Adios Dining Room

Last weekend my husband and I went out to dinner and a movie (what a treat!). We decided to see the new Will Ferrell movie – maybe you’ve seen it too?


{There’s so much I could say about the movie -and I will on a future blog post – because the title alone is so interesting from the perspective of a professional organizer.}


At one point during the movie Ferrel’s character tells his AA sponsor Frank (Michael Peña), “People say the dining room is the most underutilized part of the house, but I say it’s the front yard.”

I laughed out loud. I think that’s probably true – I mean really, how much do you use your front yard? No. Seriously though, I know a lot of people who don’t use their dining rooms very much.

In fact, I’ve actually converted my formal dining room to a home office. I work from home and the basement office just wasn’t working for me anymore. I was too far from the action – especially with little kids. Moving my office to the main level was an organizational decision first, and a decorating decision second. I am so much more productive and efficient from this simple move.

With the office on the main level I can hear kids playing no matter where they are in the house. I can even watch them play outside since my window looks out on the front yard. I can quickly jump up and grab my lunch, or move a load of laundry to the dryer. I can even pop in as I’m cooking dinner and check emails if necessary.

When we first moved in I thought that this room would be the dining room (because that was what is was supposed to be, right?).

Shortly after we were somewhat settled I decided that the living room would become our dining room, because unlike the quote from the movie I found so funny, we do actually use our dining room quite a bit – and I needed a bigger place to seat people (that idea was inspired by an old episode of Candace Olsen’s Divine Design). At that time, the official dining room became this totally unused area of the house. I don’t have a picture of it (I wish I did) because that’s how much I detested it. I thought it might become a library – chairs, built-in bookshelves – but that would have definitely been the most underutilized room in the house. Then one day – a lightbulb moment – I moved my desk upstairs and I’ve never looked back.

I did want to do something to help it feel more like a real office though and separate it from the rest of the house – so we decided to build a wall. Here are some of our “during construction” photos.

The goal of the design was to provide enough of a divider to establish a different room – but to still let in as much natural light as possible and to keep the open feel of the main level. The long window panes on either side of the doors, the french doors and the transoms all worked to meet that goal.

Here’s how the room turned out. I have to say, I love it!

Decorating the room took more time – but in the end I love the colors, the art work (that’s homemade artwork – just $10 for all three pieces), the nick knacks and family photos. I’m always adding something – my next two projects are a cute little foot stool for the chair and a fabric covered bulletin board. I’ll post pictures of those once I finish them.











It’s amazing to me what such a simple move can make. The underutilized dining room is gone now and I don’t miss it one bit!



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15 Responses to Adios Dining Room

  1. Jenny B. says:

    I just came over from Better After. Your new office looks like it was always meant to be there! Great job!

  2. cindy says:

    i think it turned out amazing. i found you through better after. i have a question though, how tall are your ceilings? i love the transom but i think we wouldn’t be able to do that because our ceilings are standard 8 ft.

    so much better than a dining room!!!

    hugs, cindy

  3. Miriam says:

    Thats Amazing!! I love that you made it work for you instead of just trying to avoid the room 🙂

  4. katie says:

    Wow, it looks beautiful, great work. I wish i had that office.

  5. ddu says:

    Beautiful update. What is the color on your new office walls please? Best wishes!

  6. Alexis says:

    Thank you. The wall color is Mochachino (740D-4) from Behr. I use Behr (from Home Depot) throughout my house and I think it does a great job.

  7. Alexis says:

    Thanks! We did avoid the room – for too long. I was so thrilled when I came up with the idea to make it an office. Why waste the square footage right?

  8. Alexis says:

    Hi Cindy,
    Good news! 🙂 Our ceilings are 8 ft as well. Maybe the windows make them appear taller? I hope you can make it work with your ceilings!

  9. Alexis says:

    Thanks so much! That was completely the goal – I wanted the end look to seem as if there had always been a wall there and my contractor did such a great job!

  10. Adrienne says:

    It looks great, Alexis! I love it! So fun to see it over on BetterAfter, too!

  11. Alyssa says:

    This is so beautiful and inspiring! Our home has a dining room that is currently working as a very messy, outdated, unorganized office. Reading your post has given me the kick in the rear that I’ve needed to get that room cleaned up and functional!

  12. Erin says:

    Seriously, that changes the entire feel of your home. Love, love, love it!

  13. anna see says:

    LOVE THIS! What a creative way to build and airy wall. It is gorgeous!

  14. Karen T. says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!! We are in the process of converting our DR to my office as well. So inspired by what you’ve done! Can you please tell me about the black console with the baskets? I have been searching for a piece like that for soooo long. Thanks in advance!!

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