I am writing this post in my formal Dining Room. I got chased out of the eat-in Kitchen, which also has a breakfast bar. The Kitchen table is covered in laundry, the breakfast bar is covered in mail, magazines, and recipes I fully intend to try…someday. A comfy chair in the Living Room makes me a bit too comfy. So the Dining Room it is! It is very quiet in here, and the table, by combined miracle of the kids being off to college and Chris not having noticed the empty flat surface yet, is a perfect place for me to write about the room itself. While the Kitchen table is cozy and the home to many meals and games, I still love my Dining Room. It is graced by the cool Mid-Century Modern table and hutch that Chris’ parents had when they first were married and his Grandparents’ corner curio cabinet. I seldom use it , but when I do, it is usually bursting at the seams with all our extended family celebrating the Holidays or some other special occasion.
When we are looking at homes with Homebuyers, we focus a lot on what rooms we hope a next house will have. Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Kitchen, we know how many and how big. Basement with a Rec Room? You betcha. Man Cave? Sure thing. But what about discussing all the options for eating at home?
Are you the kind of homeowner who sits down at the table in a Dining Room for a meal? Do you enjoy the ritual, make it a priority during the week? Is it your turn to host some Holiday meals at your house and you need the seating? Do you love to decorate the table for the seasons, or cherish the idea of just having one room that gets to stay “nice” where you can retreat to, oh say, write a blog post? Then a formal Dining Room may be right for you!
Are you in charge of a busy household and the Kitchen is your command center? Do you need to keep an eye on the kids’ homework and make dinner at the same time? Then an eat-in Kitchen or at least a breakfast bar in the Kitchen may be your best bet.
Could you care less about a Dining Room or any such nonsense because you are on the go-go-go and any eating at home is done in the Living Room anyway? How about a Living/Dining combo and you can absorb the dining part into the living part.
A Word of Caution to Home Buyers: We see a lot of homeowners who want a big formal Dining Room, maybe because they hope that if they have one, all the kids who have moved away will decide to come home this year. Or that the family that is always headed in separate directions will finally sit down for a Norman Rockwell meal every night. Or a Buyer may “need” one for a huge dining table they inherited along the way but that they actually just use for piling up papers and laundry. They pass up houses that have every other feature they want, but doesn’t accommodate the massive heirloom that never gets used anyway. Make sure you are not dedicating a lot of valuable square footage in your home to a feature you won’t be likely to enjoy very often. Choose an option that best fits your actual lifestyle.
Current homeowners could evaluate the Dining spaces in their homes. Do you have a perpetually unused Dining Room yet long for a home office or craft space? Sell that table and chairs and replace the furniture with things that you will actually use! You paid a lot for that room, turn it into a hip Media Room, Photography Studio, Library, or whatever room you secretly wish you had instead.
A Word of Caution to Home Sellers: If you are putting your home on the market, the reverse usually applies. If you have changed your Dining room into a home Office or Playroom for the kids, unless your new space is truly amazing and you have other dining options, then plan on the Home Stager telling you to put it back the way it was. Put away the sewing machine, throw away the stacks of magazines, and dig out a tablecloth to set the table. Buyers generally like to see rooms used as they are intended to be used.
So, table for how many tonight?