Formal Dining Room and Playroom in One

Imagine this scenario, if you will. A family has a large, spacious room with a table, eight chairs and a buffet. The room sits empty day-after-day. A couple times a year they have a bevvy of family and friends over for a large meal where they unearth the china they received for their wedding, and eat a meal at the table. Meanwhile, their living room is piling up with toys, the kids rooms can’t be contained, and if they have to clean the kids’ art projects off the kitchen table to eat dinner one more time, they just may lose it. We’ve imagined, and lived this scenario, until we finally said, “the guy who built this house isn’t the boss of me!” Just because at some point in time someone wrote “dining room” over this square plot in your home, doesn’t mean that it can only forever and henceforth be used as a dining room. We say you can have your dining room four days a year, but you can also have a playroom 361 days a year. Here are a few tips to make a functional playroom that can masquerade as a very playful dining room when duty calls.

The tables and chairs.

Choose a standard height table. Many play table options are adjustable, all the way to standard height. Depending on the amount of seating needs, consider putting two tables end to end to create a longer table. This will give more surface area for play and eating. Or, if you prefer to use a dining table, use a farm table style or something else that will look good with a little wear and tear. Don’t choose a pristine stained option that you’ll constantly be worried about. We suggest a white or wood tone table. For the chairs, any desk height or standard dining chair will work. You can mix and match a few styles for an eclectic look, or invest in a handful of the same chair, and buy some stylish folding chairs for extra seating when needed.

The shelving/buffet.

Add shelving to the room for toy and book storage. Choose something with a top surface that’s around the same height as a standard buffet. That way you can simply clear the top and use it for food service when needed. Also, if there are cubbies in the shelving, you could always use a few to store dishware and linens.

The overall color scheme.

We suggest sticking with a white and bright color scheme. Fill the room with lots of light and airy finishes, including the furniture, paint color and window treatments. Then add some playful pops of color in the decor. It’ll help the room to feel sophisticated enough to fit with the surrounding rooms, but still have that fun quality you want in a playroom.

Create a focal point.

In most dining rooms, the chandelier or ceiling light is a main focal point. So, consider having some fun here. You can create a DIY moment to add some whimsy, or simply consider a light fixture that is evocative of the creative spirit of the space.

It’s not forever, so have some
fun with it!

Someday your kids won’t need a playroom. When that day comes, you can go back to full-fledged dining room mode, if you want. In the meantime, don’t lock your home into a box. Use the rooms and spaces for whatever your family needs at this stage. It is your home, after all.

Sure, the idea of using a dining room and playroom together sounds as strange as having a boy’s room double as a kitchen or a girl’s room double as a garage. But trust us when we tell you it’s a quick and easy way to make the most out of your space.

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