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tiearra_mcley

What can I do with this dining room space?

last month

I am unsure what to do with this dining room space. It is 9' 6" wide (from the island to the wall with the mirror) and 11" long (from the door to the end of the island where it angles out/the last chair photographed). It seems so small to put a table, and at one point we did have a table that sat 6 however it left us with little space to walk to the back door and made the space feel so cramped.

We did/do use the island to eat 90% of the time even when the table was there. We plan on having 6 island chairs (is that too many?). I love the openness but I feel like it's too open. I also plan on getting rid of/getting a new mirror, it was left in the house and I like the idea of a mirror there but I don't love the frame.

I have debated table, no table, console table for storage, etc but I am not sure what to do that is both practical and mindful of the space.

Notes: We are getting new counter height stools the pictured stools are temporary, we are getting new floors, we are switching the back door that opens inside to a sliding glass door or french door that opens outside to the deck, and we are getting new lighting.

Where I am taking the pictures from is the living room for spatial context.





Comments (41)

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Someone’s selling that space as a dining room, but it’s really not - its a pass through. And especially since you have counter stools in that location - there is no room for a table. But either way - it’s a pass through. If you would like some additional seating there, I would suggest a slim bench under the mirror.

    You may be able to have a round table and a couple of chairs in the LR. If you show pics of all the walls of the LR, I would have a better idea of possibly where a table might fit.

  • last month

    Ah. The trick is to change the name from "dining room" which you don't want or need, and try calling it a "keeping room", and then furnish appropriately! Many blogs discuss the utility and beauty of these spaces.

    If you google images of keeping rooms, perhaps you will be inspired!






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  • PRO
    last month

    I could see a banquette set up there. No mirror at all. It’s pretty narrow a space so care would be needed to get proper proportions and elements. A pedestal oval table would be best. I will post some images for you. Might not put stools at counter or very minimal looks with low or no backs. Depends on your family needs. Bbl

  • PRO
    last month

    Here are a few images. Once you determine needs, and style these concepts can be adopted to your space. You could also add an extension to the counter and form a table there, at 30” standard table height too. Personally, i don’t like counter height stools so I would avoid them.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    I've actually seen an upholstered pad mounted to the wall and it just looked clever.


  • last month

    I like the mirror. I assume you like it too - and that is why you acqured it, and hung it there.


    Could you put a table and chairs in front of the window?








  • last month
    last modified: last month

    This space is the same 'dining space' in many homes built in the 80s. That counter is huge, move the stools to the other side of the jog, and find a rectangular table with banquette and you will have room for chairs. Or leave the extra chairs elsewhere until needed, find an expandable table that enlarges from small round to longer oval when needed and you will have a loungy effect. I am not a fan of round tables with a banquet as it's a huge waste of seating/eating ratio but if the seating isn't needed... Either way slide the table waaay in against the banquette when not in use.

  • PRO
    last month

    OP stated the mirror was there when they bought the house. Art would be so much better on that wall.

  • last month

    No, art would not be “so much better” on that wall. The mirror provides light and expansion there. That is an area that could use light and expansion. I see now that the OP said that the mirror was already there, and that she likes the idea of a mirror there... except, not that particular frame. So... she is planning on getting a new mirror.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    First decision is, if island stools were less bulky, were moved to the other end of counter (limit to number the space can accommodate), and using a banquette (tape out a bench width + rectangle table + the space needed between the two).




    Add a strip of tape on floor where that ends, move the stools and test for a few days.



    Next decision, do you think you will appreciate a table…more comfortable, practical and functional and will improve the dynamics/you also still have stools. Don’t buy stools or decor until you have a plan and a “look“ style wise!

    Decide what would be the most practical use of the space for you and your family and think the big picture…semi flush lighting, window treatments that match and are practical and light, art, and be sure choices connect to the adjoining spaces color and style wise.

    Regarding functionality, what is adjoining area like? What’s the best use of this space…den/tv, homework/home office, music room, play area, etc.


