Who Needs A Dining Room In A Condo, Right?


6 minute read

November 25, 2022

When I moved into my first condo in 2006, I knew that if I didn’t have some input from a female, then I would risk the place turning into a typical bachelor pad.

I’m a very organized, neat, and clean individual, so it wasn’t like this would be a dirty bachelor pad.

I’m not one of those guys that’s stuck in university, so it wasn’t like this would have the Scarface and Bob Marley posters on the wall.

But when it came to the furnishings in my condo, I needed a bit of help.

So I turned to my sister-in-law, who already had experience helping me shop for clothes in my early-20’s, who now would accompany me to IKEA, EQ3, Structube, GH Johnston’s, JYSK, and lord knows what else.

I took every one of her suggestions to heart.  Er, almost every one.

But when it came time for the coffee table, I put down my foot.  I mean, that was the place that I would put down my feet at night, so excuse the play on words, but it was apt.

I’ve told this story on TRB before, but Lindsay suggested a beautiful, designer table that ran about $500.

It wasn’t so much the money that was the problem.  I mean, maybe it was, at the time.  But it was more so the fact that I knew how this table would be used.

I told her that I was going to eat dinner at this table every night, and she said, “No way, you’ll eat at your breakfast bar!”

What kind of single guy doesn’t put a plate on the table in front of his TV and eat from his couch?

I told her that I would put my bare feet up on this table every night, slide my clunky laptop back-and-forth every night as I worked, and place my pint glass of rye-and-gingerale directly onto the table, without a coaster, every Friday and Saturday night.

I knew that I would destroy this table in the next few years while I lived there, so there was absolutely no point in buying anything more than the $79 version from IKEA.

My sister-in-law disagreed.

But three years later, after about 1,500 meals at that table, and spending thousands of hours working on my laptop, the table was a piece of junk.

I will also add that I didn’t take my buddy’s advice on spending upwards of $3,000 for a 40-inch flat screen Sony or Panasonic TV, and instead got a Maxent from Costco for $1,200.  The price of consumer electronics always drops, and you can get a 40-inch Samsung today for $349, so suffice it to say, I knew that I could buy a $1,200 TV in 2006 and upgrade in 2009 for even less – but a better brand.

That’s an aside, but worth noting.

As for that infamous coffee table, the reason I knew I didn’t deserve a “nice” table was because I knew myself and I knew how I would function in that condo.  I knew I would eat dinner at the coffee table every single night and I knew that I’d never set up a dining table even though I had room for it.

Ironically, when it came time to sell the condo, I staged it with a round dining table and three chairs.  I love the three chairs.  It’s classic.  It’s like we don’t have room for four, but only two tells people, “This is a glorified bistro set.”  So three, it is!

My first condo was 585 square feet.

That’s practically a 3-bedroom nowadays.

But as it was back in 2006, I certainly had room for a dining room table.

I just didn’t want one.

Instead, in the space where I eventually staged a dining room table, I had a large bookshelf (who reads books anyways?), a printer on the floor for about two years, and just a “lot” of open space that made the condo feel larger.  I put my Christmas tree there a couple of times, but for the most part, the space just sat empty.

I don’t know where or how young people eat their meals in downtown condos these days, but as condos get smaller and smaller, the option of having a dining area, if a person actually wanted one, is fading fast.

The other thing is: I don’t know if the average Torontonian or TRB reader has any idea what’s passing for a “dining area” in today’s condos.

If you’re living in Richmond Hill, or you’ve got a house in North Toronto, you might be shocked at what downtown-dwellers call dining in 2022.

So let’s look at a few MLS photos for condos currently available for sale, and we can give a “pass” or “fail” grade to these areas that are labelled dining rooms in the listings.

Sound good?

Up first, we have a two-person “dining room” that’s literally jammed against a wall, next to the TV, past the hallway which also serves as the kitchen – see the microwave?

This works, I guess.

But how is this any better than eating at a coffee table?

I give this a “fail.”

Here’s a similar theme, although with a larger table:

The weird thing is: this looks like a desk.  There’s a jar of pens, a calculator, and, well, I’m pretty sure it’s a desk.

But can one “dine” there?

If you moved one of those chairs to the front so you’re not side-by-side, then I guess it’s dining.

But it’s still jammed against a wall, in the kitchen.

Tough one here.  Compared to the above, it’s a “pass.”

Up next, three-person dining:

That’s a hallway.

It’s also a desk, really.  I mean there’s a desk lamp and all.

Not exactly where I would want to eat dinner with two friends, but welcome to Toronto!

