Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dining room turned…

Hey all! I shared some of my home plans for 2012 with you here, but there’s one I held off on mentioning. It’s one I’m kind of sort of really excited nervous anxious about. :)

There’s actually two drastic changes for the house I have going on in my noggin – both are HUGE projects. One I’m still hashing out in my head. This one I’m more ready to move forward on. It’s a bit of an usual makeover idea though and I’m wondering if I’m losin’ it. ;)

If you’ve been around for a while, you saw how I changed up our dining room a few years ago by painting, hanging a new fixture, adding new drapes and recovering the chairs.

Here’s what it looked like before:

image

I went DARK with the walls and the ceiling (I love a dramatic look in a dining room), but wow, the new floors certainly changed the look even more. 

Here’s what it looks like now:

chocolate brown dining room (Ignore the one white chair…more on that in a bit.)

WAY too dark for my taste. I am loving brighter looks now anyway, but if we had had these floors years ago, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gone this dark with the paint.

Now every surface in the room is the same dark color, and me no likey:

I know painting the ceiling would help, and so would a light rug, but I’ve been itching to rework this room over the past few months anyway, so I’ve held off on those (not easy or cheap) projects.

(Not sure I want a light rug in the dining room anyway!)

There’s a few things I know I want to change, and one is the molding on the wall. I just want something more elaborate and different, but I put this up a LONG time ago, way before I had  a compound miter saw or a nail gun. Here’s the reason I always tell you to use nails to install molding – cause you can remove it if you want down the line.

Guess what I used on this stuff, pre-nail gun? Liquid Nails baby. That stuff is going NOWHERE.

Sooo…I’ve been considering my options. One is to rip it down and have the drywall fixed. Honestly I don’t know if it could be patched. I mean, it could, but it would take an incredible drywaller for that to not be noticeable.

The other option is to just cover them. And that’s when I came up with my slightly unorthodox idea. (That I’m one really excited/nervous about.)

Here’s the deal…we never, I repeat, NEVER use this room. Ever, ever, ever. I think in the almost eight years we’ve lived here, we have used it maybe five times. Probably more like four.

The last time we used it was the Christmas dinner of 2009.

And I still remember how completely uncomfortable I was sitting on those awful chairs. They were the hardest upholstered chairs my tooshy has ever graced.

So about a year ago (YES. A YEAR.), I found a set of chairs at Goodwill that I planned to recover and paint. They were way more comfortable, and I liked that the open backs opened up the space a bit.

You can see one white chair in the pics that I spray painted:

I stalled out though, and usually when I stall out on something like this it’s because I know there’s something deep down making me hesitate.

And now I think I like my new idea way better than recovering the chairs.

I want to get rid of the “dining room” and make it a useable space. This room is open to our living room, and we spend quite a bit of time out there. I know most don’t use the more formal area like that, but because our house is so open, it just lends itself to hanging and playing. Thing is, the living and dining rooms are bigger and more open then our kitchen/family room space.

At least they feel like they are, I’ve never taken measurements. :)

So because we use our living room so often and it’s open to this space that we never use, I’m toying around with not having a dining room table at all.

Instead, I’m envisioning a library-type space. One day…some day…I’d love to make the living room a music room, complete with a Baby Grand Piano for my musician hubby.

That’s a LONG way off, but the library idea in here could be a reality.

I’m thinking floor to ceiling bookcases on this wall:

Like in my friend Emily’s office:

Isn’t that fantastic?

In our room, I’d make the bottom level of the whole thing cabinets, so I could use it for storage of all of our serving dishes. (And loads of other stuff!)

Are you starting to see it? :)

And then, I would do away with the table and chairs, and go with a different type of table and chairs, like this:

(source)

Or this:

chairs around coffee table (source)

Or this:

four chairs around table

One of my girlfriends has this set up in their sunroom, and every time I’ve been there, that’s where we end up. I love that idea!

That last photo with the low table is more of what I’m thinking. Or maybe a long, narrow coffee table, with two chairs on either side, facing each other over the table. (Instead of in a circle, it would be more like a square shape.)

I’m also thinking very comfy chairs for lounging. Reading. Visiting. Talking. Whatever.

I think it could be amazing!!

Here are my hesitations and my own rebuttal to those. ;)

1. The furniture. The current stuff wasn’t cheap, but we’ve had it for seven years now. I’m not in love with it though, and wouldn’t mind selling it. I could even take the leaf out of the dining table and move it to the basement in my craft area instead. (I can see it painted out in a fun color! It’s just a veneer, not solid wood, so don’t hate on me.)

New furniture and built ins certainly wouldn’t be cheap. But the built ins I could DIY, and four new chairs wouldn’t be awful if I really took my time looking for a great deal. Otherwise the only expense is a table and a rug, and the rug was coming anyway.

2. The light fixture. I LOVE our dining room light. LOVE. I don’t know if I would try to lower it a bit and keep it in the room or not. It may be too fancy for the look I’m thinking up. I love it so much though and can’t think of where else I would put it.

Wait a minute…hot DANG, I could put it in our bedroom!! Just thought of that just now. Well…now that one doesn’t bother me as much. (See how I talk myself into things?)

3. The whole losing a dining room thing. Uhh…why is it I’m worrying about this even though we NEVER EVER use it? And we’ve thrown a sit down dinner party uh, NEVER. I doubt we’ll start any time soon. (Our parties are more stand around the island mowing on food.) And if we do finish the basement this year, the chance of anyone sitting in the dining room lessens even more.

Party in the basement! Whoo HOO!

I’ve already come up with a possible solution if we need a huge table for an event, and that would be just to have folding tables that I could cover with tablecloths. I think that would do the trick.

4. Resale. Well, we’re not moving. No plan to. Don’t wanna. And when we do, I think the built ins would only enhance the look of the room, not take away from it. We could take out the chairs and throw a table in the room when selling it to make sure potential buyers knew what the space was supposed to be. It’s not anything crazy permanent that couldn’t be changed around in the future.

Soooo…what do you think? Have you ever changed up a room so drastically? Made it something it wasn’t supposed to be? I’d love to hear! I’m really anxious about this potential change, but it’s a FUN, I-think-I-really-want-to-do-this anxious.

I’m linking this up to my girl Nester’s Home Goals Party…cause it’s a goal I think I’m going to try to meet. If I can get up the courage. ;)

245 comments:

  1. LOVE your idea! I abhor dead space and to turn the dining room into a library sounds like something I would do!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I say go for it. My dining room IS my library - it's supposed to be a formal living room/dining room, but it's serving as library/dining room/reading area. The room is 20 feet long, and I've been planning on doing built-ins along the entire wall for years, now am just waiting for funds and the kiddo to get a little older before turning the place into a disaster area. In the meanwhile we've six cheapo flat-pack bookcases, sigh. I'd actually love to take the table out, but it's our only table/eating area, so it stays. :) Your dining room is gorgeous, but by your own admission useless, so switch it up and have it be both pretty and functional. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Do it girl!! Don't be scared! I turned our dining room into an office over a year ago and I am still in love with it (and that's a long time for me to still like something). It really was the best thing I've done. You won't regret, especially since y'all never use the dining room. Who does anyway?!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love, love, love this idea! I hate unused rooms, and I've never missed not having a formal dining room in my home. I also agree that built ins would be great for resale, even if buyers did want to turn it back into a dining room... I say go for it! Exciting :) You should live in your home, not stand back and admire it. That's for museums. ;) Can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would totally do it!! My mom did that in their house for a while and it was great.

    On the resale worry...We actually just bought a new house and we hunted for one that didn't have a dining room because we knew we would never use it. I think it would be a great selling point down the road.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think it's a great idea! Go for it! Can't wait to see it in reality!

    I, too, stay awake at night thinking and sometimes have to get up and write down what I'm thinking just so i can sleep. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think a library is an amazing idea!!! I am in LOVE with bookshelves & cozy chairs...mmm!! Can't wait to see what you do with it!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been thinking the same thing for my front room and dining room. They are just wasted spaces right now. And I fell in love with the four club chairs around a round coffee table. I saw that in a PB catalog a while back and LOVE IT! Good luck :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a transformation! I can't wait to see where you end up!

