Dining Room Decorating & DIY

Do You Have (And Use) A Formal Dining Room?

Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

I have my dining room completely planned out, and I’m just waiting to get all of the building done in my niece’s room (which should be done this week, I think) so that I can bring all of my tools back to the house and get started.

I’m excited about having a dining room in my house.  For eight years while we lived in the condo, all we had was a tiny breakfast room that sat four people at the most.  But I do wonder how and how much this dining room will be used as an actual dining room.  Once the breakfast room is finished, that’s where Matt and I will eat all of our meals when it’s just the two of us here.  And even though I do hope to host some family dinners here, I can’t see that happening often, and especially not until we have an actual family room where guests can all gather and relax after a meal.  But what I can see is my dining table being used for my projects — a sewing project, or an art project.  So I do think the room will be used often, just not as an actual dining room.

So what about you?  Do you have a formal dining room in your home?

Transitional Dining Room by New York Interior Designers & Decorators McGrath II

Transitional Dining Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martha O’Hara Interiors

And if so, how often do you actually use it as a dining room? Or have you given your dining room a dual purpose so that it gets used more often and doesn’t feel like wasted space in your home? Perhaps an dining room/library combo?

Transitional Dining Room by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Katie Lydon Interiors

Contemporary Dining Room by Laguna Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Michael Fullen Design Group

Or maybe you just never use a dining room and have turned that space in to something completely different, like a home office.

Eclectic Home Office by Gastonia Interior Designers & Decorators Emily A. Clark

So do you have a dining room? And if so, how and how often do you actually use it? I think formal dining rooms are becoming less common in the U.S., and more and more people are opting for larger eat-in spaces in and by their kitchens…

Traditional Kitchen by Essex Architects & Building Designers Carpenter & MacNeille

…and choosing to use what would be a formal dining room as something completely different. But I could be wrong. I personally love formal dining rooms, but I also like formal living rooms, which seem to be very rare these days. I guess I’m just old fashioned that way. 🙂

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:14 am

    We had a formal dining room, formal living room, eat in kitchen and family room. But, the formal dining room was merely a place to drop everything. So, we spun our house around and made the formal dining room a formal living room, the formal living room a family room. We are taking a wall out of the kitchen and opening it up to the former family room and making it a large dining space with access to the kitchen. Where the eat in part of the kitchen was, we are putting a pantry and fridge allowing for more counter top space. We will still have space for large gatherings, but this should be better for our family.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      July 28, 2015 at 11:09 am

      i do like the idea of the bookcases..kind of a library/dining room..excellent idea!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      August 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      You don’t want a craft room right as you enter!!! What a mess. Since Matt is housebound and you want a dining room then make it a habit to first invite people for deserts. I’m sure he’d enjoy the conversation. Let’s face it–you are never going to finish that house!!! Enjoy the husband, family, friends, rooms that are habitable and make yourself happy. Sit around the dining table for game night. Crafting at the front door is not going to work and you know it. Do you pick up after every project every time? Of course, not. Neither do I or probably most people who are honest about their crafting habits. That’s why there’s a spare bedroom. HAVE FUN.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I have one and it gets used only a few times a year. I like your idea of library/dining room. Right now my dining table is housing a partially finished puzzle. And I do use it when I sew. I like my table and it probably would not fit in my breakfast area and I can’t imagine the space as anything other than a dining room. However, if I did have a large breakfast area, I could imagine giving up the dining room. For me, a living room is redundant with the family room. I’d rather have a dining room than a living room. Keep up with the great work. I enjoy reading your posts.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:19 am

    We do have a formal dining room, and host many a big family meal in it. We get into periods where we eat dinner as a family there too, but then go through other periods where eating dinner on the couch in the den becomes habit. Often our dining room table becomes project-land though. A few weekends ago my son, stepsons, husband and brother and law were all doing geeky-crafts at the table – legos, warcraft figurines, building model rockets, etc.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Betty Ann
    July 28, 2015 at 9:22 am

    We have a dining room that is 12′ x 15′. It is a dining room, but there is nothing “formal” about it. We use it for Sunday dinner (lunch) just because it evokes a certain feeling…can’t explain it. We are empty nesters, but my mom eats with us occasionally on Sunday. Our family is growing and on holidays, we all gather at our home because we have the most room. We have a breakfast table in the kitchen, but when the family is all here, we move the dining table down, set up a 6′ folding table and a high chair, and seat 13 in the dining room. We just all want to sit together.

