Every year I set a new year goal to eat in our dining room. I was inspired by a story of a couple who ate their takeout in the dining room. It was a way to make a very casual dinner a bigger deal. I loved the idea and put that on my new year goal list.

Any guesses how many times we ordered Beau Joe’s pizza and ate it by candlelight in our dining room in 2022?




If there is a universal question/quandary among homeowners and future homeowners it is what to do with a floor plan that includes a formal dining room.

Everyone wants a Hallmark-inspired tablescape on Thanksgiving, but what do you do with the 12×16 space the other 363 days of the year?

That is valuable square footage for a room that has one of two roles the rest of the year.

The dining rooms are either immaculate or cluttered with stacks of to-be-organized or piles of returns.

And I am in this same group. I dress mine up for each season and then I don’t want to clear 1/2 the table to eat a pizza from a box.


So when visiting friends or touring homes with buyers I imagine what I would do with a generous space- with windows, for the 300 days it is not holding turkeys, sidedishes, pies and empty wine glasses.

So for fun, I created a list after a recent showing. I just was like there has to be a way to use this space for the majority of the year. It is prime real estate and almost always includes windows (natural lighting).


  • Create a dual-purpose room
  • Add built-ins, cabinets, a bookshelf or a hutch on one end of the dining room.
  • If you are starting to sweat just tell yourself the built-ins are for the seasonal dishes.
  • Add an electric fireplace. Fireplaces add warmth and character to a space.


The dining room table is one of the largest pieces of furniture. For just a moment do not worry about the overhead lighting and the whole centered-in-the-room dilemma.

  • Is your dining room table adjustable? An adjustable dining table gives you more flexibility. Our table is not adjustable which I will get to in a bit.
  • Can you orient the table in a different direction?
  • Can you push the dining room table against a wall in the dining room?
  • Worry about the overhead lighting later.
  • Add a rug over the carpet or flooring to add a visual for a multi-purpose space.


This process will require an hour of moving furniture around. Invest in furniture sliders ( I have these) to protect the floors. We have all heard that familiar scrape and want to look away from the floor.

paint the baseboards for a weekendhome maintenance project

A previous seller moved her dining table closer to the wall of windows in her dining room. She added a light fixture extension to reposition the chandelier.

To demonstrate ideas to repurpose the dining room, I rearranged my dining room for visuals.

I copied my seller’s layout and rotated my dining room table so it was positioned adjacent to the windows.

This same seller positioned a set of club chairs to face the living room and added an end table and lamp.

To show this concept I used these dining room chairs to see what it would look like. My goal was to create more of a lounge or study area next to the kitchen’s half wall.

The problem in our dining room is the chairs faced the stairs and not the more popular adjoining living room.

For my seller, she had a small dining room, but it was a graceful transition. It was their favorite room after work because it was quiet. Positioning the chairs away from the dining room took advantage of the light from the surrounding living room.



Depending on the size of your dining room table you may be able to reposition the dining table, add a desk lamp and repurpose the hutch to hold the office essentials. Adding a plant to the “entrance” of the room softens the transition and space.

Again, most dining rooms include windows and that natural light makes that space more valuable for most of the year.


Rearranging furniture is not for everyone and some of you may be stuck with a large table. We have one too. But if you can suspend all expectations for a dining room for an hour you might find a creative solution.

I will never stop reimagining living rooms and nooks. Please pin for others to spend an hour rearranging their dining rooms!

Dining Room Ideas for the Rest of the Year

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One Comment

  1. We rarely ever use our dining room. Our next home will not have a formal dining room, we will be using it for something else if it comes with one. Multi purpose is the way to go. Great ideas!

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