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Cozy Re-Purposed Dining Table

Updated on November 12, 2013

Currently, trending topics include living green, down-sizing, and re-purposing. However, when we drive around and see community after community continuing to build what seem like “McMansions” to me, I wonder how serious our American consumer culture is about decreasing our impact on the earth. I do not consider myself a “green bean” (what I fondly call folks who are extremely serious about living green and consuming less, more than me, and do so with intent on a daily basis). Even though I don't fall into this category, I am conscious of the earth, my surroundings, and I try to conserve things. I am making strides in living more green beanish. However, like many, I pick and choose what I conserve. Living in a small space, is one conscious effort I’ve made over the years to be more green. Even though I choose to live in a small space, small living has it’s challenges.

Choosing the Small Space Life

It is fairly easy to find small space when you live in an apartment. Apartments tend to have less square footage than homes. And some apartments are bread box sized. Living in a bread box is sometimes harder to furnish. Often times, it's harder to find a place for everything and everything in it's place, it Fortunately, stores market to apartment dwellers with their “apartment sized” items. However, my dream is to eventually live in the country, preferably off-grid, in a tiny cabin or an apartment over a barn or garage. Either way, small apartment or small home living has both pros and cons. In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons and I plan to continue to live small and cozy. It is difficult to fight the feelings that my bathroom isn't large enough, I don't have enough bathrooms, my floor plan isn't open enough, and that everyone needs that huge gourmet kitchen. But overall, we are very happy living in a tiny space.

Tiny Space Cons

Storage Issues – everything needs a place. And it is sometimes challenging to find space for every thing.

Child proofing – I find that child proofing is a little more difficult to think about if you are utilizing space (especially with shelves) from floor to ceiling.

More difficult to entertain guests – the more guests you have at one time, the more comfortable they need to be with each other in order to be in close quarters

Tiny Space Pros

Small space means less – less resources to heat, less resources to cool, less cost to decorate, remodel, and furnish. Just less.

Less space to clean – an awesome quality in a living space for some who hates chores as much as I do.

Award Winning Decorating

No, we will not win any awards for our dcor. If they gave awards for multiple use of spaces, we may have a chance. An example of multiple-use spaces and items is our dining room table.

We are fortunate enough to have re-purposed an old drafting table. I don’t believe they this particular model any longer. And I believe this model, in good condition, is quite pricey. The Mister (an artist among other things) was very excited to see a close replica in a current Blick Studio sales catalog. We use our drafting table as our dining table.

We turn the side with the pencil ledge to the wall for daily convenience. However, if the Mister has a serious, long term art project going on, we turn it back in order to catch his drawing utensils.

Reasons we like this as our dining room table are:

  • Adjustability. We can adjust the height. We can adjust the table top; flat for dining or activities or tilted for drawing and painting.
  • Durability. Clearly. It has lasted as a multi-purpose use item for many years.
  • Variety of Seating Options. Bar stool height chairs fit well and we have found durable folding chairs. Bar stools come in a wide variety of styles and prices
  • Small Living. It is the perfect size for our daily use; one to two people at a time.
  • Entertaining. Pulled out from the wall, we could seat four.
  • Decorating. We could paint it or stain it to match our decor.
  • Storage. If we needed a larger amount of floor space for some reason, we can adjust the table top to a vertical position and move it out of the way.
  • Portability. It is far easier to carry up 3 flights of stairs when moving than most dining tables.

We prefer the old style, wooden drafting table. However, there are a large variety of similar tables to choose from. Some of the glass and metal tables appear to be as sturdy and would look good being used similarly to ours. Small living is not difficult with an open mind and willingness to use items in multiple ways.

Summary. We live in a small space and we like it. We do it because we like it but also because it is good for the earth. Living in a small space does have its challenges and we have to be creative and flexible. We re-purpose items and find interesting ways to meet our storage needs. One example of that flexibility is using a drafting table as a dining and multi-purpose space. There are several interesting lenses on Squidoo and I encourage you to search squidoo with phrases such as "organizing small spaces" to find more nifty ideas.

Photo Gallery

Drafting Table: Our dining/activity/kitchen garden area. Yes, that is a lemon tree and tomato plant.
Drafting Table: Our dining/activity/kitchen garden area. Yes, that is a lemon tree and tomato plant.
Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home (Susanka)
Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home (Susanka)

I love this book. Sarah Susanka has published multiple books about living in small homes and small spaces that I enjoy very much.

Roundhill Furniture 3-Piece Counter Height Glossy Print Marble Breakfast Table with Stools
Roundhill Furniture 3-Piece Counter Height Glossy Print Marble Breakfast Table with Stools

Similar size and more "traditional" dining - if you think the pencil ledge would bother you.


Do you re-purpose, down-size. or live "green beanish"? Feel free to add comments or share ideas.

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    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      I love your idea of purposeful decorating duality with the dining/drafting table.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Honestly, I like any foldable table. It is so portable that I can take it anywhere I please. - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Great lens! I've been in downsize mode for a little while now. It makes you wonder why all the accumulation over the years! Trying to get it down to what I really need/use/want. thanks for sharing this!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I also have no desire to live in a bigger place. I like my small apartment as it's cozy and comfortable.

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      @SusannaDuffy: Thank you for visiting. I totally agree about the less space to clean. I often am envious of large, luxurious bathrooms and big stone and marble kitchens...until i think that i'd be the one cleaning it. :)

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I'd be happy with less space to clean