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7 Ways to Put Your Empty Dining Room to Use

Some people just aren’t formal dining room people—and that’s ok! Maybe you have a more casual dining space in your living room or kitchen and don’t need a formal dining space. Or perhaps you just want to prioritize using that room for something else! Regardless of the reasoning, there are plenty of ways to put your dining room to use that don’t involve a table and chairs!

Especially right now, when we’re all spending a lot of time at home, it’s worth considering the function and practicality of each room in your home and make sure it’s working for you! And if a formal dining room isn’t what you need right now, don’t be afraid to move your table and chairs into storage and make it more of what you need right now.

Looking for some ideas of what to do with your empty dining room? Keep reading for some of our favorite unused dining room design ideas! (Pro tip: these ideas all work for spare rooms elsewhere in your house as well!)

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Make It a Playroom

If you have kids, a great way to switch up the use of your dining room is to create a playroom for them! This creates a dedicated zone for your kids’ toys and gives them a fun space that’s all their own! (And hopefully in doing this it saves some of your sanity, so your whole home isn’t littered with their stuff!)

Start by choosing a large, plush rug in a fun pattern, creating a soft space for your kids to play. For an extra dose of coziness, add a pouf, which makes for a fun seat or backrest while reading. We added some cute artwork to the walls, along with a blackboard for drawing or practicing letters. A kid-size table is perfect for coloring and crafts, and lining the back wall with a low bookcase gives them a place for toys, books, and baskets that are all within reach for small hands!

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Try a One-Person Office

One of our most practical empty dining room ideas is to make an open office for one! Most dining rooms don’t have doors that close them off from the rest of the house—but if you don’t mind the idea of not having a door, you can create a really nice home office in a space like this!

With this room design, we left the middle of the room open so the space didn’t feel cramped and is easy to walk through. We added in additional stools for when someone else stops into your home office to chat. And a narrow and tall wall-mounted bookcase offers ample storage and display surfaces without taking up a ton of floorspace. We opted for a soothing clay color on the wall and in the rug, mixed with other darker earth tones for a space that’s low-stress and promotes productivity.

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Or a Two-Person Office

Working from home with a partner? You can also create a home office for two in your dining room! To fit in two desks and storage, opt for smaller and more delicate furniture that will give a sense of airiness to the space. Putting the desks against a wall and perpendicular to one another helps make the best use of the space. And hanging a large piece of artwork in between creates some visual space between the two workspaces. With this arrangement, you still have room for a wall-mounted bookcase for office supplies and decor—a must-have for small spaces!

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Create a Guest Bedroom

Don’t have a guest room elsewhere in your home? Since they don’t require much space, you could easily turn even a small dining room into a guest bedroom. In this design, we opted for a bed that has built-in nightstands, which creates a minimal look and makes the room feel less cluttered and more open. Since dining rooms don’t have closets, a simple six-drawer dresser is a great add for guest’s clothes. (And you could even use a couple drawers for your own storage!) Opting for Roman shades rather than curtains keeps the windows unobstructed and allows for maximum natural light during the day.

If your dining room doesn’t have a closeable doorway, you could hang curtains for privacy. Or, if you don’t mind a larger project, you could have French doors installed!

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Add a Home Gym

Since so many gyms are still closed, we love the idea of creating a dedicated space to workout at home! This is one of our favorite spare room ideas of the moment. And a home gym design is easier to put together than you might think. We started by hanging up a pair of infinity mirrors to really establish that gym feeling—you gotta make sure your form is on-point, after all! (Plus, the mirrors reflect light and make the whole space feel more open and airy.) And we opted for a blue-green wall color that adds some energy to the space.

If you have an exercise machine or large equipment, like a bike, treadmill, or ballet bar, make sure to create space for that. Then, just be sure to include space for a floor mat for stretching and yoga, and perhaps a storage bench with baskets for easy organization of smaller equipment! We also hung up a hook near the bike for a towel. But, really, it’s all about making a space that works for your exercise needs and your preferred workout style—so personalize and change as needed!

