Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Things Every Home Needs: The Dining Room

This post is part of a series titled "Things Every Home Needs"

The dining room is perhaps the simplest room in your house. It is the place to eat. Cooking and baking does not happen here, the dining room is mainly just for eating.

If you have an eat-in kitchen and no other dining room, ignore the rest of your kitchen and just focus on the dining part of your kitchen. However, if this is your situation I would recommend a counter height table so your table can double as an island.

The easiest approach to tackling a dining room is to purchase a dining table and chairs set.


When selecting a table make sure the table is big enough for your needs. If you entertain and host family gatherings, make sure your table is big enough to seat everyone, or as big as your room allows. Also think about how you use the dining table on a daily basis. If your dining table is used as a place to pay bills, do laundry, homework or crafts, you're going to want a bigger table. Bottom line is: the bigger the better, but measure to make sure the table will fit in the space with room for chairs and room for people to walk around the chairs.

A dining room set isn't your only option. Chairs and a table can also be purchased separately, so if you're not the matchy-matchy type, this is the way to go.

 This table (above) is a great option because it expands to seat more chairs.

Comfortable seating is also important, so it would be ideal to sit in the chairs before purchasing them.

These look comfy though.
If you want something different than chairs, or if you are tight on space, a bench could be a great choice. Remember though, with a bench everyone must be the same distance away from the table and if there is more than two people on the bench, the middle person is blocked in until someone on an end moves.
With a small space a bench can be placed against a wall and the table can be pulled up to the bench. A basic bench can be a great option. 
Additional seating for guests is also important, unless you want them to sit on the floor.
These stylish folding chairs would be neat, more basic folding chairs will provide the same function.
One additional thing you might need to consider when creating your dining room is storage. Where are you going to store extra chairs? Table leaves? If you have a closet nearby, that is a great option. Other options could be under stairs, the garage, or a large wardrobe.

This one (above) is great, here is another option.
If you don't need a lot of extra seating, consider purchasing nicer extra seating options and just leaving them out in the rest of your house. You can pull one or two chairs to the side of one wall in the dining room.  

A banquette might be a great option, especially if you just have a corner or need to seat a lot of people. Restaurant use this type of seating because they can seat more people in a smaller area. It is important to keep in mind that if Little Johnny, who is seating in the middle, needs to use the bathroom others must move to let him out.
Don't forget about lighting in your dining room. A chandelier is typical in most dining rooms.
Recessed lighting and wall sconces are other great options.
Should your dining room have more than just lighting, a table and seating? I tend to think not but maybe I am missing something. Let me know in the comments.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Things Every Home Needs: The Entry

If you missed the last post, I announced I am participating in a Blogging Challenge! Well... that was in May and now it's November. Better late than never.

This series will go through each room in a typical home, give a detailed list of everything you need in the space. Not "things you might want to have around" or "things that you need once a year." Need as in it would be uncomfortable or very inconvenient to live without these items.

I find that, in many rooms in my house, I have unnecessary items taking up space and creating clutter. So, this series will help you declutter and get back to the basic items.

This series is excellent if you are:
-Just starting out
-Moving into a new house
-Currently have a cluttered/cramped home
-Dealing with small spaces
-Always finding something you forgot you had
-If you're missing something
So, everyone!

Now, I know there are lists and slideshows of things that people think you need. But I find that those list are overdone and still include unnecessary items. Unless you're really into cooking and baking do you really need a food processor and a blender and a toaster oven and a toaster and a regular oven?

This series will give a master list of everything your home needs.

Let's start this challenge off, shall we?

When you enter your home where are you?

Your house of course, duh.

Well, more specifically, your house entry.

If you think your house doesn't have a formal entry, we are going to make one. Right. Now.

Picture this... you walk in the front door, go ahead open the door, step in, okay good, you're there, that is the entry! Easy right? No? Still confused? Think about your guests. When a guest walks through the door and into your house, that is the entry.

Some homes have a front entry and a back entry or garage entry. We are talking about the front entry here. However, this list would also work for a back entry.

What you need in a fuctional entry:
-Hang coats/sweater/jacket
-Take off shoes

Highly Recommend:
-A rug to catch dirt
-Place to sit and take off shoes

If you don't have a back entry or if this is your (your, as in, yourself + guests) main entry:
-A place for keys
-Spot for purse/wallet

If this is your main entry and you live in an area where you need winter gear:
-Place for hats, gloves, mittens, etc.

Easy Option:

For a simple, buy one thing and done option, this is great. It provides hooks for coats, cubbies for shoes and winter gear, and a place to sit. You could also put this piece in a closet.

If you don't have room or don't prefer the option above, then start focusing on each function you need the space to perform.

Hanging Coats:
If you have a closet near your entry, you can use it as your place to hang coats by using hangers. I would suggest investing in wood hangers because this is a space that your guests will see, plus it will make you feel all fancy when you come home from work and hang your coat on a sturdy, wooden hanger.

If you are able to drill into the walls, you could put hooks in the closet instead of using hangers. You could even just put up a row of hooks.

Help! I don't have a closet! What am I going to do?

If you don't have a closet:
-Can you drill into the walls? If you can, put up some hooks. If you can't, or if you don't have an available wall, due to light switchs or an entryway that just collides into another room (aka: no formal entry), get a coat rack. You could even get a coat rack with an umbrella stand, or you could just hang the umbrella(s) on one of the coat pegs.

-Easy, shoes go on the floor. No storage purchases needed. But, if you want to purchase something or if you are in a tight space and shoes would end up filling up your entry and spilling out the door, get shelving. If you have a closet, you could put low shelving in the closet under the coats and/or get an over-the-door shoe rack. If you don't have a closet, you can use the low shelving below the hooks you put up or placed somewhere else in your entry.

If you don't have room for the low shelving, these door/vertical shoe cabinets would work. Ikea has more options.

A Spot for Little Things and Winter Gear:

Entryway can get cluttered easily, and that sets the mood for the rest of your house. So, a cluttered entryway is more likely to create a cluttered house.

Having a functional, easy storage option for your keys, wallet, etc is important because those are the things that we tend to just drop somewhere and cannot find the little things back when we need them.

If you have a closet, an over-the-door organizer is perfect. Even though some are called shoe organizers, they function perfectly as a spot to catch the little items.

If you have a table nearby, a bowl or basket would also function as a catcher for the little items. A basket on the floor would also work well for storing winter gear.

A traditional key hook would work wonderfully for car keys, spare keys, and all the other keys.


A Place to Sit:

Having a place to sit is almost a must in an entryway. It provides a comfortable place to take shoes on and off, without having to sit on the floor or try and balance on one leg.

A bench with storage would provide a place for winter gear, or storing other larger items that end up in the entryway such as purses.

A simple bench, without "storage" still provides storage. Under the bench is a great spot to drop shoes.

If you don't have space for a bench, a small stool or a chair will do just fine.

Catching Dirt and Defining the Entry:

A rug traps some dirt, and visually provides a designated entry area. I highly recommend using a rug that is also meant for outdoor use, for more durability.

Also, get a rug that is as large as you can fit in the space, when guests come in they don't want to feel like they all have to squeeze onto a 2 x 3 rug. However, if a small rug is all you can fit, then just get the small rug.

I also do not recommend a light colored rug, as lighter colors tend to show dirt better.

So, that is all my advice for creating a functional, organized, clutter-free entry. Did I miss any must-haves for an entryway?