The Decline of the Dining Room

If you watch any of the myriad home improvement television shows, you may have noticed that dining rooms and formal living rooms are fast disappearing.  There is a strong preference today for homes offering an “open concept” arrangement with kitchen, dining, and living rooms sharing one large gathering space.  These wide open spaces appeal because they fit the more casual way most of us live today.  

The decline of the formal dining room helps explain why of so many of the household items prized by our parents and grandparents have decreased in value over the last decade or so.  It’s hard to imagine ever needing (let alone storing) all the utensils, crockery, and glassware an average middle class Victorian family used to set their Tuesday evening dinner table.  Antique dining furniture, once a staple of the antique trade, has fallen in value as well.  This is not good news for antiques dealers, or anyone else wishing to sell items in these categories.  But I would heartily recommend considering mixing antiques into any open concept living space.  Good middle of the road antiques are invariably of better quality than similarly priced new pieces, they are more affordable than ever, and because they use no new resources they are truly “green.”