I have a bit of an issue with spaces that never get used! I see this problem all the time and address it with clients regularly. So...I have put together a few ideas to get you thinking about your own spaces and how to best use them - (or not use them) as may be the case!
Setting aside an entire room for formal dining (especially when you already have a dining area) is a luxury. It seems a shame that every space in your house isn't utilized to enhance your lifestyle and helping to contribute somehow to your quality of life.
Take into account a decline in families sitting down to eat together – adults working different hours, kids coming and going for sport, different diets or food styles –and a preference for casually sitting around the kitchen bar or garden table, and you could put a formal dining room to better use. Here are some great ideas for what could otherwise be wasted space.
A play room
If you can’t move for toys cluttering the living room floor, play dough all over the kitchen bench, and bits of games in random places underfoot, create a dedicated playroom with your unused dining room. Dining rooms tend to be close to the kitchen, so kids are still within ear-shot, but their mess is not spread all over the house. Institute clear storage places, and clean-up rules (tidy before bedtime) and sanity is restored.
Its also important to have adult spaces to maintain a sense of order in your home and to have space that looks suitable for 'grown ups' most of the time.
A homework station As kids get older and homework projects run on for several days (or weeks), a homework station with all the tools, reference books and stationery in one spot means projects can be started straightaway (no last-minute hunts for glue sticks!) and works in progress can be safely left out between sessions.
This has the potential to help your kids achieve better marks and focus more effectively on study and work while helping them to learn good organisation skills too.
A games room
If you don’t have a rumpus room or big garage, turn the extra dining room into a games room. Convert the table into a ping-pong court with a fold-out piece of plywood, or buy purpose-built fusion billiard tables. The room could also have a gaming or movie space.
A crafts studio Every sewer, jeweler, artist, scrap booker or modeler dreams of a space where she or he can spread out and create, without having to waste precious time setting up and putting away. Again, cleverly organised storage is the key to re-purposing a space. Perhaps closed storage is the way to go depending on if your room has a door which can be closed to hide the mess or not. If you want to get in touch with your creative side, this is a MUST DO!
A library Many grand old houses doubled up the library and dining room in days of yore. If you long to tidy book piles, fill your walls with shelves and create the library of your dreams. If you are a reader, this makes great sense. The room could also be used for a parents retreat, a meditation or yoga room too.
A home office One of the joys of working from home is having an inspirational office that doesn’t look boring or corporate. Mix and match vintage and posh, use a smart lamp instead of a work light, add pretty accessories and a smart rug. This works well if the dining room is near the front door, so clients don’t have to troop through the rest of the house.
A green room Indoor plants are taking over Instagram, so let them take over your unused dining room. A gorgeous array of vases, pots and cuttings you are nurturing into life makes an enticing modern version of the grand old orangeries. TIP: Make sure your table top is sealed to prevent water damage to precious wood or lacquer. Or use a padded waterproof cloth to catch spills.
A guest room
A fold out sofa bed can make things easier and give you the flexibility you need to convert the space to accommodate guests when you need to.
Convertible spaces can be a great idea but just watch our for some sofa beds are very uncomfortable. Make sure you spend the night on it to see if you are torturing your guests because they may never come back if the bed is a nightmare!
If you like your alcohol, maybe a bar is the way to go. Get your best surround sound gear in there and fit it our for some party action. It could house a 'super duper' wine collection and don't forget to include some layer mood lighting for best results.
A sitting room A second, or third, sitting room is a bonus retreat in a busy household. Even better if the dining room is TV-free, has a fireplace, a view or fine art. Leave the chaos to the main living room and retreat to a quiet corner. if you have a high stress job, this is a brilliant idea that will help you relax and cope with the ever increasing pressures of modern life.
Sit and have a quiet cuppa or a glass of wine - wind down after a hard day at the office!
You get the picture right?
I hope these ideas will help you to use every single room in the house to its fullest potential. Think outside the square and critique all the spaces in your house. Don't assume that a room must be used as it was when you bought the property. Each family that lives in a house has different interests, or a different family structure. Stay in touch with opportunities for your house and remember that you only live once and life is short!