Shared living and dining arrangements, where residents share communal spaces like kitchens, dining areas, and lounges, are becoming increasingly popular. This type of communal housing offers several benefits but also comes with some drawbacks.
This article explores the pros and cons of shared living and dining and looks at ways these arrangements can be enhanced.
According to a 2020 report by the Pew Research Center, 16% of Americans live in a multigenerational household (a household with two or more adult generations). This is up from 12% in 2000.
The report also found that multigenerational households are more likely to be headed by a person of colour (27% of multigenerational households are headed by a person of colour, compared to 13% of all households).
What is Shared Living and Dining?
Shared living refers to a housing setup where residents share some common facilities and spaces. This includes having shared kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms or lounges.
Shared dining arrangements mean having a common dining area that residents use together for meals. In some shared housing, meals may also be prepared together.
Some examples of shared living and dining include:
- Cohousing communities
- Coliving spaces
- Student dorms
- Senior living communities
Benefits of Shared Living and Dining
Living and dining together comes with several advantages:
- Social interaction – Fosters connections with other residents
- Cost savings – Rent and utility bills split between residents
- Convenience – Shared chores and cooking responsibilities
- Sense of community – Shared spaces bring people together
- More amenities – Access to facilities like lounges, game rooms
- Learning new cultures – Get exposed to different backgrounds and traditions
Types of Shared Living and Dining
There are different models of shared living and dining:
- Residents live in private homes with front doors opening to a shared space
- Self-managed community
- Regular shared meals
- Members live in private bedrooms with shared kitchen and lounges
- Shorter-term stays compared to cohousing
- More flexibility
- Shared bedrooms or apartments for roommates
- Mandatory meal plans with university dining halls
- Shared amenities tailored to seniors
- Access to community meals and dining areas
- Activities and events
- Residents own shares in a corporation that owns the property
- Democratic management
- Shared maintenance responsibilities
Who is Shared Living For?
Shared housing works well for:
- Young professionals – convenient and flexible
- Students – built-in social network and meal plans
- Seniors – companionship and accessible amenities
- Families – kid-friendly communal spaces
- Environmentalists – efficient use of resources
Tips for Maximizing Shared Living and Dining Areas
Living with roommates often means sharing common spaces like the kitchen, living room, and dining area. While this allows for social connection, it also requires some compromise. This article provides tips on optimizing shared living and dining areas for style, function, and harmony between roommates.
Designing a Shared Living and Dining Space
When setting up a shared home, begin with the layout and design:
Choosing the Right Furniture
- Opt for multifunctional pieces – ottomans with storage, pull-out sofa beds
- Ensure adequate comfortable seating for residents and guests
- Select a dining table size that fits the space and number of people
Creating Distinct Zones
- Use area rugs, lighting, and furniture arrangements to define spaces
- Kitchen, dining room, living room, and study areas
Adding Personal Touches
- Artwork, photos, decorative accents
- Agree upon wall colours and decor
Decorating a Shared Living and Dining Space
Decorate the communal areas with a cohesive style:
Choosing a Color Palette
- Agree upon neutral wall colours as a backdrop
- Add pops of accent colours through the decor
- Throws, pillows, and curtains to soften space and tie colour schemes together
Incorporating Natural Light
- Sheer curtains to allow light while preserving privacy
- Plants to bring nature indoors
Furnishing a Shared Living and Dining Space
Choose furnishings suited for durability and multiple residents:
Must-Have Furniture Pieces
- Comfortable sofa and chairs for lounging
- Spacious coffee and side tables
- Large TV console or shelving unit
Tips for Choosing Space-Saving Furniture
- Fold-out dining tables, stackable chairs, ottomans with storage space
Creating a Comfortable and Inviting Space
- Include plenty of lamps, pillows, and blankets to enhance comfort
Organizing a Shared Living and Dining Space
Reduce clutter and disagreements through the organization:
Creating a Storage System
- Bins, baskets, closet organizers to corral items
- Clearly label storage areas
Establishing Cleaning Routines
- Create a chore chart and schedule
- Take turns cleaning communal spaces
Setting Ground Rules
- Guidelines for guests, noise levels, sharing items
Living Harmoniously in a Shared Space
With some care, shared spaces can work for all residents:
- Have roommate meetings to address issues right away
Respecting Space and Belongings
- Ask before borrowing items
- Keep private spaces tidy
- Compromise on shared spaces and appliances
- Accommodate different schedules and habits
With planning, communication and cooperation, shared living and dining areas can be stylish, efficient, and harmonious parts of any shared home.
