5 Other Things to do in Your Dining Room

You mean, you use your dining room as a dining room? Boring!

The dining room is your home's temple of elegance -- in theory, anyway. In fact, it's usually the place where you pay the bills, do your taxes and banish the kids to color in silence before you go quietly insane. Where did all those dreams of hosting charming dinner parties (with the good china and crystal) go? If that gleaming wood dining table -- the one that requires so much care and caution -- sometimes seems like an inconvenient relic of a bygone era, we've got a few clever ideas to transform your dining room into the convenient haven it ought to be.


5: Put in a Pond

A hot tub could fill the space nicely, too.

We love this idea. Hey, fish and water are very restful, and who couldn't use more of that. You can purchase indoor ponds, liners, filters and pumps that are easy to install and safe to use. Indoor ponds are elevated a couple of feet, but you can cover the perimeter with plants and create an indoor grotto for those days when a little water therapy is just the thing to calm your frazzled nerves. There's another advantage, too. If your dining room is under two feet of water, no one will volunteer you to host the next family reunion.


4: Turn It Into a Recycling Center

How's a person supposed to go green when greening your life takes up so much space? If you've ever vaulted over your kitchen's recycling bins to get to the back door, move that stuff into the dining room. Don't make the mistake of risking green fatigue because responsible environmental practices are too much of a hassle. Make your dining room earn its square footage. Paper, plastic and glass can take the place of china, crystal and linen (most of the year, anyway). Isn't that more practical and a bit of a relief?


3: Use it as a Game Room

Become the best hustler on your block!

Encourage your kids to play some board games as a family or bow to your significant other's long-standing yearning for a pool table. Turning the dining room into a game room isn't all that impractical. When you're not entertaining, you can cover your dining table with a pad and do just about anything you want on it. If you do go the pool table route, you can buy an insert that will effectively turn your pool table into a buffet or dining table for special occasions. It'll give you the best of both worlds -- and you can rest easy in the knowledge that all your rooms are worth the mortgage payment.


2: Use It as a Bomb Shelter

These bombs don't arrive unbidden from hostile nations. These bombs are the ones that happen when your significant other comes home in a filthy mood that threatens to explode all over your evening. These bombs are the unwitting result of telling your youngest he can't watch his favorite evening's entertainment (sometimes a video, often a video game) because he didn't clean his room as requested -- complete with all the ear-splitting hollering and drama queen antics his manipulative little soul can devise. Make the dining room your reading, book, hobby or craft room of choice for those times when you wish -- just for a second (or three) -- that you'd never traded in the sporty two-door for the family-friendly minivan.


1: Make It the Museum of You

Every year, you carve out a little more room in the closet by getting rid of those remnants of your younger, hipper self. What would happen if you never gave away your flirty, frothy and totally inappropriate wardrobe? Your clothes from yesteryear would be there like a time capsule waiting to remind you of what it was like to be sassy, savvy and oh, so stylish. If you always want to remember the days when the latest music was your music and you thought money was for fun, make your dining room the museum of you by turning it into a big honking closet. In 20 years or so, when you can't fit into that little black dress anymore, you'll be able to pull it out of the "me" museum and remember a time when it fit like a glove.


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