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What to do with formal lounge and dining rooms?
When you don't use them?


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#1 TopsyTurvy

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:09 PM

I am after any inspired suggestions please.

We moved into this house 6 months ago and are yet to furnish the formal lounge and dining rooms as they seem superfluous to our needs.

They are very open plan and you walk past them to get to the kitchen and living dining areas.

Sure we could buy another lounge suite and dining setting but to me that's wasted space.  I really would like them to be functional but also look nice as well.  They are not huge rooms and and formal lounge has a gas log fireplace, plus one wall is all white plantation shuttered windows.

We already have a playroom for DS which was a home theater room.

So far I have thought about putting some Billy Bookcases with doors along one wall in the dining room, and maybe a nice rug and a chaise or something to create a nice library effect, but DH won't commit to that.

Ok I will also add some photos to help you see the rooms!

Dining by Leapyleigh, on Flickr


Lounge by Leapyleigh, on Flickr

Thanks for any ideas original.gif

Edit to add that the rooms face each other if that makes any difference original.gif

Edited by TopsyTurvy, 08 November 2012 - 01:12 PM.


#2 niggles

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:12 PM

Cosy chairs, many shelves. Library one. Library two. Easy.

ETA since they face each other I'd make that library and reading room. I guess DH could have a corner for his guitars in the reading room too.

Edited by niggles, 08 November 2012 - 01:13 PM.


#3 haras1972

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:16 PM

piano/music room for me

#4 Tigerdog

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:18 PM

Just last weekend I moved my dining table out of the dining room and made it into a playroom (it sits between the kitchen and the lounge).  I'm lucky enough to have a huge kitchen area so I moved the table in there, which means we're more likely to eat in the kitchen now and the toys will be out of my loungeroom (here's hoping!).

Edited by Tigerdog, 08 November 2012 - 01:18 PM.


#5 icekool

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:26 PM

Meditation room?
Do you have a TV room or not interested in a cinema room?

#6 claptrap

Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:35 PM

When you say that you want them to be functional, I think you need to decide what function you'd like them to fulfil.  If you want them to look nice then to me that implies more formal decoration and yes probably at least a second sofa/lounge chair setting.  

So if you aren't the dinner party or formal lounge types then you need to look at how you DO spend your time and then allot functions to the rooms accordingly.  So, library as a PP suggested, if you like reading.  Or perhaps a craft or sewing space?

If you are likely to be in this home for a while then it might be worth investing in a second lounge suite so that there can be a kids' space and adults' space (depending on age of your DS).

Or if you are not TV in front of dinner types, do as another PP suggests and make one part a TV room and banish TV from your mealtimes! (a big fan of this personally but that's just me).

#7 *maddierose*

Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:37 PM

Very similar to my layout, we have a similar open plan formal lounge, directly accross from it is a study and next to the study is (was) an open plan formal dining. You walk past those rooms to get to the kitchen, family and rumpus.


We have a lounge in our formal lounge but as we have a 2x rumpus and family room with tv's i have refused a tv in the formal lounge. It is just a room used to read and have time out. Our formal lounge room is as you walk in the front door so i do like having a lounge area.

The formal dining we put a wall up and made it a 5th bedroom (we have 4 children). DD who is almost 17 has it as her room and we have discussed uses for it in the future. As it's closed we have thought maybe a library but our study doubles as a library. Or a gym room. Dh thinks he'd like a man room, lol.

#8 Feral Cancerian

Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:39 PM

Both rooms scream 'Library' to me.

#9 The Old Feral

Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:53 PM

Our dining room gets used for a sit down family dinner every night.  The table off the kitchen is always covered in homework and mail and laptops and I love not having to sweep it all off every night just to eat!

Our main living room is actually the more formal of the two where people gather for a chat, and the second one is where we retreat to 'do stuff'.  It has the kids' toys, lego tables and desks, plus the big telly/wii/home cinema, a wall of bookshelves, and our comfiest couch.

