Christmas!

The other is our old kitchen table. We were looking for an island in the same style and when we were unable to find one at a reasonable price, we made one instead, by replacing the short legs on our existing table with tall stair balusters. Now, we have a very functional kitchen island and frankly, it has become our main kitchen table. The round table, for some unknown reason, has been relegated to more formal dining occasions.


Spring!


Summer!


Fall!

Ho Ho Ho!

I guess things work out the way they are meant to, because in hindsight, I don't know what I was thinking when I wanted so desperately to keep that more formal eating area. The old dining room was actually quite small. There is no way we would've been able to fit my very large family in there for holidays. Yet in the kitchen, AKA my dining room, I can add a leaf to the round table, seat people at the island and poof, seating for at least eighteen.

Of course, in recent years, there has been the predictable addition of boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and a few truly delicious babies to the family. Even with the leaf, there is in fact no way I can fit everyone around the tables. I can barely fit them in the house! So I set the tables and those who would like to sit there, sit. Those who crave warmth, settle in front of the living room fireplace with their plate and those who cannot bare to separate themselves from football, nosh in front the family room or basement tvs. They sit perched with china in hand, on their lap or placed on the coffee table.  A tiny home, calls for creative dining solutions.

So who says I don't have a dining room? Clearly on these days, I have several; just about every room in my home could be deemed a dining room, full of family, lively conversation, some sort of table and great food!

Well, every room except the bedrooms...definitely not dining rooms. No one eats in there.

Unless you ask my kids. Their answer may vary.

Do you have a formal dining room?

Sign up for email posts and follow the fun ~

Tips, Tricks, Crafts and Giggles delivered straight to you!



   

67 comments:

  1. You know my answer to the formal dining room question.... Not any more! I always wanted one, I had one, it was rarely (almost never) used and now it is happily transformed to a much less formal, much more inviting, space along with my new kitchen. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kim, I always smile at the happy REDS scattered through your home.

    Our dining room is really just a space at the end of our kitchen, which is all open into other living areas. There is one fantastic wall, vaulting up to the ceiling peak, and that’s always a very bold color statement. We have two favorite art pieces and area rugs that take turns there.

    The main way I change the dining area, is to add or remove the table leaf, going from rectangular to square, and then angling the rug and table in different directions. And of course, having fun with the table centerpieces!

    ReplyDelete
  3. And what a fabulous kitchen it is...especially for storytelling! ;) xo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cheryl, it sounds as if your dining room has given you another fun area to play with and decorate! It sounds just lovely! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, it is!! Still laughing about that!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your kitchen, my dear friend, is one of the coziest in the bloggerhood, for its warm reds, creamy whites and walnut woods, speaking of which, that plate rack floating above the buffet is TOO adorable! Of the many choices available for dining in your home, mine would be at the pretty skirted table, where all the action takes place!

    Happy Thursday!

    Poppy

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you, Poppy. You are always so kind. I love that plate rack, too. Believe it or not, when we moved out of our first apartment the couple that was moving in wanted our microwave cart since it fit the space so well. They offered the plate rack up in a swap, as they preferred more modern decor. It was handmade by the new renter's dad out of old barn wood. We definitely got the better end of that swap! ;) Happy Thursday to you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good evening Kim! WOW, your kitchen makeover is so gorgeous. I followed your link and truly drooled over the crisp white and open space!!!

    When we bought our 1941 brick cottage, the previous owners had added to this two bedroom home with no dining room. A room in the back that acted as a bedroom/family room and an extra bath. We used that back room as our dining room and now that WE added to that a great room and back office, this makeshift dining room truly feels like an elegant space to entertain. It is so fun to problem solve with the home you already have to see what you can do to bring it up to date for modern living. Yours is so light, open and ready for any season! Anita

    ReplyDelete
  9. We've always had a dining room and I enjoy it for the pretty and clean room that it is. We've played more dominoes on the table than we've eaten meals. I think the choice you made was a great one. How formal are you anyway? When we have a really large crowd we just grab a plate and sit wherever. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're so right, Stacey. Im my own home, growing up, all I remember a few holiday meals at that table and a whole lot of homework! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Kim!

