Dining Room Alternatives

What to Do with an Unused Dining Room

If you find that your dining room goes unused most of the time, there are plenty of ways to transform the space to suit your lifestyle and needs. Reclaim the room by turning it into a swanky lounge, a practical home office or even a cozy guest suite. Whether you need storage or a spot to relax, you can repurpose the dining room in an array of exciting ways.

Alternative Dining Room Ideas

Changing needs and hectic lifestyles call for flexibility in design, and an underutilized dining room is a great place to start. You and your family can get the most out of this unused space by switching up the furniture and decor. Check out these dining room alternatives if you’re ready to refresh your layout:

Contemporary Lounge: Create a cool, upscale aesthetic by turning your dining room into a bar. Counter- and bar-height pub sets are chic options for serving drinks, while a streamlined chaise adds cozy seating for your guests. For the final touch, use servers and buffets to display your selection of spirits and glassware.

Rustic Retreat: To create a relaxing guest room, deck out your dining room with a rustic bedroom set. Coordinating dressers and nightstands help promote a charming cottage vibe. Bed linens in soothing earth tones such as brown, green, yellow and orange also add a hint of inviting warmth.

Family-Friendly Entertainment Room: For a home theater, game room or play area, comfort is key. Replace your dining room furniture with a plush sofa and fireplace TV console for a cozy appeal. You can also find colorful kids’ accent pieces like easels, tents, craft tables and storage cubbies to add fun and functionality to the space.

Modern Multipurpose Room: A clean and simple look suits the needs of a home office or hobby room. Choose a small desk for your workstation, or try a sleek rectangle table for a spacious crafting surface. Casual bookcases, modern light fixtures, and desk chairs in a neutral beige, black or gray shade put the finishing touch on this multifunctional space.

Use a chic futon to transform an unused dining room into a swank lounge that doubles as a guest room.
Use a chic futon to transform an unused dining room into a swank lounge that doubles as a guest room.

Turn Your Dining Room into a Lounge

Combine living room and dining room furniture to create a comfy and chic at-home lounge. Use a glamorous metal bar cart or a spacious dark wood sideboard to store wine, spirits and mixers. Set up a spacious bar height table with adjustable bar stools where guests can sit and chat while you mix cocktails.

For seating, try a plush living room set with an attached chaise lounge. Add a few leather cocktail ottomans or glass-top end tables for guests to set down drinks. For overhead lighting, try rugged bronze pendant lights or glam silver chandeliers. To tie it all together, toss a few cozy accent pillows on the couch and hang a large art installation for a statement wall.

Rich fabrics and metallic finishes lend repurposed dining room lounges a sense of chic, upscale sophistication.
Rich fabrics and metallic finishes lend repurposed dining room lounges a sense of chic, upscale sophistication.

Repurpose Your Dining Room into a Guest Room

If it makes sense with your home’s layout, you may want to turn your dining room into a spare bedroom. Create a cozy getaway for overnight guests with a low-profile queen panel bed and comfy bedding that complements your color scheme. For an extra layer of softness, roll out a cushy area rug.

Give visitors plenty of space to stow their clothes and toiletries with a dresser and mirror set and a chest of drawers. Other bedroom accent pieces can include comfy upholstered benches, stools and vanities. Alternatively, a sleeper sofa, loveseat or arm chair does double duty as seating during the day and a cozy bed when it’s time to turn in for the night.

Ditch the Dining Room for a Media Room

If you love movie nights with the family, consider making your unused dining room into a media room. Luxurious theater seating, reclining leather sofas, or sectionals are perfect for kicking back to watch the latest blockbuster. For added convenience, choose models with built-in cupholders and storage consoles.

Keep beverages, snacks and remotes close at hand with features like drink holders and hidden cubbies inside armrests.
Keep beverages, snacks and remotes close at hand with features like drink holders and hidden cubbies inside armrests.

Of course, you’ll need a spot to display your big-screen. If you have a larger home, try a TV wall unit that offers plenty of room for your television, sound system, electronics and media collection. When space is at a premium, consider a corner TV stand or, for an extra cozy night in, opt for a TV stand with a built-in fireplace.

Repurpose the Dining Room into a Game Room

If you have kids or gamers in the house, you might want to turn your formal dining area into a rec room. A large TV console can hold a flat-screen, consoles and games. For seating, opt for comfy bean bags or even high-performance gaming chairs. Keep old-school board and card games in a storage ottoman, and set up a round dining set where you can enjoy table-top games with the family.

Create a Playroom for the Kids

The central location of most dining rooms makes them perfect for a playroom where mom or dad can easily keep an eye on the children. Comfy upholstered kid chairs, floor pillows and table sets give little ones a spot for quiet activities like reading, coloring and crafting. Colorful kids’ rugs brighten up the room and soften up the space for more active play.

Convert Your Dining Room into an Office

To create a functional dining room office, set up a stylish work table or corner desk and a comfy office chair. Add a table lamp for extra task lighting during early morning study sessions and all-nighters. Additionally, use bookcases to hold printers and office supplies as well as decorative sculptures and vases.

Promote productivity in your dining room office using decorative accents like wall clocks and dry erase boards. You can also add mood-boosting decor like wall art featuring inspirational words and images or silk florals for a little refreshing greenery.

Other Unused Dining Room Ideas: Creating a Hobby Room

Whether you’re an artist, musician or collector, another great dining room alternative is styling the space to support your interests.

Arts and Crafts Room

A wide dining table provides an excellent surface for those working on sewing and scrapbooking projects. You can also include a sleek swivel barstool where you can sit and paint, sketch or sculpt. Use a china cabinet to store your tools and equipment, and display your finished pieces on a spacious console table or a wall shelf.

Music Room

Does your dining room have killer acoustics? Transform it into a personal recording studio or music room. Add sleek file cabinets to organize sheet music, bring in an L-shaped desk for turntables and electronics or keep things chill with a small loveseat and comfy accent chairs for jam sessions. Complete the theme by hanging instruments, vintage record jackets or music-themed wall decor.

Workout Room

If you want a personal yoga studio or a place to practice Pilates, repurposing a dining room as a home gym is a smart investment. Use a small bookcase to hold clean towels, hand weights and kettlebells. To keep your exercise mats and foam rollers from taking up floor space, add a storage bench or decorative baskets.

Turn Your Dining Room into a Simple and Stylish Storage Area

With a couple of dressers, clothing racks, fashionable bureaus and chic shelves for holding shoes, you can transform your unused dining room into a fabulous walk-in closet for your extensive wardrobe. You could also create a family hall of fame using spacious cabinets and mounted shelves to display all trophies and awards.