Do you have a formal dining room you never touch? Perhaps your family life is too hectic — 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
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
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
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
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 a Game Room
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
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.
Transform Your 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.