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What happened to dining rooms?
Old 06-27-2010, 05:58 PM   #1
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What happened to dining rooms?

I was talking to a realtor this weekend who said that nobody wants dining rooms anymore. Since I will be left 2 sets (one new, one from the late 1800's) of tables and chairs for dining, this was pretty discouraging news for me when I buy a home.
Since I am not in the interior design know, has anyone else heard this?
I know great rooms are the rage, but what are people eating on? Or do they just put the dining table and chairs in a great room in a corner of the room but no separate dining room itself for the tables and chairs?
He said he was having a hard time selling homes with dining rooms anymore. Anyone know if this is true across the country for new homes?
My girlfriend who was a realtor for years said not to panic as styles go in and out all the time, but still....this kinda bothers me.
Didn't realize how out-of-it I was to home styles until talking to this realtor...
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:08 PM   #2
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I don't know where one can find objective data on this, but I think your realtor is right. Formal dining rooms are out of fashion in new construction. However, they are legacies in millions of older homes and not all of these have been remodelled. If you are planning to sell the diningroom furniture, hopefully there is a market in your area.

I live in an 80 year old craftsman bungalow with a separate diningroom that is underutilized. The diningroom table is useful for laying out large documents and the china cabinet displays my collection. In RE I plan to move to a newer home with a greatroom. In this setting I would prefer a modern glass table and funky chairs. There would be no use for the cabinet with an open kitchen.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:09 PM   #3
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Total BS. Our dining room is down a short hallway from the kitchen with a laundry room and half-bath in between. Where else would we put all the clothes from the dryer before they get sorted to drape over our exercise equipment in our living room home gym?

You can go to realtor web sites and see interior photos of many homes for sale with dining rooms.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:09 PM   #4
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I was talking to a realtor this weekend who said that nobody wants dining rooms anymore. Since I will be left 2 sets (one new, one from the late 1800's) of tables and chairs for dining, this was pretty discouraging news for me when I buy a home.
Since I am not in the interior design know, has anyone else heard this?
I know great rooms are the rage, but what are people eating on? Or do they just put the dining table and chairs in a great room in a corner of the room but no separate dining room itself for the tables and chairs?
He said he was having a hard time selling homes with dining rooms anymore. Anyone know if this is true across the country for new homes?
My girlfriend who was a realtor for years said not to panic as styles go in and out all the time, but still....this kinda bothers me.
Didn't realize how out-of-it I was to home styles until talking to this realtor...
We love the Great Room concept and haven't used a formal dining room in over 10 years. Converted the DR in the the last two houses to a library/sitting room, it gets a lot more use that way, especially with the TV in the greatroom- offers a nice quiet spot to curl up with a book or with the newspaper on Sunday AM. We use a dining nook adjacent to the kitchen, with a tall pub table and chairs. If we get more than 6-8 people for dinner, i.e. Thanksgiving, we bring in the big outdoor table/chairs, cover it with a tablecloth and make do.... not really a problem we aren't into large dinner parties, and the folks who do come over regularly couldn't care less- it's about the companionship, not the furniture.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:11 PM   #5
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I have found older homes still have dining rooms.

I lived in a house built in 1987 that had a dining area off the kitchen, not a true dining room though. My current house was built in 2004 and has a great room with a dining area and a kitchen area all in one. No eating area in the kitchen. I think it might depend on where you live though.

When you're looking for a home to buy, just tell the realtor you want a dining room and see if they can come up with any houses with one.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:13 PM   #6
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When we built our dream house a few years ago we put a dining room in it. But we eat at a dining room table in our (really big) kitchen. No one has eaten in the dining room in the 2 1/2 years we've lived here. We've got the furniture in it, but it just collects dust. I tried to talk DW into putting a pool table in there, but no luck yet.

If we ever have a big holiday here, maybe we'll use it. But since the family is all back in the DC area, we go to them instead of them coming to us.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:20 PM   #7
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As people become less formal, they have less need for formal dining rooms. Many older and upscale houses still seem to have them though. Our 32-year old house has a formal dining room and we use it maybe 5 times a year.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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My dining room has become my home office. In the 14 years I have been in this house it was never used as a dining room, I have a large open kitchen area and all meals take place there.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:27 PM   #9
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In our 153 year old home, we have a formal dining room, complete with fireplace. We eat dinner there every night. The kitchen table is used solely for morning coffee and newspaper reading.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:31 PM   #10
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My new (very small) house has a great room that encompasses living room, dining area and kitchen. I just assumed it was the smallness of the design that had combined all three into one huge room. I didn't realize it was the "modern" way of doing things.

Fine with me. We'll be using the dining are table as combination "work area" (i.e. place to do stuff on our computers) and eating area. But we also have a nice raised bar between the kitchen area and living area, so that might get used more for meals.

