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Evolution of a Dining Room and Reclaimed Space

Sunday, September 24, 2017


In the 7 years that I've lived in my current house, the dining room has evolved more than any other room. I always dreamed of having a formal dining room until I actually had one. It turns out that I prefer hosting large gatherings in the spacious kitchen/great-room.

This is my formal living room looking into the dining room before we moved in. Oh the possibilities!!! I was so excited to get to work.

The formal living room has windows and doorways on every wall, so it took a lot of thought and planning to decorate. Here is my post about decorating the living room:

Since this post, I've closed off the dining room wall to create my walk-in pantry, and changed the living room arrangement. New Living Room Post to come soon.


I decided that the dining room would better serve our family as an office for the kids to do homework and play games. I already had 2 IKEA desks and cabinets from our old house and only needed to buy another desk and some shelving to make it work. I used some dining room chairs from our old kitchen table and kept this makeover very thrifty.


Even the dog liked it! I kept this arrangement for a few years until our oldest son turned 18 and we let him have his computer in his bedroom (gasp!). The whole purpose of the dining room office was so that I could keep an eye on what my kids were doing in a public space. With only 2 kids in the office, I decided that they could go into a smaller room that is close to the kitchen and still public (yes, this house has a lot of rooms and I know that I am very spoiled).

Even though I finally have my dream kitchen, it didn't come with my dream walk-in pantry. I decided that the dining room would make the perfect walk-in pantry, but I didn't want it viewable from the formal living room and I didn't want to do anything permanent. I separated out the 2 rooms by going to IKEA and buying 2 Hemnes bookcases at 50% off.

My very nice and patient husband put the bookcases together and used trim to make them look like built-in bookcases. They are not nailed into the wall and can easily be slipped out to open the room back up. It was the perfect solution!!! When we go to sell the house in the future, we can pull the bookcases out and turn it back into a dining room.

We painted the bookcases white and I applied dark navy blue fabric to the back of them. I love how this turned out and was happy to be able to put the couch on this wall facing the windows instead of in front of the windows. We use the formal living room room a lot more now that we can sit and look out the windows and enjoy the view. 

This is what the bookcases look like from the pantry side (dining room). You can see that they are simply sitting there and can easily be moved like any other piece of furniture. The bookcases look built-in from the formal living room side and block the view to my new pantry. It is the perfect solution and I might even leave it like this for the new owners if we ever move. Who wouldn't love a huge walk-in pantry instead of a boring formal dining room!?

We picked up some shelving from Lowes on Black Friday.

With the microwave in here, my kitchen counters are clear!

I even have empty shelves!

I'm able to keep all of my small appliances and food storage in here so I no longer need to run down to the basement storage room multiple times when I cook.

I used to keep a small chest freezer out in the garage, but this upright one close to the kitchen is a dream come true and so convenient.

I've always wanted a broom closet to hide away all my mops, brooms, and cleaning supplies, but this is even better!

What do you think? What's your favorite use of a dining room? Leave me a comment!





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