You'll notice in the background of this picture a new addition to our dining room--the doll house. As a general rule to preserve my husband's sanity, we don't have toys stored on the main level of our home. Puzzles and games are in cabinets in the family room and can be pulled out when the girls need entertaining. We have converted an entire kitchen pantry closet into a craft and activity closet for the girls. But toys have to be put away upstairs...with a tiny exception.
Our dining room is a huge room. Once we unpacked our boxes after moving in, I realized that even with a full dining room set, there was still a large amount of unused space. Our dining room has a very old-fashion feel to it with antiques and blue and white china on the wall as well as filling the china cabinet and sideboard. Therefore, I realized, Victorian-era toys would fit in quite well. My rule became if the toys were something with which I might decorate even if I didn't have kids, then they could go into the dining room. At times, a wooden rocking horse makes his home in the dining room (though he also spends a lot of time in our upstairs library). For Christmas, the kids received an electric train set. There is every possibility that the train set was as much for me as it was for them. I love train sets and I happily placed it in the dining room, where our kids and many of their friends enjoy playing with it.
This past spring, my sister asked me if I wanted our old dollhouse. My grandparents gave it to us when I was probably three. It had traveled with us through our many homes as children and at some point, my sister rescued it from storage and used it for her daughter and then in her classroom. Several years ago, she spruced it up before my girls came for a visit and they enjoyed playing with it at her house. She had previously asked me if I wanted it, but I had to decline because at the time I simply did not have the space. But by this summer, we had the space and if we didn't take, she was going to put it back in storage. I was very happy to take the dollhouse and put it in our dining room.