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Fireplace in the Dining Room | Breaking Room Rules

June 24, 2014

I mentioned last week that we had switched around the rooms in our house last week.  We brought home some furniture after our house in Pawleys closed and just felt like we needed to make things work better for our life.  There are no rules that say you have to use a room the way the builder or the family before you did.  The biggest change was moving our dining room into the living room.

Matthew has always wanted a cozy little den, which our new house lacked.  And our living room was just a giant waste of space considering it's located right in between the family room and the sunroom/playroom.  We just really never used it.  What a shame to let all the square footage go to waste just because it's supposed to be that way.  So we moved our dining room furniture into the large living room and have been loving the change. 

We scored the most gorgeous Ethan Allen table and Cain chairs last summer on craigslist for $250 and inherited a beautiful buffet from my in-laws.  All that furniture just felt cramped in the other space.  It was the walk-through from the front door to the kitchen so it became a landing place for mail and crap.  Not exactly the pretty dining room I had envisioned.  It felt too cold to be considered cozy and inviting yet too cramped to be formal and elegant.  Giving the furniture room to breath has actually upped the style ante while also making it more accessible and usable.  There is plenty of room to linger for when we host parties and it's right off the playroom which makes it more practical for family dinner time.

I envision two upholstered chairs on either end of the table and the styling needs to be tweaked about 100 times.  But that's the fun part right!  What you can't see in these shots is that we still have room at the far end of the space for some occasional chairs and a table.  Wouldn't that be the most inviting little spot when we entertain?  I didn't realize I hadn't shot any pictures of that space until I went to write this post.  I'll have to update that soon.


I would love to know if this is something you've done in your home as well?  There really are no rules about how a room is used.  The only thing that matters is that it works for your family!  I'm surprised at how much more we've used this room already. 

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28 comments:

  1. That's neat that your home layout allows you so much flexibility! Ours in quite traditional so would look awkward, but the layout works for us. And you are so creative in working with your existing pieces, I admire that!!

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  2. This looks amazing!!! LOVE it! What a great idea! Our house was built in 1970 & we have a giant living room with an adjacent dining room we NEVER use. Our family of five crams in a tiny den every day & night! Maybe I should make the den the dining room!

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  3. It looks beautiful! One of my best friends did the same thing when they moved into their house about 10 years ago... They still love it now & use the original dining space as an office. Looks great!

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  4. I think this was a great choice, especially if it works more for your family. What is a house if it's not a home? The room/layout looks great, but I can't help but be distracted by the beautiful art work. Where did you get the marsh scene and abstract? Did you paint them - if so, BRAVO! Do you do commission pieces?

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  5. great idea! I always love seeing how other's move spaces around in their home to do what works best for them. Love the buffet piece.

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  6. We recently did the same thing! Formal living room turned into the dining room, and the too small dining room turned into a study. Works much better for the way we live. I feel like it does for most people honestly. I'm hearing of more and more people who make similar changes. Your space looks great - you have some really lovely pieces!

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  7. I really wanted to do that forever....and never did! My DR is very small and the LR is a giant foyer:) Looks great!

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  8. I think you made the right decision, there really are no strict rules when it comes to what's pleasing, comfortable and beautiful for you and your family. :-)

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  9. Love this room Julia! You are so good at mixing traditional & modern together! Your painting is gorgeous! Love those place mats too!

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  10. Love the switch and your paintings look so beautiful in there. A great mix!

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  11. We just switched out our dining room with a small formal room. We now are using our dining room as a playroom/office and we love it! You have to do what works best for you and your family.

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  12. What a beautiful space you have created! Plenty of the houses that I frequented growing up also had fireplaces in the dining room and I find that they make the space both elegant and cozy!

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  13. What a great idea - looks great!!!!

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  14. This is gorgeous and it is such a great way to utilize your space so that you get the most usage out of every room. Love your style!

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  15. I love the paintings too! Well done Julia!

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  16. Our small formal living room is now the man-cave-office. The original den with a fireplace between two French doors leading onto the deck and the pond is obviously the better choice for living space. We've switched it out before with the dining room for large parties when we put both extensions in the table, and it's so fun to have lots of space for special dining occasions -- although I feel like the Clampetts or a British lord at a lonnnnng table.

    In your newly expansive dining room, I'd be tempted to use that far wall as library space: sleek gold-toned open shelves between the windows, comfy chairs and reading lights, yum. Best wishes!

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  17. LOVE this switch! It wouldn't make sense to do this in our house, but I wish it did because I love this look. My favorite thing about this idea is having a fireplace in the dining room! I'm loving all of these changes, and I'm with your husband on a small, cozy den.
    ~Mary Keller

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  18. Our living room is super long making it hard for tv watching and our dining room is the prefect room for a family room and open to the kitchen. We plan on having te living room turn into the dining room with a small sleeting area and the dining room to become a family room once we have kids! Rules were meant to e broken!!

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  19. Who painted the large art piece above your buffet? It is gorgeous!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness. What talent! Do you do take commissions?

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    2. Yes ma'am! Just email me JuliaKyleRyan@gmail.com :)

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  20. Dining by the fire, how delightful!! We did the same thing when we moved to a traditional style home four years ago. The formal living room was massive and ajdacent dining room was tiny. Our dining room furniture fills the big room perfectly and allows us plenty of space when we host big family dinners. I still haven't gotten around to installing a chandelier though. The old dining room is now a cozy sitting/office space. It looks like it was always meant to be this way.

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  21. It looks so fab!!! I LOVE fireplaces in dining rooms....think of all you will be able to do with it for entertaining at Christmas! I'm jealous!

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  22. I'm all for switching up rooms to suit your needs...your house, your rules! In one of our last houses I made our sunroom a dining room (house lacked a formal eating area) and the small dining area changed into a hearth room. We even had a gas fireplace installed, some cushy chairs & loveseat and it became one of the most used spots in our house. My next and FINAL house will not have any formals rooms...we don't use them and its a waste of square footage for us and the way we live. Enjoy your new space.

    hugz,
    Suzanne

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  23. Great idea! I really liked the chairs! And the fireplace it's amazing ;)
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