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Changing the Function of a Room

July 20, 2022

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Recently, I came across an image of a beautiful room, engulfed in a mural, much like the study–but it was a formal dining room. It was so beautiful and I momentarily thought OUR STUDY COULD BE A FORMAL DINING ROOM. But, then I came back down to reality and the truth of the matter is–in a pinch, this could ABSOLUTELY be a formal dining room. For one special night, sure. Let’s move the furniture and go all out.

But changing the function of this room entirely when it’s a space we use every day? Nah. I don’t want to live in a showroom, I want the spaces we live in to be functional for the whole family.

However, changing the function of a room entirely is certainly something we have done a time or two. 🙃 (And it was always for the better!)

Mural | Chandelier | RugDesk | Chair | Fringe Stool | Lamp | Floor LampVase | Faux Tree | Planter

I remember the very first time we changed the function of a room. In our first Idaho home we had a bathroom tucked right next to the kitchen and dining area which rarely got used because it was in such close proximity to where people ATE! Talk about no privacy. Plus, there was already a perfectly good bathroom on the main level. SO! We got creative and reinvented the space.

We took this…

…and turned it into this.

We had lived with that bathroom for more than a year and we just weren’t utilizing it. And no guests were utilizing it either! The argument we were up against was, “what about the resale value?” Well if we’re not utilizing it at all, then most likely other people won’t either. So what else could it be? By scooting over our laundry space in place of the bathroom, we were able to add a very desirable room–a pantry! Arguably a great selling point, although that’s not why we did it. We know how we live in our home and day-to-day, a pantry and laundry space beats the undesirable extra bathroom any day.

Another memorable time we switched up a room’s function was in our Modern Cottage. Remember when we turned this two-story space into a music room on the lower level, and built a walk-in closet above it??

Before

After

Chandelier | Ottoman

Funny enough, when we bought this house we ran into the sellers at closing and had a quick friendly chat. She was so kind and asked me what I planned to do to the two story dining room (what we used as a music room). Let me just tell you–she did not take the closet build-out well! She was horrified and told me that whatever I do, don’t get rid of the catwalk. I wonder what she would think of the space now. 😬

This is a classic case of “everybody values different things!” While some might want a catwalk, I want a luxury dressing room/closet. No regrets.

Another great example? When the enclosed patio was turned into a formal dining room.

Before

After

TableChairsPendant LightsCredenza | Buffet LampsTree | Floors

This patio space, while a nice idea, was never permitted. It was a nightmare of a project and we ultimately had to tear it all down and rebuild it completely. But when we walked through the house for the first time we envisioned this space as a large, formal dining room. With so much family nearby it was one of our first ideas that helped us decide on this house. Because we felt we needed a large gathering space we pushed through the hurdles and honestly, I’m so glad we did. In all of our previous houses, this is actually the room I miss the most.

We also made double use from building this out properly because we added a balcony up top! Case and point, just follow your heart and things may just turn out even better than you initially imagined!

So we’ve added a dining space, and now we’ve also taken away a dining space! What can I say, I’m a rebel with a cause. I want to think outside of the box and create spaces I truly love. 

Before

After

Copper Bowls | Ceramic Bowls | Wood BowlsTagineGlass Canisters | Wood Pedestal | Copper Canisters | Copper Kettle | Fluted Bowl | Faux ArtichokesKnobs

I don’t know if most people realize we took out the formal dining room to extend and open up the kitchen. It brought some natural light into the kitchen and extended the footprint which was so important to us. It also led to another decision…

The current dining room used to be more of a casual breakfast nook, but by moving the hallway entrance and adding a cased opening, it feels much more quaint and purposeful. It became a dining room that serves our family perfectly.

Before

After

TableHanging Lantern | Tree ArtVase | Peach Stems | Bay Leaf Stems

The latest addition to the room is that vintage rug which ties it all together so nicely. 

This is all leading up to our current room switcheroo–the upstairs bedroom being split into a laundry room and bunk room. Here’s a look at the new layout if you need to catch up.

Before

Today

Those checkered tiled floors are our most recent update in the room! And next up, the wallpaper.

While we’re losing “desired” bedroom space in doing this, many years ago, Chris and I decided to renovate our home for us, and it has never bit us in the butt. Because we aren’t afraid to change things up and customize our home to our life, we’ve loved every home we’ve lived in. And we will continue to improve our homes based on how we want to live our lives. It’s what makes the most sense to us.

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What do you think?

  1. Diane says:

    Great changes. Great idea to live in it for your family needs.

  2. Kristin says:

    I just don’t know how to envision moving walls, separating rooms, pushing the kitchen back, etc. How do you build that skill?

  3. Kim says:

    Yes! I just bought a new house and we’re debating how we’ll use basically all the rooms on the first floor. Have already decided to convert the dining room into my office and can’t wait to get going!

  4. Patty says:

    I love how you think outside the box and live in your house to make it best for YOU! A few years ago we expanded out tight living area by getting rid of our master bedroom (gasp!). I was very nervous about the resale value (we have a slightly smaller bedroom now), but we don’t plan to move for a long time – and our living space is SO much better now!

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