    We are starting to think about downsizing and looking at new floor plans with large eat-in space in or near the kitchen. But, for the life of me, I just don’t think I can do it. There’s just something about a dining room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Linda H
    July 28, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Our formal dining room had apparently been converted to an office before we purchased our house, with florescent lighting no less! We kept the lighting and turned it into a music and art room with the piano, organ, violin, flute, and the karaoke machine. The north-facing windows make it a perfect place for an easel if we get in the mood to paint.
    We use the breakfast room for dining. It is large enough to accommodate everyone even for holiday meals. I hate to cook, so if we are entertaining (other than holidays), we are very informal with meals and order pizza or something like that.
    I love the look of a formal dining room, but it would become a catchall for “stuff” in my house.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Vivian Foster
    July 28, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I have one …. love it when we have people over and for holidays; BUT, otherwise it’s wasted space to me. Not big enough to make dual-use so it mainly collects dust and paper spill-over from my husband’s office, which used to be the formal living room. I may convert the dining room into my office – I work from home. Then I could reclaim the spare bedroom and use it as a guest room. Hmmmm…….

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:32 am

    We have one in our home and we use it. I refuse to make it the “catch all” and on rare occasions it’s used for something other than dining. On Sundays we still have a traditional Sunday dinner and we eat at that table. Eating in the dining room makes me feel that it’s a special meal and not a rushed weeknight meal. Also, I love entertaining in my dining room. On weeknights we eat in our kitchen and I can see the mess that’s waiting for me to clean up when done with my meal. On Sundays, holidays and special meals in the dining room, I don’t see the mess that awaits me and the meal feels more special. Please use your formal dining room and enjoy every moment spent in it with family and friends.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      July 28, 2015 at 10:46 am

      A person after my own heart!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        July 28, 2015 at 2:35 pm

        I concur. We have a living room/dining room combo at the front of the house. I recently switched it from the big part being the living room to the big part being the dining area. We only use it sporadically but i enjoy getting away from the mess of the kitchen and visiting with friends or family. We recently had a card night with friends and used the table (plus we ate pot luck). I don’t use it for projects, I have a room with a table for that. If I let myself start that the messes would never end.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Faith Halvorson
    July 28, 2015 at 9:36 am

    We have a formal dining room that opens off our galley kitchen. We use it every day for all our meals even though it is just my husband and me. It is a very large room and I just love it when all our kids and grandkids come home. There is nothing more traditional than setting a nice table!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:37 am

    We have a formal dining room and a small eat in kitchen. Our plan is to knock out the wall between the kitchen and dining room and double the size of our kitchen. We cook a lot and now the kids are learning and there just isn’t enough room for more than one or two people at a time. And we only use our dining room 3 times a year: Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We’ll keep a large table in there but the space will be more utilized.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susan B
    July 28, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Our formal dining room has been turned into our family/TV room. I originally wanted to make it into an informal/formal dining room plus library area, but it is not very big, and our living room has no good place for a TV. Plus it over looks the driveway — who does that? I always thought I wanted a formal dining room until I had one, and found that I like an eat in kitchen instead. I think you will use the dining room more than you think, especially when you open the wall to the kitchen. If not, you are super handy and will create another room that suits your needs. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:44 am

