What does your dining area look like when it's not in use? We usually keep a few stacks of books and a vase of fresh flowers on our table to keep the space inviting. Sure, we make good use of the dining room when there's company, but we also like to make the space useful in other ways when we're not entertaining.
[ Photo from Living Etc ]
This idea could be a reaction from childhood memories: my parents never used the dining room, the parlor, or the good china unless people were coming over or if it was major holiday meal. We spent the majority of our family eating time around a more casual table in the kitchen. As a result, those rooms stayed in pristine condition--and also a bit cold and uninviting.
Do you use your dining room just for company?