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A Dining Room Fit for Special Occasions + Everyday Family Gathering

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When I rearranged our space plan, the goal was to create a dining room space fit for special occasions. Little did I know it would also become a place for everyday family gathering.


In 2016, we purchased a 1983 colonial-meets-Tudor house in Northern Virginia and set about remodeling it into our dream home. In this series, I’ll take you through the stages of our progress, decision-making, ups + downs, and the lessons we’ve learned converting a 1980s diamond in the rough into our family gem.

A few years ago, some predicted the extinction of the dining room. We were certainly guilty of having our everyday meals at a casual table in our kitchen and most recently at our new kitchen island. But, we soon discovered sitting side-by-side at the island didn’t foster conversation and meal time felt disconnected.

So, we moved dinner to the dining room. We sit at one end of the table, in a triangle, so we can see one another and engage in conversation. (Believe it or not, our kiddo typically carries the dinnertime convo. It’s amazing!)

It may be due in part to our wide open floor plan, but I find that when friends and family are over, they too tend to congregate around the dining room table before and after a meal…unless I’m entertaining them with a flambé in the kitchen. (JK, I don’t flambé!)

Like the other spaces on our main level, the dining room sees a lot of traffic. No risk of extinction here!

The Dining Room: Before

In the post on our sitting room makeover (aka, The Lounge), I mentioned that we swapped the spaces that were the formal living and dining rooms. Here is what the living room used to look like…

before of dining room space

The Dining Room: After

With the walls removed, we have open sight lines across the main level. It’s a great entertaining space, but also facilitates more intimate gatherings — the best of both!

dining room and lounge beyond
dining room with family room beyond

A Note on Hardwoods

We chose to replace all of the existing flooring with wide plank, white oak hardwoods from The Home Depot.

We discovered early on that this product was a private label sold by various outlets under different names. When we had a hard time acquiring the quantity we needed from HD, we tracked it down to another flooring center. Their prices were higher, but they promised they could deliver the quantity we needed. The retailer made claims that manufacturers will provide an inferior version of a product to the big box stores and that is why they can charge less (not due to their buying power).

While that may be true in some cases, I caution you to do your homework! We found that the quality of finish on these products were identical, and chose to be patient and work with Home Depot (read: be a squeaky wheel) to purchase the quantity we needed. In the end, it saved us a ton of money.

Obviously, installing hardwoods yourself will also save money. It isn’t difficult if you prepare and have the right tools (especially a pneumatic flooring nailer). We chose to purchase a used nailer for less than the cost of a weekly rental from the hardware store. This made more sense since we were installing the hardwoods in phases (+ have yet to finish our stairs and upstairs hallway). When we’re done, we’ll simply resell it.

By the way, we ♥ our hardwoods!


hydrangea arrangement
linen napkin
table setting

Recreate This Table Setting

We acquired many of these pieces years ago, so the exacts are no longer available. But, you can easily swap out classics to achieve a similar vibe.

Is your dining room on the verge of extinction? Would you like to revive it? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments…I’d love to hear from you!

NEXT IN THE SERIES: Creating an Open Kitchen.

Pin for Later! An Everyday Dining Room Design

Pin image dining room makeover

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