    Allyson
    http://cupcakescandycanes.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Our "dining room" was adjacent to our kitchen, but we tore down the wall and now we don't have a dining room. The dining room was tiny - and we entertain ALL the time - the kitchen was tiny. Now the kitchen is big :) Our dining room {being that we live in So. Cal.} is our deck! So, I say, go for it! Don't worry about it...dining rooms aren't as important for resale as they once were and it'sYOUR house! Here's OUR "dining room":

    http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/2011/12/outdoor-evening-christmas-dinner.html

    Becky B.
    www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love the idea! Definitely think you should use the rooms for how you want them and not for resale - unless you are putting your house on the market in the very short term! We did a similar configuration in our formal living room and we absolutely love it - http://www.houseography.net/2011/02/living-room-re-do-reveal-sort-of.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. I say go for it! We had a dining room that we never used, wasted space. I turned it into our office/computer room. It was used multiple times daily!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the ideal of a library! Make your house work for you. In these modern times, most people really don't use a formal dining room. I can't wait to see what is in store... Cha-cha-changes!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You should do it! We actually turned our dining room into our main eating area a few years ago. The space in our kitchen wasn't quite big enough for our kitchen table (which seats 10) and we were adding a breakfast bar with four chairs. It turns out we eat as a family in the dining room/kitchen all the time now. Before we used it only a few times a year, if that. The bookshelves are an awesome idea!! Who doesn't want built ins?

    ReplyDelete
  15. We JUST did this to our dining room this past weekend! I loathed that room and we never, ever used it anyway, so out it went! I actually painted the dining table and moved it into our eat-in since the current round one didn't have enough seating for our family. I bought the shelving and then thought twice about it with all the dusting I'd be adding to my workload. So, I opted for a re-do buffet on the big wall, with two comfy chairs and a really soft, fluffy area rug. LOVE. it. :-) Your library will look great!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't think I've ever left a comment before :)

    Our formal dining room is a playroom. Complete with cubes in the hutch insert on the wall, periwinkle walls and kid posters. Right in the front of our house. Our homemade play kitchen, workbench, and all the little kid toys live here. And we love it. It is exactly what we need right now. If we are still here when we don't need a playroom, it will become a library or craft room. Folding tables and chairs are cheap, and when our large extended family comes, those come out. I would never use a formal dining room. The playroom gets used, all day, every day.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A fun family room is always better than a stuck up dining room :)
    www.thedailysequin.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love the idea, especially if you don't use the dining room. I say go for it. Can't wait to see what you do.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ditch the dining room and go for it! Your idea looks so comfy and inviting! LOVE IT! Can't wait to see the end result.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Liz @ Naptime DecoratorJanuary 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Love the idea, I say go for it! I've been loving the whole chairs in a circle thing lately too - it would look amazing! good luck, can't wait to see whatever you end up doing!

    ReplyDelete
  21. We did away with our Dining room around 5 years ago. We have never had a regret not one day. We have a large enough kitchen table to entertain. I think you will love the change!~

    ReplyDelete
  22. In our new house, we turned the carpeted, too-small dining room into a piano room, the living room that's right off the kitchen into a dining room that we use every day (since it's the only dining table in the house), and the eat-in kitchen area into a comfy coffee nook.

    We use all of those rooms now, but the nook is my favorite part of the house. Big, overstuffed chairs like you find in a coffee house. And they're plum-colored. Love! My husband and I sit in them every day. We spend weekend mornings lounging there after brunch. Ahhh!

    Unused space is a waste. Make it work for you!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think this is a fantastic idea! I've been talking to my friends about those spaces we just don't use in our homes and how we could make them functional for how each of our families would use them. The library lounge/hang out area sounds perfect for your family! When you do have people over it would just be more great space to wander to, relax and chat. I can't think of a better way to repurpose a space than that! Go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Go for it, we had a formal living/dining room for 20 years and hardly used it. we turned our living room into a game room with pool table (great with teenagers ) and the dining room is a sitting area/library where I read, plan meals etc. We use it daily now.

    ReplyDelete
  25. We turned our formal living room and dining room area into a sewing studio for me. We're on the hunt right now for another table to finish off the office area of my space. I love it now, but before we hardly ever even went in that space. I say go for it and make it good for you guys!

    ReplyDelete
  26. GO FOR IT!!!!!!! I love the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  27. DO IT! We had two dining areas in our house when we bought it and it now has one in favor if a larger kitchen and storage space. We have never regretted it!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I did that once - got rid of my dining suite....but I ended up missing it and got ANOTHER one, that we STILL don't use! If it were me - as long as you have another area to eat together as a family, I'd do it! Enjoy the space your home has to offer - and enjoy it YOUR way! :) I'm sure whatever you do will be beautiful - it always is!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think it's a great idea! I did something very similar in my little townhouse - I had no need for a dining room, so I made it a library, and it expands the living room space. No built-ins, alas, but hopefully some time in the future.
    Great minds think alike. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. OH MY GOSH I was hoping you would say that! GREAT IDEA!

    We did the same thing-- took the dining room and made it a music room. We never looked back!! You won't regret it, promise!

    (here's mine: http://manditremayne.blogspot.com/2009/10/every-last-drop.html )

    ReplyDelete
  31. My eyes lit up with joy when I saw your inspiration pictures of what your formal dinning room could be! I say use a room as best fits your family. I have a house with a "formal living room" and a "formal dinning room" and our family is anything but formal! I have a sitting area in on end and a elliptical on the other end of the living room and decided to let our poochies use a the dinning room for their meals since we hardly use that room. The placement of the chairs around a table make so much sense and I am so jealous of the built in bookcase too! Great idea I say.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I love, love, love the idea! We have all this square footage but only use a small portion of it! WHY? I think the idea of four chairs and a table would be welcoming and would probably get a lot of use. We have thought of changing out our dining room in the past....but we do have a piano room (small living room in newer home), great room and a lower level family room. We had thought about an office, but again, the house is open and it would be the first room you see when you come in.....no thank you:D We will be keeping ours but I think you should run with it! YEA!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I say, GO FOR IT!!! I once used my formal dining room (when I was in another house) as my craft room... Priorities :) Having a craft room was important so I made one! It sounds like a library with a sitting area would be much more useful and enjoyable in your home. Can't wait to see the pictures...
    Blessings,

    ReplyDelete
  34. I say GO FOR IT! I did the same thing last year, best decision I ever made. We LOVE this room and spend so much time in it.

    http://www.threeboys.net/2011/06/dining-room-turned-library-room-tour.html

    ReplyDelete
  35. Sounds like a great idea! I wouldn't mind doing something like that with our dining room, but I do love having a pretty room that my kids leave alone (for the most part :))
    I do LOVE your chandelier too, and it's just what I've been looking for. Can you share where you bought it, brand, etc.?

    ReplyDelete
  36. I say DOOOOOO it! I had the exact same problem a while back with my formal dining room (it got used once in two years, and not for a formal dinner either).

    It's now a craft-room. Even more unconventional than what you have planned.

    Oh, and think your dining room chandy would make a FAB.U.LOUS bedroom addition. Tooooo pretty!

    Can't wait to see the progress!

    ~Abbie (www.fivedaysfiveways.com)

    ReplyDelete
  37. That was a fun surprise :) And, I think closed shelving on the bottom is a great idea. I have way more "junk" than I thought and am trying to find pretty ways to hide it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. At risk of being Debbie Downer, do you really need 3 sitting rooms upstairs plus the basement sitting room in the future? I totally agree w/ making your space work for you, so if you think you'll use it go for it. I just find that I have so many places to sit in my room, that THOSE are wasted space. We are also a family of 3 and spend our time together, so we don't really need 3 different places to split up. Just a thought - it's your house so do what YOU want! Love your blog
    I've been thinking of making my living room my dining room, and turning my dining room into a walk in pantry/butler's pantry.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Our house had a formal living/dining room but with 4 kids I needed every space I could get. We never used is as that and have never missed it!It has always been a den for us. I say do it!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Trust your heart! You are the guru. If you say that it is the right thing for YOU and YOUR family...DO IT! Frankly speaking...dining rooms are becoming passe. (sort of sad when you think about all the reasons why...but true). Think of all the great memories you and your family will make with a new used (as in...we are using this space) room! This is your home and your time to give your son the memories that will make him into the man he is meant to be---ok, wayyy too deep for a dining room turned library, I know! But that is how I feel.

    You go girlie!! And I cannot wait to see the results!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Do it, you'll love it! I did the same exact thing, but thrifted everything 'cause we're on a budget. I hung drawers from the wall and used them as bookshelves. Nobody uses their dining rooms anymore, so why not do something fun?

