082 Are dining rooms still necessary?


***Click here for this week’s sip!*** Welcome to the latest episode of Tea Over Interiors Podcast. In this episode, we tackle an interesting question: Is the formal dining room necessary? In modern homes, open-plan living spaces have become increasingly popular, leading to less-defined areas for specific uses, such as dining rooms. This has left many people, especially homebuyers and homeowners, questioning whether the formal dining room is still necessary or not. We delve right into the topic by taking a look at the history of the dining room. We learn that the dining room has been an essential part of home design since the Middle Ages. However, back then, it was considered a room for just the wealthy, where they entertained guests and distinguished visitors. Over the years, the room evolved to become common in most middle-class homes, and there was a need to make it more functional. We then move on to discuss the pros and cons of having a formal dining room. Some of the advantages of having a dining room include the ability to host a dinner party, formal dining, and creating an elegant and sophisticated look. On the other hand, some of the cons include the need for more space, reduced functionality, and considerable expense in terms of maintenance and decor. Next, we weigh in on the factors that influence whether the formal dining room is necessary or not. These factors are the size of the home, the lifestyle of the homeowner, the number of guests entertained, and the home’s architectural style. We conclude by giving some suggestions on how to make the formal dining room a more practical space such as using it as a multipurpose room, adding storage, and rearranging furniture. Thank you for listening to this episode. Tune in next week for a brand-new episode. Please share this podcast with a friend. — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/teaoverinteriors/message Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/teaoverinteriors/support

Transcription of Episode

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082: Are Dining Rooms Still Necessary?

[00:00:00] Dee: I’m Dee 

[00:00:01] Alicja: And I’m Alicja. 

[00:00:02] Dee: Welcome back to another episode of Tea over Interiors, the podcast where we spill the tea on all things home design and decor. Today we’re discussing whether or not dining rooms are still relevant in modern homes and ways to transform them into a more functional space. So, mm-hmm.

[00:00:22] Grab your tea, , and let’s dive in. Before we get to that girl, you know, I needs to know what you sipping on. 

[00:00:30] I am sipping on a s’mores latte. Love the s’mores latte because it has that wonderful hint of marshmallow. It’s actually. Warm. It’s got that warm, toasty type of s’mores.

[00:00:45] Feel a touch of cinnamon and you know, you gotta have your graham crackers. So they got that graham cracker feeling all up in there. I’m loving it. 

[00:00:53] Awesome. So today I’m sipping on something fun. [00:01:00] I’m sipping on La vita Coco tea. 

[00:01:03] Alicja: Mmmh mmm Ooh,

[00:01:05] Dee: It’s an organic tea. It’s freshly cut coconut with mouthwatering red fruit on a green mate base.

[00:01:12] Mm-hmm. 

[00:01:13] Alicja: Sounds like something I’d like, you know. I love coconut. Last week I had a coconut from Brooklyn Tea. 

[00:01:19] Dee: Oh, that’s right. 

[00:01:19] Yes. You had the coconut Rooibos 

[00:01:22] Alicja: Love coconut. 

[00:01:23] Dee: So this tea is, You know how we had on episode 0 7 1, we had Darcy from hotels to home. Yes. And we were talking about, you know, creating that home hotel vibe.

[00:01:37] This would be the perfect compliment to that and you could pick it up from David’s Tea. So we’re going to start having the links in our show notes of the teas that we’re drinking. So be sure to check the show notes during the show, after the show. But be sure to check the show notes cause there’s gonna be a lot in there from now on.

[00:01:58] So let’s move on, [00:02:00]  to, DEEEEEEEE’S randomness. 

[00:02:04] Alicja: What you got for us today, Dee? 

[00:02:06] Dee: All right. So , you mentioned that you were gonna do a little gardening today. 

[00:02:11] Alicja: Mm-hmm. 

[00:02:12] Dee: Did you know that one teaspoon of soil has more microorganisms than there are people on earth? 

[00:02:20] Alicja: Wow. I’m, I’m sure. I’m sure. 

[00:02:23] Dee: So today, when you’re digging your hand into that sweet soil, Don’t forget, be careful.

[00:02:29] There’s those microorganisms there. 

[00:02:32] Alicja: That’s why when you garden or when I garden, any real gardener goes out fully clad. It doesn’t matter about the temperature you have to cover up, cuz you really don’t know. I mean, there’s so much out there. You don’t wanna expose yourself to anything that’s gonna ultimately cause you any illness or you know.

