Re-purpose my formal dining room.

cbennett29679October 3, 2012
Want to change my "formal" dining room into a multipurpose room. Want to use it as home office / reading / overflow dining room. Would like it to be cozy/comfortable. Can change the wall color and furniture. Not sure what to do with the bottom chair moulding. Would like to keep the chest/armoire in the room, if possible. Everything else can go.
Not sure how to lay out the room. Thinking about built-ins/bookshelves and using a small table as desk/eating area. Maybe with a bench or loveseat on one side.
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Artisan Crafted Home
Think about replacing your lighting fixture with something less formal that can cross styles--maybe a group of pendant lights strategically positioned over office and reading areas, or a more industrial-style chandelier.
    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Try your buffet with the two lamps in the foyer in place of the demi-lune table. Place the smaller mirror vertically above it or use the painting over it. Put two French country rush seated benches in that corner on each wall with a rustic French country table. WIth a chair pulled up to the outside of it you'll have a desk for the office. Leave the wainscot everywhere but the long wall. Remove it on that wall and and build in a complete wall of bookshelves above doored cabinets which are at the same level as the wainscot. You might antique all of the white to give a more provincial flavor. Remove the present swags and use a French country print fabric for drapery panels, pillows and the chair seat for your table/desk. A few pillows on the benches will make leaning against the wall more comfortable. Try sconces on the wall for illuminating the table area. Get a French style chandelier for the one you now have. Put a small loveseat and chair in front of the windows with a small coffee table and two floor lamps flanking the sofa. Set them on a generous sized French style area rug.
    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 4:10PM
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I have done this in my dinning room and use it often and love it.
Here are some thoughts:

Do some alternative seating: a bench with pillows at the table, parsons chairs with an informal fabric that you like. That way it can be used as a dining table and/or a desk, a game table etc.

If you have room- a window seat might also be nice. I personally like the moulding you have. I would choose a less formal/more neutral or fun color on the walls.

If you do a built in i would create a deep cabinet bottom with a counter on top and maybe book shelves that are not quite as deep above- like what you would see in a butlers pantry. That way when you are using it as a DR you can use the counter as a server for buffet or coffee and dessert.

Floor length drapes in a casual fabric or sheer linen might be nice.

Good luck! We use our dining room all of the time!
    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Thank you both. Love the ideas! Can't wait to get started. What color on the walls do you suggest?
    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 6:02PM
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A pair (or more if you like the library idea) of matched tall bookshelves on the wall opposite your hutch/buffet cabinet with a dining-sized straight-edged table located perpendicular to the wall between them would serve as a 'built-in' type of library wall. If its wide enough, the table can be used as a 'partners desk' where two of those striped dining chairs would serve nicely as desk chairs. The table can easily be pulled back out into the center as needed for larger scale dining. The remaining chairs can be used elsewhere in the house until needed.

Two comfortable Salon chairs with a small table, lamp and ottoman between them will provide a relaxing reading spot. All these items are still moveable as needed.

The red walls are very energizing. If you pick up that soft bluish-gray tone in your rug for wall paint and also tone down the wainscoating just a bit, the room would feel far more relaxed. The dark blue fabrics would still work, but less formal in style on the valances and light fixture.

Keeping your hutch with dishes in it might be easier to blend in if you bring some books and other items into it and also some select pieces of your serving ware into the arrangement of books and items on the 'library' wall.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 10:54PM
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Thank you! Like that idea a lot. Good way to use what I already have...
    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 5:30AM
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Red is a good French color. Try navy as an accent color with your fabrics if you don't paint. If you want more continuity with your sage in the kitchen, try a provincial yellow (a bit on the mustard side) or go a bit more contemporary with brown. I think if you find a print fabric you like, you can pick colors or use the background color from it for your walls.
    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 7:31AM
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Springs Construction Company
Having adopted my dining room for many purposes because its such a terrific central room - I've found taking off the table cloth a giant step. Also selecting a square table versus one that is round or oval makes the "worksurface" easier to approach. The ability to move the table against the wall for serving or buffet set up. And I'll echo the thought for bookcases: you can stow office and dining items in drawers while showing off both books and your service pieces. [Remember this piece doesn't have to be deep to accomodate most of your needs]. Maybe as built ins around the window and buffett under the window would be very dramatic.
    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:13AM
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Debjani Barman
fully satisfied
    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:06AM
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for color, i would use whatever feels comfortable and more relaxed to you since you want to use it often.
i would choose either a classic like neutrals or navy or go bold with a bright and unexpected modern color.
i agree about the table cloth. There are alternatives, like a casual table runner if you prefer. be sure to post your "after" pictures!!
    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Thanks all. I will post "after" pics soon.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 7:36PM
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Palm House · More Info

Remove rug and heavy window treatments. Keep dining table and chairs. Remove the hutch...way too dining room feel. Lighten the walls and put up bookshelves.
    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 7:42PM
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I would really multipurpose it...Put the most awesome sofa ever made...possibilities are endless and very comfortable with a low has an auction piece going up October 18th and is featured on….as seen on The Hunger Games…
    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 7:53PM
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I would take out the hutch,drapes, and rug. I would replace the drapes with some lighter linen or cotton blend drapes. I would replace the rug with something more modern and colorful, then paint your walls a lighter beige/grey/blue/whatever color you love! You can also paint the chair rail in a different color than the walls for added interest. I would suggest installing some built-ins to the sides of where the hutch is now, and installing a window seat/cozy reading nook in-between the built-ins. Then buy a large secretary desk and put it against the opposite wall. Secretaries are great to use in public places, because you can just fold them up to hide messes!
Good luck.
    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 8:26PM
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