Evolution of a Room: 1 Room, 3 Designs

My dining room, which is just off of my kitchen, has gone through many transformations. Originally, it was a dining room, of course, with a rectangular square table. Sometimes it got used for dinner parties but most of the time it was hidden by drifts of mail. And then it morphed.

It became my home office. I moved in furniture from my living room -- a console table became a desk, two end tables held books and papers, a side chair became my office chair, two storage ottomans pushed together became a small settee where visitors sat.

But, as eager as I was to have a real office, I've come to realize that I don't work at a desk. I like to lie down, usually on the couch or in bed, with the computer propped against my knees and, therefore, the room didn't get as much use as I'd planned. What was getting use was that small settee. I don't know if this is true in your home, but in my house, everyone ends up in the kitchen. I needed to incorporate those two facts -- I like to work lying down and everyone always end up in the kitchen -- into the room's next incarnation. So now the "dining room" has become a new kind of office, where I can lie down to work and where people can sit for cocktails and appetizers while I mess about in the kitchen.

Two white Lack shelves, found on Craigslist, were turned on their side to perform bench duty. A side table was brought in from the living room along with an ottoman and a dining chair, a rug was pulled over from the kitchen. While this is probably not the room's final incarnation (I'm debating more changes -- whether to keep the chandelier or replace it with a fixture that doesn't hang quite so low; whether to pick up a small drop leaf table "just in case" I feel like working at a desk -- but I'm going to live with the room "as is" for a few weeks before I buy anything), it's a study in how a room can (and should) evolve as your needs grow, as your taste changes, as you learn how your particular home naturally gets used for the life you are living today.

Take a look at your home. If a room has outgrown its usefulness, consider morphing it into a room that will work for your needs. Don't be afraid to move the furniture around, steal pieces from other rooms or look at an old item in a new way.

(Images: Abigail Stone)

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