Project Highlight: A Multi-Functional Informal Dining Room

informal dining room design

When you are a family that likes to entertain a lot, undertaking a remodel is an opportunity to create a space that supports that lifestyle. Our clients purchased an older home with the location they loved, but a layout that did not suit their needs. During a whole-house remodel, their love of hosting large gatherings played a large part in the design of their main level. Partnering with Architect Steve Goldberg of Goldberg Design Group and custom home builder Pat O’Connor with Homes by Pat O’Connor, we helped them create an open kitchen and a formal dining space – the obvious requirements for this jovial family. However, the design also called for an informal dining room, which allowed us to create a flexible, multi-functional space that completed their entertaining needs.

white kitchen remodel

This secondary dining space was adjacent to the kitchen, so we designed the two rooms to flow well together. A large opening was crafted between them, and the color schemes complemented each other. The functionality of each space supported the other as well, with the heavy lifting of cooking and food service left to the kitchen and secondary yet necessary activities like beverage storage and overflow seating happening in the dining space. While large gatherings could be accommodated with the addition of this extra space, it was also intimate enough to welcome smaller gatherings that did not require the atmosphere of the formal dining room.

dining room design


Both a large bay and small rectangular window added wonderful light to the room, which we complemented by adding soft elements to the design. Storage for entertaining implements was a high priority for the space, so we added two walls of cream-colored cabinetry. On the side with the window we installed a wall of closed cabinetry for linens and serving dishes, and created a window seat to add a bit of charm. Architectural elements like crown molding and inset, flat panel doors with an additional molding insert within the rails added dimension to what could have been a cold wall of cabinetry.

built in bar area

On the opposite side the storage was focused on beverage storage and service. Our clients love wine, and were looking for a beautiful way to store the bottles, glasses and other tools they have collected. They also wanted a serving area in this room. We designed a large wet bar, with open storage in the upper cabinetry for wine bottles, slots for hanging glasses and mullioned cabinetry for decorative pieces. The lower section offered closed storage, drawers for bar tools, and a beverage refrigerator. The dark countertop grounded the unit and added balance to the space.

bar sink design

One unique feature we added to the wet bar was a deep and narrow trough sink that could double as a cold beverage serving area. Our clients were particularly happy with this custom design element, and their guests comment on it frequently. Beyond the “cool” factor, the sink offers a necessary functionality by serving cold drinks without taking up counter space.

The large space provided enough room for a large table and comfortable chairs as well. We covered the chairs with cream leather for beauty and functionality, as leather can handle the spills that always occur during a party. The light colors throughout the space were intentionally chosen; there is a lot going on in the room, and the tonal scheme relaxes the eye and keeps the space from appearing busy.

The bay window offered a lovely opportunity for decorative area. The family owned a large laughing Buddha sculpture, which fit perfectly both in the sense of space and in aesthetics. He represents this fun-loving family perfectly, and adds personality and a conversation piece to the room.

Lighting can make or break the mood of a party – too dark and people can feel isolated, too light and the gathering can feel stark and invasive. We chose the lighting to fit the space, beginning with just enough canned lights to provide overall illumination. Functional lighting was added to the wet bar with under-cabinet lights. Finally, the chandelier was chosen to flow well with the lighting in the kitchen, while supporting the airy, easy feel of the informal dining space. All of the lights are on dimmers so the correct mood can be set for each gathering.

While these clients were fortunate to have a large space to add a  secondary informal dining room to their kitchen, many homes have a smaller eat-in kitchen space. The same principles apply to those more intimate areas – create a design that supports the way you live! The designers at Hoskins Interior Design are experts at making the most of every size space. For help with your remodeling or new construction project, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986.




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