Thursday, January 12, 2012

Is Your Dining Room a Duck?

If it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, it must be a duck. If it looks like a recycling bin or it works like a playroom, how is anyone supposed to know it is a dining room?

houzz via pinterest

Large, open kitchens, with an island are the top requests for home buyers according to market watch. adding one to your current home may not be in your budget. They are pricey. And huge. And my house is neither. However, for the price of a pack of pledge wipes and a table cloth, many of us could add the dining room back into our homes. We can show off the flow, the ability to entertain -- even if we never do.

You don't have to be like those people on "Mad Men," passing around martinis and finger foods. You may only have your extended family over 4 times a year. You may just use it to store all those wedding gifts you registered for.  Whatever state your dining room is in, dust it off and set the table for an offer.

Many of us are using that extra square footage for completely un-food related purposes.
candace olson before via hgtv
My friend k.c. had a precious play area for her little girl in their dining space. It kept the toy clutter out of baby's room and she could watch her play while fixing supper.  That is where staging and living in your home part ways. Even potential buyers with children don't want to see your childrens' toys when they view the property. Remember, you are selling, it is just a property. Deep breath.

Our dining room is serving duty as my office.  I can see into the living room and the girlie playroom.  It is pretty enough to be in the front of the house. The shelves hold my revolving collection of treasures (when they are not staging someone else's space).  Love this blue carpet -- not my choice, it is a rental.

my baby via my cell phone, tell you later what 3 little girls can do to a digital camera

Believe me, if we were selling this house it would look like this.

traditional homes via pinterest

I'll do another post soon showing just how much furniture you can take out to make your room feel bigger and still say "dining" louder than a dinner bell.  But, if you've never used your room for dining, moving furniture out is not your problem. So you can:
world market via pinterest
  • borrow from another room.  A long low dresser (without the mirror) can serve as a lovely buffet. the bench from the hall can serve as casual seating for that whole side of the table.
  • borrow from a friend. If she only uses it 4 times a year, you and hunky husband can carry it 2 houses over.
  • borrow from a relative. So many older aunts have sets that never get used or even spare ones in storage. You never know till you ask and she may even make you cookies when you go to pick it up.
  • dress it up. This season's target tablecloth may be all it takes to make grandma's old table look modern & chic.
  • make it. Vintage doors and old balusters make gorgeous chippy tables. They can be found at any salvage yard or Habitat Re-store. An undersized table can be beefed up with a piece of tempered glass.
  • fake it. I gave a very fancy baby shower with a piece of plywood covering two card tables. Long enough linens cover a multitude of sins.  Flat bed sheets go down as low as $5 during back to school season and they starch/iron up like a dream!
  • goodwill, salvation army, thrift store, yard sale, craig's list. Even a non-matching set of chairs can be spray painted to look collected & eclectic. Check out pinterest for one of the million tutorials on repainting and recovering the seat cushions, like this one from isabella and max rooms.

  • rent. I list this last, but sometimes it is worth spending a little to make a lot. Even renting a few key pieces could make the difference.  That is what staging is all about. Sometimes you don't have enough time to scour the flea market. -Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks.
You may also take this chance to buy the set you have always dreamed of (Dave Ramsey hopes you have also been saving for it). Like all furniture upgrades, it goes with you, in the truck. Please be careful. Only do this if it fits in your budget and you are sure that the piece fits in your new space.

My blog hero, thrifty decor chick was talking about turning her dining room into a study/library/chill space today. That is the way so many people are going. I giggled out loud when she addressed resale and how easily it could be returned back into a dining room. How did she know I was half way done with this post? Here's one quick switch idea for ya' chick.

the house that a-m built

just bec

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1 comment:

  1. Great tips, Rebecca! Easy solutions without spending a lot of $$ are always my favorite! Love borrow from a friend - how many of us have items we don't want to get rid of permanently, but would be happy to lend to a friend?