It seems like every home design magazine and website is talking about Open Floor Plans these days.  Many families like to “hang out” in their casual open homes.  But many families still embrace the idea of elegant, formal dining – especially with guests.

Open floor plans have many advantages, but they’re not for everyone.  They can be noisy – with wide open spaces and lots of hard surfaces, acoustics can be a real challenge.  Open floor plans can be hard to consistently heat, too.  These open spaces are typically very casual and can remove more intimate, elegant entertaining spaces from the home.

Formal dining rooms, on the other hand, create an intimate, dedicated space for family meals and gatherings with friends.  They don’t have to be “state dinners” on the good china, but meals in a formal dining room feel cozier and worth dressing up for.  They encourage conversation and keep guests from seeing the dirty dishes and cooking mess in the kitchen.

Most older homes have formal dining rooms.  With a few tweaks, these homes can have the best of both worlds. A pass-through wall with a buffet between the kitchen and dining room can connect these spaces and add the sense of openness without breaking down the walls entirely.  Expanding door openings between formal dining rooms and living rooms can also improve the flow of older homes and make them feel more connected to the home.

Homeowners with open floor plans can also bring a little of the formality and intimacy of a formal dining room with some careful choices, too.  Adding half-walls between the cooking and dining spaces can separate the spaces without compromising the open feeling of the room.  Color choices, furniture placement and floor treatments can also help mark the boundaries between the casual kitchen area and the formal dining space.

Sometimes, a formal dining room is the best place to eat.  Regardless of your home’s floor plan, we can find a way to add elegance to your meals and maintain a connection among the rooms of your home.  Contact our design team today to learn how we can help you create a formal dining space.