  • last month
    last modified: last month

    I’ve read all the posts & studied the pics but still have questions. Seems the dilemma is whether to use that end of room designated as dining space by the hanging light or use the space for something else. Do you need a table & chairs for entertaining? Is there another space for table & chairs? It seems to me that bar / counter needs to be factored in to your planning of how to use that ’dining’ space.

    The bar / counter overhang - it seems counter height but what is the width of the actual overhang? It looks very narrow in the pics - less than 12”. If it is that narrow is it really serving well as primary eating space as is? Is a new counter with larger overhang a possiblity? You said it’s the primary eating place & you want to add 3 more stools. Is 6 the number you need to seat? The 3 stools there now look too crammed together & of course too high but you said you’re getting new so assume will be counter height. Is that bar really an island? Is there a walkway in front of frig & at the other end not shown in pics?

    The cabinet in the ’dining’ area - is it used for kitchen storage or decor items? I’m wondering if it can live somewhere else in your home? You said the room is 9’6” wide from the edge (or is it the end?) of island to the mirror wall. I’m wondering if it’s wider at that end from cabinet wall to the tall window.

    The new floors you’re getting - will they be in this carpeted space and the adjacent kitchen?

    Last question is what’s in the space not shown - from the counter to the window with patterned drapes? Looks very open so maybe there are possibilities for dining set up there?

  • last month

    The cabinet by the sliding doors looks to be storing liquor bottles and barware which have to be taken to the kitchen in order to mix drinks, and a giant coffee maker is taking up counter space by the refrigerator. Use the dining space (which is really just a pass through) as a place for a beverage station with an under counter refrigerator, shelves above for decor, coffee cups, wine glasses, etc. It will take pressure off the kitchen and also be near the back yard for any outdoor entertaining.



  • last month

    That’s brilliant @JT7abcz .

  • PRO
    last month
    last modified: last month

    That horizontal mirror is not doing this room any favors. Select items for the room that work to make the ceiling look taller.



  • last month
    last modified: last month

    The overhand on the island is not big at all, it is 7". We stand/sit here to eat even when people come over. Most of the time when we are entertaining we are at the island drinking and playing drinking games (not board games or anything that actually requires space). There is no overhang on the other side of the island there is cabinetry under there so people usually stand on that side. The most amount of people we have come over at once is usually 8 so that's why I was like 6 island chairs two people (boyfriend and I) can stand.

    There is a walkway at the end of the island where the fridge is. It is 37" from the fridge door to the island, and as you can see in the pictures attached there's like a doorway frame (idk) and that is 31" so when we have the fridge open nobody can walk through there easily.

    The width of the space is 9' 6" from the mirror wall to the other wall, window to the wall without the cabinet as well. The cabinet just fills the small space that is from the corner of the wall to the start of the door.

    The area with the drapes is the back door which will eventually be replaced. Technically it's a picture window and one door that opens to the inside of the house.

    We will be getting new counter-height chairs with minimal backs.

    The new flooring will be the entire upper level of the house so the flooring from this space will be cohesive to the rest of the upstairs (kitchen and living room).

    There really isn't a space for table and chairs anywhere else. We have a split level home, and our basement has a tiny kitchen, small living room, and an office with an attached bathroom.

    We have no kids and don't plan on having kids in this home as we will get a new one with a better floor plan when it is time.

    I agree that this space is more of a walk through but it seems so open so I was wondering if I even need a table and chairs. Like is it weird for my house to not have a dining table and chairs? I like the idea of a small bench there with a small table but I don't think that will give us 44 inches of walk way, and I am not sure I would want the bench/table and the island chairs.

    With it just being us two I am not sure that we would use the dining table daily.











    Notes:

    The living room layout is going to be different. We have a sectional coming that will go from window to window with a small chase on the left side. We will have a round coffee table and a rug to center that area. We just moved in in December and I didn't want to buy a whole bunch of stuff without a plan and we knew we needed to take care of major things first like new windows and a new deck. This May while the windows are getting replaced we are also getting new flooring, lighting, and repainting.

    This is a NOT TO SCALE drawing of what I'm thinking. I just again don't know what to do with that space because it feels too empty.


