Flip that room !!!! I recently met with a couple who live in a beautiful center hall colonial home with mandated living room on one side of the foyer and dining room on the other. The living room has a fireplace - the dining room is small. They asked for an interior consult since they are in the house a year and the layout is still a dilemma for them.
After seeing the rest of the house and sitting for a couple of minutes to ask a few questions about how they "live" in the house the answer was easy ; FLIP THE ROOMS ! After their eyebrows dropped back into place I asked them which are the coveted seats in a restaurant with a fireplace. Let's say it together: "The tables nearest the fireplace!" So they moved their table, serving console, and area rug into the previously designated living room. The chandelier will be relocated and new, upholstered, comfortable chairs will replace the hard, wooden ones.
While we typically think of a dining room as the formal space for holidays with fancy dishes and napkin rings, that is such a waste of space. Not many of us entertain so formally anymore. Our guests typically end up gathered in the kitchen chatting while we cook while glancing into the dining room with discomfort. Our schedules are so hectic that entertaining has lent itself to becoming much more relaxed. Flipping the rooms and using softer chairs at the table invites guest and family to linger and enjoy the fire and each other.
P.S. The small living room has become a cozy media room with the addition of French doors from the foyer. They are using both rooms now that haven't been used in a year ! I love that !