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Relax in Your Reading Room

Are you one of those people who has always dreamed of having a home library, with a whole wall lined with books and a cozy chair to curl up in and read? Well, maybe it’s finally time to make that dream a reality! Transform your dining room into a reading room where you can escape to and totally relax, complete with a wall of deep bookcases. You can either max out the shelves with books, or integrate some decor and storage baskets on the shelves as well.

Besides shelving, we placed a comfy swivel chair in the corner, along with a side table for your beverage of choice, a pouf for putting up your feet, and a floor lamp for good reading light. Soft colors and natural materials throughout the space make for a soothing and serene setting.

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Chill in a TV Lounge

If you like the idea of having a TV-free living room, you could create a TV lounge in your empty dining room instead! This makes for a fun space that’s dedicated to relaxing, watching movies, and even reading.

To set up this space, opt for an apartment-size sofa and a cool lounge chair to offer enough seating for multiple people to relax but at a scale that won’t overwhelm the space. Mounting your TV on the wall and hanging a small shelf below it for electronics is a perfect alternative to a media cabinet and a great compact space-saver. A C-table is a great versatile and small surface for snacks and drinks—and since it’s on wheels, it’s easy to move it around to where you need it. And poufs are great footrests or extra seats, and can slide under the shelf when not in use!

And if binging TV shows isn’t your thing, you could also create a game room using similar elements! Just swap out the TV and shelf for a coffee table suited for games!

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9 Modern Dining Room Ideas For Fall Entertaining

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The holidays are just around the corner! And now is the perfect time to give your dining room a stylish refresh (or a total overhaul!). In the spirit of entertaining season, we’ve dreamed up these dining room looks to help you get party-ready for fall, winter, and beyond.

If super-glam or rustic dining rooms aren’t quite your thing, here’s some modern inspiration from the other side of the style spectrum. Ideal for smaller spaces and for those who enjoy a more clean-lined look, modern dining rooms can provide the main gathering space in your home with sleek, streamlined appeal.

Read on to see nine different modern dining room ideas from our designers along with tips for bringing the look into your home.

dining roomThe Look: Mod Visionary

Mid-century forms with a contemporary undertone are at the heart of this clean-lined and colorful dining room look.

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The Key Elements

Classic mid-century-style designs with tapered legs, warm and natural woods, and organic forms are essentials to this contemporary look. So are pops of color, like notes of green and yellow in art and accents, which pepper the space with personality. Pull in matching chairs and a bench for functional, streamlined designs that play up a perfectly tailored feel.

Perfect For…

Those who want to dabble in the mid-century modern look but also like to play safe and keep their decor and accent pieces more classic.

dining roomThe Look: Modern Rustic

This look mixes rustic and mid-century-inspired elements together for a cozier take on modern that has become one of our most popular styles.

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The Key Elements

With this look, you’ll want to pull in bold mid-century-inspired shapes, such as a dining table that has rounded legs and edges, wishbone chairs, and a sputnik-style light fixture, to name a few.

Offset those with rustic elements, such as a woven credenza, a traditional-patterned rug, and organic touches, like artisanal pottery and mini succulents. You can even take a slightly more eclectic approach here by propping up an oversized art piece on a credenza versus hanging it on the wall. It will add a slightly more relaxed vibe to your space.

Perfect For…

Those who love modern spaces with a warm, comfy feel that’s not too formal. Specifically, you love modern designs made with polished metals and natural materials.

dining roomThe Look: Minimal Modern

When it comes to a minimalist approach, it’s all about choosing a few key sleek and sculptural pieces that truly shine in your space.

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The Key Elements

Naturally, less is more here, so choose designs that have strong shapes and silhouettes. You’ll always want pieces in gorgeous natural materials so that those textures can provide a bit of depth to your space. Think a dark-wood table and dining chairs with slender tapered legs, a light-hued rug with bold textures, and artwork that have a light, visual quality, such as figure drawings or graphic black-and-white prints with an airy, modernist look and feel. Of course, you’ll want to keep all your ornamentation and styling to a minimum here to let the key pieces shine.

Perfect For…

Anyone looking to streamline their aesthetic or try to embrace a more spare approach in their spaces.

dining roomThe Look: Scandinavian Modern

The name says it all with this look, which is all about grouping together iconic designer-style pieces. The key is to take a modern minimalist approach with key classic pieces.

