Closed-off formal dining rooms have long been collecting dust, and as a result have dropped off of both consumer wish lists and many updated home designs. Here’s the more functional, modern way to do a dining room: open it up to the great room, with perhaps some columns to provide definition. Don’t think of it as downsizing—especially in these four designs, which still have breakfast nooks—but rather a more enlightened approach to what used to be a stuffy space.

Designer Details

This open layout is a great way to prevent a 44-foot-wide plan from feeling cramped. The dining room is placed to the side so as not to impede the main thoroughfare, with columns stylishly delineating the space. There’s extra seating at the kitchen’s snack bar and in the nearby breakfast nook. A small foyer buffers the deluxe master suite from public areas. See more images, information, and the floor plan.




Views You Can Use

Here's a smart plan that uses every bit of its space to advantage. Walk in past the open dining room, where buyers can display a beautiful table without closing it up in a room. Rather, this space looks out to the great room, which is made cozy with a fireplace and views of the backyard. The kitchen boasts an island with seating.  Upstairs, an open space can become a future rec room or a fourth bedroom. The other three bedrooms, including the spacious master suite, easily access the second-floor laundry room. See more images, information, and the floor plan.

Streamlined Elegance

A gently curving roofline draws attention to the beautiful exterior of this two-bedroom home, which would make an elegant empty nest. Inside, the great room, island kitchen, dining area, and breakfast nook flow into one another for easy entertaining. The master suite’s large walk-in closet is just a short walk away from the laundry room. A guest suite and den are located near the front. See more images, information, and the floor plan.


Bringing the Outdoors In

With French doors on two sides and windows on another, the dining room in this design matches the bright, outdoor-loving vibe of the rest of the home. A gallery connects it with other areas, including the kitchen’s snack bar and the living room (complete with a bay window and fireplace). The location of the master suite on the first floor is a modern, convenient touch. See more images, information, and the floor plan.