How We Got Rid of Our Useless Formal Dining Room

how we got rid of our useless formal dining room

I don’t know what it is with houses in the US, but there are so many that have both a dining room and an eat-in kitchen. Seriously, who needs two dining rooms? It’s a waste of space, and we decided to change that!

Our new house has a full dining room that is part of the living room, and a large eat-in kitchen. So we decided to rework our big, long, unnecessary space into something that became really useful!

Here’s how it was before. It’s a long 26′ by 16′ space, with a fireplace at the front and a doorway leading to the kitchen. We wanted to make it into one big living space.

removing formal dining room

And here’s how it is now:

get rid of dining room

Here’s how we got rid of any evidence of a dining room. 

Remove the pieces that scream “dining room”: We immediately removed the weird chair rail (I think they originally put it there to define the dining space) and the seriously ugly light fixture. That’s one item that I wonder “Why did they ever sell this to begin with?” It found a nice home in the trash, hurrah! We replaced it with a semi-flush mount schoolhouse fixture, to make it look more like it belonged in the space. 

removing formal dining room

Create defined living areas: The previous tenants had placed their sofa in front of the fireplace. This was fine, except that it left a massive empty space at the end of the room.

There wasn’t any way we could make our corner sofa work there, so we made two separate living areas. One with wingback chairs for the “cozy fireplace” area, and one with the TV and sofa for the “entertainment” area. We also used area rugs to define each seating area.

removing formal dining room

removing formal dining room

(Don’t mind the sad empty space above the sofa, we’re working on printing new photos to go in frames to be hung there!)

Lay it out right: It took us a bit of moving around to find out how to lay out the furniture so the space still seemed open, and not like two rooms we’d pushed together.

So we swapped out some chairs, reoriented the coffee table, and added a bookshelf to bring the spaces together. This is on the day we moved (before we put it all together), which was super overwhelming!

removing formal dining room

Make it cohesive: We replaced the flooring throughout the whole main floor. This helped make the space look like it flowed together and was meant to be one large living room.

We then made sure that curtains were the same on both windows, painted the walls the same throughout, and ensured that the colors were similar throughout the room. Anything you can do to make the space look cohesive is major, otherwise it’ll be obvious that your space used to be a dining room.

removing formal dining room

Make sure your one dining area can accommodate everyone: If you get rid of your formal dining room, you better make sure you have enough space for everyone to sit in the other space!

We have both a breakfast bar with two stools, and a round 48″ table that has fit eight people in the past. The room is large enough to accommodate that. The last thing you want is people squished around a table in a tiny room.

removing formal dining room

Have you gotten rid of your formal dining room? We want to know how you did it – comment below and let us know! 


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