Dining room table project

It’s nice when you make progress on a project, and your aspirations are confirmed rather than proving to be unfounded. On our vacation, we had the idea of turning our kitchen table into an art/project table, and eating in our dining room instead of the kitchen. Today I went and picked up a couple of benches for the kitchen table. They are unfinished, and it will be a fun family activity to paint or stain them (Hazel wants them to have a rainbow pattern). They fit perfectly. Ted is currently sitting at the kitchen table doing some work, so apparently they make an appealing spot already.

The dining room table is one that’s been in Ted’s family for a couple of generations. He has fond feelings about it and wants to keep it in good shape while it is being used by the small fry (totally understandable – I am happy to refinish the kitchen table once our kids are older, but wouldn’t want to tackle the dining room table ourselves). To that end, we ordered a custom-made pad that includes sections to cover the leaves. They have magnetic locks so that they won’t come apart when on the table.

They’re not going to arrive for a month or so, though, and so I came up with a temporary solution in the form of a cardboard “pad” cut to fit the table top.

table with cardboard pad

I covered the cardboard with a full-size impermeable mattress cover, over which we’ll put the table-cloth when it arrives in the next day or so. In the meantime, I put a blanket and place mats on the table.

dining room table with cardboard and mattress pad

If you look at the picture, you’ll see that, clearly, we should have another kid so that our table is not set asymmetrically. I said as much to Ted and learned that it really is possible to guffaw hollowly. Nonetheless I must admit that even I would not take my passion for neatly aligned objects that far. And of course, if we set out to cheat biology and reproduce one more time, we’d wind up with triplets, and then my plan would be ruined, we’d be eating ramen for the rest of our lives, and we’d wind up institutionalized and gibbering. Doesn’t seem worth it somehow.

Tomorrow we’re going to go pick up a rug so that we spend absolutely no time digging food out of the cracks between the very old floorboards. Spot-cleaning an area rug is ok, I can deal with that. We thought about getting a linoleum remnant instead, but just didn’t like how it would look with the ends curling up, so a rug it is. It can move down into the family room when the kids are older, and at some point we’ll refinish the dining room floor. For now, we’ll enjoy eating in this room, which is appealing with sunshine, plants, big windows, and a reading nook.

Edited to add: here is the kitchen with the new benches tucked under the table.
kitchen with new benches


2 thoughts on “Dining room table project

  1. Carol Burlis says:

    I like your idea, but are you sure you want to commit to the dining room table for all meals? Might it work better to make the dining room table into the art table? Carol

    • cellocatnw says:

      Hey Carol, the issue is that the kids are still too little (and too potentially destructive) to leave unattended in the dining room/living room while I’m in the kitchen cooking, for example. We’re at the stage where we all need to be in the same room. If there were no wall between the kitchen and the playroom that’d be best, but that’s a load-bearing wall and not something we’re going to take out. The beauty of this arrangement is that we can still use the kitchen table for meals if we want to, and if it is clear. I’ve added a picture of the kitchen table with the new benches tucked under it to the post: you can see that there’s now a reasonable amount of room for kids to play, including a nook between the fridge, the wall, and the table.

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