Moving the dining room re-do forward: time for a new layout!

I mentioned recently that DH and I are strongly considering re-doing our dining room, which has remained mostly untouched since we moved in almost five years ago.  One of our main issues with the room post-baby was the arrangement, which really just wasn’t working with our new lifestyle.  We have sort of addressed with our new layout.  However, we really view the new layout as more of a temporary fix.  In addition to our issues with the layout and functionality of the room, I’ve also just been feeling like the room feels a bit too dark, even on sunny days:

This is probably because  I chose the paint color without trying it out at different times of the day and with different types of light–a rookie mistake I don’t plan to make again!  Although I still like the actual color, it is definitely time for a change.

So where to begin with getting a new layout and a new design?  Well, I break it into two pieces as much as I can.  First, I’ll tackle the layout.

I think the first step to good design in a small space is giving hefty consideration to function.  I’ve been thinking very hard about how I’d like the space to function, specific activities we’ll be using the room for (both what we use it for now and what we wish we used it more for), and what is lacking.  One of the main activities we use the room for, of course, is eating.  I’m also taking into consideration how many people we realistically need to accommodate for meals.  It isn’t always just the 3 of us, but our current dining room table which extends to seat 10+ people might be overkill given our post-baby lifestyle devoid of dinner parties!  What I’d really like in the space is flexibility to seat (some) extra people (perhaps 2-4 guests) when needed without taking up too much space the rest of the time.

Other activities we’d like to use the room for include sewing and other crafty projects, storing dining room items such as dishes and linens, and playing with Sydney while the other parent is in the kitchen.  DH and I have discussed using the dining room space as an office sometimes, but even when we added the chaise to the space a few months ago, we still don’t ever bring the laptop in there to work.  So we’ve put that idea aside.

So these four things are what we really need the room to excel at providing us with:

  • (flexible) seating for meals,
  • space for sewing and other projects,
  • room for playing with the baby, and
  • lots of storage space.

Our current re-designed layout is approximately like this:

What I’d really like to do is put in some floor to almost ceiling storage along the short wall here:

For that, I’ve got my eye on the new “Besta” series at IKEA, which would mean (1) Craigslisting the glass cabinet that currently occupies that space (also from IKEA, but which I am not particularly attached to), (2) storing the wine glass shelves because I still love them and would hate to part with them, and (3) either Craigslisting or storing the smaller buffet.

I’d also been drooling for at least a year over the idea of adding banquette seating in the corner in front of the radiator and window to really take advantage of that space without having to have the table in the middle of the room. I have my eye on this lovely corner banquette set from Ballard Designs:


To go with this new seating, I’m leaning toward a circular table–perhaps one with storage, but more likely a pedestal table.  I’ve seen tons posted on Craigslist, and I’d love to get one with leaves so that we could expand for guests, but keep the footprint small at other times.  I think that refinishing a sturdy oak one wouldn’t bee too difficult or expensive.Finally, I really don’t want to part with our buffet.  I’ve had it for years and it is beautiful, sturdy, and useful.  So I’m doing my best to come up with a layout that will include the buffet (which you can see in this pic):

What does this layout look like once it is all put together?  Something like this!

I’m thinking that the chairs on either side of the buffet could be pulled up for guests when needed, else stay out of the way and just look pretty.  Of course, I still need to do a ton of measuring to make sure this will actually work, but I’m pretty hopeful.  This is turning out to be a bigger re-do than I had initially anticipated, but I think DH is on board.  And we always like a good challenge.
Stay tuned for a post soon about the color scheme and other design ideas I have cooking up in my head.

Have you been re-arranging lately?  Have any advice on Besta?  Please share!


9 thoughts on “Moving the dining room re-do forward: time for a new layout!

  1. I think the new layout looks awesome, and I definitely think you will be able to find an inexpensive pedestal table. In fact I just saw one at the Salvation Army on Oakton! Banquette seating is such a good use of space. Can’t wait to see it!

    • You did?! I’ve got to get over this this weekend! I’ve been wanting to stop by for months to check it out. If the table had leaves, then it would be perfect! Thanks for the tip!! 🙂

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