Convert a Dining Room to a Media Room

Designer Barbara Brock transforms a rarely used formal dining room into a media room a family can enjoy every day. She reveals the elements that make a formal dining room a good candidate for this transition and unveils the secrets of arranging furniture and layering patterns to create an inviting atmosphere.

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Does your stuffy dining room collect more dust than memories? Consider whether you could get more use out of the space by converting it to a media or family room. First, you'll want to think about the room's characteristics. Does it have the bones of a good media room? If the answer is yes, it's time to move out the dining room table and chairs. The final step is decorating in a way that will make the space feel more welcoming than formal.

Careful Consideration

Before you begin, first consider whether your dining room has media room potential. Don't fret if the room isn't huge—a media room works best when it's smaller. Some important features to consider include ceiling height, wall color, and floor space. We'll run through each feature, highlighting what you should be thinking about when redesigning your room.

Ceiling Height

Unfortunately, many dining rooms have high or vaulted ceilings to add to their stately, grand look. But if your dining room has lower ceilings, it might work well as a family room. Low ceilings draw the room in, giving it a more casual, close-knit feel. They also create better acoustics for intimate gatherings.

Wonder Walls

Of course you can repaint the walls in your dining room, but it's a lot easier to redesign the space if the walls are already a suitable color. Warm tones, like the yellowy beige seen in this room, work well for giving your new media room a cozy atmosphere. You'll also need a large wall space to mount a TV. For this reason, a room with a lot of windows might not work well. Don't be afraid to move or reposition artwork, mirrors, or other wall hangings to make space.

Spatial Awareness

Although a smaller room with low ceilings creates coziness, it should still have ample floor space to bring in comfy chairs and a couch or sofa. Ask yourself whether you could place a sofa across from the designated TV wall and still view the screen comfortably.

Design Details

If you've considered the above factors and have decided to transition your dining room to a media room, it's time to haul out all the old dining furniture and revamp the decor. Make the space family friendly with careful furniture and accessory placement. These tips and tricks will help you create a media room you'll want to spend time in every day!

Floor Coverage

An oversize rug softens a previously formal room and helps it feel more casual. It also pulls the furniture together. (The rug you had in the room might work just fine for this. Layer additional rugs to further soften the space and add pattern or color.

Seating Arrangements

Try these furniture arranging tricks: Center the sofa on the wall opposite the TV. Group comfy chairs around the couch facing in to facilitate conversation. Add an ottoman or coffee table to the center of this arrangement for a place to put your feet up or set down drinks. For extra seating, discreetly place a few smaller chairs or stools outside of the central circle. These additional chairs can then easily be pulled up when needed.

Designer Decor

Now comes the fun part—decorating! Layer patterns and textures to make the room extra cozy. Assorted throw pillows and blankets help you get the look. Most dining rooms have one large chandelier as a light fixture. Bring in additional floor lamps to warm up the space and provide light to read. Now you have a spot for family movie night, entertaining, and relaxing!

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