    We had a formal dining room in the last house and more of an informal dining room in the current house. While we have the occasional party, family dinner or gathering, these spaces are/were not used as a dining room 98% of the time. But that big flat dining table is perfect for craft and sewing projects! And the rest of the time is a desk for my laptop or just a catchall for STUFF. But I still wouldn’t go without a dining room or decorate it another way. I love that I can clean my house up and have that nice space when people come over. And the rest of the time my family lives in and uses the space in various ways as needed. It’s a mess and there is stuff everywhere, but that describes our whole house when we aren’t expecting company. So make yourself a gorgeous, formal dining room. Just realize it doesn’t need to be Better Homes & Gardens photo shoot ready every day and USE the space, however you need to after the blog pics are taken and the guests leave the party.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:46 am

    If I was to add anything onto my house, it would be a dining room. Right now, I have an eat in kitchen and would have loved an actual dining room for holiday and family get-togethers. When we were house “shopping”, it wasn’t something I thought about, so we make do without. But, if I win the lottery, I know just what I want!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:55 am

    We use to call it our princess living and dining rooms. I loved when we had it The only thing missing was the velvet roped to keep people out LOL!! We used it for holidays, big family parties and like your other poster said we would use it sporadically as a family throughout the year with the good china because it was fun. It was just nice to have one clean, clutter-free area. It was peaceful and comfortable and a place to hide from the chaos that was the rest of my house.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I have a formal dining room that gets used for eating when we have company over, but otherwise the table becomes my sewing area (my craft area is in the basement rec room and not as well lit or as spacious for sewing), a larger work desk for hubby, and we also keep a bookcase in there (we ran out of room in other locations and the bookcase was a perfect match for our table.) So it gets used in a variety of ways too.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Andrea R.
    July 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

    In my house I just moved out of, we had a large formal dining room but I used it as a home office for me while I was in school completing my degree. Our family lived 6 hours away and we only used it once for a holiday dinner. Now that we have moved closer to family, we have a much smaller dining room that we anticipate will be used more frequently. Unfortunately it is too small (we can only fit 6 in there comfortably) for my large extended family so we are planning an outdoor dining area under the oak trees for when my whole family is present on good weather days.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 10:11 am

    When I was living in a house I had a formal
    Dining room, formal living room and a family room with a table that was extended from the kitchen. We used the dining room for holidays and when I had people over for dinner. Living room…..not so much. I tried and tried to get people to use the formal living room but they all wanted to be in the kitchen/family room!! When I moved to a condo I found one that had a separate do I area, which I live and co to ie to use for holidays and dinner parties. And I don’t miss the formal living room one bit.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 10:12 am

    We have a formal dining space between our kitchen and living room. We do use this space, as God has given us the gift of hospitality. We use it mostly in the colder months ( MN) as we eat outside everyday in the summer. I love having this space to set a formal(ish) table. We have an eat in kitchen that we use in the colder months for daily living. I enjoy this space, and you will will too, I think.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 10:15 am

    We have a dining room and I love it. We always use it when family comes and is great to use as a buffet table when there is a party. I also use it to iron large items like drapes, cut out large patterns, or just to wrap a large present. I couldn’t be without it.
    The kids did homework there when they were in school and I used it to sort large baskets of clothes. So I can say, it’s had lots of uses.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I can’t get behind the whole idea of a formal anything room. Rather than a formal living room here and a family room there, I’d have one large living space. Rather than a formal dining room that is too far from the kitchen and a small eat-in area in the kitchen, I’d have one large dining space open to the kitchen. I’m not a real formal person anyway. We use our dining room daily and specifically didn’t put a table into our kitchen so that we actually use the dining room. We also have bar seating in the kitchen, so who needs three eating spaces anyway?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brenda Pawloski
    July 28, 2015 at 10:26 am

    We have a nice dining room on a sunny corner of our first floor. It is a great place to get orchids to bloom! Although we rarely eat in there, I would not give it up. I like the luxury of knowing it is there for special occasions and entertaining. It has a glass table that can seat 10 and it is useful for cutting and pinning long draperies, putting together Eagle Scout notebooks, etc. I have also moved my “office” in there when I want more sun. My “office” consists of just my Macbook Pro and whatever papers I am working off of (I hate paper and do my best to not let it accumulate.) So it is easy for any one in the family to go in with a laptop or notebook, but I would not let it become a permanent storage or roosting place.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon C
    July 28, 2015 at 10:49 am