    We have a formal dining room and a beautiful dining room set that was my in-laws (I am told it is the family heirloom!), but the room feels much too formal and rarely gets used, I just cannot feel comfortable in a formal room. I think the days of formal dining and living rooms have past.

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you, Anita, you truly are too kind! We do love the kitchen and truth be told, I love entertaining in that room. That said, it is fun to problem solve and maybe someday that den will serve as a dining room once again if whimsy strikes! Your home sounds lovely and it seems like it works perfectly for you! Here's to many wonderful nights of entertaining in your dining room this holiday season! Cheers! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Kim! Yes, the seasons coming upon us will be fun opportunities to dress up these beloved rooms in our homes. Have fun fluffing up the nest! XOXOX

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree with you, Jen. Everything is much less formal today. I don't feel that bad not having one. That being said, I would relish another room to decorate and entertain, but it's not in the cards over here! Family heirloom, huh? Lucky you! :) xo

    ReplyDelete
  15. You too, Anita! Bring on the sparkle! xo

    ReplyDelete
  16. Come to my house, I need lots of decorating help!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Aw...Kim- It looks so nice and while I love your center table my heart flies right to that round table in the corner. I love round tables and sitting in a bank of windows. I could sit there with a cuppa coffee and crossword puzzle and/or sit and drink coffee with you! lol

    We do have a formal dining room-but we built this with (once again) the intention of selling it at some point. And, whether people use them or not, people want a dining room when they buy a house. Strange but true.

    I love a lived-in kitchen. We eat mostly in the kitchen but have big meals when the kids are here and use the dining room quite a bit.

    Love your red and cream....it is warmly welcoming. Hope you have a great night, Kim. xo Diana

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's just perfect Kim! I love the pops of red with the white. Yup, that would be me; another red lover. Honestly, I've never really wanted a formal dining room. Always been more of a cozy casual kind of gal.
    hugs,
    Jann

    ReplyDelete
  19. My Cottage is very small and decided to have only one eating table: the dining-room is actually more of a dining-nook opened to the kitchen... Just like you, at some point, I thought, why would I need a formal dining-room and a kitchen table in such a small Cottage? I like the way you style your "dining-room" for the different seasons.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I agree, two district areas or rooms for eating in a tiny cottage is a very hard sell! Plus I am in my kitchen every day so styling it for the seasons is tons of fun! I get to see my pretty centerpieces and placemats all day long, not just when I walk by that room! Thanks for popping by and leaving such a nice comment! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. A lover of red and cozy spaces...you are a gal after my own heart Jann, but I already knew that! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I doubt it, but anytime, Jen! <3

    ReplyDelete
  23. I like that round table nook, too Diana. I bought myself a big comfy chair and I sit there and watch the wildlife in the backyard and stare out at the sun. You were smart to include a dining room, you're right, people really want them. When we bought this house, I should've been excited about having two bathrooms with a growing family of girls nonetheless, but all I could think about was the dining room! I'm glad you enjoy yours! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. You know, it's funny....some of my ex-husband's family is quite rich and it doesn't matter how many rooms they had if they through a party...people hang out in the kitchen everywhere, for the most part.

    Except for my galley kitchen...a bit too little / so my dining room is where we eat and I use it for sewing too.

    At holidays, I use a card table in there, the piano bench becomes a table for 4 kids, and then a few folding tray-thingies pulled up next to the couch and chairs in the living room make it all happen! :)

