Is the formal dining room disappearing in custom homes?

The formal dining room, a longtime fixture in the American home, seems to be disappearing. When creating the vision for your dream home and working on the floor plan, should it include the formal dining room or not? If the decision is to include the formal space, will it actually be used as a dining room or become real estate used for everything except dining?

The dining room is now being replaced in many homes with an open gathering area, an extension of the kitchen and the family room. It is often part of a hearth room and given a more casual, relaxed feeling. Homeowners are turning away from the traditional home layout in favor of the “open concept”, leaving space and money for social areas, eat-in-kitchens and large entertainment options.

Homeowners desire larger utility areas, home gyms, game rooms and studies over saving square footage for a dining room. The kitchen/dining room has grown in popularity by 50 percent with this generation of homeowners, and 3 in 10 homes feature this open concept today.

What has brought the change to the American home is the change in how we live.

dining3Gone are the days where the mother stayed home and tended to the house and greeted her husband and children when they came home at the end of the day. Gone are the days when the workday ended at 5:00pm. Today’s family members come and go at various times and into the late evening hours. Because of this, it is not uncommon to have a staggered family meal, depending on what time everyone gets home.

For those who do sit down and plan a family meal, it does not often happen. Families are busier than ever, and hectic lifestyles create a desire for convenience and practicality over formality. When building a home today, the owner is thinking of how the family lives day-to-day, and not thinking of just one meal that the family will gather for once or twice a year. Homeowners want to make the most of their space and make it the best for how they live.

The kitchen has become the heart of the home, and it only makes sense that today it is the place we gather, we cook, plan, pay bills, do homework, entertain and eat. It is common for the kitchen to include a large counter area for seating as well as an eat-in table. Do we really need a third space for eating? While there is no right or wrong answer, traditional dining room or open concept home, when making plans for your new custom home, the key is to plan it with what works with you and your family’s lifestyle. The style, tradition and size of the home can also dictate the decision. The most important thing is to maximize the use of the home’s square footage and make it work for you.


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