Heirloom pieces like the dining table are just as beautiful as they are functional in this dining room. Photos by Melissa Oivanki.

How often do you use your dining room?

Do you strictly reserve the sacred table for holidays and entertaining guests? Although the name dining room is distinctive, this space can serve other purposes in a home, from kids’ homework to holiday wrapping to an occasional puzzle.

According to interior designer Meghann Landry of McMillin Interiors, these rooms should be a comfortable area for your family to gather on all occasions. She says that “formal” dining spaces aren’t necessarily making a comeback; “dining spaces that feel more usable and livable are, though.”

Landry notes that the best way to ensure a successful space is to consider your lifestyle, keeping in mind the way you’ll be using the dining room on a daily basis.

“These spaces aren’t just about finding a table and chairs,” she says, “but can instead be a thoughtful representation on how you like to entertain or gather.”

Landry and the team at McMillin Interiors designed the LSU Lakes-set home pictured above. In the home’s dining space, the goal was not just accommodating the homeowners’ large extended family, but also creating a room everyone wanted to gather in.

The Gracie wallpaper softens the space since it also includes dark-stained antique pieces like the buffet pictured here.

“The room was specifically designed around the table, which is a family heirloom,” Landry notes. “Dining rooms hold wallpaper so well, and this Gracie paper completely set the stage for comfortable entertaining while blending old and new. It’s beautiful while being a completely livable space you want to use.”

And that’s the value of including a formal space in your home, according to Landry. Fancy dinners aren’t the only way a dining room can come alive, and they shouldn’t be. From simple breakfasts to makeshift tea parties with grandkids to after-dinner drinks, when you invest in making a space you love, it’ll become a special place you want to be all the time.

See the rest of this home in this story from the inRegister archives.