    ReplyDelete
  42. I think you should really consider any of these ideas. I just read an article dealing with the subject of unused space in homes. This is the link to the article if you need any more pros for your idea.

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700202181/Shrinking-the-American-dream-house.html?pg=1

    ReplyDelete
  43. I say go for it and ditch the dining room! I just recently turned my never used dining room into a library and I love it! It's about 95% done - here is a link if you want to take a looksie: http://www.thriftydecormom.blogspot.com/2012/01/gallery-wall-reveal.html

    Lori : )
    Thrifty Decor Mom

    ReplyDelete
  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I think this is an AMAZING idea. And I think you're right -- the addition of the built-ins could be a selling point. I know for my hubby and I, that would be a gorgeous enough feature that it would secure us instantly in wanting that particular home. I think that, especially if you never use your dining room as a dining room, you should make that room into a space that you want to use on a daily basis. Homes are for living in, and there'd be nothing better than taking a space that is rarely used and changing it into a space that gets some lovin'! I say go for it, girl! I can't wait to see!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Oh too bad about the Liquid Nails! I'd go with the library idea with the built-ins. If you ever do decide to move, you can just re-accessorize the shelves with pretty dishes, glasses, baskets, etc. and drop a table back into the room (just haul up the craft table and put a table cloth on it). We use our dining room every day, but it was funny when we had friends over for New Years Eve, we had a hard time herding them in there to eat!

    ReplyDelete
  47. It sounds like you have it perfectly thought out. If you don't use it, ditch it! There are no rules. It is your home. I say use the space, no reason to let it sit empty when you could be enjoying it =)

    ReplyDelete
  48. I have a Drop leaf table that seats 8 when "up" and 2 when down(long part drops) I use it in my entry way and could pop it up for company.... oh shoot Sarah you may have to go shopping. I think the official name is a "gated table" not sure though

    ReplyDelete
  49. DO IT!!!! I have the perfect plan.. just say your word of the year is CHANGE and everything from here on out is gravy....

    ReplyDelete
  50. I say DO IT!! I hate dead space in a house - you live there, do what you want! That first picture is exactly what I would like. Perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  51. My husband and I are doing the same thing...we are redoing our formal dining into an office for ME!!! We never used it, ever as a dining room and the space is great! Can't wait to see pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I love your blog, but rarely comment. I love the idea of a library and hope to create a cozy reading space in my future house (we are renting now). I think it's your house and you should make it comfortable and work for your family. I look forward to seeing your decisions and progress.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Go For It! Built-ins, as you envision them, can be very versatile so if the next owner (or you) want to turn the room back to dining, they will only be an asset. You can also buy a foldable banquet table to keep in storage if the day ever comes that you want to dine in your library - and wouldn't be lovely?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi, Nice idea! Maybe you can make build in bookshelves like centsational girl did? http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2011/11/bookshelves-complete/#more-23716
    I can't wait to see how it turns out...

    MaVee from the Netherlands

    ReplyDelete
  55. Great idea! I was looking at new floorplans for houses in the Houston area and noticed that many do not even have a formal dining. The kitchen "breakfast" room is now called casual dining and seems a little larger. The times they are a-changin'.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Love this idea! I heard on the radio here the other day that less than 60% of UK homes (where I am) now have formal dining rooms.

    ReplyDelete
  57. You should totally do it! Why have a completely unused space in your home when you don't have to!? Some people do use their dining rooms, but if you don't there's no reason you shouldn't go ahead & change it up! Also, in regards to resale, I think if you had to sell, as long as you kept some kind of overhead light there you could change out your comfy set of chairs & table for a dining room table & be good. Lots of people have wall to wall shelves in the dining room too!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I don't like dead space either, so I think you should change the dining room to be something that will be used. We, on the other hand, converted a bedroom into a dining room. We love to entertain and I didn't enjoy our eat-in kitchen so much. We had some of our family here for my husband's birthday and it was so wonderful to be in a special room, our dining room! When we sell, it can be changed back to a bedroom, if that is what the new owners want.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Oh, wow! What a fantastic idea. Right away when you said a wall of book shelves I remembered this post from way back in October

    http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/2011/10/31-daysday-24-the-workroom.html

    She used regular book shelves to make a 'built in' look in her office.

    Good Luck! Cant wait to see what you create!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Love, love, love the idea! We are overrun with books at our house with no place to put them. Wonder if I could do that in my dining room - only purpose right now is to hold our flooring we're supposed to put down, my husband's arcade, and toys.

    ReplyDelete
  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I love that idea Sarah! We took out our kitchen table and made it a "coffee bar " . We all love it!!! A couple Of comfy reading chairs and a redo table from goodwill to hold our coffee stuff. We love it because I can be cooking and hubs can hang out in a comfy spot. Here is the link: it is the best decision we've made!!! I say go with your gut girl:)
    http://cleverlyinspired.blogspot.com/2011/10/kitchen-table-outcoffee-bar-in.html

    ReplyDelete
  63. You know what - I say go for it! I'm all about usable rooms, and usable space. Don't give me formal rooms that go untouched, because that's just not how we LIVE. I love your idea, and can totally see cozying up on comfy chairs in a room like that!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Hey, I did the exact same thing this year. I sold my solid wood dining table, because we hardly ever used it. We took our dining room and made it a library/sitting room.
    I had the same thoughts about resale too.
    But, (maybe because it different) everyone who comes to our house says they love the new room.
    The BEST part is that we didn't have to buy a single piece of furniture to do the makeover.
    We have a love seat, three sitting chairs, an ottoman/coffee table and a huge bookcase. Our family loves it too. It's cozy and we congregate their often.
    I say do it!

    ReplyDelete
  65. I love the last pic with the leather chairs! I would suggest running a plate shelf cut-out into each shelf on the built-ins. For resale some folks might like the idea of reusing that for china cabinet-like display??? As far as that gorgeous light... I love the light you have in your bedroom which reminds me of some Ballard lanterns. You could always strip the wiring from the fixture and make it a candelier for your outdoor area. Maybe? I dunno. :)

    ReplyDelete
  66. I hated when my girlfriend changed out her dining room for an office space, but now I'm a convert! It really works for her family and when she has parties, it's the best. Her home has real purpose and great flow! DO IT!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I think you're smart for realizing that you never use the room, and you want to make the space more livable to work for you! It will be fun to see it all come together. I can't remember the last time we ate in our dining room either. :s I use it the table for crafts a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I am a firm believer in re-purposing a room. We live in a home that is over 4,500 yet has no formal dining room. The dining room is open off the kitchen and the breakfast area is also open next to the kitchen. We are empty nesters, so we do not need all the dining areas. So I turned my breakfast room into a sitting/keeping room. The best thing I ever did. With the exception of 2 bathrooms, all of our rooms have a beautiful view of our back yard, thus the dining room is not typically set in the front of the house. We NEVER used our formal dining room in our past homes. So I totally agree with you. Go for it..you will love it!

    ReplyDelete
  69. I already got rid of my table and chairs! The table was rectangular and everyone ran their thigh into the edge and the chairs were awful. I called a consignment shop and they picked up the table chairs and china cabinet..in the end, I made almost $700. I still haven't done much with the room but a sitting room is what I am going for. DO IT!

    ReplyDelete
  70. I really like this idea. I'd probably do the same if I had a formal dining room. I always thought that I'd hate not having a separate dining room but I've found that I'd rather use all my space and not save one space for "special occassions". I love the idea of a library. I'm also linking up with Nester. I can't wait to see what everyone is doing or planning to do.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Fantastic Idea Sarah! We never used the dining room in our old house either, so we did away with one in our new house. Well, not NEW house. It's and OLD house-like 1860s old, so it had a formal dining room. We just took down the walls and opened up the kitchen so we could use a large table. It's worked just fine and I don't miss a dining room at all! Go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Do it! You don't use your dining room way less than we did and I was tired of having a space that wasn't being used right where I needed functional space. You will love having a space that you can and will use!

