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Survey: Homeowners Giving Up Formal Dining Rooms

March 16, 2017

Homeowners looking for relics in their abodes need look no further than the dining room. Most of us have one. Few of us use it. And a new Angie’s List survey says a lot of us are giving up on ever using it again.

“The formal dining room might have once been a must-have, but it’s rapidly becoming the most repurposed room in the house,” said Angie’s List founder and CMO Angie Hicks. “I still have mine, but the only time I go in there is to adjust the thermostat.”

Hicks falls into the eight percent of respondents who rarely or never darken the dining room door. Two-thirds of respondents still have traditional furniture in their dining rooms but the table is a place for homework, crafting, board games or a catch-all storage area.

Thirteen percent of the respondents say they’ve ditched the dining room furniture to make space for yoga or serious arts and crafts.

The demise of the dining room doesn’t mean American families aren’t gathering for their evening meal. Sixty-two percent of respondents say they have family dinner nearly every night. Another 18 percent said their family gathers for dinner at least three times a week.

“It’s where they’re eating that’s changed the most, and that’s affecting home improvement,” Hicks said. “Remodelers and builders tell us they’re seeing a big spike in elaborate kitchen islands and more spacious kitchens that include tables and bar space.”

The survey showed bathrooms, outdoor spaces and kitchens are the most popular areas targeted for remodeling this year, but eight percent of the survey respondents say they’re re-doing their dining rooms.

If the dining room is out, where does America usually eat dinner?

  • 57 percent eat at a table or island in a shared kitchen-dining room space
  • 36 percent eat in the family or living room
  •   3 percent eat at a restaurant
  •   2 percent eat standing up at the kitchen counter or island

Hicks’ advice for homeowners who want to ditch their dining room is to savor the idea like a fine meal and not bite off more than they can chew.

“If you’re not sure what you want to do with your dining room, you might want to make its re-use a DIY project,” Hicks recommends. “When you know what you want to do – especially if that means taking down a wall or tearing out wainscoting or other wall board, you might want professional help.”

A major renovation that affects your home’s structure should be done with a professional, but less invasive work can be done by a variety of service pros, including handyman companies that generally offer lower rates than those who focus on remodeling.

Seventy-two percent of Angie’s List members said they are planning to spend as much or more in 2017 on home remodeling, and 31 percent of them plan to hire a handyman or handywoman to help.

Read more about home remodeling.


Topics: Appliances, Home Design & Plans, Interior Design, Kitchen, Remodeling, Sustainability Trends & Statistics


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