Recently I did some space planning for “empty nester” clients. Their kids had all moved out, but still return for family dinners and special occasions.
That’s all fine, but the “family” has gotten larger with the addition of spouses and grandchildren. It has become increasingly difficult to accommodate everyone at the same table for dinner. Sound familiar.
For these clients, the enjoyment of having everyone at the same table was a “must”. Ideally they wanted to be able to seat 16 people comfortably. The problem was that their current dining room was an enclosed room of about 10.5 x 12.5 feet with no potential for expansion. At the most, they were able to fit 12 people very snugly into this room with the addition of two table extension leaves and extra chairs. There was very little space left to walk around the table. The “kids” (not so little anymore) were relegated to the kitchen table.
Simply moving the family room furniture out and the dining room furniture in, is really not enough to re-purpose the space. In order to create ambiance for elegant dining some décor changes are required. Update an existing fireplace by removing the hearth and refacing the surround with an elegant material such as marble or granite. (One option is to repeat the kitchen countertop stone.) If your fireplace is wood-burning consider installing a gas insert. Or consider removing the fireplace altogether so your buffet can take pride of place on the focal wall.
It’s never easy to make the decision to shake things up in your home. But it can be very rewarding and even exciting. However, it does take some planning and budgeting. And of course, when considering any renovation, the age-old question inevitably comes up as to how it could affect the resale value of your home. So you may want to contact a real estate agent in your area. On the other hand, if you are not planning to sell your home, why not make it work for you. These suggestions are intended as a general guideline to specifically convert a family room into a dining room, thus making better use of available space.