#10 Coffeegirl

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:07 PM

We have a very open plan downstairs.  Our 2 lounges are connected by a long dining area.  Like a straightened out Z.

The top left hand side is kids lounge, with their own tv, computer that I can see from the adult lounge wink.gif and video games, lego area etc.

At the top of the middle 'stick' of the Z we have our old 20 year old dining table (seats 4). Kids do homework and projects here.  We also use it for extra seating or seperate kids table when we entertain (stretches out to seat 6-8 kids).  The kitchen is opposite the lounge above with a breakfast bar between it and the table.  

At the bottom of the stick we have a long 8-10 seater table for entertaining and family meals (when we actually all are home at the same time!)

The bottom right hand side is our 'adults' only area, nice leather lounges and comfy chairs, tv mounted on wall, very clean and uncluttered.  We do watch family movies here together, but mainly it is DH and my area.  

Our kids will be 9 & 12 within 3 mths, so this works well for us.

#11 Sentient Puddle

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:10 PM

Library, library, library!

#12 TopsyTurvy

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:29 PM

Thanks for the suggestions original.gif

I really do want the library, maybe some comfy chairs in the lounge and a bar biggrin.gif I can just picture wandering into the library and finding a great book from my collection and then wandering over to the bar before pouring a drink and settling into the lounge chairs to read before the fire!

Hubby can't freaking decide however.  He wants to do "something" but has no idea what.  I would just go and do what I want, but I wouldn't be happy if he did that so have to wait till he agrees.

I thought maybe you might have some other enticing ideas to throw at me to suggest for him.

Thankfully our dining setting is used just for that and you can't really see the Telly.  I don't do craft except for kitchen based stuff so that isn't an option.  Neither of us are movie watchers and DS already has a lounge in his playroom.

#13 mitty82

Posted 10 November 2012 - 06:12 PM

For me it would be a library, with comfy comfy reading chairs(chaise or an egg chair) and then a mini bar fridge that holds various drinks. A nice little side table that has a coffee machine and somewhere to put chocolate. Then some form of audio and a massive Keep out sign lol

#14 LucidDream

Posted 10 November 2012 - 06:38 PM

How about a gym?  With a running machine, weights and TV in the corner.

The library could also double as a spare bedroom with a fold-out couch.

#15 Froger

Posted 11 November 2012 - 01:34 PM

I'm assuming from your Op that you have two lounge areas and two dining areas, informal and formal.

As you say the formal are open plan and very visible, if it was me I'd probably be inclined to use them as their intended purpose, and use the less visible informal areas as something else. For example I'd use the informal lounge area as a library and study, with the formal lounge set up as a lounge, rather than the other way around.

#16 gemgirl

Posted 11 November 2012 - 01:43 PM

I'd have a casual sitting room near the kitchen (family room) and the lounge would be my TV room. My kids have a playroom with a TV in it.

If I had spare rooms to play with, I'd have a study/home office or a sewing room, or both.



#17 Sal78

Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:37 AM

my formal loune is the first room you see from the entry on your right so i have used it for its intended purpose. we r hardly in there but it's a lovely hamptons style inspired room in beige and pastel blue. it's the only room i bought new furniture for. my kids love playing hide n seek in there. its my fav room since it's always neat and tidy. i also have a photo wall there.

the adjoining formal dining is our piano room. there's a piano and another 2 tub chairs. the mahagony piano is the feature and ds1 spends a lot of time in there practicing. the room is square and big enough for a baby grand. maybe another 5 yrs we upgrade.

can't wait to gather around the formal lounge at xmas and play xmas carols on the piano.

if you r wanting practical, what about a gym/ workout room?



#18 Sentient Puddle

Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:41 AM

I would much prefer a useful room than a showroom this is used once a year! I dont care what people think of my house - and I dont want a room to look like it is straight out of a showhome just for visitors to see??  I would much prefer to furnish the room for a function!

#19 Cat Burglar

Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:45 AM

Personally I'd set up a home gym with my treadmill and weight bench. But that might not be of interest to you  tongue.gif

Wish I had a spare room to play with!




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