If you live in a house built before, oh, the late 1990's, like we do, this probably sounds familiar:
You have a "formal dining room", which is small and gets no use until the holidays, at which time you try to cram way too many people into way too small a space at way too tiny a table.
And you have a formal living room, which gets ignored because you likely have a family room or TV room where you spend most of your time when you're actually home and not working or running around, and that's where you eat dinner...sitting on the floor in front of the TV (OK, maybe you're not like us and you don't eat while sitting on the floor. That's not important though).
Solution? A several-hundred-thousand-dollar addition on the house. Or, for a bit less, you flip the dining room and the living room...for good.
That's what we did, on the recommendation of my not-afraid-to-make-her-opinion-known sister-in-law.
You see, as the sister-in-law and the wife were stressing about how we were going to fit the extended family into the dining room for my yearly fried-turkey Thanksgiving feast, it was determined that the dining room sucks, and the living room is pointless (harsh words, but relatively true). Coming from a middle-class Italian-American family, I, personally, don't stress over such things. It's nothing a couple of card tables, a piece of plywood, some folding chairs and a lot of tolerance for familial closeness can't take care of. But I digress, as my opinion on such matters carries no weight.
With that realization (or affirmation I suppose) we moved the dining room table to the old living room, and the living room furniture was placed neatly in the old dining room (which we'll now refer to as the "study" or "reading room", thank you very much).
Wow. What a difference. I can hardly wait to see the extended family just so we can seat them in the now expansive dining area. And, what with the only fireplace being in the now dining room, it's quite a comfortable spot to have a meal, and sip port over some, errr, "lively" discussion (a standard at our dinner table). In fact, I might even start eating dessert and just kinda lingering at the table considering all of this new-found comfort. And I'll even consider not eating on the floor in front of the TV. Maybe.
Highly recommended. Extended family optional.