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Old 06-27-2010, 06:35 PM   #11
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I am surprised that dining rooms held their ground as long as they did. If you don't have servants, somebody gets stuck in the kitchen while the party proceeds in the dining room.
Cooking and entertaining is fun, but not if you are isolated from your guests like a servant.
We used to have an open kitchen/breakfast nook/den in addition to a "formal" dining room. Everyone would congregate in the kitchen, then troop into the dining room when dinner was ready. Somebody still had to get up, clear plates, and bring out the next course though.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:54 PM   #12
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I am surprised that dining rooms held their ground as long as they did. If you don't have servants, somebody gets stuck in the kitchen while the party proceeds in the dining room.
Cooking and entertaining is fun, but not if you are isolated from your guests like a servant.
We used to have an open kitchen, breakfast nook, and den in addition to a "formal" dining room. Everyone would congregate in the kitchen, then troop into the dining room when dinner was ready. Somebody still had to get up, clear plates, and bring out the next course though.
How about the guests pitching in and helping out? Whenever, we have guests over (mostly relatives), they automatically pitch in and get the food ready for serving and help with the clean up. It's more fun that way. I also teach my children that whenever they're invited over for dinner, they should always offer to help. We've always done that and I am yet to find anyone who refuses the help. Hey, we don't live in a world anymore where the average middle class could afford servants.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:58 PM   #13
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When I built my house 10 years ago, I had an open plan designed. The kitchen is partly enclosed by the back side of the stairway on one way, and an eating counter separating it from the dining room and an edge of the living room. The dining room is not really separated from the living room other than a post, but it's defined by a lower ceiling. I eat 98% of my meals at the counter. I put a real dining table and hutch, but nothing super nice or expensive. The hutch mostly holds liquor and glassware. I get a few comments on that but most agree that it works for me. I don't have formal dishware, having lost that without regrets in the divorce.

I've never lived in a house with a true dining room.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:13 PM   #14
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No dining room? Hah! Then how do we seat our guests when we invite them for dinner?

It is true that by ourselves, we eat in the breakfast area adjoining the kitchen, and do not use the dining room. However, we often have our sibling families over for dinner, and we would use up the 10-place main dining table as well as the 8-place breakfast table.

In fact, as I am writing this, we are awaiting the arrival of our family guests for a dinner to celebrate my son's 21st birthday.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:19 PM   #15
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All of my homes had a dining room which we used whenever the headcount for meals exceeded 4 (the size of my family). Personally I am not a fan of dirty dishes in view. The 'breakfast' room table was where homework was done, it was the laundry folding table and the layback table for my sewing - oh and the place we ate breakfast and dinner.

Our new condo has a space off the kitchen which we will use for informal eating and the largest room can easily accommodate the living & dining room furniture. When we looked at new condos they were all open spaces, no place to hang the art work.

There are lots of homes with both living styles, a realtor will try to sell where there is the largest 'inventory'.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:29 PM   #16
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Our home has a dinning room. I think the only reason is because we had the furniture. It has been used about 4 times in 5 years. It would make a good office or library, but that is for the kids to figure out. It is a dinning room and will be as long as DW and I are around.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:39 PM   #17
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A couple of my sisters and mom went looking at new houses a few weeks ago... all had dining rooms... some were pretty big... but then again these were 'big' houses.. in the 3 to 4K ft range...

What was interesting was there were not any formal living rooms... a couple had 'offices' that were up front that you could make a formal living room.... but that was not their design...


SOOO, I think formal living rooms were the first to go... I don't have one in my house... did not in my last house... and would say only 25% or so of the houses I looked at before I bought this one had them... all had dining rooms..

I don't believe your realtor
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:47 PM   #18
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In the house we are currently trying to sell there is a dining room and then a breakfast bar. We are getting negative feedback on lack of a true breakfast room (the dining room adjoins the kitchen and is open to the foyer).

We are designing a soon to be house and most designs have a large breakfast room that is at one end of the kitchen. Most designs then have a family room open to the kitchen/breakfast area and typically do have a formal dining room. On the plan we are working on, we have converted the dining room to a study. We need only one place to eat and prefer the breakfast room. If we have guests we will have a bar area seating 4 and will just feed extras in the family room.

In our old house with a breakfast room and dining room, we used the dining room once a year at most.
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Old 06-27-2010, 08:04 PM   #19
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House was built in the '40s, has a 'great room'.
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Old 06-27-2010, 08:17 PM   #20
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We have a formal living room also, we also have a media room and craft/computer room. These two are like dens. We can have guest in to the living room and it is usually clean. The back rooms not so all the time.
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