As you likely know from our heading, we are all about helping our readers create a home they love. We receive all sorts of questions ranging from advice about color to how to arrange art on a wall. We welcome them all and promise to respond within 48 hours with multiple options for you to consider. If you’re struggling with a design dilemma, contact us so we can help!
Which Option is Best?
Our reader Yvonne (from Alberta, Canada) has given her dilemma quite a bit of thought. That’s great, but sometimes you just need an outside eye or different perspective to help resolve your problems. Yvonne writes:
“I’m so pleased to have stumbled upon your blog - I enjoy reading it! Over the summer we completed a major renovation to our small 1912 home. One area is bothering me and I need an expert opinion. I have 3 concepts to redo the dining room.
#1 – Remove the current round table and replace with a free floating desk and a high back chair. The desk would angle slightly and face the living room. This desk from Restoration Hardware is big enough to use as a dining table on the rare occasions we have company for dinner.
#2 – Keep the round table but instead of chairs get a French Country type benches with cane low backs and add cushions in linen or burlap. I think that would open up the space and create interest.
#3 – Leave the dining room as is and replace the brown leather sofa in the living room. It was a mistake of 5 years ago and I’d like to replace it with a smaller, lighter sofa like this one at Restoration Hardware.
“Because our home is small, we don’t usually entertain large groups and I use the dining room mostly for a work space. Your reactions to these ideas, or any others that you may have would be great. Thanks for your help. Yvonne”
Turn a Dining Area Into a Office?
First let me say Yvonne that your rooms look great! I love the wallpaper and soft green wall color – great job with those! You’ve obviously given quite a bit of thought to the space. Probably the biggest consideration should be how you most often will use the room. Let me give you some feedback on each option.
#1 – I really like the idea of a desk and the one you’ve chosen is great looking. It’s a bit oversized so perfect for the ocassional meal. Situating the desk in the middle of the room and facing the living room is an excellent option and one I would have suggested. The drawback I see is that if it’s used very often for office work, clutter will build up which would be an eyesore in such a pretty room. Also, cord management may be an issue depending on the equipment you use since there’s no back on the desk.
#2 – While I understand your thoughts on using benches in the dining room, this is my least favorite option. I don’t think benches work well with the round table and it may be too many disparate pieces in a small space.
#3 – I love the look of the English sofa and agree it would look great in your home. The style is a good match to the period of your home and the lighter fabric would blend very well with what you have.
One suggestion I have is to combine the desk with a bench. If the idea is to have the desk serve primarily as a desk you’d likely only have one chair or possibly two – one on each side. You could add a bench to the area – either under the window or behind the sofa – and then pull it up as needed to eat (be sure to measure the heights so the bench is high enough). That would allow seating for four – 2 chairs and 2 on a bench – yet it wouldn’t look like a dining set all the time. Also a bench with light colored cushions against the back of the sofa would lighten the appearance of the sofa so it wouldn’t be so big and dark. The front of the sofa is already lightened with the addition of the pillows and quilt – good job with that!
As to whether you should do the dining makeover or replace the sofa…..I don’t think that’s something I can advise on. It ultimately will come down to how much you hate the sofa versus how much you want to change the dining area. It sounds like the goal is to eventually do both, so pick whichever one will give the most immediate pleasure and defer the other til the budget allows. If you do opt for the sofa first, I suggest changing the pillows to something with more color – pull in the soft green walls and play on the red from the chair – you won’t have any problem finding patterns using those colors.
Best of luck with the project and I’d love to see “after” photos when you complete your room.
And, Yvonne responded with this note: “I so appreciated your quick response. You have an amazing ability to read between the lines and sift through questions. Your suggestions will help me. Thanks. I would love to update you on my progress and send photos. Stay tuned…”
We Love to Help
Continue sending your questions our way and we’ll continue to offer support and suggestions. Send us your photos so we have a better idea of color and room layouts and share as much info as possible – then we can give the best advice. When we feel like the topic will be helpful to many of you, we’ll publish the correspondence. We look forward to hearing from you.