    ReplyDelete
  73. LOOOOOOOOOVE this idea! DO IT! Please, I'm dying to see what you come up with b/c I know it'll be fabulous! :-) We never use dining rooms either & I would totally jump at the chance to create a library like in your inspiration photos! :-) Can't wait to see what you do.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Okay, I love, love, love your idea! Probably because I have always wanted to live in a house that had room for some sort of library with comfy chairs. I love the idea of 4 of us sitting in a circle with our feet up in the middle reading or talking....is this why people are obsessed with Pinterest???? I never thought about the 4 chairs in a circle thingie before....now I won't be able to stop thinking about it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  75. This is a timely post because I am considering the same thing...my problem is that I love my dining room (even thought it's never been used AT. ALL.) and my grandmother's china cabinet is in there with all of her beautiful crystal and knick knacks that I inherited. Can't even think of selling that...but I might just move it somewhere else in the house. I am excited to see what you do with your space...I have thought of doing the EXACT same thing...my kids are homeschooled, so it would make a great room to do school/art/reading/whatever. My dining room also opens up into the living room where there is a piano and I've just gotten that space pretty close to the way I want it.

    Good luck to you - I love your idea of the bookshelves...keep us posted!!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Go for it ! I have never had a formal living roon, and can't say that I miss it! We use ours has a computer hang out room, and Im in it right now, and every day it gets used! All your plans turn out well, so go for it chick!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  77. I'd do the library-look, keep the chandelier, *and keep a table (maybe take the leaf out) and some (3?) chairs, so the room can be used as a real library *and as a dining room. Sophisticated and useful.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I love the idea of a library! If you ever decide to sell just put the/a table back with chairs - library/dining rooms are very cool and a great look!

    ReplyDelete
  79. I LOVE that idea! Everything about it, the built-ins and the chair arrangement. Love it so much that if I had the money right now, I would most definitely do it! We've been in our house for a year, and used our dining room for the first 6 months until we got our kitchen table. Now it just sits. Our dining room is open to the living room too...another that we would never use. When we first moved in, we decided to make the living room a library. We found some inexpensive bookshelves that look like much more than we paid. We got 4 of them for $700. The 2 middle ones have cabinets on the bottom. We love them, but wish they were a little taller since we have 9ft ceilings. I'd love to get a piano too! Neither hubby or I truly play, but we both grew up with pianos at home, and like to tinker. Anyway, my vote is GO FOR IT! And I am sure I will be pinning your final result as a to-do for later :)

    ReplyDelete
  80. Go for it for sure! We use our living/dining area as the kids' playroom and don't regret it one bit.

    You can always bring up a folding table,cover it with a table cloth for any big events if you need it.

    Someone once told me, make your house work for your every day life, not for once a year events.

    Good luck! Can't wait to see all your plans unfold this year!

    ReplyDelete
  81. GO FOR IT! Turn that great space into something that you love. I got excited just reading this post!! I don't think you'll regret getting rid of your dining room....and for resale....just throw a table in there for the few months it'll be on the market. You really can't lose!!
    -Katie

    ReplyDelete
  82. I think it sounds like a wonderful idea. I have loved the idea of a room with four cozy chairs and a table ever since I saw Sarah Richardson do that in her cottage.

    If you never use the dining room, turn it into something you will use. It's YOUR house!

    ReplyDelete
  83. can you make the table smaller like a desk and paint it white and use the white chair. put in front of the window. i like the bookcases and chairs. i would add a rug under the chairs. if you keep you dining table if you want to have a dining room then you still have one.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Go for it! We've built two houses that had spaces for formal dining rooms and in both, we've turned them into a study. We have LOVED it and so have our buyers when we sold the houses. Can't wait to see what you do!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Awesome idea! Our "dining room" is the kids playroom off the kitchen. We eat our informal and "formal" meals all at the same large take in the morning room...also off the kitchen. I read your post and started thinking 15 years in the future when we don't need a kids space....I'm going to want to do your idea! The 4 chairs together makes me think of a fun happy hour with girlfriends at a relaxed pub....I could sit in those chairs and chat all night. Perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  86. I say "Go for it!" Use your rooms the way you want to. I have decided to turn my breakfast room into a keeping room. We actually use our dining room for just the two of us and when we have friends/family over. We like our dining room because it's not formal, per se, and it's much more open than our breakfast room. It will be nice to have my husband nearby while I work in the kitchen. The hard part so far is finding a reclining loveseat (husband's request) that isn't "poofy"...know what I mean? Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  87. Last year I changed my formal dining to my craft room.....and it is an open space like yours.....and I am not a NEAT person! :) I was worried too...considering we have three boys, ALL family out-of-town and a small kitchen table........but I LOVE it and we haven't missed it one bit!! ;) It is still a work in progress but my boys, and especially mu hubby, are happy I have a place to work so I don't leave my mess all over the place. I hope to post the before/after one of these days on my blog. :) Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete
  88. I love your idea- we use our dining room as an office- or extension of our game room which is what our formal living room is!! We also have a hearth room and large kitchen we entertain in. I have a farmhouse table as my desk and then we have target bookshelves similar to Ikea's expedit's on the back wall- with baskets and books in it. For those twice a month times when I need the formal dining room- I just move out my laptop and desk organizer and bring in some folding chairs to put around the table/desk. I love it!! But I have to say I am loving your idea of the chairs in a circle- might have to think about moving the table out and bringing some comfy chairs in!! Can't wait to see what you decide!

    ReplyDelete
  89. I think this is a great idea! We have a formal dining area in our house that we use as a reading room instead. We have two big comfy chairs and absolutely love the space! We spend way more time in there than we ever would if we were using it as a dining room.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Girl, I am the queen (at least my family thinks so) of using rooms in unusual ways! I have had my office in my formal dining room. Also, I have had my office in my eat-in kitchen when we needed the formal dining room! We don't have a true office, clearly, so I have had it in just about every room of my house except for my son's room and the bathrooms! LOL I agree, use your home the way it works for you!! Can't wait to see what you come up with! I know it will be beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  91. You have a great idea! I hate formal spaces, such a waste. We have a small formal dining room that rarely gets used also. I would love to move the office downstairs into that room. My hesitation is that it would then have to stay neat and organized! :)

    ReplyDelete
  92. I say GO FOR IT! When we were house hunting, I was SO set on getting a house with a formal dining room, but then realized that we would probably never use it. The house we fell in love with just has an eat in kitchen and it works just perfectly for us! We've even had several large parties and we just set up some extra seating around our existing table. Works great!

    ReplyDelete
  93. DO IT!

    You clearly have thought this through and it's a fabulous idea! I would love to do away with our dining room, but we don't have an eat-in kitchen, so we eat all of our meals at our dining room. I would prefer something more casual (like what you have in mind).

    Go for it! The built-in will be lovely!

    Michelle (@The236)

    ReplyDelete
  94. We turned our formal living room into a library....and LOVE it! Go for it woman!

    ReplyDelete
  95. I would absolutely go for it. Among my crew the formal dining room has died a slow death. When we remodel our kitchen in a few months we will tear ours out and use it as more space for the kitchen. I look at it now as a complete waste of space and it irritates me.

    Your plans sound great! Can't wait to see the finished product!

    ReplyDelete
  96. We have changed our dining room into a family room because we didn't have one. I have NEVER missed having a formal dining room. We aren't formal people and we NEVER throw a formal dinner party. The most formal we get is a football party. That, as you said, is stand around the kitchen island and graze. I say make that space usable!

    ReplyDelete
  97. This is an AWESOME idea! I love it! We're just about to buy our first home and I'm going to create a library esque built-in area in our huge family room. Pshaw on a formal dining room! Go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  98. I *love* the idea of a library! So many people don't even use their formal dining rooms so at least you would be putting the space to good use!

    ReplyDelete
  99. Great idea! Our dining room is currently a play room but eventually I can see it turning into our craft area. But THIS....this is a great option. Kind of an informal living area with books, chairs, table .... LOVE IT.

    ReplyDelete
  100. i so want a library/music room. when we go to buy a new house (hopefully later this year)it is on my list of must haves.
    I say do it! especially since you don;t use the dining room as a dining room ever anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  101. While your dining room is lovely, I completely agree with you on doing away with it! I especially like the brown leather chairs. Do keep us posted!!

    ReplyDelete
  102. We totally reassigned spaces in the house we bought last summer based on how we would use them. We only use one "living area", the family room, so the formal living room was sitting empty. I love to entertain and want to get a huge farmhouse table, which won't fit in our dining room. Plus, I needed an office space, and the formal living room was too large for just that. So, the living room is now the dining room and the dining room is a study - complete with the wall of shelves and a desk, and hopefully a comfy reading chair soon.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Our "dining room" is the kids playroom. We LOVE it! We just moved in and we are also getting ready to install shelves, mirrors and all kinds of organization. SO FUN!