[00:02:50] Anything could get under your, I mean, it depends how long you’ve been gardening. You can kind of know what you can handle and what you can’t, but I actually have my little garden boots. If it’s hot [00:03:00] out, I try to get out early morning, but if it’s hot out, I’ll wear a hat. 

[00:03:03] I make sure that if I have on pants, they go all the way down so things can’t get between my shoes and the pants, and you know, all that. 

[00:03:12] Wow. Thanks for giving me that little nugget of information. Who knew? Mm-hmm. So I’m glad I keep my gardening gloves on. 

[00:03:20] Yes, you definitely.

[00:03:21] I don’t garden without my gloves. I do not. I used to long time ago, but no, there’s no need for it. Now. I have different gloves depending on what I’m doing. 

[00:03:29] Well have fun gardening today. 

[00:03:33] So much for the microorganisms. Right, right. 

[00:03:36] Dee: So let’s move on to today’s topic, Alicja.

[00:03:39] Historically, dining rooms were considered an essential part of a home’s layout. Mostly these spaces were found in homes of the wealthy to host dinner parties and distinguished guests during the middle ages. But later, they evolved to become more common in middle class homes. However, [00:04:00] modern living has evolved us all, and with it, our need to have our preferences change based on how we live today.

[00:04:09] Mm-hmm. And our fast paced worlds, many families, they’re opting for , more casual to dining. And they’re preferring to eat in smaller spaces or even on the go, you know, episode, I don’t remember which one, 40 something. We were talking about eating in front of the television and we were talking about TV trays and is it good for you?

[00:04:27] There’s those things that come up when people are thinking about how to best utilize their spaces. So what I wanna discover today is are dining room still necessary? 

[00:04:37] Alicja: It depends. You know, I’ve spoken to and I see a lot of people on a weekly and monthly basis, and some of my clients, just recently, I was in a customer’s house yesterday and we were talking about custom window treatments and as I looked around, I felt they had a really good sense of style and I noticed there was not a formal dining room yet

[00:04:59] there was a [00:05:00] table that. Changed over to a game table and there was a bar, and that was the designated dining room. And so they decided to use it in the way that they live, and I highly encourage that. It really, boils down to personal preference. Many homeowners today don’t necessarily feel the need or even a desire to have a dedicated dining room.

[00:05:20] And instead they open up the space and they can use it in a more transitional space. It really hearkens back to, you know, what is your living style, how is it that you want to live? And it’s a wonderful space to use because it’s typically open. And I think it’s really nice to take a dining room space if you’re not one who’s gonna sit down and have a formal dining.

[00:05:42] And it could be even informal. I literally eat in my dining room every. It’s an informal type of a space that can be made formal. I dunno, is it informal Dee I dunno, maybe it’s formal, but I use it very informal manner. 

[00:05:55] Dee: Yeah, I think it’s, it’s informal. 

[00:05:57] Alicja: So. What do you think consider this, is the dining room [00:06:00] practical or is it a waste of valuable space in your mind?

[00:06:02] Dee: In my experience when I was growing up, , our home was a three bedroom home and it was rather large with three children and two parents. My sister as she got older, she could no longer share a room with a little nine year old.

[00:06:16] So my parents used our dining room to create my sister’s bedroom on the first floor. The way my home was set up , you enter through the front door, there’s a porch, and then there’s french doors that led into like this massive living area, which spread to the width of the home.

[00:06:36] And then as you walked past that space, you walked into an archway that led into a. Three foot wide hallway. That was short. It was a short hallway. Mm-hmm. And in front of you was the formal dining room, you know, it had a chandelier, the ugly wallpaper? No, at our dining table and all the chairs for the family and [00:07:00] extended family when it was Thanksgiving time and photos and things like that.

[00:07:03] Next to the dining room was our staircase, which led upstairs. And on the other side of that was the kitchen. My parents decided, to get some contractors they put a wall up, created my sister a closet in there. And since there was already a window in there, it could become a bedroom.

[00:07:20] Alicja: It’s smart. 

[00:07:21] Dee: Super smart. And what they did with the living room was because it went from one end to the other, the first half of the living space that was on one side of the French doors was probably the size of most people’s living rooms, and that had the fireplace and everything.