    Your post (and the links ) was a lot of fun to read. I remember your kitchen but it was nice to look back and see that older post.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yes, the kitchen is always the big draw, no matter the size, isn't it, Deb? Your holidays sound like mine, a plate here, a table there and family everywhere! That's the most important part! I'm glad you liked seeing my kitchen again...it's been over a decade anchored in the same decor and I still love it. I hope it's a great week! :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well, Kim, I've always thought your dining area (nook? space?) is one of the prettiest I've seen. In that corner with the huge windows, the colors, the style, that gorgeous buffet and plate rack (I agree, you got the best end of that deal!). . .it's all just wonderful. So inviting. It speaks to this cottage lover's heart. I've never wanted a formal dining room, and in our new cottage we'll integrate the dining into the kitchen. It fits the casual way we live. Thanks for sharing your beautiful "dining room" at Every Room In The House. Hugs, Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  27. Nancy, thanks so much for coming by to comment and check out my post. You know that I love your ERITH party! I really believe it's one of the prettiest parties in blogland. I love how people tend to share not only their rooms, but their stories. To me, that is the best part! I hope you have a lovely weekend and I can't wait to read your Saturday series post! TGIF! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love your corner window! Our kitchen is its own room. There is a space in the room next to it for a round table and an armoire. I try to keep it pretty, but my spouse works at that table whenever he is home.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think that's usually what happens a dining room table! I am sure that if I had one, it would be covered with fabric and paper crafts all the time!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think your window corner is so charming, Kim, as is the island. I do have a semi-formal dining space -- it's one of those shared spaces with the sitting room. I think in the three years we have lived here, we've only eaten in the dining room three times. It's never been terribly practical for dining with kiddos because it's carpeted in off-white carpet -- yeah, I know.....who would do that? The carpet is in excellent condition, because no one eats in there. I do still like the room, though. It holds many special treasures from the table and chairs to the china cabinet filled with my MIL's china & our own wedding china. We will be eating in there this Thanksgiving with some dear friends -- no children this year. Where we eat most of our meals is in our breakfast area with my Craig's List old oak set. Tile in this space, because even adults can spill! It was so fun seeing how you changed things up for each season.

    ReplyDelete
  31. My little story and a half farmhouse has three rooms across the back, (kitchen, bath, bedroom) and the front is one room the length of the house with the stairs to the second floor at one end. The previous owners had a table in the kitchen but it is just too crowded so we use one end of the long room as a eating space and the other end as a living room. Love your harvest sign.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think I would like a room where I could display my pretty treasures. Without a dining room, there really isn't room for a breakfront in my home. I hope your Thanksgiving with friends is wonderful! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Our old cottage had the tiniest kitchen, no room for a table at all and there was no dining room either. We plopped a table in the front of our long living room and ate by the front door. It was rather charming, as I am sure yours is as well, Lorri! Hey and thanks...I love that harvest sign too! Funny story, I bought it at Marshall's last year for about 20 bucks, took it home and then about a week later, I decided that I didn't really need it, so I returned it. Well, about three weeks later, deep into Christmas season, I found it in the clearance aisle marked down to 4 dollars!! I decided it was fate and I took it home! Now, I LOVE it! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Cozy, inviting, and beautifully decorated...your dining rooms could be described with those words. I enjoyed seeing how you make the rooms look differently with each season. I like how you improvise and accommodate your guests, without a specific dining room. We have a specifically labeled dining room, and it sits unused, while everyone gathers in our kitchen, or at our island, or on our sofas. So, you and your husband made a good decision. Thanks so much for sharing it all with us. I would not care which of the locations I would sit in to eat, I would just feel honored to do so, in such lovely rooms.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Judy, thank you for the sweet comment. I would be honored to have you visit me in my home, I bet we would chat for hours! We really did make the right decision...well, my husband did! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Kim, I love your house! It looks so warm, cozy and inviting! I love how you decorated your house with red and green. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by today.
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dear Kim ... love, love, love your little space. You have such a warm and cosy cottage. I look forward to browsing your past postings. Warmest weekend blessings to you. ♥ Teri

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you, Teri! What a lovely comment! I hope you enjoyed the other posts, as well and come back to visit often. Have a lovely weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for popping over to check out my latest thoughts, Julie! Congrats again on your anniversary and happy weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. You have a beautiful home, Kim. We don't have a formal dining room. We eat in our kitchen. Happy Sunday, Kim!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Everyone wants to be in the kitchen anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you so much and your kitchen is just lovely, too! With a kitchen like that, who'd want to leave to eat anywhere else? ;) Thanks for the visit!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Your house is so cool! I love older houses. My parents' house is a Sears house that was built in 1930. They have a dining room but it is not very "formal." It is more like an offshoot of the kitchen. I started out a project to find out all of the people who lived in our house over the years (it was apparently rented out from 1932 to 1943 after the original owner committed suicide in the garage!) and I actually got in touch with a woman who lived here when she was 10 years old! Her father was the chief of the fire department. It was so cool because she told me her memories of the house being one of the only ones on the block, and being surrounded by prairie, and sledding down the hill in the front yard. Much rather have a house with such a great history, than a mansion that was built 20 minutes ago!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I think the fact that you tried to track down your home's history is so cool! I love the backstory, too! We are only the third owners of this house, so it was pretty easy to follow the story. I agree with you, I would rather have old with a story any day! :) Hey, thanks for the comment!

