In the 1950’s and 60’s the ideal of home living was to have a separate dining room and living room, perfect for a sit-down family meal as a daily ritual and a way to keep the family together. It was a sign of unity within the family and a hint of former traditions form a bygone age, where every meal had originally been eaten as a family. These days with our busy lives and with the likelihood of a meal being eaten as a family becoming even more real, the conceptual need for a dining room to be separate from the living room has become a thing of the past.
Although this may be a sad sign of the times and a shame for the ideal of families eating meals together, however it does create an opportunity to maximise the living space available in your home. Most dining rooms are situated next to the kitchen or lounge, and it is this location that provides an excellent chance to remodel the interior of your home, freeing up potentially extra space whilst removing the need to include a costly extension. The benefit of remodelling the interior of your home without extending upwards or outwards is the possibility of a large financial saving, whilst creating the illusion of space and openness from your existing floor plan.
The advantage of the location of the majority of dining rooms, either next to the kitchen or lounge, is that the usually have a non-supporting wall separating the two. This presents the opportunity to open up the space and create a fantastic open plan lounge-dining room or the much sought after kitchen-dining room. Even if the wall is load bearing, an opening can be created providing a link between the rooms and providing an increased sense of space within your home.
Not only does the ability to open up these rooms create an increased sense of space and openness in your main circulation and used areas, it can also be teamed with a number of options to increase the style and functionality of your home. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace separating the rooms, you could create a central focal area using the fireplace as a feature division between the rooms. The removal of walls around a fireplace, even if it is just to one side, can dramatically improve the sense of space and give the impression that the two rooms are essentially just one. Also, opening up the back of the fireplace to create a fire that can be viewed through both sides not only makes a stunning feature to the rooms, but, in a functional aspect, is perfect for heating both rooms at the same time, improving the effectiveness of your fires output. If you prefer a log burner or contained fire instead, there are a number of products on the market that enable for the fire to be rotated, providing heat to whichever room is required.
Another appeal to opening up the space is the ability to open up your home even further, not only creating a more open area but also creating features that can add to the value of your home. A large appeal for anyone who has created an open plan kitchen/dining room, or even as an interesting addition to a lounge/dining room, is the possibility to extend the capabilities even further with the inclusion of bi-folding doors. This creates a link through to a possible outdoor seating, patio or decking area in the garden, a must for entertaining or enjoying meals in warm summer’s weather. Not only that, but as stated in a previous blog post on Bringing the Outside Inside, a good quality installation of bi-folding doors and decking can add a very reasonable 2% to the value of your home.
Many people like the ideal of a separate dining room in their homes, but the majority of people only use the room for special occasions or entertaining friends and family, very rarely is the room used every day for family meals. The truth is that the space could be much better used for everyday activities and circulation around the home, and the probability is that the room would more than likely get used more often if there was no divide, and the dining table became part of the open plan lounge area. Not only does the impression of extra space allow the home to become more useable and the open space create a more pleasurable environment to live in, but the effectiveness can create an opportunity to make your home a more enjoyable place to live add the same time as adding value. Essentially allowing more usability from a room that may not get used as much as you’d like, and replacing it with a useable space that adds to the appeal of your home and the effectiveness of the layout.