[00:07:38] And so that was our living room and on the back half we had the China cabinet, the buffet, and our large dining table with all the shares around it. You had 

[00:07:48] Alicja: enough room for that though. I mean, some people, , forget about the living room.

[00:07:51] I, but your point is that you were able to take the dining room space, repurpose it, use it for, your needs, for your family, and I believe in that. And then you were still able [00:08:00] in the living room area to get your dining 

[00:08:01] Dee: room. Exactly. I love it. If you’re an individual, needing to repurpose your dining room to make it more functional, you can do what we did.

[00:08:12] If you have the space or you can convert it, your underutilized dining room, right, and introduce more functionality and ease of use to your home. That’s cool. Here are a few ways to consider transforming your dining room space. 

[00:08:26] Alicja: So let’s talk about that since you’re talking about converting the dining room into something, I think throughout the pandemic a lot of people started converting their dining rooms into home offices or study spaces. Their children needed to go to school from home, and they were all on Zoom. So you could convert that dining room into a classroom or a space so that your students could interact with their teachers while on Zoom or on whatever platform the schools were using.

[00:08:54] I just think it’s very important for people to realize how [00:09:00] incorporating their real lives into a space that may not be utilized until the holidays. Like why bother? Like go ahead and just use that space for your day-to-day. Real reality, reality-based needs, and sometimes it requires some modifications. Like adding built-ins or creating some type of a space where there could be organization using shelving. I did that recently. It wasn’t in my dining room, but I converted a space. I think we talked about it, which was an adjacent bedroom to my master en suite. You know, I made a bathroom and I added extra hanging space for clothing.

[00:09:44] You sometimes you need to really think about like, what do I need to do in order to make this space functional for my life? Would you agree? 

[00:09:52] Dee: I do agree, and I think people shouldn’t be afraid to customize your home to what’s gonna work for you. You know, a lot of people [00:10:00] think about resale and what’s gonna happen when I’m ready to sell my home.

[00:10:03] You be surprised, the right buyer is going to have the same needs that you have. And a lot of people have the same needs. I mean, we all live in the. Modern times and if someone is purchasing your home later on down the line, they can just convert it back or whatever. You can’t worry about those things.

[00:10:21] You do have to worry about how you live now in the present and in places that have milder climates because of building materials have evolved so much. So there’s new opportunities. Some people are opening their dining spaces to their. Spaces. Yeah. And making it more of a flow, like an indoor outdoor dining.

[00:10:44] I love the way that looks too. 

[00:10:45] Alicja: Depends on where you live, but that can really be fantastic. It makes it feel very California. My friend Sherry did this.

[00:10:53] She lived in Pennsylvania. She purchased a fantastic it’s an indoor outdoor set, she used that for her dining [00:11:00] area. Her house was just very, it had a very like earthy kind of warm aesthetic. And she brought that indoor outdoor rattan. Into her dining area and made it very casual, but very comfortable, very approachable.

[00:11:15] And so, although she lived in Pennsylvania and they were wonderful, you know, big windows, and it felt like a really open space, it had that indoor outdoor feel because of her selection and her choice of furnishings. I’ve been thinking about doing that in my own space. I don’t have big French doors or wonderful doors that lead to the patio.

[00:11:36] Which maybe one day I will, but I’m, I’m not thinking about that now. But you can bring the, the aesthetic from the outdoors indoors. Mm-hmm. 

[00:11:43] Dee: Definitely. So you could transform your dining room into an entertainment space, or media room instead of using the dining room for multiple fine dining occasions.

[00:11:52] Like you said, throughout the year, you could use it to watch movies. You could create a movie room. Mm-hmm. You could play games, you know? Mm-hmm. [00:12:00] Together. Yeah. You. Social gatherings with your family and friends, or you can make this room more comfortable with new seating. Maybe a den. Maybe you have a living room, but you’re also always dreamt of having a den.

[00:12:12] Maybe your dining room could become that den. You could create a place with A new television surround, sound speakers, a mini bar, a snack area, a she instead of a she shed a she room or a man cave, or you can just do so many different things. I remember when I was younger, I went to my cousin’s house.

