Dining Rooms: Are They Dead or Just Changing?

Just like in the commercials, people are still enjoying family dinners together, but chances are they’re not taking place in those formal dining rooms of years gone by.

Instead, you’re likely to find families eating at large kitchen islands, desks in multi-functioning offices, on terraces, or in outdoor kitchens. In fact, anyplace equipped with a table and chairs (or bench) can host dinnertime. Think wingback chairs around a marble table in the living room.

So where are dining rooms? Don’t feel sorry for them – they haven’t completely been abandoned. They’re just being used for other purposes, as described in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Homeowners in pursuit of useful square footage are turning dining rooms into living areas or workspaces, particularly in metropolitan, square-footage challenged homes, and luxury properties, WSJ says.

In fact, formal dining rooms are reincarnating architecturally; interior designers are turning existing dining rooms into multi-function rooms, like lounges or pantry/mudroom combinations. For their part, builders, architects, and contractors are creating rooms that can quickly be “flipped” into dining areas, like offices where desks or shelving unit components fold down into dining tables. Or living rooms where the coffee table extends and rises to seat six or more people in total comfort.

The traditional dining room may be gone, but it’s been reborn as a space where people can tailor their homes to their lifestyles. And maybe, like the kitchen that returned to its roots as the heart of the home, it’s an idea whose time has come.

Big Data’s Changing the Way Your Home is Priced

Big data is changing real estate pricing models. And that’s bringing the future right into our living rooms.

Big data is derived from a myriad of data sources and can help you answer with some degree of certainty a question that’s been hard to answer definitively in the past. Marketing professionals, in particular, look to big data for the kinds of statistical information that will help them identify, categorize, and target customers.

In the past, the real estate industry has been accustomed to data crunching. Want a snapshot of the market? There are stats for that. What’s the value of your home? A pricing model will compare the square footage, structure, numbers of rooms, amenities, and condition of your home with other similar properties in your neighborhood.

However, this model could be missing some important pieces of data. In a recent Forbes article, economic consultant Adam Ozimek points to new data that will impact the real estate industry’s pricing models, making them even more accurate.

This is big data, and it’s coming at us from our increasingly “smart” homes and other big data sources such as neighborhood Walk Scores, and the location and quality of amenities.

For example, our smart homes now have appliances that can calculate a home’s annual energy consumption and devices that estimate the remaining life expectancy of home systems (air conditioning, plumbing, electrical). They can even assess the convenience of its floor plan.

Imagine how useful it would be to compare your super-smart home to one that hasn’t been so upgraded. Imagine how, as a seller, this could dramatically impact the value of your home and how, as a buyer, smart features will become a Need (versus a Want).

Analysts have only just begun incorporating smart data into their home pricing models. But coming soon, thanks to big data, the real estate industry will “know” both homes and neighborhoods in micro-detail.