By Richard Taylor
Published July 28, 2012
Left and right, I’m taking dining rooms out of new home designs and remodeling projects; very few families dine formally anymore.
But a few folks still hang on to the dining room because:
- It’s never occurred to them not to have one.
- Their real estate agent has convinced them they’ll never sell the home without it.
- They already have a dining room set.
- They actually dine formally on a regular basis (really?).
If you’re willing to think outside the norm a bit — and you’re looking for ways to offset the constantly rising cost of construction — take a good hard look at what you really need and don’t need in your home.
Maybe you don’t really need a dining room.
Big cost, little use
The formal dining room is a leftover from the days when we lived far more formally and preparing dinner was an all-day affair. Today, we live and eat far more casually and rarely dine in a formal setting (with the possible exception of Bree Van De Kamp from “Desperate Housewives”).
Most of us only use our formal dining room two or three times a year, yet we devote many thousands of dollars to the construction and furnishing of this least-used space in the house.
One space, multiple uses
A better solution might be to create a slightly larger, less formal dining space that can be used more flexibly, taking the place of the formal dining room AND the casual breakfast room. Most of the time, this other dining space works great for breakfast, lunch, kid’s crafts, homework and rolling out the cookie dough.
But add a nice tablecloth, some candles and turn down the lighting and presto — it’s elegant dining. A well-designed dining space can accomplish this easily and convincingly. And save you a lot of green!
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Richard Taylor is a residential architect based in Dublin, Ohio, and is a contributor to Zillow Blog. Connect with him at RTA Studio.