    We have a large centre kitchen Island that holds 6 bar stools, so this is where we have breakfast, coffee and lunch. Every night, we (I) always set the dining table and we eat our night dinners there and we always use the dining table when we entertain, whether it’s casual or for a celebration dinner.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Our only “real” dining space is informal and open with our informal living room and kitchen. My husband and I mainly eat in the family room where the t.v. is. I keep the dining table in the round position other than for Thanksgiving dinners when his fun relatives come. At that time I open the table to the full oval length. The dining room table gets lots of use by our friends and us as it looks out over the lake and we solve all the world’s problems sitting there.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I love having a formal dining room. Great for holiday big meals, a place to place appetizers or deserts for smaller get togethers, romantic dinners with hubby, and a place to pop the laptop or sewing machine. We normally eat at the bar in the kitchen, so it makes any day special when you move meals to the dining room. Our table is usually just 42″ round. But for family dinners, we add the leaf and a couple of card tables and we can seat 16. I use 2 upholstered benches for the extra seating with the chairs, one stays in the entry (great for putting shoes off and on) and the other is at the end of the bed. Since all my rooms coordinate, browns, tans, greens, rust, cream, I upholstered the benches to look good in either room although they are different fabrics. And just think of all the table decorating you’ll be able to do! Different colored chargers, linens and napkins for every holiday…… (You’ll be redecorating to find storage for it all, maybe add storage in the seats of those wing back chairs you’re working on) You’ll love having a formal dining room once you find it’s groove.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Phyllis E
    July 28, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Yes, we use our dining room all the time. However, I might add that we use it even more now that we opened up the wall between the kitchen and the dining room!
    We knocked down the upper -half of the wall behind the kitchen range and put a 40″ high snack bar there between the kitchen and the dining room. We left the very top of the wall in place (above 7′) so they still feel like separate rooms and you could stop and start different wall paint colors, etc. However, the visual connection makes it feel “less formal” I guess, and you are more inclined to sit at the dining table and chat with the cook. I LOVE cooking at my stove now looking into the dining room instead of staring at a wall! We have hardwood in the dining room and no rug so we don’t have to worry about spills, and we purposely did not get upholstered chairs (we are messy eaters!) So we feel more inclined to use it ever day, even with kids.
    Our original kitchen table space was so tiny that we always used our dining room, even before we knocked down the wall, but we didn’t enjoy it as much as we do now that it feels more open to the kitchen. I should also add that the only seating now in the kitchen is at the counter height snack bar at the peninsula we added (that took the place of our tiny table space) when we opened up the dining room wall.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:07 am

    We also have a room that is in the front of our house…right off the foyer…it is called a dining room in the floor plans but we have never once used it as such…. I am in the process of turning it into a craft room/office type room…it will be used that way…our kitchen and breakfast room are very roomy and we really don’t entertain formally…if we should decide to have a Christmas party we can always use that room to set up a punch bowl table…or even food…buffet style… my mother had formal dining room…we used it for holidays and special occasions only…she did sew some out there..but it was a different time…the 1950’s and 60’s …people are much more casual these days…or so it seems to me…You seem to have so much room and its just the 2 of u..so I say if u want a designated diining room then go for it!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa E
    July 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

    We have a dining room and an eat in kitchen which is situated between the living room and kitchen. We have a weekly bible study and therefore both tables get used simultaneously during that time. Other days my hubby and I split our time between both, just because. I wouldn’t consider our dining room formal and it is on the smaller side. If I need a larger work space, it is the go-to table. I like having both and most certainly use both.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Lisa E
      July 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