[00:12:32] They had a really large ranch in Valley Stream and right off of their pool area. They had a room where it was just all games. You know, I had a pool table. It was just all entertainment. And so it was right off the kitchen. And I wonder, because you know, when you came from the backyard, you know how a lot of kitchens are in the back.

[00:12:54] When we came in from the backyard, it was this room that was the game room. And then you walked up a couple of steps [00:13:00] and you were in the kitchen. So I wonder if that was once their formal dining room, you know? Yeah, yeah. Had it. I’m thinking. 

[00:13:08] Alicja: It’s all kinds of stuff you could do, you know, like I told you, the customer did. He had like this whole Irish pub thing going on. I was so impressed. I just saw him yes Friday and I was like, wow, that’s really cool. And then finally you could also transform your dining room space into a multipurpose room, like. Whatever your unique family needs are.

[00:13:26] How about just making it a play area for the kids? I see that every day. People taking that when they have small children because you need a space for the kids if you don’t have a basement or some area and when they’re young, you wanna be able to see them. So the dining room is usually accessible to the living room and with open plans nowadays, it’s also open to the kitchen so you can keep an eye on the kiddos.

[00:13:47] I also saw recently a. Who practices yoga create a space for their meditation in their yoga area. Now, there’s something in Indian culture, I think if, and forgive me if I’m saying it [00:14:00] wrong, the pja room, it’s a prayer room, and if you don’t have the beauty of having a separate room where you can do your prayers every day, then that, that can also serve as an alter room or a prayer room, like I said, yoga, meditation, all of that. Just 

[00:14:19] Live fully in your homes, people. I just wanna encourage that it’s so important that you let your house serve you, let it be there to bless, enhance, , and give life to you. 

[00:14:34] Dee: Yeah. And you can also turn those rooms into home gyms and save money fees, 

[00:14:38] Alicja: no problem with that is they’re usually very visible and I’m not, I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the home gym being all obvious and open.

[00:14:46] Dee: I’d rather Well, you can always, you could always close it up. 

[00:14:49] Alicja: You could. It usually closes the space up, but you could, yeah. 

[00:14:53] Dee: It depends how your home is laid out. It does. You know, I would consult with someone to see how you can make it look more seamless [00:15:00] and transition it, you know, and you don’t always have to use, depending on the size of this dining space, you don’t always have to use the whole space for one activity, you know?

[00:15:09] That’s right. You use a wall to divide and make two different activities. Doors can slide into the next room. You know, there’s just

[00:15:17] Alicja: endless options.

[00:15:18] Dee: Is that right? Exactly. There definitely are endless options. And when you get together with someone like Alicja and I who have a bunch of ideas for your home, then you know it’s a win-win. Yeah. And the dining rooms, they’ve been a part of traditional home design for generat. So there’s no harm in transforming a traditional space to fit a contemporary lifestyle.

[00:15:41] Whether you choose to repurpose it or leave it as is, the dining room is an essential part of your home and it is up to you to judge how best to use it. , 

[00:15:50] Alicja: hey Dee, 

[00:15:51] what would you make your dining room if you could change it today? Because I know where yours is and I know what it is. It’s part of your kitchen area.[00:16:00] 

[00:16:00] If you had a dining room that wasn’t part of your kitchen and it was a separate room, what would you do with it? So personally, you know, your gut, your instinct? 

[00:16:09] Dee: Hmm. I probably would go with the, I would probably go with the home gym slash meditation room.

[00:16:16] Mm-hmm. I knew you could. Yeah. But as the way things stand now, it’d probably be my podcast room cuz I need an area to do my podcasting and mm-hmm 

[00:16:25] Alicja: I wouldn’t make it the dining room, but , I do need a podcast room and I be busy to get one as time moves on. I will I Good session today.

[00:16:35] Yeah. I’m excited about the dining rooms. Hopefully our listeners are excited about doing something with their dining rooms. I’d like to hear. 

[00:16:41] Dee: Yeah, I’d like to hear what you guys come up with. If you need any help, of course, you could always email [email protected]@teaoverinteriors.com. We’d be excited to talk to you about these things or send us photos of your completed dining rooms and give us a little blurb about it so we can post it and give you a little [00:17:00] shout out there for your creativity. So join us next week for another edition of Tea Over Interiors we’ll be discussing the latest design trends from around the world. Thank you 

[00:17:12] Alicja: Bye guys. Always good to talk to you. See you later.

Dee: Later.

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