How do you combine living and dining?
Combining a living room and dining room can be a great way to create a more spacious and open feeling in your home. However, it can also be challenging to combine these two spaces in a way that is both functional and stylish.
Here are a few tips for combining living and dining rooms:
Use furniture to divide the space. A large piece of furniture, such as a sofa or dining table, can be used to visually divide the living and dining areas. This can help to create a more cohesive and organized look.
Use rugs to define different spaces. A rug is a great way to define different areas within a room. For example, you can use one rug to define the living area and another rug under the dining table.
Use lighting to create different zones. Lighting can also be used to create different zones within a room. For example, you can use pendant lights over the dining table to create a focal point, and then use floor lamps in the living area to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Use furniture to create different seating areas. In addition to the sofa, you can also use other pieces of furniture to create different seating areas in your living and dining room combination. For example, you could add a loveseat or armchair to the living area, and then use a bench or chairs at the dining table to create a more casual seating area.
Use accessories to tie the space together. Accessories can help to tie the different areas of your living and dining room combination together. For example, you could use throw pillows in the living area that match the colour scheme of the dining area. You could also use mirrors to reflect light and create a more open feeling in the space.
Is a dining room a living area?
Yes, a dining room is a living area. A living area is a part of a house that is used for activities such as relaxing, socializing, and eating. The living room, dining room, family room, and sunroom are all examples of living areas.
The dining room is a specific room in a living area that is used for eating meals. It is typically adjacent to the living room and may be used for formal dining with guests or for everyday meals with family.
In modern homes, the dining room is often combined with the living room to create a more open and spacious living area. This is especially common in smaller homes, where there is limited space.
What rooms are part of the living area?
The living area of a house typically includes rooms that are used for living, relaxing, and socializing, such as the living room, dining room, family room, sunroom, home office, and bedrooms.
In larger homes, there may also be additional living areas, such as formal living rooms, great rooms, drawing rooms, man caves, home libraries, home bars, and gaming rooms.
In an open-concept living space, multiple household functions occur in one large space, such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen.
Which room should be the living room?
The living room is the most important room in a house, as it is the space where people gather to socialize, relax, and entertain guests. It is usually located in the front of the house, near the entryway.
Living rooms are often one of the largest rooms in the house, as they need to accommodate furniture such as couches, TVs, and storage units.
According to Vastu, living rooms should be located in the east or north direction. This is said to bring wealth, health, and progress into the home. If you have an east or north-facing house, you should place your living room in the northwest corner.
If you have a south-facing house, you can place your living room in the south-east corner.
However, you can also choose to place your living room in a different direction, depending on your personal preferences. For example, if you enjoy socializing with guests, you may want to place your living room in the south-west direction.
Shared living and dining provide many benefits like affordability and community, but also require compromise. By setting clear expectations upfront, being respectful of space and belongings, and embracing open communication, residents can greatly enhance their experience.
Regular house meetings allow prompt discussion of any issues before tensions arise. Shared spaces work best when residents act communally, not just individually. With planning and participation, shared living can become an enriched lifestyle filled with meaningful connections.
For those open to the experience, shared housing presents a unique opportunity to reduce costs while connecting deeply with others.
Implementing the tips in this article can help shared homes reach their full potential, both physically and socially.