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The Detroit News Ask a Designer: How To Make Dining Room More Useful?

The Detroit News // January 2015

QUESTION: My design dilemma is my dining room that is off my great room. It’s been a space that we really only use twice a year or so for a sit-down holiday meal or buffet table for the holidays. Our kitchen, which also has a dining set, is adjacent to this space. You can be sitting at the kitchen table and look at the dining room table. Too many tables, I think!

What I’d like to do is incorporate that space into the great room area. I was thinking some sort of sitting area with a feel of a nice cocktail lounge — where you can still be a part of the great room action, somewhere you can have comfy seating with friends for a few drinks, or a place to read. I thought comfy chairs around a low coffee table would be nice, but also some sort of game table and chairs would be kind of cool (and functional), too. Would love your advice!

Jill, Washington Township

ANSWER: Margaret Skinner of Margeaux Interiors in Birmingham likes Jill’s idea of making a rarely used dining area into a functional room. “Creating a multipurpose area that can be used for additional comfortable seating, for television viewing, as well as games, reading, and even informal dining, would make great use of your space,” she says.

“Four occasional chairs like Hancock & Moore’s Abby Chairs would work nicely for the grouping. The scale of these chairs is easy to manage should you need to move them to directly face the television. Bunching tables, which do not have the leggy look of a dining table, work great for added flexibility depending on the activity. Placing all four tables together works as an appropriate size coffee table as well. Lisara Game Cubes from RJ Thomas Ltd. at Michigan Design Center give you the capability of being a game table with vintage board game options and can easily separate into a different seating arrangement.”