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No Dining Room Table on Purpose?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

The minimalist furniture thread got me thinking about our furniture situation -- but I didn't want to hack the thread. I'm a total minimalist at heart, fairly minimalist in practice.  We recently created a cozy guest space in our dining area because it was largely unused (just a dining room table and chairs) and we do have fairly frequent overnight guests. We moved our dining room table and chairs to the living/family room and made it sort of a great room. I feel that it looks too cluttered now even though we don't have a lot of pieces in the room. We have a couch, chair, two bookshelves and now the dining room table and chairs. Oh,and a handmade cherry coffee table my husband and his father built. Our kids use that for play all the time and I keep baskets underneath with toys so it does work in the room as functional and beautiful. Writing it out doesn't sound that minimal but the couch and chair are mid-sized with very clean lines, not honkin' huge pieces so it works for us.


I want to donate/sell the dining room table and chairs but part of me is resisting it. I am pretty traditional in terms of family dinners, everyone around the same table sharing a meal and so on --  for some reason I'm attached to the "sitting around a table" aspect rather than what I really crave -- which is family togetherness/connection which we do have independent from our table and chairs lol


I considered getting a folding table and chairs so I could keep it put away and it wouldn't add visual clutter but then taking it down and putting it up several nights a week sounds like a drag even though I'm sure it's not a lot of effort lol


Anyway, talk this through with me. Stories of those happily living without a dining room table and chairs appreciated! Pictures would be *awesome*!! Thanks!

post #2 of 13

We have a two-person table in the kitchen for when it's just the guy and me, and a larger rectangular table against the wall in the living room, with just two chairs by it, and we're thinking of reducing that to one. The larger table is good for various projects and we can pull it out from the wall and fetch chairs from elsewhere in the house when dinner is more than the two of us. But since your dinner is always more than two of you, that's not going to work.




Could you sit around the coffee table for dinner, some on the couch and some on the floor or floor pillows?


If there isn't room for the serving dishes that way, how about a little console table against the wall to put out the food? Essentially, buffet at home. :)


Is the dining table bigger than you need? Could you get a smaller one?


Does the dining table look too "diningish" - for example, is it an oval? Would a rectangular table that looks more like the living room furniture work better? Similarly, are the chairs too diningish?


Is the table out from the wall with chairs all around it? Would it be less dominating if it were against the wall and you just sat on two or three sides of it?


Do you have other chairs in the living room that you could pull up to the table for meals, so that it's just a table rather than table-and-chairs?


That's all I've got. :)

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post



Could you sit around the coffee table for dinner, some on the couch and some on the floor or floor pillows?


That's an idea I'm considering!


Is the dining table bigger than you need? Could you get a smaller one?


Yeah, I think that's part of it. It's not huge and the lines are very clean -- it's just a bit big. I'm wondering if a square table and chairs would work better.



Is the table out from the wall with chairs all around it? Would it be less dominating if it were against the wall and you just sat on two or three sides of it?


No, it's against the wall but I still feel it looks too cluttered. I realize that's probably my issue, as I totally would love a room with just a couch and nothing else haha With a husband and kids though, that's a bit of a lofty goal lol


That's all I've got. :)


I left out the suggestions that didn't apply -- but thank you so much for your input! I'm considering my options :)

post #4 of 13
You could look into getting a table with drop down leaves. That way it could take up less space when not in use. The chairs would have to be kept somewhere, though, so the overall effect could end up more cluttered, rather than less.
post #5 of 13
I've had a table pushed up to a wall and it did look too cluttered.
The table was free, otherwise I would have gotten a much smaller one.

After a lot of thought, my perfect table is a pedestal type table with either drop sides or inserts. Tables with legs make it harder to add extra people.

I've also had a card table as my only table. We lived but it wasn't ideal. The baby shook it at meals and overall wasn't very stable for my oldest to do her homework.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input! I have friends who don't have a dining room table -- they have tv trays on stands that fit in a small 'holder' that came with it when not in use. It seems very 70's to me lol but that's cuz tv trays were all the rage then... They don't watch tv when they eat, it's just a place to put the plates while they sit in their normal seating. That's an idea (I'm just thinking out loud).


Ikea makes a table and chair set where the chairs fit almost totally flush with the table underneath. I don't care for the design though. Hmm, maybe a pedastool round table that didn't look too dining-roomish would work. I also considered a bistro type set but then that may look too patio-like. If I don't want to go without, I think the solution is just a smaller table -- like a square one. Sigh. We're moving soon so maybe in our next place it won't be an issue!

post #7 of 13

I have to say eating together as a family is really important to me so I'd never get rid of a dining table.


Would there be any possibility of a table that folded back against the wall? I've seen small ones at IKEA, but I don't think it would be very hard to make one, actually, and then it would be a better size. We're planning to put one in our kitchen soonish.

post #8 of 13

The rooms you describe already sound minimalist to me.

