What to Do With an Unused Dining Room? 22 Ideas
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Modern families don't gather around the dinner table for their evening meal like old-fashioned families. The changes in people's schedules led to the phasing out of this tradition. Today, people are more inclined to eat around the TV while relaxing to one of their favorite shows. So, what to do with an unused dining room?
Many single-family homes have dining rooms just sitting around, being a waste of space. Why let the square footage lie dormant when you can turn the area into a functional space in the home?
What to Do With an Unused Dining Room
There are plenty of ways to make use of it. Here are 22 unused dining room ideas to help you create a functional living area from an unused dining room. Take a look at the ultimate list of all the possible rooms in a house for more ideas, too.
1) Spare Bedroom
If you have people over who want to stay the night, or the kids always have sleepovers, convert the dining room into a spare bedroom. Add a daybed and make it look like a couch or Murphy bed to the room, and you'll have somewhere to relax and read a book while giving guests an extra bed to use when they feel like popping around for a weekend visit.
2) Storage Room
If you're running out of storage space in the home, convert the unused dining room into a storage area. We know what you're thinking – you don't want boxes creating an unsightly area. Adding styling storage containers brings more function to the space and frees up other locations in the home.
If you're a fitness freak, turn the dining room into a home gym. Move in a bench, mats, weight rack, and cardio machine; install a full-length mirror and a sound system, and your next workout is good to go.
4) Home Office
Does your company allow you to work from home? Stop ruining your back sitting on the couch with your laptop. Turn the dining room into a home office. Move in a desk, chair, bookshelves, and a TV, and you're all set up for a remote workstation. This would be the classic choice of the dining room alternative uses in this day and age.
Are you expecting a new family member? Take the time during maternity leave to turn the unused dining room into a nursery for the new bundle of joy on the way. Bring in a cot, paint the walls with fun cartoon characters, and hang a crib mobile to keep them entertained. Move in a cupboard for linens, a changing table, a playpen, and all your baby essentials.
If you live in a cold region of the United States, your kids might not like spending too much time outdoors when it gets cold. Creating a playroom gives the kids a dedicated space to enjoy their time while providing peace and quiet for you. Just think, you'll never have to step on Legos in the living room again. Paint the room with cartoon character stencils, bring in the toys and playmats, and let the kids go wild.
If your dining room is near the entrance to your home, turn it into a mudroom. Install a mudroom bench. Let the kids and your guests sit on the mud bench, remove their shoes, and install a coat rack. Place a mat on the floor to protect the carpet and move in a cupboard and shoe rack to keep everything tidy and out of the way.
8) Open-Plan Kitchen
Most dining rooms are adjacent to kitchens. If you can break down the wall (provided it's not a load-bearing wall), you can extend the kitchen into an open floor plan kitchen style. Add a breakfast nook to replace the dining area and fit that bulkhead and kitchen island you've always wanted. If you don't know, find out what a bulkhead is here.
If you love reading, convert the unused dining room into a home library. There's no need to stack your books away in a cupboard or sell them after you finish them anymore. Install wall-to-wall bookshelves, and bring in a moving ladder, couch, and armchair. Finish the space with a coffee table and a rug to make things cozy. Don't forget the noise-canceling headphones if your family likes being loud.
What to do with an unused dining room when you have kids in the house? With homeschooling on the rise, you can convert the unused dining room into a home-school classroom. Create a safe space for their education or give them an area to do their homework after school. Bring in some desks and a whiteboard, add audio-visual aids, and convert the lighting.
11) Hobby & Crafts Room
Do you have a hobby? Whether it's building models, editing videos, knitting jerseys, or whatever – turn the unused dining room into a hobby and crafts room. Bring in tables and comfortable chairs. Add cupboards for storage and a sound system for some music, and you're good to go.
12) Man Cave
Is your partner always hassling you about turning the lounge into your man cave? Give yourself a dedicated entertainment space where you can stay out of their way and enjoy your me time. Bring the friends around to watch the game, and have a few beers.
Add a few couches, a TV, a sound system, and coffee tables, and you have a place to play video games while your partner watches the news in the lounge. What to do with a dining room you don't use could include a man cave, but due to the usual lack of doors, there's not going to be much noise isolation.
13) Media Room
Do you have a passion for movies and music? Are you into editing YouTube content or producing your own songs? Turn the unused dining room into a media room. Install drywall and sound panels to block the noise and turn it into your studio. Bring in your audio-visual equipment and make a dedicated booth for recording tracks or editing your videos.
14) Billiards Room
Are you a pool or snooker fanatic? Maybe you love a game of table tennis from time to time? Turn the unused dining room into a billiards room. Add a pool table, a few couches, or a bar, and enjoy time testing your skills against your kids and friends. If you don't have the space for a full pool table, turn the space into a games room where you can play board games or video games with the family.
15) Cocktail Bar Area & Dancefloor
If you love entertaining, breathe life into the unused dining room and convert it into a home bar with a dancefloor. Add a bar, stools, fridges, an ice machine, and a music center. Install some low lighting, lasers, and maybe even a smoke machine – if you're old school. Invite friends around for a few drinks and a good time, and you'll become the go-to venue for your friends to enjoy their weekends.
16) Walk-In / Butler's Pantry
If the dining room is adjacent to the kitchen and one of the smaller rooms in your home, turn it into a walk-in/butler's pantry. Build your food storage for emergencies, and always be prepared for any unexpected food shortage in your area.
Convert the room into a butler's pantry by designing and fitting cabinets like in the kitchen and storage areas for your china, silverware, table linens, and glassware. Bring in a drinks fridge, wine cellar storage, and a coffee station.
17) Panic Room
With lawlessness becoming rife in some areas around the world, you can bolster your home security and safeguard your family by converting the unused dining room into a panic room.
Reinforce the entrances and walls to keep people out, fit a security door and fill the space with food and water storage, bedding, and a camera system with TV, allowing you to view other areas in and around your house. You can also add an armory if you're into collecting firearms.
18) Indoor Garden
An unused dining room is a great space for an indoor garden if you have a green thumb. Hang some grow lights from the ceiling, fit an exhaust fan to the window or ceiling, and seal off the room to make a terrarium. Bring in the plants and watch them thrive.
19) Fish or Snake Room
If you have a passion for aquatic animals like fish or turtles or a keen interest in snakes and herpetology, convert the dining room into a pet room. Bring in shelves for the tanks, add some lighting and air control, and give your aquatic or scaly friends a dedicated space in the house.
20) Studio Apartment
Some dining rooms are large spaces, and letting it all go to waste is a shame. Make some money out of your dining room by converting it into a studio apartment. Drywall it off from the rest of the house, add a shower, toilet, and a small kitchenette, and advertise the space for rent.
21) Laundry Room
If you don't have a laundry room, make one from your unused dining area. Extend the plumbing, bring in the washer and dryer, and an indoor clothesline. Add a folding table and a few cupboards for linens and detergents, and you have a dedicated laundry freeing up space in your kitchen.
22) Teen Hangout Area
Are your teens always getting in the way in the living room? If they're playing video games and you want to watch the news, give them a dedicated space they can call their own by creating a den in the house for them. Drywall and soundproof the area, bring a TV and their games console, give them a couch, and let them do as they please.
That’s What to Do With an Unused Dining Room
So, what to do with an unused dining room? Can you stage the dining room as a different type of room? How can we ditch the dining room and make it make sense. It's a shame to waste all of that space just for convention's sake. There are 22 other uses for a dining room listed above for you to consider. Maybe you'll even invent others not on the list.