One of the first things that attracted me to our condo was its many areas in which to eat. We have an eat-in kitchen, a breakfast bar and a formal dining room. We eat in the kitchen every night for dinner, and if I am eating alone, or surfing the web or doing some work on the laptop and need a change of scenery, I use the bar. The dining room used to get quite a bit of use when we entertained more. We used to do pretty frequent dinner parties, game nights, brunches and of course, our bi-weekly dinner with our friends. But now that we all have little ones, dinners often happen in the kitchen (where there's easy to clean wood laminate instead of carpet), and our entertaining has gone from a frequent occurance to a couple times a year event.
While I still really love the way our dining room looks, it's not getting much use these days. Since condo living means that every square inch of space should be used to its maximum potential, we need to make this room into something that we'll actually use. The plan? Turning a formal dining room into a cozy reading nook for me, and play room for my son... all on a tight budget.
We're going to use some things we already have, like my beloved blue chair (top left). Sadly, the chair doesn't look anywhere near this nice anymore (there are two big rips in the vinyl). I'm planning to recover it, first trying a pre-made Ikea Karlstad cover, since the shape is nearly identical. If that doesn't work, I'll be employing my mother-in-law to see if we can cook something up (she's much better with a sewing machine than I). My husband and I also have grand plans for turning a honey oak coffee table that's currently in our storage room into a train table for our son. It's a great, square shape and low enough to the ground that it'd be great for his trains. Plus, it has a drawer where we could store extra tracks. Some painted landscape and a cute train drawer pull would hopefully be enough to make it work. Currently, our Ikea Expedit bookcase is serving as a china hutch and liquor cabinet. Not exactly kid friendly. I'm thinking of swapping some of the cubes out to store books and toys instead.
We'll cozy up the space using cheap accessories, like this $19.99 rug I fell in love with from the new Ikea catalog.
Hopefully it'll work. It's sort of a long range plan - I hope to be snuggling up in the chair with a book come fall, and maybe Sebastian will get his train table for Christmas. Anyway, I see an Ikea trip in our future... and maybe one last dinner party.