What's the purpose behind needing to get rid of even more furniture?

post #9 of 13

We never have had a dining table. Since I left home, never. And feel free to hack my threads winky.gif lol.gif 


Australian houses really don't have two separate dining areas like the ones in the US seem to. It's either in the kitchen or in a dining space next to the kitchen (generally opening on to the living room). From what I have seen US ones seem to have a separate dining room and an area for more casual dining near the kitchen. Why anyone would need TWO dining tables in one house is a mystery to me ??? shrug.gif


The houses I have lived in have just never accommodated a dining table. In most, the kitchen (where the dining table was meant to be) was either too small or a strange shape, and having a dining table would have taken up every inch of space (even a tiny one). And the others were open plan (living and kitchen) and the kind of design where the only place for a dining table is smack bang in the middle of living room- albeit only at one end. But I find dining tables look so out of place in a living room. Especially when they are taking up the majority of the room. But I am a sucker for open spaces and room for the kids to play and dance etc. Plus I hate the look of a table with chairs all randomly around it. Might look alright if you tuck every chair in perfectly every time you get up. But in a main living space with busy kids it just isn't practical and chairs all over the place around the table looks messy and cluttered.


I would like to say that if I had a specific roomy 'dining room' I might get a big table and chairs, but chances are I would find a much more fun or practical use for that room. Like a family closet (miss my family closet redface.gif) or craft room, or just another bedroom for the kids. The house we are in now is the open plan type and there is just nowhere for a dining table to go. Maybe if a dining table was my number one priority in life, I would make space for it. But it's just not important to me, not enough to take over our playing/living area.


Have to say I am baffled by the notion that not having a dining table means you can't eat meals together...I have never had a meal without my children and I all sitting right by one another. We don't have a TV so it's not like we sit around doing our own things glued to a screen. We have family meals together all day long. Only difference is where/how we are sitting. Most of the time we just sit around on the floor or giant floor cushions in a little cozy gathering. Sometimes outside. Pretty much wherever is comfy at the time, we definitely don't have a set eating place. And we have almost never had a couch either (but that's for another thread lol.gif).


A couple of options for the OP, which have probably already been mentioned, but definitely can work just as nicely...


-Giant square coffee table with floor cushions around it. I had friends who had this and it was so lovely and homey to sit and eat around with them. Just had a nice feel to it. They actually didn't have cushions, as they had thick soft carpet. But if you have hardwood or tiles, cushions would be nicer. 


-Outdoor table and chairs. We live in the tropics where the weather during the day is almost always lovely and sunny outside. So I am even considering this myself. Mainly so all the crumbs are outside and I don't have to clean them up LOL. But if you lived in the north of America I can see how this might not be practical year round. 


- Otherwise I would get a really narrow long table pushed against the wall (ikea used to have these) and some stools instead of chairs (ikea is good again winky.gif) then you can push them all under it completely after a meal and it will look a lot tidier! 


Idea, why don't you put the dining table somewhere out of the way (garage or something?) and just see if the world doesn't fall apart without it. I promise it won't. And you can get a feel for what else might work better for your family. Or if the dining table really is a necessity for you and you miss it, then that will help in working things out too. Just an experiment to see what happens when it is removed, where and how everyone congregates... thumb.gif

post #10 of 13

We have, sometimes, not had a dining table.  We'd often use a large, low coffee table with cushions and at an old apartment we had a counter with stools we could eat at easily.  


Right now we have a regular dining table, but for awhile I was considering getting a gateleg table (here's an ikea version - there's pretty old fashioned and antique styles out there too) for the sake of having a large table for gatherings, but having something that took up tons less room than a normal table and wouldn't need all that space for everyday.  Completely folded they end up like a sideboard or something you could keep flowers or mail on.  

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies! We do have a nice coffee table my husband and his dad built that I'm considering making our 'everything' table. I agree with Logan -- we've always eaten meals as a family regardless of sitting at a designated table. It's this mental thing I have where I think we "should" have a table because everyone else does. You'd think after so many years of doing things the general population finds weird I wouldn't care what people thought of us not having a table lol


The other thing is that the table serves as one of the only flat, clear spaces the kids can do projects and whatnot on -- it isn't because other spaces are cluttered, it's literally lack of other surfaces. We have wall-to-wall carpet (I hate it, we rent) so art projects and the like aren't really practical to do on the floor because of the texture (paper doesn't lay right etc). I'm not getting an easel --already donated that space waster lol We do have the above mentioned coffee table (always clear) but the little one plays on there and if my bigger kid wants to do a project or something it would get destroyed by the little...hmm....


I did consider ditching the dining table in favor of a nice desk -- that would provide a flat surface for projects etc AND be a place to eat for one/two. Hmm, maybe a small desk open on both sides to serve as a desk AND table -- but smaller than our table now. Clearly I'm thinking way too much about this! lol


 I did have a small desk in my eldest's room but she HATED the idea of doing projects and whatnot in her room separated from the family so out it went. So, that wouldn't be an option.


I think the best option would be a small desk or table against the wall (smaller than we have now) that serves primarily as a desk for my bigger kid to do projects and the like and CAN be used as extra seating for one or two people who are dead set on eating at a "table".




The rooms you describe already sound minimalist to me.

What's the purpose behind needing to get rid of even more furniture?


I like open spaces and also because I have opposite of whatever hoarders have that makes them want to keep stuff ...lol. I function best with as little visual clutter as possible while still keeping the space comfortable and functional.


Thanks so much for all your thoughtful replies!



ETA: mumkimum: I love that table, or the idea of it -- but I don't like the idea of spending upwards of $200 on it lol Thanks for the suggestion :)

post #12 of 13
You mentioned moving soon. If that's true, then you should wait to see what the new place is like. You wouldn't want to spend money on a table now that doesn't work in a few months, would you?
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

pek64 -- very true. This probably wouldn't happen until we moved.

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