    ReplyDelete
  104. Totally what I would do. Who's formal anymore anyway?

    As for the Liquid Nails molding, can you add more molding to what's there to beef it up?

    Or, you may be able to pry it off with only damage to the paper part of the drywall. Then if you use that sticky, meshy looking drywall tape, it's not that hard to fix it.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Do it!!! I'm another dining room converter. It is so nice to have a space we actually use instead of another place that just collects dust.
    Your ideas for the space are fabulous, as always!

    ReplyDelete
  106. Just have to give my opinion on this one. I like the idea of shelves and making it a "dual" purpose room but I have found as I've gotten older, I use my dining room more! And I love to decorate it too. The 4 chair thing is nice but what if you have more people than that? Also from my experience, no matter how nice the finished basement is, your company will still congregate in the kitchen! Why not keep a table and add some comfortable upholstered chairs and the bookshelves? Kind of a study/office/library look. Sounds like it would be fun and it's pretty common now. Good Luck, I'm sure whatever you do it will look great!

    Robin
    Robin Flies South

    ReplyDelete
  107. Do it! Do it! Do it!

    Use the space...our dining room is multi-purpose now, smaller table, armoire with toys in it etc...cause we never use it for eating!

    ReplyDelete
  108. ABSOLUTELY! Go for it and you will love your new space...and we will love watching the process :)

    ReplyDelete
  109. Several years ago we found ourselves in a 4 bedroom home with 4 kids, a live-in mil, and an unused dining room. On a whim we paid a contractor $600 to wall the excess opening in the room and create 2 doorways. We installed doors (which can be removed if we ever want to go back to a dining room. We have used it for a bedroom for my mil. Then is became a playroom/guest room. Most often it is a sleep over room on the weekend. We were so happy that we did this that we ended up making serious changes to our living room. It was huge and long (about 16 by 26ft). We never used 1/3 of the space! So once again on a whim, I found a contractor for $1000 who constructed a wall which created a 10 by 16 space. (This still left us a 16 by 16 living room.) He installed french doors and we ended up with an awesome office. I love it! Go for it!!

    ReplyDelete
  110. I have been following but I have never commented until now. :) As I was reading your post, when you wrote that you only used it a few times, I thought instantly that you should make it into a more use-able room. As I kept reading, I see you thought up the same thing! I think it is a fabulous idea and I love what you came up. Personally, if you were to ever resale, I would be more excited about the new room you would make it into, than the formal dining room. Just my opinion. I am excited to see how your plans will go into actions!!!

    ReplyDelete
  111. I am a full time Realtor and have seen formal dining spaces used in a multitude of ways...and I think this is one of the best. I totally understand your concern with resale but a house is more than sticks and bricks, and you have to use it in a way that you love and makes your family happy. In reality very few of us use formal dining spaces on a regular basis and having your room defined in such a beautiful way may be a good selling point. At any rate, I think your ideas are wonderful. If you are concerned the built ins would take up too much space if someone did want to use it as a formal dining space later, you could probably figure out a way to build bookcases and attach them to the wall so they could be removed later if you or someone else didn't want them there anymore. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  112. DO IT!!! We never use our dining room either and we're in the process of changing it to a playroom. Makes me nervous to not having a dining room but we only use it for Thanksgiving or Easter...makes sense to change it to a room that will get more use {and more fun!}

    ReplyDelete
  113. Our last house had a main floor HUGE (really HUGE) master bedroom and 3 BR upstairs. When our kids were small (and fewer) we moved our bedroom upstairs and used the master as a family room. It was awesome to have a bathroom attached to the family room (giving baths while also supervising the rest of the kids - WIN!) and a walk-in closet for storing stuff. Our formal dining room was also repurposed in that house as an office. It was tiny though and I have no idea how they ever thought that would work as any kind of dining room. The previous owner had used it as a playroom and had her formal in the living room (without using as a living room too), which was awkward when we toured it but I think she just had the set and didn't want to part with it. We've never had a formal dining room - like you, we just party in the eat-in kitchen, great room or on the deck.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Okay, I LOVE IT! We are going to be building a new house soon and I have been looking at floor plans. Almost all of the current plans out there have a formal dining room PLUS a dining space adjoining the kitchen. I am not a fan. It seems like a lot of wasted space (I can't see us having a lot of formal dinners.) My thought was to do exactly what you are suggesting--to use that space as a library/study/informal sitting room. I see a great place for the kids to work on homework or go read a book or just to hang out. A music room would also be so fun. Love it, love it, love it!

    ReplyDelete
  115. I love Emily A Clark's built-ins too. I wanted to do some in my 'woman cave' and even had a carpenter come to price them. I had sticker shock and decided to DIY my own built-ins using the IKEA Billy. It's the best decision I made! While they aren't the same quality as Emily's, they give the same look, a ton of storage, and it makes me giddy to display all my books and artifacts. I posted the finished product on my blog, and it's my favorite room in the house!

    Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    www.bmoreloveleigh.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  116. Yes...go for it. We're the same: dining room is rarely used, and I'm in the process of changing mine out to a more useable space for us too built for fun and lego building marathons! As long as you can restage it to be a dining room if/when you sell, there's no down side....can't wait to see what you end up with!

    ReplyDelete
  117. I can't say strong enough ... DO IT, DO IT, DOOO ITTT!!!!! We converted our dining room into an office 4 yrs ago, and not ONCE have I regretted it! In fact, we've commented many times that it actually makes our house feel so much bigger, because now we actually USE that room. Go for it; you won't be sorry! :D

    ReplyDelete
  118. Go for it. I hate how they make dining rooms bigger than the kitchen and eating area sometimes, even though we spend way more time in the latter.

    And if you ever want to turn it back into a dining room, we've all seen dining room with a library, it is very chic!

    ReplyDelete
  119. My dining room is currently an office, but 3 times a year it would be nice to have a dining room. I would utilize it. Instead we make do in the kitchen. :( I was "jealous" of your beautiful dining room set up this last Christmas; pretty centerpiece, place settings..table can be set in advance of event...so didn't you use it then?

    Irony in this post, because as I began reading I was noticing the pretty molding on the walls. ! I was thinking it could be just what I need because I want molding of some sort, but didn't want to add chair rail in my living room. Then I keep reading, & it is on the way out. Haha. I do know that yours is the blog to refer to when I am getting closer to making my decision on molding!

    Chrissy

    ReplyDelete
  120. Sounds like a fantastic idea and I say go for it. As you say - the space is still usable if you want to have a sit down meal!

    I've been living in my house for four months now and have a similar room. I want to make it into my 'day' sitting room but still be able to have sit-down dinners (which I do from time to time but by no means often). My current sitting room is small and quite dark but cosy for English winters.

    Will look forward to seeing how your room develops, and hope to share mine with you at some point (after I've fixed the roof!!)

    ReplyDelete
  121. Being one who always did want a designated dining room, I'd be hard pressed to delete it. On the other hand, if you're not using the room in its current configuration/usage, I say by all means, redo it to a usable space when your finances allow. You'll be surprised how much of what's in there now will "transfer" to a new room idea! I once re-purposed a room for a client to a dining room. The key is "use" your home and forget what the next family will/might do to the various rooms. We just sold our home and the new family is thinking of using the room we used for storage as a possible craft room. It's your home now---live it in! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  122. When we moved into this house two years ago, we set up our dining room furniture in our small little dining room. It looked lovely but after a few months I realized we would never, ever, eat in there.

    We sold our furniture and turned the space into a sewing/crafting room and I LOVE it! My kids are in there making projects and learning to sew and I am so happy that we use the space now. We have not missed having a formal dining room once!

    ReplyDelete
  123. Go for it. There is no point in wasted space. You could sell the dining set to off-set the price of the new chairs and such. I love the comfy chairs around a small table idea. We had two dining rooms in our home and one is now the office area. Haven't missed the second one - not even once.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Love the idea of a library! And who's to say you can't put a piano in there and make it a library/music room.

    BTW - World Market has 50% off on their furniture right now.

    ReplyDelete
  125. I am making my office part library...I would love to see it come together like some of your inspiration picks. I also cannot wait to see your completed library!
    Sarah
    www.budgetfriendlydecorating.com

    ReplyDelete
  126. Go for it!!! It's a brilliant idea and I think you and your family will enjoy the new space.

