Transforming a Breakfast Room into a Dining Room

Updated on: September 26 2013

If you own a small hotel, B&B, guesthouse or cottage, you’ll know that there isn’t always room to include both a breakfast room and a dining room in your establishment. Even some larger boutique hotels use one room for every meal to save on space and cut down on costs, transforming a breakfast room into a dining room with some clever flourishes.

It is a great idea, but only if you make the most of the space by helping it transition from a place where guests wake up and fuel up to somewhere they can settle down to an intimate and relaxing meal. Although it might sound like a huge undertaking, there’s no need to draft in a fleet of painters, decorators and interior designers each evening, simply take note of these essential tweaks!

Make permanent fixtures out of the most versatile elements

Image credit: Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts

When you’re running a hospitality business the one thing that hovers over every undertaking is time. You need to save as much as possible to tick off your daily tasks, while ensuring that said tasks are completed to the very highest standard!

Luckily, transforming a breakfast room into a dining room needn’t sap a lot of that time. All you need to do is pick out the most versatile elements of the room (ie. those that suit both a breakfast and dinner atmosphere), and make permanent fixtures out of them. Here are a few examples:

  • A chandelier. These make a real impact and look set to be a big trend during the next twelve months. Pale coloured and glass chandeliers help add to bright and airy breakfast rooms by reflecting light, and help create a romantic atmosphere in the evening as they catch soft lighting.
  • Art and photographs. As they’re personal to your establishment’s style and atmosphere, there’s no need for the art or photographs adorning your breakfast room walls to change come the evening. Just make sure they’re suited to a dining atmosphere in general. Impressive pieces of art are generally more at home in the reception area to help create a great first impression, while something like a framed picture of the beautiful local landscape blends right into the social atmosphere of a dining area and provides a talking point.

Image credit: NotLiz

  • The primary colour palette. This might be an obvious point to make since you can’t go repainting before every evening meal, but make sure you choose the perfect, transitional primary colour palette for your walls, ceiling and floor when decorating a combined breakfast and dinner area. Neutrals like white, olive and lighter greys, blues, browns and purples work perfectly.
  • Wallpaper. Hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and cottages everywhere are now utilising wallpaper as a way to make an impact and, especially in guestrooms, create an intimate atmosphere. The same can be done in your breakfast-cum-dining area. Subtle patterns or designs in more neutral colours transition effortlessly from morning to evening.
  • Curtains. The same goes for curtains as it does for wallpaper. Luxurious looking fabrics in softer colours fit the bill, but curtains also afford the perfect opportunity to get a little more adventurous with colour as they aren’t as prominent as other elements of the room. Consider warmer, richer colours and even plum tones.
  • Large floor plants. Floor plants are the perfect accessory for hotel, B&B and guesthouse dining areas. They look bold and impactful in well-lit breakfast rooms, and more exotic once the lights are dimmed in the evening.

Transform your breakfast room with some select additions

Image credit: John Picken

Once you’ve decided upon the items that will be translating from morning to night, you can start employing some carefully selected additions that help complete your light and airy breakfast room’s transformation into an intimate and atmospheric dining room.

While the elements you choose to incorporate should be characteristic to your individual hotel, guesthouse or B&B and its themes, there are a few universal things that will make an impact in any establishment:

  • Dim lighting. Romantic and cosy, lower lighting is integral to transforming a breakfast room into a dining room, creating a relaxing evening atmosphere. While candles are a great way to create the right ambience, they shouldn’t be used in place of traditional lighting. Instead, use them in conjunction with LED lights, lights with dimmer switches and curtains to make your breakfast feel more dining room than Dracula’s cave!
  • The right music. This is an ideal way to help set the tone for a guest’s evening meal; after all, music can have a significant impact on our emotions. With this in mind, make sure the music you do choose is right for a dinner atmosphere and is set at a volume that won’t drown out guests’ conversations and affect their dining experience. It all depends on your establishment, but fast-paced dance music and heavy rock generally have the wrong effect!

Image credit: Cassandra Lavalle

  • Table linen. Not to be underestimated, your table linen is much more than simple protection for your tables and your guests’ clothes. Hotel table linen is an important interior design consideration that can help you to achieve a number of different evening looks, depending on what you use. For example, white tablecloths and napkins incorporating a satin band look sophisticated and elegant, while those incorporating an ivyleaf pattern are dressier and that bit more romantic – perfect for occasions like Valentine’s Day and Christmas dinners.
  • Cutlery and crockery. Like hotel table linen, even something as seemingly insignificant as cutlery and crockery can have a big impact where transforming your breakfast room into a dining room is concerned. For the evening, bring out more classic and high end looking products. Cutlery with a vintage-inspired pattern worked into their handles, and more adventurously shaped plates and bowls are all lovely choices that add to an intimate evening meal.

When you think about it, transforming a breakfast room into a dining room doesn’t require quite as much leg work as you’d think. As long as you have your permanent fixtures and focal points nailed, making changes to a few choice elements before guests arrive for dinner won’t take too long at all.

How do you transform your breakfast room into a dining room come the evening? Do you think we’ve missed out a crucial element? Leave a comment below and fill us in : )

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Hilden Team
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Hilden Team

Michelle Pegg is the Assurance and Compliance Manager at Hilden Linens.