If you keep the following points in mind, you'll be able to transform your dining room from an infrequently-used space to a hub of family activity. In the new year, it's important to make every room count in your home! (Dining room photos from interior designer Irwin Weiner ASID.)
- The trend today is to turn dining rooms into spaces with more functionality than just formal dining. Envision your perfect dining room, your family, and your lifestyle.
- Renovations can add library shelving, built-in storage space for craft supplies and home office files, cable outlet for a flat screen TV, phone jacks, cable modem plug-ins for a computer, and in-wall stereo speakers. Imagine how you’ll be maximizing the use of your new dining room and plan accordingly.
- Always plan any room from the ground up, and if you want to replace your existing dining room floor, look at practicality and good looks. Hardwoods, ceramic tile, cork, and slate are great options that wear well.
- Architectural details like moldings, wainscoting, chair rails, mirrored panels, and coffered ceilings add interest to the “bones” of your dining room. Do you research and make sure your plans avoid turning your dining room into a plain box.
- A built-in sideboard or serving buffet (see photo at right) makes a terrific and useful addition to your dining room. You’ll use it all the time for serving food, laying out craft projects, organizing your tax preparation materials, and showing off some special books and décor objects.
- If your dining room serves multiple functions as a home office, craft room, and homework area, you’ll need to plan for good work lighting that can also be dimmed to create dining atmosphere. Wall sconces are a good addition to your lighting plan, too.
- Add an area rug large enough so your dining chairs always have four chair legs on the carpet, even when the chairs are pulled back from the table.