This is one of the only photos of my dining room that is anywhere on this blog- partly because there isn't much blog worthy that has gone in on my dining room. It's a pretty cramped space to begin with. Also, it's cramped nature is exacerbated by the fact that if I were to frame that photo slightly differently, this is what you'd normally see.
The wall behind our table became the nearest place to stash junk. It sort of gets stuff out of the way...but I guess only if you are willing to avert your eyes whenever you look over to that side of the house. Having the play kitchen there was nice- but it just contributed to an ever growing mess of toys that was become quite out of hand.
Really the only other photo of our dining room on this blog, is this one- where you can clearly see that in addition to using our dining room wall as a place to line up toys, we use our dining room table for just about everything other than eating:
And since you've already seen how many crafty projects we acquired this Christmas...so you can only imagine how my head was about to explode at the thought of going much longer without a somehow regaining control of my dining room.
So a few weeks ago when we went to Ikea, not only did we pick up a bed, we picked up the answer to my problems:
This desk is my favorite thing in the house at the moment because it fits perfectly into that nook. Adding this piece of furniture doesn't cost us ANY space- because it just replaces the pile of junk that used to be living there. It gives my kids a place to do their art projects (plus it has drawers to store lots of their supplies). And, it gives us a place to set out food when we are entertaining, or 2 extra seats in the dining room when our tiny little table is overflowing. Having something multi-purpose like this was a must since we were tight on space.
My goal is to try to keep the art table fairly clutter free, so that it's always available for them to sit and draw or whatever. These cute little magazine holders from Ikea allow us to keep just a few extra supplies on hand and give a little punch of color to the space.
Really and truly, so far the table has been amazing. My kids spend hours there every day, and the glossy finish makes it great for wiping up everything from paint to playdoh.
I'm usually such an advocate for using what you have to make your space more functional- but sometimes a new purchase is definitely in order. And although it took us a long time and lots of online browsing to come to a decision about what we wanted to buy for that space, I think that a desk that can double as a buffet or kiddie table during a dinner party made the most sense for the way that we use our dining room.
My advice to you if you're thinking about making a furniture purchase (especially in a tight space!) is to make sure that you first sit down and decide what you hope to gain in terms of functionality through the purchase, and then weigh your options to find the one that best suits your style as well as your vision for the space.
For us, this desk was a winner on all accounts!