Sneaky Ideas to Maximize Dining Room for Home Improvement

September 6th, 2012
Furniture Design
Dining Room Storage Solutions Ideas for Home Improvement 1

The number of families that use their dining room to actually eat dinner is on the decline. Every year the tradition loses many more people to the living room, where many families now congregate to watch television while they eat. So much so, that when looking for a home, many people are content with a house that doesn’t have a dining room at all. Some newer houses are built without one, since the use is disappearing from society, but the dining room’s days aren’t numbered yet! Many of the same families who have moved on to the living room, still have family and friends over for holiday feasts, birthday and game day parties that make intensive use of the dining room.

A Contemporary Transition

The lack of dining room usage can be blessing in disguise, if you’re not afraid to cross a few more cultural norms that go beyond taking your plate into another room. If you’re one of those families who don’t use the dining room for its intended use, then why bother making a dining room at all? Get rid of the china display cabinet, the table and the chairs, and turn the room into something you will actually make use of. Here are just a few ideas to think about:

  • Turn the dining room into a games room for the kids. Very convenient, since most dining rooms are close enough to the living room for you to keep an eye on their antics, but far enough to drown out the noise of children at play
  • Thinking of working from home? Then turning your dining room into an office is the perfect choice. This room can function perfectly as a temporary office while you get acquainted with work-at-home living. You already have a table and chairs, just set up your desktop or plug in your laptop and you’ll be good to go. If you’re in the position where you have to invite people over for meetings, it can be particularly useful to have a large desk or table, centrally located, so it can also double up as a board meeting room.
  • Another guest or bedroom is always a welcome addition. It is a difficult alteration for most homes to pull off, but if you have the right set up and a little money to for the renovations then it can even be an improvement that increases the value of your home.

Be sure to take the lighting into account before you change the function of this room. Many dining rooms have low hanging light fixtures that won’t work as well in other rooms. After you change the lighting, you can turn your dining room into just about anything else and be able to make efficient use of the new storage space.

Dining Room Furniture

Now that we’ve gotten the drastic option out of the way, let’s talk about what you can do to allow yourself more storage capacity, if you’d rather keepyour dining room! Dining rooms tend to have the same basic center setup – a table and chairs. There are a lot of other furniture additions that you may be able to include in order to make better storage use of the room, but let’s just focus on the main two necessities first.

Unless you’re planning on recreating King Arthur’s court, you’re probably going to end up with a rectangular shaped table. Many dining rooms are rectangular shaped, with a certain table size and set up in mind, due to this common practice. When shopping for a table, you don’t have to take the size of the room into account. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still measure how long and wide the room is, you don’t want to buy a table that is too big, but you also don’t have to buy a thirty foot long table just because your room is thirty-five feet long. If you don’t use the room much or don’t have more than a few people eating at the table on a regular basis, then get a smaller table so that you can add more storage friendly items.

What if you need a big table for those rare family holiday meetings? Get a table that extends. While it may not be quite as fancy as some long solid oak table, having a table that extends and retracts as needed is one of the most basic but essential storage friendly devices you can own. It allows you to adjust the table to optimize your dining room’s storage capacity, while still allowing you to be able to entertain a dozen or more people at a time. Modern versions of these tables tend to be easier to adjust that that finger pinching item you might recall from your grandparents’ house too!

Storage in Plain Sight

What about using the dining room table for actual storage? Well, if you don’t use the table very often or don’t use specific areas of the table, you could store things on top of the table, but that can look a little tacky and lackadaisical. Another option would be to cover the table in a linen cloth or skirt cover that stretches to the floor. This will hinder people’s view underneath the table, where you can store everything you could possibly want. Out of sight, out of mind – right? Keep in mind, if you’re going to store something under the table it should be inside of a box or container, and easy to relocate when the conventional use for the dining table arises. Throwing a bunch of lamps or other items under a table is still tacky, regardless of whether or not someone discovers your hidden stash. Storing things this way also makes holiday get-togethers a bit more of a chore to prepare for.

If you’re going to go with a skirted tablecloth, for whatever reason, a good way to free up a bit of storage space is to place two or three of your tablecloths on top of one another, with a plastic cover between each one. This works in your favor in a variety of different ways. First, it enables you to easily replace the tablecloth in the event of a spill. All you have to do is take the top cloth off and voila! Good as new! Secondly, it’s a great way to store several of your tablecloths in plain sight, without them becoming an eyesore or taking up a number of otherwise usable storage drawers. The plastic cover is set in place to ensure a spill doesn’t ruin all the tablecloths at once, making this method of storage just as safe as placing your extra tablecloths in a closet.

Many people opt to keep their silverware in the kitchen, and carry each piece back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen as needed. However, there are a couple of storage options you can try in the dining room, that will cut down on a lot of the hassle that can come with setting silverware. You could go with the super simple approach, and store all the silverware in one place, (like you probably do right now) in the kitchen. Only instead of keeping then in a kitchen drawer, you could keep all your silverware in a cabinet next to the dining room table. If that idea doesn’t suit you, you could always go with the old fashioned method of having cutlery drawer attached to the table itself. Installing such a drawer under a table is as simple as a few carefully placed screws and a drawer, which you can easily buy online or at Ikea.

How does this help you? First off, it cuts down on the traffic going in and out of the kitchen during dinner preparation, a time that can become unnecessarily stressful and elongated during massive family get-togethers. It also makes getting an extra fork or spoon during dinner a much easier and convenient task. After washing the silverware, you put it back in its spot in the dining room and you’ll already be much closer to being ready for dinner the next time.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any big storage secrets you can utilize with dining room chairs. Make sure they’re pushed in when not in use and make use of any blank space between the chairs and the walls. What can you do in this blank space? Well let’s find out.

The most common furniture addition to a dining room is the china cabinet. China cabinets are essentially display cases that are meant to hold your most prized plates and eating utensils. Most of them come with three or four drawers that can be used to store anything you desire. Don’t feel pressured to actually put plates and dishes into your china cabinet. Collectible items, attractive bottles and books are just a few of the items that work equally as well when placed inside of a china cabinet. Don’t forget to look up too. The top of a china cabinet is a great place to store small boxes and other items that you won’t be using any time soon. Just remember to keep whatever you put on top of the cabinet colorful and neat so that it keeps the same theme as the rest of your dining room furniture and decorations.

Other useful furniture items you may think of for your dining room, are shelves and small tables. Shelves, when placed in just the right area, are great places to store/ display decorations, framed photographs and other items that can also be used as conversation pieces during dinner. If you can fit a small table or two comfortably in the dining room, then you can use the table tops in a similar fashion as a shelf, or possibly even as a location for secondary lighting solutions that uses candles or lamps, instead of the main central light source. If you can fit side tables with drawers into the room then you’ll be well ahead of the storage curve!

What Belongs in the Dining Room

We’ve covered the furniture pieces you’ll be involved with, and how to use them properly, now to go over what you should and shouldn’t be storing in your dining room. If you have a china cabinet and/ or tables with drawers, then you have room to store items. That doesn’t mean you should go and get a couple cans of Raid, that other dozen wash cloths you couldn’t fit in the bathroom closet, some bleach, gas canisters, and dog shampoo! You want to store dining room items in the dining room. This means placemats, tablecloths, silverware, plates, candles, matches, napkins, etc. You could even get away with family photos being in the china cabinet drawers and maybe books, magazines, and other items that are used during conversations as chit-chat is among the top three activities that take place in the dining room! Make proper use of the storage space you have, and store the right items.

Article From : Leigh, Colette (2012-04-17). Store This! Simple Home Storage Systems & House Organization Solutions (Gleam Guru).

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