      My apologies, that first sentence of mine is confusing. I was trying to state that we have both an eat-in kitchen and dining room and that the dining room is situated between the kitchen and living room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Our diningroom has become the office….and the “formal” livingroom has become the tv room. We have a large eat-in kitchen & most entertaining goes on in there. I am a “use it” or “loose it” kind of person.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day
    July 28, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I used my formal dining room for sewing projects for sure. It was a great place to work. However….because it was a lovely space we often ate there… just the two of us. I miss it as I do like to make dinner time special. You will use your beautiful room too. I think. 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Our home in Arizona had a formal dining room but it was separate from the kitchen so we changed it to an office/den and it gets used so much more. We do have a large open kitchen with large wooden island that we eat at and a large eating area with open family room. In AZ we seem to entertain informally and many times it is outside. I guess it comes down to lifestyle and how you prefer to entertain. BTW now that I think of it none of our friends have a formal dining room and most of these homes are semi custom homes.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:23 am

    We have a formal dining room which has been used only 2 times in the year we have owned the house. Right now the table is a folding banquet table covered with a beautiful cloth. Chairs are mismatched and extra chairs, when needed, are brought in from the breakfast room where we usually eat.

    Next year this room will be reconfigured as a library, den, TV room and a dining room. Large comfy sofa in front of fireplace, narrow dining table behind sofa kind of like a console table. Picture stacks of books, decorative objects on table. a few chairs on the open side of the table. Bookcases around most of the perimeter of the room. Small comfy accent chairs in two back corners next to the bookcases, small tables, reading lamps next to them. Chairs will double as dining chairs.

    When this space is needed for dining,remove objects from the table, pull it out from the sofa, add the corner chairs. Dining room!

    TV will most likely be mounted above fireplace. Still pondering that.

    i believe this room will then become one very comfortable and much used room. But we will probably still call it the dining room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

    We did not have an eat in kitchen while our children were growing up (in our choppy, Midwest home) so we used the dining room every day. I also used it for sewing and other craft projects. When we downsized at retirement we chose not to have a formal dining room. We have a substantial table for four that expands to six in our great room area, and for those (very) occasional times that we host a crowd, we bought two nice long folding tables that can be covered by lovely tablecloths and we also bought very nice padded folding chairs. That way, we are not permanently committing “real estate” to a formal dining area. Since we downsized every space has to have multiple functions. Oh, and my long, wide peninsula in my open concept kitchen is perfect for cutting out fabric on and all the other projects we get involved in. It has been great! I would suggest really thinking about what you will use a space for, and how often it will actually get used for that purpose.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:29 am

    My 90 year old Craftsman house has a dining room. I never use it for dining. The table is used for projects, right now dragged into the living room, because the natural light that should come in thru the east windows is blocked by the big ugly house next door. I like to think that when I can finally afford at least a large solartube I’ll use the room as intended but right now it’s unattractive. The light in the living room is better. As a result, the dining room is mostly used for storage.
    And when I eat it’s mostly either at my desk or reclined on a chaise in front of my TV. NOT a gracious lifestyle!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Kristi!

    I realize it may sound silly, but a good rule of thumb to use when making a decision is to ask yourself,

    “How will this benefit me?”. You mentioned the dining room being a good place for your sewing, I say

    given how much you sew and space needed to build your projects in general- make it a sewing space.

    You can always impromptu set up a dining room when needed. Oh, by the way I saw a clever use of

    an old 1980’s entertainment unit revamped for a sewing unit. They put a table up across the largest

    piece of the unit, and the large partition cubby holes make great storage. Love your blog!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Em Dirr
    July 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    We do, and do.

    Less often than I would like, but we do use the DR to make special occasions special. We also tend to host most holidays and extended family celebrations, so it makes it easier to have that room available.