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The Key Elements

Consider wishbone chairs in their original light wood and a Scandinavian saucer pendant. Take the same detailed approach to smaller accent pieces, like the Eames bird we included. But overall you’ll want to keep styling to a minimal just as you would do with a minimalist approach, but play up some big color, as in this oversized modern geometric art piece.

Perfect For…

Modern design lovers and minimalists who prefer to stay true to classic mid-century forms and styles.

dining roomThe Look: Mid-Century Industrial

Equal parts modern and sleek, there’s a bold warmth to this look that is at once cozy and industrial.

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The Key Elements

Dark woods are the foundation of this look, as are metal and industrial accents, like the steel light fixture, the monochrome charcoal-and-white palette, and graphic rug with an edgy motif. When choosing furniture, consider the urban-chic look and go for pieces that have a loft-style feel, such as these dining chairs with sculptural backs and legs along with a gateleg table.

Perfect For…

Those who love Mid-Century style but also a bit of city edge to their spaces.

dining roomThe Look: Mid-Century Boho

There’s an element of glam style and warmth to this look, which mixes a mid-century aesthetic with eclectic styling and boho accents.

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The Key Elements

It’s all about foundational modern designs juxtaposed with organic shapes and natural materials here, meaning bring on the jute, leather, and stone pieces. The woven chairs and natural-fiber rug combined with the angular white table is a great example of that here.

Instead of adding lots of small accents, let the beautiful textures and materials themselves be the ornamentation in your room. The only exception? Add lots of plants and greenery, which are essential, vibrant touches that complete this look.

Perfect For…

Anyone who loves a mix of modernism with natural materials and a warm palette.

dining roomThe Look: Modern Farmhouse

Perhaps the one look that has a touch of everything, it’s equal parts rustic, traditional, industrial, and modern all at once. It’s modern farmhouse! And if you needed one more reason to love this style, it has the Joanna Gaines farmhouse elegance that we just can’t get enough of.

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The Key Elements

A bold streamlined table is usually the best centerpiece for this look. With that we decided to pull in rustic Shaker-style chairs with a twist, along with an industrial-style cabinet, light fixture, and mirror, all of which add a modern edge as well as foster an overall warm, cozy vibe.

To play up a rustic farmhouse elegance, don’t forget to add a burst of color—classic pairings usually work best in this look, as in the classic blue-and-white rug and two-toned ceramic lamp here. If you’re one for more color and pattern, you can even play up an eclectic slant with some fun, quirky art and pops of whimsical pattern.

Perfect For…

Anyone who doesn’t feel they’re totally modern or totally rustic. This is a great look that feels modern, classic, and elegant all at once.

dining roomThe Look: Mod Enthusiast

If you want a tried-and-true approach to a modern dining room, this classic-meets-contemporary look is it.

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The Key Elements

Combine mid-century-inspired forms with contemporary accents for a look that’s a refreshed and of-the-moment take on modern style. Keep to sleek, contemporary-style dining chairs and a table that has a streamlined base. Do the same with your lighting and opt for a bold light fixture that makes a statement, as in this globe design, without feeling over-the-top.

Not into globe lights? Try a more angular light fixture that has branching arms for the same effect. Then finish by playing up warm materials, like leather, brass, and wood, and a more traditional rug to cozy it all up.

Perfect For…

Contemporary design lovers who also crave spaces that feel inviting and cozy. There’s a classic color element here that helps ease up the hard contemporary look of the furnishings.

dining roomThe Look: Modern Glam

If you like something a little more chic and polished, this is the look for you.

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The Key Elements

Pair luxurious materials, like velvet, brass and gold, and burl wood, with elegant contemporary pieces and upholstery. Upholstered dining chairs with thin legs always do the trick as does a stone-surface table and polished ceramics. Keep to a muted color palette of soft blues or elegant pastels so that your look doesn’t go over-the-top. The overall scale is key here so do play with proportions in your art and chandelier for a dramatic effect.

Perfect For…

People who love a touch of glamour and shine in their gathering spaces. There’s also a slightly more formal air to this look, but it still feels warm and welcoming.

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