Most of us have childhood memories from a long-gone era celebrating large family holiday gatherings in the formal dining room. Sitting at an expansive table set with fine china and crystal, under the chandelier surrounded by our loved ones.

So, one might ask, do we really need a separate room for an occasion that may occur only once or twice a year? If that is the case for you, you may want to consider repurposing to better utilize the space. It may be hard to let go of the dining room dream, but let’s look at some options.

For many overscheduled families, “dining” has been reduced to grabbing a plate of food at the kitchen island or eating on the go between work, school and sporting events. Why not eliminate a hardly-used room for a more casual area that can be utilized instead of wasting square footage. Here are four ideas to transform that room into more livable space.

1. Office
Consider making a library and/or office space. Families can set up a corner computer to run a freelance business out of the home; or have a nice quiet space for the kids to do homework. Let your china cabinet double as office supplies storage. For the few days that you may host large dinners, simply clear off your office supplies and add the extra chairs back to the table!

2. Entertainment Room
Replace your dining room table with a pool table and install a bar along the wall. The dining room will quickly become the most popular room in the house!

3. Café
Instead of squandering every square inch of the room with an oak table that seats eight, place a couple small, café style tables in the room. Small tables are more inviting when you’re enjoying a cup of coffee, reading the paper or even opening the mail.

4. Playroom
If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen and love the idea of your kids playing close by, then turn your dining room into their playroom. Ditch the fancy table and replace it with a craft table and add toy bins or book shelves.

And don’t be afraid every so often to set your nice kitchen table with your best china and cloth napkins, even if it’s just for a weeknight family dinner. Enjoy!