How the Dining Room Changed Forever

This post is sponsored by Room & Board

I’ve never really given much thought to my dining room table. Sure, when my kids were very little, I was hypervigilant whenever markers and art projects were present. And yes, the few times we’ve entertained, I’ve wondered if we had enough chairs to go around the table. Generally speaking though, my dining room was always pretty neglected. We travel for a living; we’re hardly ever home! And when we were home, we were always in a rush and sadly, the table became a catch-all spot for things that needed to be put away another time.

Photo: Jacqueline Claire

Enter 2020: The Year We All Stayed Home. Suddenly, everyone the world over found themselves congregating around the family dining room table for…everything! Most of us didn’t have various spaces that could be designated as the school room, the office, and the place where family meals were served (and I do mean Every. Single. Meal.). Every member of the family needed a seat at the table all day long and the dining room table instantly became the family hub. Some of us have returned to our places of employment, sent our kids back to school, or started dining out again, but many of us have not. This simple piece of furniture will never be seen the same way.

So I’m particularly grateful for our new Walsh Extension Table, Gwen Side Chairs and Hensley Storage Cabinets from Room & Board!

Photo: Jacqueline Claire
Photo: Jacqueline Claire
Photo: Jacqueline Claire

First and foremost, the dining room table became a school desk. Every parent found themselves setting up shop, or should I say classroom, without any notice. Laptops, outlet location, chargers and extension cords had to be considered. Was there enough space to write and spread out? Do we need a printer for worksheets? Do we need to move the router? There were so many frustrations to consider, but making sure the kids could still “do school” as normally as possible became one of the first priorities. Along the way, we became better organized. School desks were backordered for months as parents realized a more permanent solution (or designated nook at a minimum) had to be developed. Still, dining room tables became a space for homemade volcanoes and art projects like never before. We were short on storage space for art supplies and workbooks in the dining room, so these two Hensley Storage Cabinets were a godsend!

Photo: Jacqueline Claire
Photo: Jacqueline Claire

At the same time, the bills waited for no one, so work had to resume. Many a videoconference happened around the dining room table. Families had to quickly figure out how to multitask in a very distracting environment. Even before 2020, work from home would happen away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. For many, escaping to quiet space wasn’t an option, either because parents now had to supervise the children’s learning while working or because no place in the house was quiet anymore. The Walsh Extension Table is perfect for city living, as you can adjust its length to seat anywhere from six to ten people.

Photo: Jacqueline Claire

The dining room table got plenty of its intended use in 2020, since dining out wasn’t an option. We either learned to cook, ordered takeout and meal kits, or a combination of all of these. It became the cafeteria, the modern-day Norman Rockwell painting, and the space for making bread from scratch all-in-one. The Gwen Side Chairs are the perfect seats. I love that they can be easily wiped down — a must if you have kids!

Photo: Jacqueline Claire

In the chaos, the dining room table managed to become a gathering place where memories were made. How many board games, activities, and conversations happened there? How many virtual chats with extended family and online happy hours took place there? No other multi-functioning piece of furniture ever mattered more.

Photo: Jacqueline Claire
Photo: Jacqueline Claire
Photo: Jacqueline Claire
The dining room has become the central hub not just for dining, but for school, work, art projects, game nights and more!
The dining room has become the central hub not just for dining, but for school, work, art projects, game nights and more!
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