We've been asked to share about our dining rooms and about dining at home this month. When given the prompt, images of pretty table settings came to mind, with neatly ironed napkins, bowls full of steaming soup, a pretty tablecloth and colour-coordinated placemats... and I wondered what I was going to write about, since our meals are anything but pretty. There is only one word to describe mealtimes in our home: Messy. One kid keeps leaving the table and can't sit still, the toddler keeps spitting his food, and wants to self-feed using his hands, another struggles through meals very slowly and manages to get noodles on the table, the chair and the floor. Getting meals to the table on time can be a challenge, so we always keep things simple with unbreakable dinnerware for the kids, and no placemats or tablecloths (here's a peek at some of the meals we have).
While dining at home isn't picture-perfect, I must say our dining room is a rather pleasant place, and it is one of the rooms that works the hardest for us. I've blogged about how our dining table has been through so much. This Stornas extendable table is where we eat all our meals and do our home-learning and art activities. It has heard countless of stories being read aloud, it's surface has been dotted with paint and crayons (until I started using Klack trays during painting sessions, which reduces clean up!), it has hosted parties, dinners and craft sessions. (The posters you see on the walls were purchased from the Copenhagen Zoo, and framed using Ribba frames.)
|Watching a Perler bead tutorial and working on his project. The tray really helps to minimize spills and cleanup!|
The dining room also holds the kids' library. This wall used to hold a huge planted aquarium (pictures here), but we decided to give away the fish and sell off the equipment after Junior J came, since maintaining it was a fair bit of work. In it's place stands three Expedit bookcases (these are now replaced by the similar-looking Kallax), and the compartmentalized shelves are great for keeping the books sorted by topics.
To maximize our storage options, we use baskets and boxes in some of the compartments. These Branas baskets hold building blocks and train tracks, while the Drona boxes hold jigsaw puzzles and games, and these are easily accessible to the kids.
We also use smaller baskets (from Daiso) for some of their very thin books (like their Jolly Phonics readers). Their front-facing arrangement makes it easier for the kids to flip through the books to find the title they want, since the books are too thin to have titles printed on their spines. A Variera shelf insert (in the lower shelf in the picture below) helps to add an extra tier to the shelves, so that we can squeeze more board books in.
The dining room also is the place where our piano stands! We use these small drawers to store various small bits and bobs like mosquito repellant patches, plasters, postage stamps and coins. Since the piano is just next to the main door, we can easily grab these things as we head out the door.
|More details on the artwork here, and here.|
We use a Kallax bookshelf as a sideboard too, and the drawers hold some of the boys' homeschool books, as well as dining necessities such as coasters and disposable cutlery. (The traditional basket next to the coffee maker holds our Nespress capsules!)
The dining room is also where we keep our art trolley, which holds some basic art supplies. I've pared down the contents of the trolley since the toddler tends to climb and ransack the trolley these days! It's a Raskog, which many crafters swear by (and hey, it's now going at a reduced price in the new catalogue, so hooray!).
Since the toddler has a bad habit of uncapping markers and throwing them everywhere, we keep all markers out of reach, using enamel cups and a Grundtal magnetic knife rack. This means the older kids can still get the markers, but their younger brother doesn't get to use them unless Mama is around.
This room is so busy that the piles of paper and stuff tends to accumulate here. Having to write this post was great since it made me clear out all the junk, and I'm loving how this room works for us right now!
PS: You can read about our living room here.
PPS: This post is part of a series of collaborative posts with IKEA. We were given a gift card to purchase some of the aforementioned items in this post, and no monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.