  • last month

    When we did have the dining room table in that location the chairs were pushed up against the wall, the table was pushed up against the chairs, and there was about 3 feet from the back of the pushed-in dining table to the back of the pushed in island chair with no people in either chair. It was such a tight squeeze, not to mention the back door swinging into the house. That space was also very tight.

    I think this is the reason I am not leaning towards putting a table there, because when there was one other it sucked to maneuver and made the space feel so cluttered.


    I like the idea of bench seating and a small table, but I also wonder if I even need a table at all with 6 island chairs.

    If I didn't do a table and chairs there what else could I do?

  • last month

    I like the coffee, liquor bar suggestion for that spot. Add more bar chairs as you suggested. Sounds like it works for you. I would suggest a small round table and two chairs in window alcove.

  • last month

    *picture window area

  • last month

    If you and your friends like to play board games, it seems a table is the way to go. I like the bench and backrest that Paul F. posted above. A bench on the other side provides plenty of seating (two people on each side, two on the ends). If you use a bench opposite the fixed bench on the wall, you still have a decent walkway.

    Maybe just because I'm old, but I wouldn't be keen on standing by the bar for hours playing board games. Sitting at a table leads to a long evening of conversation around a table - where folks can actually see each other.

  • PRO
    last month

    Wow! Thanks for all the additional info. Technically, you have a “peninsula” not an island. If you are doing all new flooring, now it time to see if you could remove the peninsula and do a Long Island seating component. You will need flooring changes to do that so perfect time to think it all through. If you post all wall lengths in a sketch (doesn’t have to be to scale just represent the entire space) I can do some scale options for you.

  • last month

    @Tiearra McLey Boy - the extra pics & info from you really help understand the space & make a world of difference! The info you provided about how you use the space & your future plans gave me a lot of ideas - just points to think about. Your new flooring & seating furniture will really make a great difference in how the space looks & feels. You asked if you need a table or dining set up - no you don’t & especially if you won’t use it & it would waste space. But, I strongly believe that using counter seating with a 7” overhang doesn’t work & isn’t comfortable. I think the eating & game playing seating is what your decision should be focused on & especially finding solutions that support those activities. My ideas - option 1 - either get new countertops & expand the overhang from 7” to 15” - then get your 6 counter stools you want & don’t get any dining set. The result will be more counter work space in kitchen & ”real” eating & game space sitting at counter outside kitchen. This also will fill up some of the empty space you mentioned but it leaves space to add a console piece for more storage under the mirror. Or, even 2 small upholstered chairs & a small table between them. Cost? Depends on what counter material you choose & also add in the cost of proper steel bar supports for the extended counter. OR, option 2, do not get any counter stools & ditch the ones you have. Buy a very nice pub style table - counter height - maybe a rectangle shape to provide nice walking space around table. Now you’re not stuck with a formal dining area that doesn’t fit because counter stools jammed in space too & even better, you have a nice, casual dining space as well as great space for games & friends sitting around - lots of seating between the pub table & the new sofa. Pub tables have a different feel than dining room tables. I think either of these 2 options would make a great living & entertainment space. Also room for the doggie dishes I see under the dishwasher in kitchen! 😊

  • PRO
    last month

    This is rough and don’t have measurements but this is concept. Transform peninsula to peninsula/table. Or totally remove existing peninsula and create large island. I would put my dollars 💵 on this part, and not spend on changing window and door. Leave those as is.

  • PRO
    last month

    New countertop and added cabinet/storage under this new look. Move cabinet to fireplace wall. Transportation to deck? is fine with nice plant for height left of window. Nice woven Roman shade for window is you need privacy or light control. 😃

  • last month



  • PRO
    last month

    Perfect. Having folks over for dinner. Be back later this evening.

  • PRO
    last month

    I am having some trouble with your measurements and had to make some assumptions. Not sure this is doable but woukd love to move the refrigerator. Access to pantry might have to change? Can’t tell for sure. But here is concept. If this is “entertainment central” I thought it woukd be cool to extend kitchen cabinets along current window area and use 12-18” deep cabinets and put pass through lift window or folding window with shelf at deck for pass through to bar area outside. I see HEAT/cooling vent at floor of angle area so this would need adjustment. You would need an architect to visit and do on site assessment to gain most from space and budget. But a concept like this might suit your entertainerds really

  • PRO
    last month

    Oops. Hit post accidentally. Suit your entertainment needs really well.

