Monday, August 8, 2011

Formal Dining Rooms: A Necessary Evil?


Let me start this post by saying this: Larry Williams, you were right. Ooooooh it hurts to say it out loud! Before we got married, we had a "disagreement" on whether or not to register for formal china. I said, "Why wouldn't we?" Larry said, "What's the point???" Seven years later, I can finally give him his moment of glory by admitting we are NOT formal dining people. To those of you who are- I admire you! I think I had this dreamy picture in my head of hosting pretty dinner parties with a beautiful tablescape and me in an apron and heels saying, "Oh, its just something I threw together at the last minute..." Well, seven years later that has yet to happen once! We just aren't A) that organized and B) that sophisticated. In fact, most of our friends would rather eat on chinette and have disposable cups when they come to visit. Pulled pork BBQ doesn't really require fine bone china anyways. And I've also come to realize that when we do actually entertain at our house, there's usually too many people to fit around one dining table anyways! This brings me to today's topic: What are we REALLY doing with our formal dining rooms? If you know someone who has intimate dinner parties of approximately 6 to 10 guests on a regular basis then maybe they use their dining room a lot. For the rest of us, I am curious to know what goes on in there??? We all hear the phrase, "dining rooms are good for resale value!" Who are we selling our houses to? Don and Betty Draper? (that's a Mad Men reference, FYI) Chances are, more than likely, that when you sell your house, the dining room that you staged with your mother's old dining set (and actually used as a home office) will be purchased by a young family who says, "Ohhhh we have to have that house! It has a formal dining room!" and will then use it as a playroom for their small children. So, I have a theory that perhaps generations x and y may not be as interested in formal dining as our parents and grandparents once were. There are so many neat features that have emerged in home floor plans lately that have made the need for formal spaces even less of a necessity. Now, floor plans are so much more open concept that often the kitchen is wide open to the main living area. To me, this is a sign that we are embracing the prep area of the kitchen and acknowledging the fact that no matter how big your house is, 30 people will cram themselves around a kitchen island to gab and munch on snacks. Hearthrooms are another example of how the once closed-off, prep kitchen has finally earned its title as "the heart of the home." We've given the kitchen its own sitting room! I guess what I am trying to say is, if you have a formal dining room that you have never used for the purpose of fine dining, you are most definitely not alone! And for those of you who do use it, we look forward to coming over for dinner this weekend. Thank you. The truth of the matter is, the formal dining room is still a popular feature in new construction, and still considered a highly sought after feature in homes on the market. Whether we are using them for their intended purpose or not, they are present. So let's talk about the ugly truth of what's really going on in those swanky dining rooms! If you are a regular reader of this blog, this is the part where you leave a comment and share with us what you use your dining room for. Let consider this a support group of sorts. I will begin. "My name is Laura. I have been married for seven years and I have used my china once just to prove that we would indeed use it. That was six and a half years ago. I don't even live in a house that has a formal dining room right now, but I'm sure I will forget all about this blog and insist on buying a home that does indeed have a formal dining room several years from now, at which point it will probably be used as a nursery, home office, or playroom." . . . .Your turn!

5 comments:

Stephanie Boyd said...

Hi my name is Stephanie and I currently dont have a formal dining room and I'm perfectly ok with that. In our last house it was used as the office/toy room. I particularly did not care for it as it had really high ceilings and a huge window which were a pain to clean. So out of all the rooms in that house I miss that one the least. We are not formal dinners either and with four kids who has time right. It will not be an item on my home buying wish list. Ahhhhh....I feel much better now that I have that off my chest. Thanks Laura!!

RD_Mom said...

I agree, we have yet to have a house where the formal dining room gets used. Maybe when our kids are grown and we have family events, it might be useful then, but honestly I can use the space somewhere else right now. I don't understand the point of a great room and a family room either- why not just one big room or bigger bedrooms- just a thought!!

Jenny Williams said...

We have a dining room that is open to our living room that currently has a table and six chairs that collect dust :)

Laura Williams said...

Thanks for the feedback, guys! I received a lot of comments on facebook as well, and it seems there are a good mixture of people who both use and do not use their formal dining spaces. This week I hope to shed some light on alternative uses for your dining room that can make it a useful space if you are not currently utilizing it!

Anonymous said...

(KRISTI OWEN) I said the same thing..."Why wouldn't we?" I have a full set of china/nice silverware that has seen the light of day three times. It is packed away in boxes and is more a pain than it is worth to find and unpack to use. (then handwash and repack). Will I ever have a formal dining room used as a dining room? No idea...