    ReplyDelete
  127. love your idea. We're planning on adding built-ins to our dining room to make it more multi-purpose as well. And if you decide to go back you can always accessorize with more formal stuff and put your table back in...no problem. I say, do it! liz

    ReplyDelete
  128. I *LOVE* the idea. When I moved into my house, I immediately turned my dining room into a sewing room and have never looked back!
    When you're ready to sell the house, just put a table in there, pull the books off the built-ins and display grandma's china (or thrifted china) on plate stands in there and it will knock their socks off. I say go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  129. I say go for it!! If a dining room is not something you use, and a library/sitting room will be used, it makes total and complete sense. Think of how much fun it would be to sit and have a drink with your girlfriend, and still be able to watch the kiddos in the next room, and still feel like you are having some adult time too. Plus, it would just add to the already fabulous space you use all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  130. In our last house I did actually do what you are thinking. I added built-ins 2/3 up the wall on two walls. The other two walls were french doors to the deck and the other open to the living room. We are avid readers so it was set up with two large leather chairs and a giant round leather ottoman that faced the deck with a 180 degree view of the woods on our property. The adjacent living room was used for a true living space... right next to the kitchen which had a large eat in space. The basement was then set up as only a home theater/TV room. In the event we needed a large dining table or large serving place my husband put together an 8 foot round plywood(broke down to 2 half circles) and 2x4 legs table. I used a hotel table cloth that covered the entire thing to the floor. We also used it for outdoor parties...including our daughters wedding reception. So I say make your home comfortable for your family everyday and use creative solutions for the rare occasion you need to enertain a group!

    ReplyDelete
  131. You have the most creative mind of anyone I know! I absolutely love your idea. I can't wait to see it in progress! BTW, when you finish, you can come over to Montana and help me make a library too ;) ~nikki

    ReplyDelete
  132. Love it! Also love all of your inspiration pics. Oooo, can't wait to see it finished!

    ReplyDelete
  133. Go for it! You will love it. I would love a music/library room with a grand piano, too, but since that probably will never happen, books are the next best thing to music.

    As a home stager, we typically say to turn the room back to its original function for resale (although I think dining rooms are becoming optional). However, having shelves in your "dining room" still totally works!

    ReplyDelete
  134. Years ago my sis told the family she was thinking about changing her dinning room into an office.

    Everyone hated the idea.

    It's now an office, library, den, reading room.

    It's perfect.

    She had an excellent vision for the room - although if you ask her, she thinks she's horrible at designing.

    Sarah, it sounds like you are taking a completely unused space... and reclaiming it for your family! That's important real estate that is just sitting around.

    GO FOR IT!

    ReplyDelete
  135. Go for it! We converted our formal dining room into an office/music room about 4 years ago. We have never regretted it. Good luck. Those inspiration pics are fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Terrific plan. Yes, folding tables would work should you decide to suddenly host something formal. As for resale, you can rent a table/chair set to put in there and fill the shelves with dishes and art - voila! The formal dining room every buyer wants to see yet never uses. And then, 5 years later, when they decide they need to use it differently too, they can just buy new chairs, sell their table and load the shelves w/ books.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Love the new idea! Go for it! If I had a formal dining room I would do the same thing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  138. Honestly?

    It's not that drastic! :)

    Old houses (like 1800-early 1900s) almost always had built ins in their dining rooms anyway. So really all you're doing is making the room more functional. It may be your library, but it can still be a dining room again in the future.

    So excited to follow along as you work on this!

    ReplyDelete
  139. Go for it! That was one of the reasons we purchased a new house. . . We never used the formal living or dining room and it was just wasted, dead, pass through space. Our new (old) home has no dining room, and is larger but with fewer rooms, so it really feels spacious. There is so much you could do with a library/home office. Can't wait to see the after photos!

    ReplyDelete
  140. Go for it! Instead of the formal living room we are supposed to have, we have a play room. When the kids outgrow it (another year or two probably) we are changing it to an adult game room for the board game nights we have regularly. Make the space one you will use, not avoid!

    ReplyDelete
  141. We use our dining room as a second living room and love it. I say go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  142. We changed out our living room (that we only ever used for the Christmas tree and PS2 playing) for a game room with a pool table. Now it gets tons of use (husband finally has a guy room.) We don't actually have a formal dining room - instead we have a great room with a leafed table and add in folding tables as we need them. Now we use the WHOLE house. I do have to say, though, I LOVE the library idea. I can see moving our pool table to the great room someday and making a library out of our game room.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Sarah, as always, you have such cool ideas. What I really admire about you is how you take the spaces you've been blessed with and make them work for you and your family...whether they are the "normal" way of doing it or not. (I especially like it when you don't stick to the norm!!) My favorite examples are your cute boy's awesome closet turned nook and your wooden stairs. You take risks, and it makes the rest of us feel empowered to, too. I love this library idea. Forgive me for not reading all 140+ comments to see if someone's already said this, but did you see the Nate Berkus episode when they showed his new house? He has a Library/Dining Room. The table was used as a place to read and reference most of the time (although I love the 4 chairs idea. We want to do that in our "formal" (haha) living room). Anyway, here's a link to that episode: http://www.thenateshow.com/episodes/detail/inside-nates-new-home/
    and http://www.thenateshow.com/videos/detail/3521

    I always love reading your blog! Thanks for all the inspiration and empowering ideas!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  144. I work as a Realtor- and I can tell you from working with LOTS and lots of buyers, that the formal dining room is becoming a thing of the past. It isn't even on many buyers "wishlist" any more, as long as they have an eat-in kitchen. The fact is, you still have the ROOM, you are just using it in a different capacity- that better suits your lifestyle. I say go with the conversion and when you eventually sell your home (years and years down the line), have your agent educate the buyers of the other potential uses for the space!

    ReplyDelete
  145. Love this idea - a library sounds wonderful! I think you should make your house fit the way you live.

    Oh, and I have the same chandelier and have been contemplating moving it to our bedroom, as well! The only thing that stops me is giving up the ceiling fan. Dang those humid Indy summers and my aversion to air conditioning!

    ReplyDelete
  146. Go for it! Our front room is supposed to be a dining room or formal sitting room - who uses those anymore?! We made it an office which is much more functional. I believe every one in the house should be functional.

    ReplyDelete
  147. DO IT! We did the same thing in our formal living room and it is my favorite room in the house. We live in our family room, which is just off the kitchen, and I knew that a living room in oue house would never be used. My husband and I, as well as our child, all are print junkies, which means we have more books than we can count. So, instead of having a living room that was just something to look at, we filled one entire wall with book cases we obtained from an old elementary school. The chairs in there now are a mish mash and in the four corners, but I really like your idea of four matching chairs around a coffee table. Even though the room isn't done, I love just sitting in there. It's where I go when I get a phone call. It's where I go when I need to have a conversation with someone. It's where I go when I need a moment of peace. So go ahead and make your dining room a library. You won't regret it.

    ReplyDelete
  148. I would totally do it! I am a huge reader and would love a space in my house exactly like you described. Unfortunately, our house just barely fits us as it is. When we move on up, I'm definitely going to have a designated library space!

    ReplyDelete
  149. Love that idea! That is actually my ideal set up- having a library that doubles as a formal diningroom only when needed. We converted our home's front formal livingroom into a library because it was steps away from our family room and we didn't need two living spaces like that side by side. So the former livingroom now has a wall of bookshelves- 8 of the 15" wide Billy bookshelves fit across the entire wall almost perfectly. One day I'll trim around them to make them look built in, for now it is awesome. We also put two reading chairs with a small dining style round table to serve as a library table- or a rare dinner for two, and we included a hidden desk in upright hutch and a clavinova recording piano. My husband is a musician too but we didn't have the room for a grand piano, so the upright electric version is a nice alternative. It's our family's music/reading/office room and we love it. It's easier said than done, but I really think our homes should be for us and how we live- resale and formality shouldn't make us sacrifice what would make us HAPPY. Go for it!!

    ReplyDelete
  150. I love your idea. Martha Stewart and Alexandra Stoddard are both big on taking unusual spaces to use for various things.

    If you never use the dining room, you have nothing to lose changing it into something that you will enjoy more and also potentially use more.

    You could have your party downstairs, but who really wants to carry food up and down? If you do want to do that kind of thing, be sure to place a kitchenette downstairs.

    I am really excited about this project you have spinning around in your head :) and can't wait for you to start on it!

    ReplyDelete
  151. I love your idea. Martha Stewart and Alexandra Stoddard are both big on taking unusual spaces to use for various things.

