If you’re thinking about updating and organising your dining room in the near future, but don’t want to make mistakes on the way – this is the post for you!
I wanted to look today at the thing that is forgotten by most people when sorting out a room in their home – and that’s to really think about the project first and understand your needs properly.
As with everything I do to organise and change spaces – the ADORE method I use starts with ASSESS for a reason.
If you head into something without thinking first, you are much more likely to make mistakes along the way.
These mistakes could cost you time, money, energy and stress – and who wants that?
So – I wanted to look at your dining room today (or dining area) – and give you all the questions that you should be asking yourself before you get started on this space – so you can be sure of a fantastic finished product in the end.
#1 – Do You Actually Need A Separate Dining Room At All?
Let’s be realistic for a minute.
You may have a separate dining room, or a dining table in your kitchen, or some other setup – but the first question I want you to ask yourself is where do you ACTUALLY eat your meals?
It really doesn’t matter what set up you currently have in your home because it may not be working for you at all – and it may not be needed at all.
For example – Does your family eat at the dining table every day without fail?, Do you try and eat Sunday Lunch each week at the table but that’s it? Are you perched on a bar stool at your breakfast bar more often than not, or do you eat on a tray in front of the TV?
These things need to be taken into consideration right from the outset, because you may be missing a trick!
I want you to make your home work for you and how you live – not how you think you should live.
So – if you have a separate dining room but actually eat in the kitchen 99% of the time – you may want to totally reconsider having that dining room at all.
You may be better off creating a gorgeous kitchen/diner instead, and making your existing dining room into something more useful for you – such as a playroom, craft room, study etc….
So – first off – make sure the space you are wanting to organise as your dining area is the right space for how you live.
And from now on – we’ll talk about dining AREA rather than ROOM, just in case you’ve had a change of heart ;o)
What Do We Do?
In my own house we have what we could use as a dining room, but have decided that this works better for us as a family room instead. It opens out to the kitchen and there is room in our kitchen for a nice table area – so this is our designated dining area. This means we get two sitting rooms – one that is used during the day and one that’s more for evenings. Having it set up as a dining room would have felt like a waste of space for us as it’s quite a big room and works much better for us as a living area instead.
#2 – Are You Using The Right Space For Your Dining Area?
If you’ve decided that yes, you do want a separate dining room still – the next question that you may not be asking is whether you are currently using the right room for your dining room.
Take a look at the spaces you have in your home and ask yourself if each room is being used for the right purpose.
If you use your dining room mainly in the morning, you may want to use the room that gets the morning light, or if you use it in the evening maybe your darkest room makes sense…
Or maybe you have to walk between a few rooms to get from the kitchen to the dining room and this gets annoying – and is one of the reasons you don’t use the dining room much…
Don’t be bound by how you’ve always used the spaces – this is the time to work out what will work best for you and your family…
#3 – Can Your Dining Area Work Harder For You?
Whether you are using a separate room, or an area in your kitchen for dining – are you getting the most out of that space?
You may want to also consider having a second (or third) use for the room as well in this case.
If you are saving a whole room in your house for a once a week event, or your dining table in the kitchen is only used a few times a week, then that’s leaving a lot of space under utilised….
Some ideas you may want to consider are as follows: –
- Home admin area / study / homework area
- Space for the family computer
- Play area for the kids
- Craft area
- Reading nook
- Breakfast area / drinks area etc… – taking the pressure off the kitchen a little
The options are as endless as your needs really!
Take some time to think about what you really need, and work around that instead of what you think you should have.
What Do We Do?
Yes, we have a separate dining area in our kitchen, and yes, it’s used daily. But the space also has multi uses. I use it in the daytime when working from home as the light is great in that area and I can see most of the downstairs from where I sit. My daughter also uses the table at the weekends for her variety of craft projects, homework and using the laptop. The table is in an area of the house that people are around so no-one feels closed off, and because the table stays clear all week and we pack things up after use – this works well for us and makes the area really multi-functional and useful.
#3 – What Are Your Specific Needs For Your Dining Area?
The last thing to think about when it comes to assessing your dining needs is really a set of smaller questions – and those will determine what the needs for the space will be.
The answers here will help you to make the right decisions on what furniture you need, what decor to use, what storage you should have etc… – and will stop those mistakes happening (or at least give you more information to go on!).
Ask yourself questions like the following: –
- How many people need to be able to sit at the table regularly?
- How many people need to sit at the table for entertaining / occasions?
- What do you ideally want to store in the space?
- What type of dining do you do in the space (formal / informal / parties etc…)?
- When is the room used (morning / afternoon / evening)?
What Do We Do?
There are only 3 of us in our family, so a smaller table works really well for us. I chose a round table as this works really well for an odd number of people (we hated having one person on one side and 2 on the other as it always felt like an interview!). We have seating for 4 at all times, but also have a couple of extra chairs downstairs that can double up as dining chairs when we have more people over (6 is usually plenty for us as we also have space for 3 at the kitchen island on bar stools and most of our socialising is quite informal). We have a large dresser unit in the space as well which houses most of our nicer items for display, and a cupboard in the kitchen is used for our entertaining items as this is close to hand but hidden away. Lastly – the room is used throughout the day and works well because it’s one of the brightest areas of the house so has great morning light and we have ambient light in the evening.
So – there you have it – 4 questions (or sets of questions) that you should be asking yourself before you life a finger in organising your dining room / space.
Don’t go for what you’ve always done if there is the potential to use your space in a better way.
Think outside the box and go for it – you may be surprised at the results!