Our lifestyles tend to be more casual today, and our homes are a direct reflection of this shift. Older homes, those built between 1920 and 1970s, with the smaller kitchen were outfitted with dining rooms just off the kitchen. Food was prepared in the kitchen and then transported into the dining room. Once a meal was finished, people would then relocate to another room… to the kitchen, perhaps, to clean and do the dishes, or to the common living area or to a bedroom.
Many Americans and most Europeans live in homes and apartments too small for separate dining areas. For those residing in apartments, lofts and smaller homes, the kitchen is, once again, the center of the home for entertaining as well as dining purposes. In lofts with open floor plans, large farm tables are often central to the space. Much in the same way a kitchen table has become multi-functional, these have as well, providing hours of family meals, and entertainment as well as a place for homework, crafts and board games.
With the rising costs of living and a poor economy, many young people cannot afford to live on their home. It is becoming more and more common for today’s youth, after finishing university, to move back home while they look for work and to try to save a little money. In addition to this, as our population ages and is living longer, many elders are moving in with their children as well, making many homes multi-generational and redefining the term modern family. For these families more living space is therefore needed as opposed to the need for a separate dining area.
Whether or not a formal dining room is wanted or needed depends a great deal on tradition, lifestyle as well as size of the home. Those who view the space to be antiquated and unnecessary opting to turn these spaces into offices, bedrooms and libraries. Some, however, are choosing to have a room that is multi functional – a room that can best be served for different purposes – a room that could be converted from office or library to dining area, and if designed properly, this conversion is easily done. Maximizing the use of a home’s square footage is most important all around.
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