The "Bonus" Room

Our dining room is just awkward. The way our condo is shaped, the dining room is set in the front of the unit right by the door. If you follow the hallway from the front door, past the dining room, you are lead into the kitchen/living room, and the rest of the otherwise-open-layout condo. It is easy to forget that the dining room even exists, especially with the breakfast bar where we eat most of our meals anyway.

It is only 8ft by 8ft and therefore very difficult to plan a formal dining room around. Now, in the defense of the architect, this room was not necessarily planned as a dining room. I’ve seen it used as an office, a sitting room with a small TV, I’ve even considered converting it into a 2nd bathroom. But as someone who loves to cook and entertain, a dining room was inevitable.

Folded down at 10″ wide

Fully extended to 5 feet

We were given a versatile Ikea table and chairs from as a gift. It was perfect for the small space. It can be folded to a minimum when I’m going for a lounge-type feel, 1 side down for an intimate dinner for 2, or fully extended to accommodate a group. Although the versatility was like magic, the simplicity wasn’t my cup of tea. But the renovation deserves its own post.

 I built a bench for the back wall of the room using wood from Home Depot and a drill. (Having two 8ft 2x4s cut into several 16 inch legs by the Home Depot tech was a major stress saver!) It was much easier than I imagined and it cost around $20. With a staple gun, I covered the top of the bench in thick batting, and topped it with a faux leather material from Joann Fabric’s clearance section. However, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my own work, and the batting wasn’t quite as thick to conceal the hardwood feel, and the fabric wrinkled a little after haste stapling. So my next step is to remove batting and fabric and add a thick piece of foam (2-3 inches) cut to size from Joann Fabrics. With their never-ending 40% coupons found in every ad, this should be under $10. 
These are the ‘befores.’ Since the ‘afters’ don’t exist in photograph or my home, stay tune for the ‘durings.’