The dining room is, without a doubt, the least used room in the home. For most of us, it’s a formal space that has become little more than a dumping ground for schoolbooks, newspapers, junk mail, and ornaments that don’t quite suit the rest of the home. Homeowners today have lifestyles that are very different from what was common when their homes were first built. Gone are the days of sitting around the dining table in the evening, and the ideal of a formal dining room, an area of the home reserved only for guests and family occasions, has become inconvenient to modern life. So, is the dining room dead?
Of course, a question like that is impossible to answer conclusively; each of us is different, and has different lifestyle needs. For the vast majority of modern households, though, the dining room is most definitely dead. Living is a lot less formal now, and the rigidity of having a room devoted to a singular purpose does not suit the principle of a multi-functional home. Many families feel that a formal dining room is a waste of valuable floor space and have instead repurposed their rooms. By breaking out of the traditional house plan, they have explored a lot of interesting possibilities.
Consider the rising prevalence of computers, which has allowed many of us to work from home. Home offices can be small and poky, often installed in a box or attic room that serves no other function. Dining rooms are now being converted into large and comfy home offices, perfect for those with a growing home business.
For families that are more casual, dining rooms are now becoming party rooms or informal kitchen diners. A large oak table and eight chairs can feel stifling, so there are many turning over the dining room to extend their kitchen or turn it into a fun location for spending time with friends.
If you have a large, extended family of friends and relations, your dining room could be converted to an elegantly appointed guest room. Add a sofa bed and use the room for whatever you truly want – a craft space, a second living room, your own personal library, anything really. It can even become a children’s playroom, and the sofa bed can be used for your child’s friends during sleepovers.
If a dining room simply isn’t your style, there are many ways to resurrect what can be an unloved space. For some, however, the traditional dining room remains alive and well, preserved as an entertaining area for special occasions. There are still plenty of homebuyers out there who identify a dining room as being essential or desirable in a new home, be that as a result of nostalgia for the family life of days gone by or an interest in the art of the formal dinner party.
This doesn’t mean that the dining room is going to make a comeback any time soon though. A lot of homebuyers are searching for a ‘great room’, a large room that can be easily converted into an open living space. Most people want a nice place to eat in their homes but don’t want it defined by the standards of forty or fifty years ago. The appeal of functionality in a space is defining the modern dining area. Younger generations often feel the dining room is a wasted space, but those who come from families that frequently used this part of the home may be more inclined to keep it alive.
The dining room has carried on into the twenty-first century, although it is doubtful it will ever be as popular as it once was. It is very rarely a major priority in finalising the decision to purchase a house. As house prices rise, homebuyers are concentrating on having all the space they need for their lifestyle. A house should feel like a home, not a museum, which is why the dinning room’s days could well be numbered.