Recent research has shown that over 57% of Americans DON’T eat their meals in the dining room, opting instead to have dinner either at a kitchen island space or in the living room. At the same time family therapists are suggesting that consuming a meal together is a great way to build stronger families. So, what can a homeowner do with a space they never use but feel guilty about giving up?
It’s the Who, Not the Where
The good news is that you don’t have to turn your dinnertime into a formal event, nor do you need to give up your commitment to family. It turns out that the most important part of family dinner is WHO is there and not WHERE you eat. You can just as easily talk to your kids in the eat-in breakfast nook or at the kitchen island space as you can around a dining room table. In fact, you can turn off the television and have a great conversation over dinner around your living room coffee table if you prefer.
If you’re a family that just doesn’t do fancy place settings, fine china, and a separate room for dinnertime, you could consider repurposing that space into a room that really fits the needs of your family. Here are just a few ideas to consider.
1. Family Game Room
Do you love board games, Wii bowling competitions, working elaborate puzzles, or a rousing game of canasta? If you enjoy playing games with friends and family, you should consider ditching the china hutch for a game shelf and those hard dining room chairs for more comfortable seating.
Did you ever dream of having your own personal library space? With a huge free-standing globe and a ladder to reach the books on your floor to ceiling bookshelves? If you are ingesting more of the written word than you are a big meal you could consider turning your dining room into a library. Replace the big table with a few smaller tables to set books on, line the walls with shelves, add some sink-in worthy armchairs and a bean bag or two to create the perfect reading room.
3. Meditation Space
Have you taken up yoga or meditation? Having a space dedicated to calm can really help you to find that inner peace you’re searching for. Take out the table, add some bamboo and other houseplants, a good quality mat, and a water fountain for a peaceful room.
4. Hobby Space
Maybe you had to give up pottery when you graduated from college, or had to put quilting off when your children got big enough that you couldn’t rationalize using the 2nd bedroom for your crafts any longer. Whatever the reason for giving up your hobby, you should seriously think about taking it up again and using your dining room for something you really love to do. Most dining rooms are big enough to accommodate equipment and storage, especially once the dining room table is hauled out.
5. Home Office
If you don’t use your dining room and all your other bedrooms are being occupied, why not turn that unused eating space into a home office? You can set yourself up with a good desk, your computer, shelves and filing cabinets for all the home and business information you need at your fingertips, and you’ll be set to run your home empire. This space could also serve double duty for a kids’ homework station, right where you can keep an eye on them while dinner is cooking.
Do you use your dining room for dinner? Or have you repurposed it into a space dedicated to something else?