Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Dining Rooms Are Out, Social Areas Are In

By Erica Christoffer, REALTOR® Magazine

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Households across the country are moving toward a more casual dining experience.

While ease is a virtue, buyers also want technology-equipped, stylish spaces where their family members can come together.

For all these reasons, dining rooms have lost their appeal. Simply, they’re not flexible enough.

“Dining rooms are definitely on the way out,” said Danielian Associates’ design coordinator Joe Digrado at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando Friday. “Ask your buyer if they really need one. In some markets they do. But many prefer an open, flexible space that will serve various functions.”

Open kitchens facing multi-use dining and social areas with a great room or living room are taking over the traditional dining room. Eat-in kitchens or seating areas at the island also popular with trends supporting a more informal lifestyle.

And when it comes to the kitchen, it’s all about function, function, function. If it doesn’t allow for ease of cooking, then you’re going to lose people, said Digrado. Cooking stations allowing for multiple chefs in the kitchen are becoming more common; as are work areas for laptops and homework, charging station for mobile devices, and casual seating for hanging out.

Outdoor rooms/entertainment areas just off the great room or kitchen are a way to expand the indoor space, said Digrado, especially has buyers seek smaller homes.

Laundry rooms can also become a second center of a home. They’re often combined as a crafts room, mud room, or sewing room. “It really becomes a command post for many of the functional activities,” said Martin van Koolbergen of Kaplan Gehring McCarroll Architectural Lighting, Inc.

And don’t forget about the garage. Buyers are interested in extended storage options and flexible space.  (A good location for creative storage as buyers downsize to smaller homes.)

Here are a few more highly desired home features:

  • Raised, articulated ceilings.
  • Home office space (with an outdoor access, even better).
  • Parent suites with a larger bedroom and attached bath.

Quick Tip from van Koolbergen: Make sure the color of the lights match in a single room, such as overhead lights and lower table fixtures. When the color temperature is mismatched, it’s very obvious and can be distracting.


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