Rethink your dining room

Dining rooms can be a great place to gather family and friends for a meal, but many people neglect theirs in favor of more casual spaces around the home. People should rethink these spaces for other activities in order to maximize their space. Here are three houses that inspire new approaches to the dining room, so that homeowners can get the most out of their floor plans. 

The sitting room and the library
Often, dining rooms are situated just off the entrance to a home, so that guests may arrive and immediately find their place at the table. This placement makes for a perfect sitting room. Comfy chairs, couches and side tables make for a great place to have tea and welcome guests. It can also serve as a cozy gathering area while waiting for others to get ready before going out for the evening.

To make it an even more charming space, you can convert the room into a library. HHF-5586 is already halfway there, with shelves of books lining the walls of its dining room.  Not only do books serve as great decoration, but they also offer a quiet retreat in the home. Combining your library with your sitting room can even provide conversation starters and entertainment for guests.

Crafts and games
HHF-7139 has foregone the dining room in favor of what it calls a flex space. Homeowners should take that as a challenge and get creative. Dining rooms can make for a game room, outfitted with billiards, ping-pong or air hockey tables. You can also use the space as an arts and crafts room, complete with storage units for materials and a work table for crafting. HHF-7139's flex space conveniently overlooks the front yard, so parents can work on projects while keeping an eye on the kids.  If you are tired of cleaning a sprawling great room, you can even designate it as a kids' space for their messier activities. 

Joining rooms
The dining space in HHF-2808 is less of a room and more of an extension of an open kitchen layout. Homeowners who don't want to completely eschew the dining room concept may look to this kind of house plan, where the kitchen and dining room are combined to create a more inviting space. The open layout also provides new design opportunities, as homeowners can experiment with a larger room.