    If you never use the dining room, you have nothing to lose changing it into something that you will enjoy more and also potentially use more.

    You could have your party downstairs, but who really wants to carry food up and down? If you do want to do that kind of thing, be sure to place a kitchenette downstairs.

    I am really excited about this project you have spinning around in your head :) and can't wait for you to start on it!

    ReplyDelete
  152. I love this idea!!!! You should go for it. Who says you need to keep it as a formal dinning room. It is your space and make it what you want. I love your idea of the built ins with the chairs. Go for it!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  153. Love the idea!! I operate a licensed daycare in my home and we have transformed our formal dining room into a "playroom." We put built-ins with doors along the walls to house all the toys and to keep them hidden when not in use. You have to use your space for what works for you and your family!!

    ReplyDelete
  154. I converted my dining room to a sitting room 3 years ago and have loved it! It's adjacent to my living room which is actually a game room with a pool table in it. While the kids (and/or dads) are playing pool the ladies are in the sitting room chatting. (4 plaid chairs, round coffee table - all from a consignment store.) It's also a great room for DH and me to hang out while the kids are with friends in the family room. I picked up a 1940's hutch from an auction and am starting to display our world travel items... I'm thinking of going "Adventure Room" theme (but no animal heads... I promise). So, my experience is you'll find you use the room much more when it's not a formal dining room.

    ReplyDelete
  155. I think that would be amazing! I've always wanted to have a library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. :)

    ReplyDelete
  156. We did this about three years ago and have loved it ever since. People don't live so "formal" anymore anyway--I don't think it would be a negative for resale--but a positive! PLUS . . . this is YOUR house! Live in it for YOU not for the "somebody" who *might* live there one day! GO FOR IT!!! Can't wait to watch the transformation!!

    ReplyDelete
  157. Doooooo it! We changed our dinning room into a sitting area too and I could not be happier! It's so functional now and it was so fun to NOT be conventional for a change. Who says that you have to use a certain space just for what it was intended? Think of all the possibilities!

    ReplyDelete
  158. Why not keep the table as a "library" table? Push it up against a wall, add a pretty lamp and some stacks of books. Just keep one dining chair. Looks like you'd still have plenty of room for a couple cozy chairs and small table on one end of the room. Just a thought. I love the idea of dining in a beautiful room surrounded by walls of books and pretty objects. This way it's easily switched back and forth between the two different purposes!

    Cheers, Kerry

    ReplyDelete
  159. I think you should squash the hesitant voice telling you the idea is insane and just do it! A home should be functional for your own family, not for one that may or may not buy it years from now, or be a reflection of norms of those who visit. :) A library is a beautiful idea, and I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

    ReplyDelete
  160. Our built in 1970 home has a formal living and formal dining, along with a regular living room and breakfast room. We turned the formal living into a computer room (we have three computers, we don't share nicely). Then we turned the formal dining into the Wii game room, with a couch and entertainment center. It works out great for us and I have no problem with resale - we're putting it on the market this week. The house we are going to build in a few months will NOT have formal anything. Waste of space. Why bother having the square footage if you don't use it on a daily basis?

    ReplyDelete
  161. I think it's a fantastic idea! Jump in feet first, girl!!

    ReplyDelete
  162. I am sure that I am only adding to everyone else's encouragement...but I say go for it...I am the proud (and tired) mom of 6 kids...our formal dining room was never used...I moved bookshelves in it, put up maps, globes, reference books etc and that is where we set up the computers...yes i said computers...you cant have six kids between the ages of 15 and 7 and only have one computer...have our dining room as a media room means that they keep an eye on each other...and there is room for people to watch others play...i have never regretted giving up that formal space..My kids boast to their friends that they have the best computer room ever...Do what fits your needs!!

    ReplyDelete
  163. I've been thinking about this off and on since we moved into our house 3 years ago. Well, not exactly this - I've just always thought it seems so silly to have a formal dining/living area in our house that almost never gets used. I love your idea of a casual, comfortable, functional space! I think selling our formal dining set is in the near future. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  164. Our friends recently nixed their formal living room because they never used it and love it as a dining room much better. I dont think dining rooms are really necessary for most people.

    ReplyDelete
  165. We have done that exact same thing-converted our dining room to another family living area. We use it all the time, everyday set up as this, and I would never go back to setting up a formal dining room. We just never used the dining room. We are thinking of putting our house up for sale in the spring and people have suggested to convert it back to the dining room. I just don't know how I would be able to live with losing this extra family space while we are waiting for the house to sell. I thought I might put up a cute sign saying something like "could be used as a dining room or as a bonus living area" and leave it set up as is. I envisioned the room how we have it set up now as opposed to how the previous owners had it set up as a dining room so I think buyers might be able to envision both as well. I am all for using your space for the best fit for your family's needs!

    ReplyDelete
  166. Go for it! Love those blue/green striped chairs...maybe with some white wainscoting! Ahhh...feels beachy! And love the arched ceiling in the other pic. I need to keep my dining room as it serves as the only place to eat AND craft! If I had an additional space to eat, I'd do the same as you! I really like the grouping of chairs to sit around and visit. With the table between, there's still something to tablescape for the holidays, too...and add another Christmas tree?!

    Ciao!
    Guerrina

    ReplyDelete
  167. I say go for it!!! Formal dining rooms are such a waste of space! Who really throws sit down dinner parties anymore anyway? If I were visiting I'd much rather hang out on a big comfy chair that sitting stiff at a dining table. It's your house you should make it fit the way you live - not what "society" or the builder had in mind.

    Love your blog! Follow it regularly - even used yours son's room as inspiration for my own son. keep up the good work!!

    Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  168. We did something similar this summer. I hated that our dining room became a catch all for junk, so we flipped the playroom which was next to our kitchen with the dining room which was across the house. Now both rooms are used daily. In the process we were able to eliminate our "breakfast area" which was really just 1/3 of our great room. As a result, we have a truly great room. Now, I just need to refine how I have decorated the 2 new spaces!

    Your ideas look great and totally functional. I say, go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  169. Do it! After living in our last home for 3 years, we're just about finished building our new home. We took the plunge, and eliminated all formal space from the house. The builder/contractor advised against it for resale value, but honestly, function TRUMPS tradition. If you think you'll actually use the space more, I say do it!!

    ReplyDelete
  170. I think it sounds like a great idea and makes total sense for your family! Actually, when I was looking at the pictures of the room, I was thinking it was screaming for a board-and-batten treatment! That way you could even keep a dark + cozy color on the top 1/3 of the wall, but it would still feel light and bright...more den/library-ish. You'd probably have to do some kind of floating wall to go over the current molding, though.

    ReplyDelete
  171. I'm totally LOVING this idea! I'm itching for a library-ish space myself & if we hadn't just furnished our dining room (which we've use ONCE about a month ago) 2 years ago with a beautiful solid wood suite- I'd be jumping all over this at my own house!

    ReplyDelete
  172. I've been thinking about the 4 comfy chairs and a small table in our kitchen. We already have an island with stools so why we keep a table in there I don't know - we never use it! I'm all about making the space fit our needs instead of the intended use which is why we did line our formal living room with bookcases. We love it in there now and it is where I blog from. Can't wait to see what you decide.

    ReplyDelete
  173. I love your idea and say go for it... Maybe look at it from a different perspective to feel better about making such a drastic change: we hear about "builder beige" all the time, and no matter how pristine the paint is, nobody hesitates to repaint... Your current dining room plan is the "builder beige" dining room! Just because it came with the house doesn't mean you can't do something different! I can't wait to see what you do!

    ReplyDelete
  174. I turned my unused dining room into a library and it was the best redo I ever did! I put my piano and the banjo and guitar I inherited from my Dad in there as well. It was so much fun treasure hunting for cool things to decorate the shelves with...hour glasses, pretty handled magnifying glasses, interesting antiques, etc. It is the most lovely space in my home. I just love how it smells like books when I walk in there! All my friends are jealous of my precious little library...DO YOURS! DO IT AS FAST AS YOU CAN AND POST PICTURES! :)

    ReplyDelete
  175. I LOVE this idea! I cannot wait to see how you layout your room. It makes so much sense to transform that room. If you never use it now you are not losing anything. And you can always change it back. You are so inspiring. My plan for this year is to add chair rail and molding to my dining room. Good luck to you!! If anyone can do this - its you!! Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!