    I did have a friend, though, who had larger dining space in her kitchen than her dining room. She had a traditional center entrance with the DR to the left and the LR to the right. She repurposed the room with a big table…a pool table! It was unusual but well utilized.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tina M
    July 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I have a formal dining room, and have had one for every one of my homes. It is used for large family gatherings, less now than when I was younger. Now it is used for all meals when out-of-town family and friends come to stay, and for when I have parties, which I do several times a year. It is invaluable then. When not used for these purposes, the dining room table is used for a fabric cutting board, as I’m an avid sewer, or when sorting DIY supplies, fabrics, beads, yarns, etc. It is where I do almost all my DIY projects. I would find it very difficult to be without this large, open area.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I do have a formal dining room and I use it every Sunday. I put out a tablecloth, cloth napkins, and set the table. I want my grandchildren to have the experience of a big Sunday dinner after church at Mawmaw’s house. We also use it on holidays. I do love the option of it doubling as a library, as I feel books will soon be obsolete.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    I have a formal dining room and living room right off the entrance, which are the first rooms you see as you come through the front door. My kitchen has eat-in space for 6 or 8 people, and a bar with room for 3 or 4 more and opens to our family room. Because I have four teenagers who have their friends, books, laptops and other messes sprawled out all over the family room and kitchen table most of the time, I love my formal living and dining rooms. Even though they aren’t used a lot, I find their neat and orderly spaces to be restful. And I can have beautiful fabrics and finishes without worrying about markers and sneakers all over them. I want my kids to feel like they can relax in my home, so this seems like a good compromise for me. Once they’ve gone off to college, I may rethink this arrangement, but for now, it works.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marie roxanne
    July 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I have a small dining room “area” but it’s connected with the living room, so one big rectangular room with the hallway on the side “dividing” the two areas. The dining room area is off the kitchen.
    Most of the time the table is either used for puzzles or games, not for eating.
    When I have guests over, it is used as a dining table.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    We use our dining room almost everyday. We take breakfast and lunch in the dinette adjoining the kitchen/great room. Dinner is almost always in the dining room unless we eat out on the deck. It is a nice tradition to set the table and enjoy our evening meal in their. Of course, it is also used for large gatherings when we add one or two leaves to the table. It is important to me to use all the rooms in my house not just to have decorated spaces, but I am fine with repurposing areas to make them work best for me.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I have an eat-in kitchen and a formal dining room that I only use when we have guests but it is a great place to have the grand kids do their homework or do my 1000 piece puzzles!! There’s a big picture window there and the lighting is great!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected] Stroll Thru Life
    July 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Yes, mine is part of the living room and we do use it all the time. I do sew at it sometimes too, but mainly we use it for dinners with family and friends. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a fun place to all gather and enjoy dinner and conversation.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    We have a very, very, very small kitchen because I shoved so much [email protected] in it. We have no room for a table and chairs. We do have a formal dining room and I love it. We eat our regular meals in it and I use it when we have company and we have a lot of company. When we were doing renovations on our house, the contractor wanted to take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and I said no. I like setting a pretty table with a tablecloth and napkins that I starched and ironed. I do not want to see a messy kitchen with everything I used to make this delicious meal. We will be looking for another house soon and if it does not have a formal dining room, I don’t want it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Linda DeA
    July 28, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I have a formal dining room and I use it every day. I just think a formal dining room is pretty. We usually eat breakfast and lunch in the kitchen. But we always eat dinner in the dining room, even though during the week it is only the two of us.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I have a dining room and plans to eat in more than 3 times a year, however there is always a craft/sewing project going on so I never do. It’s a great area to for crafts/sewing so I feel better using they room rather than it being a dumping ground. Reading this has given me motivation to use it for eating more because I really enjoy how much more relaxing a meal is in the dining room vs an eat in kitchen. I’m going to aim for 2 times a month now.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    We just bought a new house with a dining room and large eat in kitchen. We did a little remodeling before moving in and had walls put up to turn the dining room into our home office. Eventually I will be building a built in desk and shelving unit, if we ever sell it shouldn’t be too hard for someone to convert back to a dining room if needed, but for us it was either a room we would use once or twice a year or a room we would use every day.

