Are Formal Dining Rooms Outdated?

I respect that there are still reasons for having a formal dining room but ours does nothing more than gather dust which I refuse to clean regularly anymore. Our last home had a large formal dining area. Other than it being a “must have” for my husband, it served no purpose except when my in-law’s came to visit a couple of times and the animals using it as a restroom. When he built our current home three years ago, my husband promised there would be no formal dining area. Three years later we have another formal dining room.

We have no dinner parties. Our social circle requires nothing more than paper plates and a cold beer. We barely even have people over to visit. So, while I understand my husband wants this room for his own reasons, it is not something we use. Let’s move on to ideas I have for using this room.

Idea # 1: Game Room

A table and chairs for board games and the occasional poker night. We could put a music system in there and decorate with a game “theme”. A dart board on the wall with some memorabilia of the first darts ever made. A little bar area with a sign that proclaimed you were in “McDowall’s Pub”. A flat screen mounted on the wall showing the latest game while everyone eats snacks.

Since my husband does not watch sports, play darts or poker and prefers a more solitary environment, that idea went by the wayside pretty quickly.

Idea # 2: Kids Area

Kid friendly furniture, a television, a sound system and my 12 year old son’s gaming system. A laptop and some posters would create a comfortable place for him and his friends to hang out instead of trying to cram into his small room.

The problem is that the formal dining room is right next to our living room. My husband would not be able to watch his programs over boys shouting about beating each other in the latest video game. The kids wouldn’t enjoy themselves either with my husband telling them to quiet down.

Idea # 3: An Arts & Crafts Room

My son and I enjoy creating things that usually only turn out to be fabulous to us. I have painted pots with a rustic western theme and he has made things out of paper you wouldn’t believe. While we may not be Rembrandt, this is something we truly enjoy.

Most of the time, we scrap our “creations” but sometimes they turn out okay. Still, we spend a lot of time alone so this is a fun outlet for us. A floor covering to catch any unwanted mess, a table we would not be afraid of getting dirty and cabinets to hold all our supplies would make this room an area we could have fun with. Some of our “masterpieces” could hang on the wall along with my daughter’s interpretation of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” which, by the way, is really good. She was offered money for it.

I don’t think my husband could stand to see that area being used in this way so…next!

Idea # 4: Quiet Reading Room/Library

I love to read, my son loves to read. My vision of a chaise lounge, informal furniture, tables with books and magazines, shelves, a relaxed seating area to have tea and some lamps scattered around between plants comes to life every time I think about this scenario. Maybe a radio for soft, unobtrusive music playing in the background. I imagine sipping on hot tea, reading and looking out the windows into the front yard while daydreaming of the novel I have yet to write. I can envision my son and I talking about a book we just read and sharing our thoughts, quietly so as not to disturb my husband.

While this seems like it might be the most plausible alternate use for our formal dining area, I patiently await a change in my husband’s stubborn desire to keep this room as it is, formal and unused.