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Forget the Family Room. It’s All About the Dining Room Table.

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As the name implies, the family room is deemed the central hub for many. It’s where the family gathers to watch a movie, play a game, or just hangout. It is a room of many facets and Lyndsay offers some great decorating tips.

However, in our home, the family hub is not the family room or living room but rather the dining room, specifically the dining room table.

My husband and I bought an 8-foot barn board table handmade just for us. We lived in an old house and wanted to fill it with the warm craftsmanship of wood from the past. Of course we also didn’t have kids so our home was our focus. At the time, the table felt huge in our dining room, stretching from the back door to the living room entrance, but we loved it.

We’re in a new home (still an old home) and with three more in our clan the larger table certainly has come in handy. For family dinners we’re never crowed. For holiday dinners we never have to pull out the dreaded children’s table. For parties, everyone gets to sit with the birthday child. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, we gather around the table. But our dining table offers us more than a place to set our dishes. It’s a place to work on math problems, write letters to friends overseas, and colour pictures for nana. We put together puzzles and play board games. We build crafts out of paper and structures out of LEGO.

Our table always seems to be covered with things. It use to really bother me; I’d clear it off, get the kids to put their stuff away, and an hour later it would be covered with a new project. Our table is beautiful, bumpy and worn with nicks and groves from the wood’s previous life and I feel it should be on display.

But as I watch me kids working around the table I realize that this piece of furniture isn’t like grandma’s fine china we only pull out on special occasions or the living room that no one is allowed to use since it’s saved for entertaining only when company comes over. Our dining room table is part of our lives. It’s covered with things because we love it. Occassionally we dress it up, just like us putting on our Sunday best, when we’re having a special occasion and then we can see its warm, honey glow. Just like we tell our kids, it’s not how you look but your heart that counts, the same is true about our dining room table.

So bring out the dishes and LEGO and crayons. I’ve come to terms with my messy table and the chaos that surrounds it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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