Ditch the Unused Dining Room and Do This Instead

Rose Morrison

Oct 26, 2022

what to do with an unused dining room

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Do you have a formal but unused dining room you never touch? Perhaps your family life is too hectic and filled with long workdays and extracurricular activities to sit down for meals. Maybe you prefer the comfort of the kitchen or living room. Either way, your dining space may sit empty, collecting dust. 

Instead of letting that precious space go to waste, learn what to do with an unused dining room with these ideas.

  1. Create a green room
  2. Set up a home office
  3. Start a designated library
  4. Try out a music room
  5. Enjoy a game room
  6. Offer up a playroom

1. Transform Your Dining Room into a Green Room 

a dining room turned into a green room with houseplants

If you’re a theatre buff, you may know a green room as the place where actors hang out and relax before and after a show. In your home, however, you can use this room to showcase your favorite plants. 

Choose a table that’s sealed to protect against water. Then, cover it with planters and vases of fresh-picked flowers. Set up shelves in front of your windows to take advantage of the sunlight. Then, fill them with indoor-friendly plants, such as pothos, dracaena and rubber trees.

2. Set Up a Home Office

a mossy green room with a computer desk as a home office

Do you work from home? Perhaps you often bring your tasks back with you. Either way, a quiet space dedicated to productivity could be precisely what you need. Set up your desk in a central part of the room, such as in front of a window. Add in storage space, too, such as shelves and filing cabinets.

Don’t forget to make the space homey, too. You’ll be more relaxed if some of your favorite items surround you. Hang up artwork, bring in your beloved books and add some nostalgic knick-knacks. You should also set up some standing lamps to keep the space bright.

3. Start a Designated Library

A cluttered shelf with colorful and white books

Are you a book lover? Do you love to spend your hours immersed in a good story? Don’t relegate yourself to the living room anymore. Instead, sit in your new library. Build shelves into the walls or look for free-standing options. Then, load them up with novels, including ones you’ve accumulated and plan to read one day — an act called tsundoku in Japan.

You’ll want to add some comfy furniture, as a hard-backed chair won’t cut it. Look for a plush couch or armchair where you can put your feet up. You should also add in lamps and overhead lighting, as you don’t want to strain your eyes.

4. Try Out a Music Room

a room with a white piano and two guitars on the wall

Whether you play an instrument or simply like to listen to tunes, a music room could be the perfect way to transform your unused dining room. Set up your record or CD collection. You could also break out your old eight-track player or gramophone. If you prefer to play, set up your instruments and invest in a couple of sturdy music stands. 

If you want the best sound experience, install a wireless surround sound system. Don’t forget to add a few comfy seating options, too. You can sit and listen as your children practice the violin or enjoy the sound of Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” 

5. Enjoy Using Your Unused Dining Room as a Game Room

an up close image of pool balls set up on a pool table

Who doesn’t like to relax with some gameplay? Convert your dining room table into a ping pong arena, or set it up as the gathering space for cards or board games. Add coasters so players can sip on drinks without getting the game pieces soggy. You can also get rid of the dining table altogether and set up a pool table.  

If you like modern games, like PlayStation or Xbox, bring in a TV and some comfortable seats. Get enough controllers so that the whole family can join in on the fun. You can also go retro and opt for a Nintendo 64 or Intellivision. 

6. Offer Up a Playroom

turn an unused dining room into a playroom

Do your children need a space to play without you having to navigate around scattered toys? If so, turn that unused dining room into a play area. Let the kids go wild with coloring books, crayons, Legos and more. Use shelves to store board games and boxes. You can also add a toy chest for all the loose odds and ends.

Keep the dining room table in the room, but give it new life by spraying the legs colorful hues and covering the top with chalkboard paint. You can also display fun art, including colorful creations from your own kids. 

7. Build a Nursery for the New Baby

A black nursery with colorful pompoms and a child in a crib

It’s no secret that babies need seemingly endless supplies, from diapers to toys to clothing and more. Not everyone has a spare room to accommodate their newborn’s belongings. Why not set aside your dining room instead? This way, you’ll have ample space to build your dream nursery for your baby.

Add curtains to the dining room’s entryways for privacy. If your dining room connects to the kitchen or living room, you can place bookshelves to create a divide. Then, fill the space with all the furniture your baby needs. The result will be a spacious nursery you actually use, rather than a dining room that often goes to waste.

8. Set Up a Classroom for the Kids

A student sitting at a desk in front of a chalkboard wall

If your kids don’t have a space to concentrate on their schoolwork, you can always turn your unused dining room into a makeshift classroom. Then, your children will have a quiet, open spot to work on studying and projects. It’ll also be beneficial for online classes and lectures.

Feel free to set up bins, folders, and other storage solutions for school supplies. Here, you can also stow textbooks so everyone has access to them. Be sure to pick desks or tables with enough space where they can spread out all their supplies. If they need laptops for school, you’ll also want to make sure they have a place to store them.

When you’re finished with the transformation, your children will have a go-to space for everything school-related. That means they can use their rooms for sleeping and hanging out rather than working on their studies.

9. Add a Guest Bedroom

a white and grey colored bedroom

Do your guests have to sleep on the couch when they stay the night? Give them a better option by turning your dining room into a guest bedroom. This way, your family and friends will look forward to staying at your house — and you’ll have an excuse to host people more often.

Add a bed, a dresser, and other furniture. Then, you can incorporate a few decorative pieces to jazz up the room. Be sure to install curtains in the entryways to create privacy. Feel free to keep the room simple, too. If your end result looks and feels relaxed and cozy, you’ve succeeded.

10. Put Together a Den

A beige and brown toned den

Sometimes, you just need an extra space to decompress on your own. If you need a spot to watch TV or movies or work on a hobby in solitude, you may want to transform the dining room into a den. It’ll be the best place to hang out whenever you need some time to yourself.
Every den needs comfortable furniture, so invest in two chairs or a couch you like. If you want to make the dining room a viewing room, you should pick out a big enough TV for your needs. It can also be a good idea to create different zones in the space so you can divide up sections for relaxing and working.

Transform Your Unused Dining Room Into a New Space

Is your dining room sitting unused? Don’t let that space go to waste. Instead, turn it into something useful for the whole family. With a little ingenuity and a can of paint, you can enjoy your new room in no time. 

what to do with an unused dining room

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