Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dining Room Seat Assignments

Perhaps many of you don't have this problem... but we have for quite awhile.  Not everyone is ever happy with where they sit at dinner.  There's always a favorite seat or favorite seat-neighbor.  Especially at our last house, where the breakfast room (our only table) was very cramped and difficult to sit at.

Now we have room in our dining room, where we eat.  But we still allow for changes monthly.

Yes, we have a breakfast room, too... but we are totally digging the emptiness in that space.  Ahhh... makes the downstairs so much more open.  We're in no hurry to get a table in there....

So, in order to alleviate the fighting that always endured with dinner time, we came up with assigned seating... that changes monthly.

First, I needed some way to establish seating... a nametag for the chairs.  Rather than make anything permanent, and to allow for chairs to be exchanged (with four kids and two dogs, you never know when one chair may break or need to be well-cleaned one day).

I made these monogram tags to go with my decor (in the last house).  We had Tuscan colors in the dining room.
I used precut wooden letters and painted them a soft tan color.  

I drilled a hole in each letter. 

I then glued black felt to the back and cut it out to give a bit of an outline to the letter, and poked a hole in the black felt.
Then I strung some ribbon and tied them on!
If I were to redo them at this home, I may use a nice black/white print paper decoupaged onto the letter front and simply painted-black in the back.  Then I'd string it up with a cool big fluffy ribbon.

Our rules for seat-picking are fairly simple and not terribly organized.

1.  We choose new seats at the first day of the month that we eat dinner at the table.  (That may be later than the first, depending on schedules or vacations or "eating out" days.)

2.  If the month happens to have a birthday in it, the "birthday boy/girl" gets to choose first.  With six of us in five months (we let the second birthday in January choose in February), that's half the year!

3.  Mommy and Daddy get to sit next to each other and we choose seats before the rest fill in.  It changes... sometimes side by side or corner by corner, but it's our rule to ensure that we get to include a little adult conversation into our dinner time, too!  I can't imagine being able to talk to my husband if we sat at opposite ends across the long table.  How do people do that?  Even when we host others, we rarely sit at those spots.

4.  The rest of the kids get to choose based on lottery, who showed up first, who can guess a number closest to a chosen number, etc.  We change it up to make things interesting, but we don't make any specific efforts to make things "even".  With four kids, things are never even, but eventually everything works out just fine.... plus then we aren't worrying about seating if the scheduled #2 person doesn't show up quickly when we call them to dinner.  First come, usually first served.

It's not a perfect solution.  Sometimes we forget to switch.  Sometimes two kids end up next to each other than cause problems throughout dinner.  Sometimes the little tags fall off and end up chewed by a puppy.  :)

But it works for us!
Now... if only I could come up with that magical CHEAP way of decorating that wall that will wow everyone.  Ideas?  It's about 14' long.


  1. What a great idea for the kids' chairs!
    I love using plates to decorate a dining room wall. You can buy tons of plates, in random shapes and colours and sizes for very little money. Then use a glue gun and a bent paperclip on the back of the plate to make a cheap, easy hanger. You could just go wild and random and it would still look great.

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  3. Love the plate idea mentioned above...or how about just stenciling some sort of quote regarding family, friends, and food?

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