A casual dining area in a corner of the kitchen makes efficient use of the space. Designed by Jody Myers-Fierz. (Image: Jane Beiles) The Demi Dining Out of favor, or out of our lives? Is the dining room dead or is it simply undergoing one of a series of natural transformations? Wanting to get behind the hearsay and learn the truth, we turned to three top interior designers and discovered not only what changes are taking place and why, but how dining-living areas-known as "great rooms," "open-plan formats," and "communal spaces"-are being created and the effect they're having on people's lives.