The Big Switcharoo

Where is it written that you can’t change the name of a room in your house?  Why should the room that is supposed to be the dining room remain the dining room if you don’t want it as a dining room?

Are you smelling what I’m stepping in here?  It’s your house and you can do whatever you want.

Two years ago I did what I wanted in my house.  I made my dining room into a keeping room and my study into the new dining room. Here’s the old dining room.  It’s right off the kitchen.

This is a fairly large room at 12.5 by almost 16 feet. However, once the kids moved out,  it just wasn’t used that much as a place to eat anymore. The breakfast bar was really all I needed most of the time.

Here’s the new keeping room.  I basically live here now. I added an IKEA Ektorp love seat that nestles perfectly into the bay window area. It’s comfortable, I can wash the slipcover, and I love it. When the room was used as a dining room, this spot in front of the window was empty.


I also moved my roll-top desk from the old study (more about that in a second) into the keeping room.  I blog from this desk.  It was made in 1900 and is a family heirloom.  Moving it from the study was not fun because it is super heavy.

I’ve changed the keeping room slightly in the two years since I converted it.  The rocker/glider with linen slipcovers that used to be in the study has now left the building, and I’ve replaced it with this slipcovered wing chair.

I have also repainted.  It used to be Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore. 

In case you’re still wondering what the heck a keeping room is and haven’t already Googled it by now, here’s the story.  In Colonial days, the warmest part of the house was the kitchen where the cooking was done over an open fire.  To stay warm, people were drawn toward the kitchen but wanted a lounging area nearby to keep warm. Hence, the keeping room.

I had to call this room something after I changed it, and “the old dining room” seemed awkward.  “The room formerly known as the dining room” was more awkward.  Only Prince could pull that off.

I lived in this house for over twenty years hating how closed off the kitchen was from the living room.  It still is.

But now I have another living area that IS open to the kitchen–even more so now since I removed those hang-down cabinets that used to be over the bar.

So what about that old study?  Here it is. My roll-top desk is just out of view to the right.

And here it is now as the new dining room.

I didn’t want to get rid of a dining room altogether; I just wanted to move it.  All I really changed for the new dining room was to stripe the back wall and move in the furniture and accessories. 

I can’t believe I didn’t think of switching these rooms sooner. It also took me nearly twenty years  to realize that if I’d just keep my French doors open, I’d get more light into my windowless living room. Sometimes I’m just a little slow to figure things out.

The Big Switcharoo is one of the best ideas I’ve ever had in my house. Has anyone else done something similar?  I’d love to hear about it.











16 thoughts on “The Big Switcharoo

  1. There’s no design law that says just because a room is labeled as such, it has to stay that way. I think we all need to be a little rebellious and creative in how our homes are set up. The love seat is perfect in the window. Cute picture of the grandbaby in the dining room…kiss that sweet baby all over… Love your pedi… Enjoy your weekend.

    1. Agree. It always bothered me that there was so much space behind the dining table that was totally wasted. I hate wasted space! Thanks, I love that picture of him. Hope you had a great weekend as well.

  2. Your house looks beautiful!! I think you were very smart to switch the rooms around. Wish I had your energy!! You got that from your wonderful Mother!

  3. I did the same thing in my house. The dining was right off the kitchen but was small. The formal living room was right off the family room which didn’t make sense to me. Who needs two rooms with couches next to each other? So, I made the formal living room into my dining room & the small dining room into an office. I love it this way.

  4. I don’t have a rooms to switch and hubby swears that I use them allllllllllll for storage :^)
    Love your idea and I think having a “keeping room” would be perfect in any home!

  5. Hi Jilly! You clever girl! I love the big switcharoo and have thought about doing the same thing with my mostly-unused dining table except for very cool centerpieces. In a small house, though, I don’t have many options. I have made my “attic” space into my office which is perfect except for when it’s 100 degrees inside. Have thought about making my sunroom into my office but would have to put heating out there. Still, it would be lovely to look out all those windows at my garden. Am going to subscribe to your blog; totally enjoying it. I’d like to invite you to visit mine at Hugs, Pat

    1. Thanks, Pat! Switching rooms can really work but does create the snowball effect. Sounds like that would be the case for you. I’m glad you like the blog! Headed now to check yours out!

  6. I’ve never switched rooms, however, I love YOUR switcharoo! Your keeping room is roomy, yet cozy! Love your new dining room! It’s beautiful with the striped wall!

  7. I think your switcheroo was pretty brilliant! We should all think a little more creatively than we do when it comes to the floor plan.

    I see that Jaybird found you and I’m happy about that. She’s a sweet cheerleader for us all. 🙂

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