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    Kim K
    July 28, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    We also have a formal dining room that will seat 12 people. We use it for many family gatherings. I don’t think you have to live in every room of your house every day. We were able to teach our kids manners and now our grandkids. We will set the table with formal, as well as informal place settings. But, we are able to be all together, to talk, to be in the same spot instead of strung out throughout the house. I love this and love my dining room

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    July 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Our house has an oversized family room addition that’s two steps down from the main home off the back of the house (similar to your sun room). When the previous owners built the family room, they took the wall down between the kitchen and old living room and made the living room into a dining room. I wouldn’t call it “formal” since it’s open to the kitchen, but I wouldn’t call it an eat-in kitchen either, since it’s large enough to hold a table with at least one leaf. Because of this setup, it’s our main place we eat as a family.

    I do a lot of entertaining for extended family parties and one of the things that attracted me to this house was the size of the family room and its ability to be temporarily converted to a large dining room. We simply move the seating to the outside of the room and break-out the banquet tables. When the party is a little smaller, we skip the banquet tables and just open some drop-leaf tables that otherwise serve as accent tables.

    I like the idea of a convertible spaces. While ours isn’t set-up specifically to be convertible (we just move furniture around and bring in folding tables and chairs), there are lots of things you could do to make a space serve a primary purpose and a temporary secondary purpose when the need arises. For example, let’s say your dining room wasn’t right in the main entrance and you wanted it to be a “work room” 90% of the time. Maybe you could build a table that could be raised and lowered or a thick pad that could be put on top of it to protect the wood when you’re cutting fabric. Maybe your sewing machine could be in a cabinet that looks like a buffet or a wet bar when closed. Maybe some furniture might have locking wheels so it can be moved around easier (I put felt pads on the bottom of everything in the house so it slides easily on the hardwood floor…you can move entire full bookcases this way if you’re careful).

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    Teresa Meherg
    July 28, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I love my formal dining room. We do gather there at holidays or for birthday and I love “dressing up” for those occasions. On its off days, it accommodates sewing or craft projects and has seen many late night domino tournaments. It’s our family gathering place and I wouldn’t trade it for a whole wing of breakfast nooks. It is easy to let it fall into a catch-all for extra laundry or such and I try to be mindful not to allow those days to linger, but it’s worth the extra bit of caution. Setting there with my children and grandchildren, sisters and brothers, are always the most memorable times and for that, I let it serve as the ultimate catch-all.

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    July 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    This is only a marginally relevant story, but we have a family friend who had table custom-built by an Amish craftsman in Pennsylvania that had something like 8 or 10 leaves. The table had its own companion cabinet just to hold all the leaves. For the holidays, she’d extend it from the dining room into the kitchen or living room (depending on where it was placed) and it was the length of at least two 8-foot folding tables when fully opened. It was pretty impressive. 🙂

    It was similar to this: http://www.dutchcrafters.com/Amish-Triple-Pedestal-Dining-Room-Table/p/3584

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    We have a formal living room/dining combo room, but we never used the table. Since we have a large eat in kitchen, and the dining table was becoming a dumping ground, we got rid of the table, raised the chandelier and put a grand piano in there. It gets used everyday and we love the look!

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    July 28, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I had a large formal dining room in my former home. I loved it and used it often. It was beautiful and never had anything dumped in there that didn’t belong there.

    Now we’re retired and have downsized into a smaller home with only a nice sized dining area. I miss my formal dining room and miss all the wonderful family dinners and celebrations and dinner parties there. Time moves on, though, and life is still good.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I have a formal dining room and I love it! We eat every meal on the weekends in there. And yes I will do special projects in it also.
    I also have a formal living room and I use it a lot it is my favorite room in the house. It is where I go to read or listen to music and just plain veg out. Love it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Betsy M.
    July 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Like [email protected] Stroll Thru Life, our Dining Room is attached to our Living Room. We don’t often eat at that table on a daily basis, but always do when we have company. We love playing cards and games there, though. Sewing projects too. When we did have a formal Dining Room in our last house it was used in the same way. I would hate to give up an actual table-not-in-the-kitchen space because I just love a comfortable and interesting dining room!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 28, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Coming from a large family (6 kids), I always had a dining room growing up. It was necessary! I don’t remember having a dining room since I’ve been away from my parent’s houses though.
    I’ve been living in an RV the last 8 years, so definitely no dining room! My fiance and I are looking for a house to purchase, and neither one of us cares about dining rooms. As long as there’s a table somewhere, and it doesn’t have our computers all over it, that’s fine! LOL