  • PRO
    last month

    This is just first draft. I have many more questions at this point. Not sure what budget you wish to stay within? Do you want to leave peninsula in place and just change surface?

  • PRO
    last month

    Oops. Hit post accidentally. Suit your entertainment needs really well. Examples of windows.

  • last month

    I love the window idea! Our deck doesn't extend that far... yet. I may have to adjust some measurements on that remodel to make this happen!


    I think at this time budget-wise I am looking to leave it in place, and will probably change the surface.


    The 74-inch blue marking is that door situation, so eventually it will be a sliding door, and the green red, and pink markings in the kitchen are how far away the peninsula is from the cabinets/pantry.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Skip the slider. Get a quasi french door where only one side opens....sliders end up one hassel after another.

  • PRO
    last month

    HU Just took words out of my mouth! Sliders are hard to work with. Much prefer a door. You could create a 4” wide extension to existing deck possibly to provide access to folding window. That is cool and better to extend more cabinets along that wall for extra storage too. My thought was get proper metal supports on top of existing cabinets and replace the countertop with white countertop for this “seating” island. When budget allows, replace remaining countertops. You don’t have that much. Make sure your new countertop has at least 14” overlay for legs and knees. 16” is best. So fun!!

  • last month

    I can vouch for French doors and quasi-French doors. I've had both and loved them. This house came with sliders which don't appeal to me aesthetically or functionally. The biggest problem for me is window treatments because I really don't like drapes. Compromise coming. 🙄


    Good luck with this! I love Flo's vision! Do what you can now. Perhaps Flo or your contractor will help you determine what should be done now, and what can wait...in an order that will help your budget in both stages.

  • PRO
    last month

    For now, you could put a drop leaf table on the long wall. You would have multipurpose use both for now and the future. Big art over it and it’s a great buffet table for gatherings. Or when needing a sit down table pull up sides and you have a dining table. Many styles and sizes out there.

  • PRO
    last month

    One more drop leaf to show you concept.

  • last month

    I agree with Flo. It's nice to have a table sometimes. I know I've mentionned it before on this site, but there are tables out there that go from console to sitting 10 people. I've seen one at Costco that also has a bench that tucks under. You could get two and have them go along the wall. Set up a bar or buffet on them when in console mode.

  • last month

    Since you say you entertain a lot, why not make it a bit more comfortable for all? Maybe not everyone really enjoys standing all the time.


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  • last month
    last modified: last month

    You can get some folding counter/bar stools. That way, you and your boyfriend can sit; and if you use them on the kitchen side of the peninsula, you can look at and interact with guests, who are seated on the other side of peninsula. (All of these are available from Target.)









    Just to note: I don’t think there is really space to put any expandable table in that pass through area. It doesn’t matter if it is a console that expands and closes up - because when it is open, there is no reasonable room for people to pull out chairs, or to walk, etc. I think you have already discovered this, by having had a table there, yourself. I still like the idea of a slim bench under the mirror. Or alternatively, JT7abcz’ s beverage station idea is great. And in any case, I really suggest that you get a small round table and a couple of chairs, and place them in the window/alcove area (as I show in my mock-up further up in this thread); so that way, at least you and your boyfriend have the option of sitting comfortably at a table, and can sit across from each other when you are dining.


    Best Wishes.


  • last month

    Flo’s idea for a drop is solid. I would look for a square or rectangle. As F said you can use as console or bar but pull up just the one side and you have a table to sit at that does not take up much room—just the width of the drop side when up. The two chairs would face each other, one facing the patio door, one facing living room. And you could probably find one where the center undroppable section is big enough for two to dine without flipping up the dropped section.

  • last month

    Just another suggestion about the light. I have used a S hook to bring up a light closer to the ceiling in the past. It's an inexpensive way of moving the light out of the way.