Now – I know that a lot of people are using dining rooms for a totally different use now, with family living changing generation by generation, but for those of us who have a dining room (or dining area in their kitchen), then getting it organised is key to using it well, and getting the most out of it.
I wanted to go through the A.D.O.R.E method of organising a space, as I know those of you who have been following me for a while are really enjoying this method, and its really helping you – so keep going!
Just to reiterate for those who are new – A.D.O.R.E stands for:-
- Declutter and Clean
- Real Life
This is the process that I use for organising any space, and I truly believe that its the best way to create a space that works both functionally and aesthetically too.
So – lets get on with it then! Let me know how you get on, as always! (please post your comments at the bottom)
ASSESS your Dining Room
These are the type of questions you will be asking yourself here:-
- How many people need to sit comfortably to eat usually (and how many for special occasions)?
- What needs to be stored in the room/space?
- Does the space need to be dual purpose? And if not, is there something that you could utilise it for as well (have you thought of some good ways to make the most of the space)?
- What type of dining do you do? Formal / informal / Parties etc….
- When do you use the room (morning / Lunch / Evening etc…)
- How big is the room, and what needs to fit into it?
- Do you need new furniture, have you got existing items that need to be placed?
- Do you actually need/want a dining room, or could it be used for a different purpose? If you do need a dining room, are you sure this is the right room for it? (many people are swayed by how previous owners have used the spaces, and as such may be missing a trick – if your dining room is at the back of the house looking into the garden, maybe it would be better swapping with your living room for instance – just think about your home with fresh eyes and you’ll see new possibilities)
Answers to these questions will help you make more informed decisions about furniture choices, storage, decor etc….
Declutter and Clean your Dining Room
Does exactly what it says on the tin!
Once you have a plan of how you want to use the space, and what you need in the space, its time to clear it and clean it.
Take out everything if you can, and just leave the furniture you want to keep. That makes it a lot easier to clean everything, and move the furniture around until you get the right configuration (if you are getting new furniture then hold off until you have finished this stage, as its only in the next stage that you can start to purchase new things, you’ll see why in a mo!)
Now, look at everything you have taken out of the room, and get rid of anything damaged, anything you don’t use any longer, any incomplete sets etc…. – anything that basically you have that you really don’t use or need anymore.
You should now be left with a clean room, and only the items that need to go back into the room when its finished.
Organising the Dining Room
So – you should now have a space thats clean and ready to get organised (and a space somewhere else thats full of dining room clutter for the time being – bear with it – I promise it will be worth it!)
Now, there are two groups of things that you will be looking at bringing into the room:-
- The things you took out of the room that you want to keep
- Other items in the house that you need/want to keep in the room going forward.
Number one is clear as it will be in front of you, number two may take some more investigation. Lets look at possible scenarios:-
- Dining Room with extra use as a study – you may want to bring all the home office items from around the house together in one place
- Dining Room that needs to store kitchen items as kitchen is too small – you will want to sort through and take all the items that are used less often – so theres more space in the kitchen for the most used items.
- Dining room items being kept around the house for whatever reason – maybe you haven’t had the right storage as yet. Things like crockery sets, cutlery sets, display items etc….
Get together everything you want in the room, stand back and take a long deep breath! This is what needs organising!
Here are some key tips on organising the dining room – you use what you need:-
- Furniture requirements – do you need a sideboard? Open or closed shelving? Hidden Storage? Storage in the dining table?, A different shaped or extendable dining table? Think carefully about the type of storage you get. You want to maximise the space, make it as suitable for your needs as possible, and also be in keeping with your homes style.
- Display – You could use some of the dining rooms items for display – think about a glass doored sideboard as this saves a lots of dusting, although open shelving can look great (you just have to be aware and happy that you will have to dust more…. not sure I am that way inclined I must say!)
- Ambiance – Do you listen to music in this room? If so, where will you house the stereo and music?
- Keep all items that you need for a dinner party for example in this room so that they are easy to find and very accessible – therefore you don’t need to keep going to another room when you come to set the table.
- If you have to have different things in this room (i.e. your home office, or a play area), then keep each area as separate as possible – then you will be able to see at a glance what needs tidying etc…
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- If you have a dinner party you want to have a lovely room to have it in if possible – so if it is a multi functional room, try and use storage for the other functions that will hide it away (a desk that can close up to look like a sideboard, and large trunks to stow away toys.
- Designate areas in the room for the different items you need for dining – plates, glassware, cutlery, linen etc…
- If possible, a dresser in this room can work really well as it can display the nicer pieces of crockery and glassware that you have – and also is functional as it gives it a home thats easily accessible.
- Ensure you have all the items required for a dinner party to hand – so that you can have a proper dinner at the table whenever the mood takes you – candles, laundered linen etc.. – it helps to write a list of everything that you need an taping it to the back of the dressers door – that way you can check easily what should be there and what you need to get on your next shopping trip
- This may not actually be the best place for the dining table – consider dining in the kitchen as it can be more social – then you have freed up your dining room so that it can have a totally different function – do not be constrained by what you ‘should do’ in the room – do what works best for the space for your family
- If you use the table as a homework/sewing/craft space as well, consider using a padded material under the tablecloth (or for younger children a plastic cloth works well) as then you won’t scratch or damage your table at all.
Real Life in your Dining Room
Now its time to get on with living in the space.
Try and use it for a month and see how you go with the changes made. Have friends round, eat at the table with your kids, use it and test it properly! (and if you have decided to change its use completely – lets see how that goes too!)
Hopefully you will have seen positive changes once you’ve tested out the new space, but if there are tweaks to be made, this is the time to do them.
Look at whats worked and what hasn’t – and act on it!
Hope this has helped you get more organised about the way you look at your dining room in the future – let me know how it goes!