    On a side note, I usually come here and read your blog through my email notification. Today, it said your website was associated with malware……. I got here just fine through facebook, though. Getting ready to check that out.

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    July 28, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    I would think that your breakfast area would be big enough to entertain at meal time with that great kitchen you have.

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    July 29, 2015 at 8:31 am

    We use our formal dining room EVERY DAY… as an office/computer room 🙂 Our dining set is very old, cheap and in bad shape so eventually I want to build a nice table and replace the buffet with a wall of shelves/shallow cabinets that double as normal dish/serving ware storage and office storage. Essentially we use the space as an office but I’m able to pack up everything easily so it can transition to a regular dining room. Like others mentioned, we do “geeky stuff”, board games and projects at the table too and have used it for dining with larger groups (kitchen table only seats 4) and to serve food at parties. We 99.9% of the time travel on big holidays so we probably will never use it to host Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner 🙂

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    July 29, 2015 at 10:12 am

    We eat every meal in our formal doing room, but it is a casual space. I use our breakfast room for crafts/games/and kids homework. This way I can help them while cooking. I have never eaten a meal in our breakfast room. So I guess that is kind of opposite. I dress up our dining room with nice linens/flowers/ and candles for the holidays. We host many large family gatherings.

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    July 29, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Yes, yes,yes, yes!!! Have a formal dining room and use it regularly!!! And yes, I am the old lady who uses china and silverware, flowers and candles :^) In the winter hubster will often build a pretty fire that we can enjoy from the table. I have a large handmade hutch full of transferware that looks beautiful against it’s own red wall. I am so far out of date, that trends are catching up with me again ;^)
    Every home needs a place that is just pretty and welcoming….that is the job of our dining room….I love just looking at it!!
    I know that yours will be lovely, what ever you decide!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 29, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    We have a formal dining room that gets used everyday. I find the separation of the kitchen and dining room a waste of needed space in our home. IF we stay in this house ( hubby has been talking about buying a new house) I would love to remove the wall that separates our dining and kitchen and make one room, an eat in kitchen. I need a bigger kitchen and not a separate eating space. I love a formal dining room if space permits one for more formal meals (holidays, larger gatherings, etc) and an eat in kitchen, but this house does not have that kind of space 🙂

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    July 29, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    We have an eat-in kitchen. No formal dining room. When we have family gatherings we set up tables in our family room. Since we only have large gatherings 2-3 times per year, it works out well for us and a formal dining room would be a total waste of space in our home.

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    July 29, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    I have 4 grown (well, one will be in her 2nd year of college this fall) children. One lives in another city, but of the two older ones, one is married, and other has a boyfriend. So when I invite them all for dinner, there are 7 of us, so YES I DO use my formal dining room, depending on the time of the year, some months more than others. My breakfast nook is quite large, and if we HAVE to, we COULD all squeeze around that table, but since we don’t have to, why would we? Daughter’s in-laws recently bought a new house, and their eating area is single, and when we downsize, that’s probably the route we’ll go also. My living room, on the other hand is a whole other story. . . .

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 3, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I am having this debate right now, my new condo is only 1100 square feet, but it has a breakfast room and dining room. I’m planning to annex part of the breakfast room for cabinets when I re-do the kitchen and will use the dining room as my primary space to eat. The breakfast area gets great light, so my current plan is find a pair of small but comfortable chairs and use a side table height table for a little coffee nook, good for Sunday mornings, drinks with a friend, or a place to guests to hang out when I’m cooking.