When we first moved into this house almost five years ago, we used our dining area/eat-in kitchen as our dining room. This house was built without a dining room. Unfortunately, the step down that you can see clearly in the third picture (with Charming on the dark loveseat) made the dining room cramped and actually unsafe for the person who sat at the end of the table.
Within a year, I moved the dining room table into the room that is supposed to be the living room. It eventually ended up looking like this and has worked really well for us.
But what to do with the "dining room" space? Well, for a long while I played with it as a seating area. The family always gathers here when I'm cooking or baking. When guests come over, they want congregate in the kitchen area. Here is the first iteration. A dark loveseat and a leather chair facing it created a conversation area. The problem? The ottoman collected "stuff" and was never cleared off for any amount of time. We needed a change. (This dark loveseat is now in my room.)
Then we have it with the white Klippan couch from Ikea. A little Ikea table that I got for something like $25 in the as-is section was pushed up against my kitchen cupboard. The birdhouse was moved (I hated the way the feathers collected under the table). The big problem? Again, stuff just collected on that table and the table was never used the way I thought it would be.
I don't have a picture, but I ended up taking the table down and storing it (again) and putting a bent wood rocker in the corner to create a conversation area. No ottoman or coffee table to collect stuff. No rug to collect dog fur. Simple and easy.
Then Valiant wanted the Klippan couch in his room, so I put the futon in its place.
This is how the space stayed for quite some time. It wasn't very pretty, but it worked. Then Superman left for his new job. Charming was away at college and the two kids and I didn't want to eat all our meals at the big table. The bent wood rocker was put away (a good thing, too, as the cane wasn't holding up well). I moved the "craft" table from Buttercup's room and put the futon in its place (it is awesome for sleepovers!). I brought out my as-is Ikea bar stools (from my California house...finally had a use for them because the craft table is counter height!) and we started using this as our table. I loved the the size and the layout, but I hated that the ends were shelving, not open like a table. The space was still only "kind of" working for us. This morning, however, inspiration struck!
I took the craft table apart and used the two shelf ends as one big shelf and added a melamine "shelf" from Home Depot to finish the top. I brought back the table that I'd had in the room with the white sofa, as well as bringing back one of the rugs I've moved to various places in the house. Finally, I brought in some of my dining room chairs. Ta Da! A room that is comfortable, functional, and attractive. All for $11.43 (the price of the shelf on top of the "bookcase"). The dog is just eye-candy.
So, the moral of the story? Keep tweaking until you get it the way you want it. As long as you only have furniture you like, you will eventually get to a room you love.
What about you? Do your rooms evolve? Do you think I'm crazy? Does it work for you?