    ReplyDelete
  45. We have never had a formal dining room until we moved into our present house. (Or is it current house???) It isn't really separated from the rest of the house though. Really, our whole house is one big room. We eat all over. hehehehe...xoxo Jen

    ReplyDelete
  46. Your kitchen and dining areas are most inviting --you know you had me at red.

    I really like what you did with your old table. Changing the legs to stair balusters is very clever. It is good to think outside the box!

    We do have a DR, but it is just sits there and looks pretty most of time. We have to eat in there or on the porch, weather permitting, if we have company since we only have a tiny little 2-top in our kitchen lounge. People have to make the spaces work for them, the way they want to live there, not use them according to the original plans necessarily. That is why we turned our little breakfast area into more of a lounge. It works for us, and that is all that matters. We don't have much family, so I don't have the large holiday gatherings that many people do. Even though I wish I had a big fancy dining room so I could decorate it to my little heart's content, it really wouldn't be used much and that is a waste of space.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Regality (aka The Quing)November 10, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    All that red! A woman after mine own heart!

    ReplyDelete
  48. No formal dining room for us either. We have a similar set up to yours, Kim. A breakfast bar where we eat most of the time and an eating area with table and chairs that we use for Sunday dinner. I think most people are more comfortable and relaxed in a less formal setting anyway. BTW, your table and chairs are very pretty - love the rug too!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thanks JoAnne! I have had the rug and the table for over 10 years...every now and then, I go to change them and think nope...I still like them! I guess I chose well...or I am very boring! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  50. That's the only part I miss about not having a dining room...the decorating aspect. I would love a china closet with pretty items displayed or a table I could set and leave, looking festive! And BTW, I love your red island!! Love.

    ReplyDelete
  51. What a clever solution! And I love what you did with your old table!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thanks so much. I really liked that table and new ones are a fortune! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. What a beautiful cottage... so very charming and inviting. :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I really love your kitchen Kim. I am a lover of colour the hits of red are fabulous. I've always had a thing about round dining tables. I just love them. When we bought this old house years ago it had a separate dining room, which we never used so we converted it into a much needed office/library. It could easily be reverted back to a dining room again should anyone want to in the future, but we have a large country kitchen so we just didn't need it.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I am a huge fan of round tables and large country kitchens, Tuula! Growing up, I used to hang out in my grandmother's kitchen, it was so large there was even a sofa in there. Now that's my kind of kitchen!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Joy, you are super sweet! Thank you so much for popping by, I am glad you enjoyed the view! :)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Love this post, and so true! I do have a 'dining room' used probably 2 or 3x a year for special occasions, but the most memories are the ones in our breakfast area too! Love to see how your decor changed as well over the seasons and holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I have seen your lovely dining room Vel and it looks like such a pretty space. I especially like it when you decorate it for the holidays, it always looks so festive! :)

    ReplyDelete
  59. I see another lover of red! I like acknowledging the different seasons and holidays. I used to do much more, but now I'm sort of easing into a simpler lifestyle. Although, I still like to do a little something!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I am right there with you Manuela! I like to do a little something! Enjoy the holiday! :)

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi Kim. I'm popping in to say your charming "dining room" will be featured at tomorrow's Every Room In The House party. Thanks for sharing it with us. Hugs, Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  62. Wow, Nancy! Thank you so much! It's a big week for me at A Joyful Cottage! :) Being featured is always a big thrill!

    ReplyDelete

Hey~ before you go, let me know what you think! I love comments and respond to them all. Thanks so much for visiting! *Please note that if your comment contains a hyperlink it will not be published.