    ReplyDelete
  176. Yes! Love your idea! I think it's wonderful to make your house work for you and your needs instead of sticking with conventional house wisdom (is there such a thing??). Looking forward to seeing it all come together. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  177. This is EXACTly what I am thinking of doing, and I love the inspiration pics you've found. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  178. I actually have done away with our dining room too and made it a sitting room/music room(drums and keyboard for hubby)and mini library. We chose to do this because 10 years ago we didn't have a formal dining table and couldn't afford one anyway. We ALWAYS eat in the kitchen on a semi-formal table and when company comes we just add the leaf! I've never regretted making the choice to do so and if we ever move, I will do what you suggested and put a table in there for the potential buyers! I say, rock on with your bad self! Go for it! lol !

    ReplyDelete
  179. Could you move your living room furniture around to accommodate a larger table (for the infrequent holidays and formal dinners)? We got rid of our dinning room and turned it into an office which we use constantly. We also have a very open floor plan and use a large expandable table in our kitchen for our entertaining. I love your inspiration pictures and can't wait to see your results.

    ReplyDelete
  180. My friend turned her - equally unused - dining room into a kid-friendly art(s and crafts) studio. She put in fairly inexpensive cabinetry around the bottom half of some of the walls. The cool part was the work tables/island right in the middle of the room. She did two, face-to-face. The top halves of the walls were reserved for framed works of art by her children. Adorable room that now gets used more than any other in the house! I say "go for it". I love the idea of a seating area all facing in towards a center, low table - you'll bring Starbucks right to your home!! Hey, now there's an idea - put a Keurig coffee maker on a table in the corner and have a coffee station in there... when do you want to have me over???

    ReplyDelete
  181. Great idea! About 4 years ago we changed our dining room into a playroom. I was sick of all the toys in my living and family rooms. It went from a room we barely were in to one of the most used rooms in the house! Love your ideas!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  182. I have a question when it comes to decorating and re-decorating. I saw in a previous post that y'all are Dave Ramsey fans and are debt free!! (congrats!) We are almost to baby step 4, but just moved into a new home that needs personalizing (decor, rugs, etc etc). How do you budget or justify spending on home decor when it seems like Dave Ramsey wouldn't approve? Know what I mean? How did you manage to allow yourself to keep decorating and tweaking the house while on your debt-free journey? I would love your advice. I feel a little gloomy, like I really can't make a case for spending money on making the house cute when that money should be going to the debt snowball or savings or whatever. Even being frugal with decorating still costs money! Please help :)
    Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  183. DO IT!!! I had the same dilemna and realized that the formal DR was the ONLY unused room in our house. I too was scared, but love it now. Ours turned into a game/toy room. The only thing that slightly bothers me is that this room is visible from the front door for all to see when you come in the door.

    ReplyDelete
  184. do it do it do it! I have a small one bedroom apartment that has a dinning room open to the living space. I made mine and office/craft studio about a year ago and love it. This is a change you will love. Also it will be more party space :)

    ReplyDelete
  185. DO IT!!! That would be SO awesome! You would use it all the time AND it would create more house...if that makes sense. Its taking up space you dont use, so its like gaining an entire room. It would be so awesome for guests & its always undo-able in the future if you loathe it (which I bet yall would LOVE, excuse me, LURVE it :)) We bought our house before it got built (neighborhood lot picking type deal) and closed off the dining room to make it office/comp room. Love it. Im hosting Tgiving next year, but who is gonna care that we arent in a "formal" DR?? No one! You SO wont regret it!

    ReplyDelete
  186. I love the idea! We actually just turned our formal dining room into a pool table room! As in just got the pool table for Christmas. That's a much different idea than yours, of course, but we like that we actually use the space for something now.
    I think you should go for it! But that's probably more cuz I wanna see what you'll come up with! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  187. This is all soooo elegant and pretty. This must be a nice place to live.
    Great job here :)

    Philippines properties for sale

    ReplyDelete
  188. I'm sure you've seen these, but this seems like a cheap way to do the bookshelves
    http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2011/11/from-billys-to-built-ins/

    ReplyDelete
  189. I love the idea, too. In the last picture with the darker chairs, I love the built in bench, too. It would break up the wall of built in shelves a little as well as give a fun place to decorate and sit to read. I know some of my children would read in one of the nice comfy chairs, but others would definitely gravitate toward a bench even if it was a little shorter to allow for more built-ins. Hope this project goes on your sooner rather than later to do list. Can't wait to see the results. Keep up the great ideas and work!

    ReplyDelete
  190. I talked my mom into doing this same thing with their front "sitting room." Her cousin is a woodworker/cabinet maker so I designed a whole wall with upper cabinets for storage and lower cabinets plus two desk areas for the lower space. I even included a pull out ironing board because one of the desk areas is for her sewing machine. Anyway, here's another link for the same sort of setup you're going for. I absolutely LOVE this idea...but then again, it seems like we all do! Maybe we have a bit of "extra rooms to convert to usable spaces" envy? :)
    http://www.maillardvillemanor.com/2011/02/library-reveal-part-ii.html

    ReplyDelete
  191. I LOVE this idea! And it's made me seriously consider this for my unused living room. We have a family room/tv room and then the "formal" living room which is where the Christmas tree goes and that's about the most use that room gets.

    I would like to seat more than four people however. I guess I need to think about it some more.

    ReplyDelete
  192. I love the idea! My philosophy is if you don't use the space now, figure out how to make it something you can use! We turned our downstairs extra bedroom into a family/office space because no one ever slept in the room and it was just a wasted area. We definitely use it a lot more now than we used to - and bonus - most of the stuff I bought was at the local Habitat store or Goodwill! Here are some pics if you're interested: http://www.southernaccentblog.com/2011/01/big-reveal.html

    ReplyDelete
  193. Love the idea! Use the space how you want it! You will feel so much better for it. What about instead of one big bookshelf, two book shelves on each side you have the molding on the wall with crown molding trimming the tops. You could leave the console table where it's at, or make built in there As Well, but not for books. It could be one big box, with cabinets below. The back can be painted an accent color or wallpapered, then you could put a nice big sunburst mirror or Something like that on top and that could be your focal point. The top of the cabinets. Below that can serve as a place to put a couple of lamps(like on your console table right now), and accssesories. I love the idea and can't wait to see you tackle it! Love reading your blog!
    Susana

    ReplyDelete
  194. I love the idea of creating it into something more usable. I think more and more people are getting away from a formal dining room since casual dining seems to be the 'thing' these days. ;)
    I love the pic with the comfy striped chairs. It is so light, airy, comfy AND inviting!
    The one with the leather chairs...not so much because I think you're adding more dark color back into the room. Unless, of course, you got light-colored leather! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  195. I say go for it. I have a small dining room I'm also considering making a sitting room ... but then what do I do with my china cabinet!? I just can't let go (yet!)

    ReplyDelete
  196. Hi - I've been meaning to do a "goals" blogpost...so now I will have to! I, like you, went through the same thought process about my dining room. I wanted it to be a more usuable space - eith as a piano/music/hang out space - because I think I have the same set up as you. The living room opens into the dining room. I was out-voted by my husband and two interior designer friends who said that I would need a full dining room when the guest count goes over 8 people - which it does at least 10 times a year. But, i could make mine less "dining roomy" by adding bookshelves (or at least adding books to my china cabinets - which would look better than a bunch of plates, teapots etc that I NEVER use!!).

    How wide is your dining room? Just curious - it looks wider than mine (about 13-14 feet wide). I think that I would go full steam ahead with your project because if you don't use it as a dining area - then why bother? If you do sell at some point in the future...you can always bring a table and chairs into the space!

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  197. I LOVE this! What's the point in having a room in your house that doesn't get used? I know lots of people actually do use their formal dining room as it's supposed to be, but I'm not one of them. This library room would be the perfect place to get chatty with a girlfriend over coffee. Can't wait to see you meet your 2012 Home Goal!

    ReplyDelete
  198. LOVE LOVE LOVE your idea with the dining room! You have inspired me to take down my Christmas tree!

    ReplyDelete
  199. I LOVE the idea!! I've been trying to convince my husband that we don't need our once-a-year-meal dining room. We have a big kitchen, a den and a formal living room in open space so for big meals we don't need it. I'm not giving up, though, especially after reading this. Thanks ;)

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE, love, love your comments! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question, make sure I can answer you back by adding your email to your google/blog account! And be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site. Due to the number of emails I get, I just can't get back to everyone.

THANKS so much for reading!