“Fail” in my books.

Here’s one that looks pretty in photos, but when you start to consider functionality, you see it in a different light:

It’s nice, until you realize that your couch is in your kitchen.  Then you realize your kitchen is your living room.

However, it could be advantageous to stir a pot on your stove while you’re seated on the couch…

Now, about that dining room?

This is the best angle, trust me.  In actual fact, that tiny table is just outside the bedroom, so you and a guest are basically having dinner next to your bed.

But I don’t hate it.

I’m going to give this a “pass.”

Here’s a very small condo, with obvious virtual staging:

But you know what?

That “dining room” works, even if it’s technically in the kitchen.

I can think of worse areas to dine.

For a small condo, this is a “pass.”

This might look depressing to some, especially if we compare this to a larger space, but you have to admit: it works…

Yeah, it’s a 2-person table jammed against the wall in front of the HVAC return and filter clean-out, and it’s also technically in the kitchen/hall, but on a relative basis, this is a definite “pass.”

This looks okay at first glance:

I mean, there’s a refrigerator behind the fourth chair, which is a really odd spot for it.

But what makes me realize this layout sucks and the agent and/or seller are trying to “fake” the space is this photo of the living room:


Did the agent not realize that he or she had stacked the dining chairs up in the background?

This is hilarious!

But don’t lose sight of where that refrigerator was, now that you can see the whole picture.

“Fail.”  Thanks!

This condo is tiny!

This is the entire living/dining/kitchen:

And notice they’ve taken the photo strategically so you don’t really feel how small it is.

That dining table has two chairs and is wedged against a wall.

However, in the context of small spaces, this is a “pass.”

This is the entire condo, minus the bathroom:

Bedroom, living room, kitchen, and dining.

I don’t even know what to say here.

Dining next to your ottoman, which stares directly at your sink.

Pass, I think?

I have never been a fan of bar stools for dining or anything that’s high off the ground.  I like my feet to touch the floor.

I hate these chairs – with the 4-inch back on them.  It encourages slouching.

But I also don’t love the idea of this being a “dining area”…

I don’t think you can fit two plates on that table.

You’re also touching the toaster oven and microwave, which also seems a bit overkill in a 400-square-foot condo, but I digress.

This should be a pass.

But it’s a “fail” to me.

Here’s another bachelor condo with a so-called “dining area” adjacent to the living:

But where is the living room?

How do you watch that TV?  From the bed?

And is that dining for one?

I thought they only dine alone in the movies…

Here’s another very small condo albeit with an actual bedroom.  An inset bedroom, but a bedroom nonetheless:

That kitchen island also doubles as a dining table, and while it’s not as sleek as the one a few pictures ago with the virtual staging, it fits the bill.

I give this a “pass,” for what it is.

This, on the other hand, is tough to swallow:

Bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen…………..and massive home office?

Who puts that huge desk in a micro-condo?

The “dining area” is blocking the fridge, and one of the chairs is actually under the table.

This is a “fail” to me.

This condo is so small that the “dining area” has to be under the TV, which is across from a couch, located inside the kitchen:

What if somebody is eating dinner while somebody else wants to watch Netflix?

This is a “fail” for me.  It’s just staging.  There’s zero room in this condo, you may as well eat in bed.

Last, but not least, I don’t hate this dining area, nor would the bedsheet thumbtacked to the wall ruin my dining experience….

however, I would find it hard to eat while my feet are on a rowing machine…

So what say ye?

905’ers, are you looking for a pied-a-terre?

Could you see yourself dining in today’s “dining rooms”?

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Ace Goodheart

    at 9:35 am

    I don’t know how people live in these things.

    This is smaller than my bachelor apartment that I rented for $600.00 per month downtown during my graduate studies back in the early 2000s.

    Our third floor loft area in our Junction house, which contains a bedroom, an office and a large-ish walk in closet, is at least double the size of any of these condos.

    This is just soul destroying. I can’t look at these pics. What has happened to us, that we force people to live in these things?

  2. Libertarian

    at 11:28 am

    I did the “kitchen island is the kitchen table is the desk for the home office” when I lived in a 600sq ft condo. Like David, I didn’t want to splurge on a dining table, so I bought a faux stone-topped table from the Brick. It also helped separate the kitchen from the living room because the kitchen was a galley wall. Used it as an island when making dinner, then cleaned it and ate there, and then the rest of the time used it as a desk.

    Condos are a lot about multi-function and multi-purpose, so I thought everybody does this type of stuff.

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