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Ditch the Dining Room: What To Do With An Unused Dining Room

If you own an older house, it’s likely you have a dining room. It’s one of those spaces that many people have, but don’t use nearly as much as other rooms in a house. If you find yourself in this situation and want to put your dining room to good use, there are plenty of things you can do with it.

If you are wondering what to do with an unused dining room, here are a few great ways you can take your unused dining room and convert it into a space dedicated to something new that will make your house feel brand new again.


Convert your dining room into a home office

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If you don’t need the dining room for entertaining guests or your family, converting it into an office can be a great idea. If you live in a two-story house, or a split level, the dining room can make for a perfect home office. 

Plus, a dining room table can make a great desk that can suit more than one family member. You could put up partitions to create several workspaces on the dining room table itself, or purchase a modular desk that expands and downsizes depending on your needs.

We use our dining space as a homework station for the kids; it’s a great dedicated space where they are close by if they need help. Just load up on office supplies and get a power bar or two, and you will be ready to go.

Here’s a list of home office essentials to help you get started. 


Playroom for the kids

Ditch the dining room

If you’re unsure if your kids are getting enough activity, they may enjoy turning the dining room into a playroom. Kids can use the playroom space for all of their toys. A playroom is a great idea because it keeps the toy mess contained and off of other parts of your house.

Having a play area close by to the kitchen when you have young kids is a godsend. Plus, it’s close by and can allow you to get food ready and still have the little ones close. Plus, it’s a great way to keep all their toys out of the living room and kitchen.


Turn your dining room into a nursery

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If you’re expecting a new addition to the family, converting the dining room into a nursery could be a good idea. Get the things you need like a crib, playpen, and changing table and make this space the baby’s new room.

What’s important is knowing that your needs will change as your child grows up, and their needs do as well. What seemed perfect for one year may be less ideal for another. What was once interesting may now seem boring to them. And, what was fun last week may not be as exciting next week (that goes on until they… well, it never stops.)


Open kitchen

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If you have an adjacent formal dining room, you could do a home renovation (get our free home renovation spreadsheet here) and combine them into a larger kitchen or a great room. That way, you have a new room, but it is still open to the kitchen.

An open kitchen is great if you have a smaller kitchen but would love to expand it for more countertop space and add extra sitting space like a kitchen island or kitchen table.


Home school classroom

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Get some visuals and some chairs and convert the table into a homeschool classroom.


Home library

Heritage Hill 5-Shelf Library Bookcase Bookshelf Cherry Furniture Storage Adjustable Shelves Wood Wall Home Tall Office Book, Assembled measurements: 13"D x 29-3/4"W x 72-1/4"H

If you are a book lover, having a home library instead of a dining room makes a lot of sense. What’s great about this idea is that it can be a formal library or a more casual one depending on your needs. A home library is great if you have a large book collection or your parent’s old reference books that you want to show off.

Get some bookshelves, a comfortable reading chair, and maybe some noise-canceling headphones (if you have a loud family) and use this space to tune out and enjoy the latest book.


Crafting room

Project Center Desk with 2 Bookcase Sides-White

A formal dining room can have a lot of space which is perfect for doing large crafts. If you want to bring out that interior designer that’s been in hiding, this may be the change for you. Having a dedicated space with your supplies handy is a great way to do your crafts projects.

Plus, the space and the table can be great for putting together large-scale projects, so converting a formal dining room into a crafting space can be perfect.


Hobby room

Studio Designs Sew Ready Mobile Height Adjustable Hobby and Craft Cutting Table with Drawers in Silver/White (13374)

Not a craft person? That’s cool. Turn an unused dining room into a space for your hobby whether that’s model planes, writing, video editing, or something else.


Entertainment room

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Love music? Movies? Why not make it a music room or a full-out entertainment room where you can catch up on shows with the family or sit back in comfortable seating and listen to some great music! 

A music room or entertainment area is a great way to breathe new life into your dining room.


Convert it into a den

What is a den? It’s an area where you can gather in a more relaxed atmosphere than a formal living room. You will need all the furniture to sit, of course, and a coffee table or two for the drinks. But having an area that everyone can use to chill is a great way to repurpose a dining room.

Add some mood light with a floor lamp or two, our dining room doesn’t have much natural light, and you have a new living area that everyone will love.


Game room

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It’s amazing how some dining room tables can accommodate a tabletop game or even a ping pong table. If you have a family that loves to play games, this is a great choice.

Depending on the size of the room, you may even be able to fit a pool table into it. If it’s not big enough for the larger table ideas, get a card table and turn it into a room for you to play board games.

You will be happy you made the whole space an area where you can come together and enjoy your time as a family. Plus, that dining room table will stop collecting dust and you can use it for something enjoyable.


Spare bedroom

Pemberly Row Puq Easy-Lift Dual Piston Queen Size Murphy Wall Bed in White

Spare bedrooms are where a Murphy bed is king. If you want a guest room but don’t have anywhere else to put one, you can convert the dining room into a guest bedroom for when you need it.

Plus, if you get a Murphy bed, it can serve a dual purpose like an office or one of the other ideas mentioned in the list.


Home gym

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Home gyms have been all the rage the past few years. But, if you aren’t using your dining room for anything, then it’s time that you take it to the next level. Making a mini gym in your house doesn’t need to cost a lot. Get some dumbells and your favorite cardio machine, and you will have the perfect room for getting your workouts in during the day.


Home bar

homestyles Americana Black Bar with Wood Top

I fall into the more of a home bar than a home gym type of person. A home bar is a great feature if you love entertaining. Rather than let the dining room table gather dust, get a bar, stock it with some of your favorite spirits, and use it as a lounge. Put some music on, get some floor lamps, and you can turn it into a great little space for you and your guests to hang out.


Storage room

Storage room

We all have things like seasonal decorations or other items that sit idle for the better part of the year. A storage area is a great way to use the extra space and store things that you aren’t using at the moment.


Ditch the Dining Room FAQ


Does anyone use a dining room anymore?

Formal dining rooms are seen less and less in new houses and custom homes. The reason for this is because people use their kitchens as eat-in areas or opt for a great room concept so that family members in the kitchen feel more connected as they prepare meals.


What does the dining room represent?

Does the dining room bring back memories of holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and good food made by your grandma or grandpa in the kitchen? It used to be the dining room that represented important meals, reserved for special occasions only.

The reality is most households only use their dining room on holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) or perhaps once a month if they have family over for dinner. So what happens the rest of the time? The dining room remains unused. That is why so many people are looking to convert the dining room into other things.


What can I turn my old dining table into?

There are many uses for an old dining table, such as a craft table, play table, or even a home office desk.

If you are looking for ideas on what to do with your old dining table and have kids and an active family, then converting it into a play table is a perfect choice.


So what do you do with an unused dining room?

While we would all love to move into a larger house, often we have to make the most of what our house has and the space it offers. If you find that you have no use for a dining room anymore, then you have a great opportunity to turn it into something even better! Just make sure you still have a place to eat somewhere in your house!

If you aren’t completely sold on ditching the dining room, you could upgrade your dining room set, here are some cheap dining room sets for under $200.

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