Open Floor Plan vs. Formal Dining Room

alisonnFebruary 28, 2011

I might be out of the loop, so I'm taking a quick opinion survey.

My friend wants to take out the wall between her small kitchen and her formal dining room (which is a decent, but not huge size). This will pretty much make the area an eat-in kitchen.

It used to be that a formal dining room added value, but today, when people like open floor plans, would opening it up NOT hurt the home's resale value?

What do you think?

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Depends on the house style. Old or new? If it's a Victorian, Arts and Crafts or another historically desirable style, she may be hurting the resale, as people who typically buy those houses want them as "original" as possible. (As an old house enthusiast and owner, it breaks my heart to see people tearing out walls willy-nilly, just for "entertaining".)

Also, heating and cooling those large, open spaces can be higher than the wide, open ones. (Plus, they're noisier, and it's much harder to escape from the rest of one's household.)

Sorry, whenever I hear the words "open floor plan," I throw up in my mouth a little.... but I'm sure most people will tell you it'll help. (I am not most people. ;) )

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:03PM
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I like formal dining rooms (even though I hardly use mine). When looking at houses to buy it is a negative to me if the house doesn't have one.

Although if the current kitchen doesn't have an eat-in area (or can only fit a table big enough for two), then I think opening up the dining room makes more sense.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:12PM
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I think you are going to see a trend back to family dinners and having a formal dining room. Things seem to go in cycles even in housing design and I think the open floor plan has run it's course.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:15PM
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I dislike open floor plans...
and I will always want a house with a separate dining room.
We use ours plenty!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:28PM
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Around here, people still like to have a formal dining area. It probably depends upon the level/pricing of housing. Lower priced houses can get away without it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:48PM
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We specifically built our custom home w/o a formal dining room. Our Amish built table that seats 14 fits in our extra large kitchen. If you are building for re-sale then build your house for someone else. If you are building your house for your family and its enjoyment, build it with or without a formal dining room-whatever YOU love! I will add, that some people who would want a formal dining room, could use our music room as one, but for us, our table would never fit in it or most average formal dining rooms.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 6:24PM
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I like a formal dining room, but I have a large house. If I were downsizing or building a small house I would rather have a good sized eat-in kitchen than a tiny kitchen and tiny dining room.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:16PM
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A dining room was essential to our home. Family dinners, holiday dinners, quick coffee get togethers with the neighbors,etc. We use it a bit less now that both kids are in college and not at home. I'm not a fan of open floor plans, to much wasted space, hard to keep rooms at a constant temp., kitchen always has to be spotless(after cooking for a dinner party I just close the door to my kitchen and clean up after everyone is gone or even save it for the morning!) I'm an older house lover. We presently live in a large 100+ year old home. So for your survey, keep the dining room. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:49AM
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If it is a large or historical house then the DR is important, but if there isn't an area for at least a 4 person table in her kitchen it makes sense if it is done well.

This might be a post for the decorating or kitchen forum for ideas to do this. Someone recently did this on the kitchen forum and it was a huge improvement to her kitchen and lifestyle.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:22AM
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It depends.
I'd prefer one good sized dining area than two smaller ones. When you say this house has a small kitchen, this is what I'm thinking. I owned a house for a few years that had a kitchen nook for a small round table, and a "formal" dining room that was too small to hold my dining table, 6 chairs, and china cabinet (we had to store the leaves and extra chairs). The china cabinet was in the living room and the table stuck out so that the chandelier was not centered.

If it's a smaller house, then opening it up a bit would probably be an advantage.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:47AM
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I much prefer a separate DR. However, in the conditions you've mentioned, it would depend on it having an excellent plan, and what the view of the combined K/DR from the LR or front entry would be.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 6:09PM
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I wish I could do it to mine....but, unfortunately, mine is a load-bearing wall and I couldn't. Wah!!!!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 12:57AM
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I hate a dining room, but as you've probably's a matter of personal preference. I wouldn't NOT buy a house because it had a formal dining room. But I probably wouldn't buy a house if it didn't have an eat in kitchen space. I don't know much about trends in the market, but I think small, boxy rooms are not ever going to be in style. If your friend's house is small and boxy I think opening it up would be a good idea regardless!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 8:16AM
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