RV Rebuild Retrospectives: Dinette

If this is the first RV Rebuild Retrospective post you’re reading – check out the RV Rebuild Retrospectives: Kitchen post first to get background information about the series and why we rebuilt the Toaster the way we did.

RV Rebuild Retrospective Series:


During the RV rebuild, Jerud and I had very, very briefly talked about whether or not we wanted to keep the dinette. But each dinette seat has so much storage space in it that we thought we absolutely couldn’t do without. We also thought that having two pieces of furniture that turned into a guest bed would be extremely useful – it’s not. Having the jack knife couch alone is more than enough.

Since moving into the Toaster, Jerud and I have spent too many hours discussing what we wish we had done with the area. If only we had known how much we would dislike our dinette seating, the interior would have looked different.

We could have left the entire dinette out and replaced it with a regular table and chairs. We could have made and installed a table lengthwise underneath the window with chairs facing out the window. This would have required an alternative set up during meal times and when we have friends over for dinner. And the easiest fix would have been to simply replace one of the dinette seats with two regular chairs. But none of these changes are now doable without tearing the Toaster apart. And frankly, rebuilding the Toaster once was enough.

DINETTE

Our dinette.

PROS

  • The storage space underneath the dinette seats is a large and we use it. If we had removed the dinettes like we wish, it would have been interesting to find alternative storage space for those items.
 
In our other dinette storage we have kitchen appliances.

In our other dinette storage we have kitchen appliances.

 
  • While having real chairs instead dinette seats would be nice, it probably would have been a hassle trying to figure out where to put them when we drove. We go on enough bumpy roads that we don’t need anything bouncing around inside.
  • The original dinette covers matched the blue theme décor that the RV had going and it was really ugly. Our friend, LeeAnn, reupholstered the dinette cushions and couch for a really good price. And the new look is a lot better.
  • There is enough space at the dinette table for both Jerud and me to work on the computer at the same time, or have four people sit there for dinner.

CONS

  • The main reason why we wish we didn’t have the dinette is that it makes the entryway really narrow. This constricts an area of the RV that we use multiple times a day, everyday. Having a narrow entryway makes it difficult to do a lot of things like dry the dogs when it’s raining outside, or enter the Toaster with an armful of groceries or gear. This inconvenience is the main reason why we wish we hadn’t left the dinette in. You may be thinking, why not do something about it if it’s that bad? The only way to remove the dinette is from the outside of the RV. This means the RV aluminum skin needs to be peeled back to reach the screws that hold the dinette in place. So because of that alone, replacing the dinette isn’t going to happen. The other reason is that we didn’t put flooring underneath the dinette where the storage spaces are. Instead we installed pieces of carpet. Finding flooring that will match ours is near impossible and adding flooring to the middle of area of the floor is difficult (our flooring is the tongue and groove style). If we had any inkling that we would hate the dinette, we would have reinstalled the dinette very differently and placed flooring under the dinette and table legs.
 
Our entryway is narrow. Two people can't walk through side-by-side.

Our entryway is narrow. Two people can't walk through side-by-side.

 
  • The dinette isn’t really comfortable to sit in. It’s a combination of the whole thing being screwed in place and the cushions not being made for daily sitting. Once the cushions have deep enough of a butt dent worn in them, we can replace them with nicer and sturdier cushions, and hopefully reuse the current upholstery. It probably won’t be cheap, but at least it’s doable.
  • There is a cabinet behind one of the dinette seats that we use as our pantry. It’s about as long as the dinette seat, making it have a lot of space to store things. The downside is that the door is on the front, which means the cabinet is deeper than it is wide. It’s so deep that reaching for things in the back of the cabinet means sticking your shoulder and head in. That gets old quickly.
It's the cabinet behind the dinette in the photo that's really deep.

It's the cabinet behind the dinette in the photo that's really deep.

  • We also have cabinets above the dinette, but the dinette makes it hard for us to access items in them. We have stand far from the cabinets and lean forward to get anything out.
  • I tend to choose practicality over aesthetics. But the RV was the one time aesthetics won. One example is the dinette cushion covers. I fell in love with this pattern and had to have it. Despite knowing I would regret the light color of the material. I sprayed the covers with Scotch Guard and re-spray them after they go through the wash. But they get dirty really easily. Also, I chose cotton material over a tougher fabric (like outdoor fabric which our couch is reupholstered with). But aside from how quickly the dinette covers get dirty, they are holding up well.
 
This is what the original dinette area looked like.

This is what the original dinette area looked like.

 

We won't be changing the dinette layout in the Toaster, but at least we now know how we feel about dinettes for future rigs.


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