I have a 2018 Grand Design 297RSTS travel trailer and have always fraught with the seating space with the free-standing dinette. At 6' 2", there is just not enough room for two people to sit at the table, much less for 4 people, as intended by GD. During our last camping trip, I was looking at the interior and started thinking outside the box, so to speak. I got out the tape measure and found that I might be able to swap the L.H. side dinette and rear couch positions, providing a larger dinette area. Here's what I came up with.
First, I removed the dinette table and set it aside. Loosening the couch was simple, since it was never properly secured to the floor by GD when the unit was built. We were then able to side the couch between the island and the theater seating, and slip it into to space where the dinette was on the L.H. slide.
We opened the couch to the sleeping position to verify that it was still functional as a hide-a-bed, and it was. Because the head of the hide-a-bed is now on the the raised slide, and the foot of the bed is at the lower floor level, this should help with the reverse pitch of the hide-a-bed where the head was lower than the foot of the bed.
With the rear of the living area now open, we moved the table and chairs (qty 2 for now) to the rear of the living area. The open space between the rear side cabinets is 72", which is about the same as where the dinette was on the L.H. slide, but much of the improvement comes from the open space for the chair backs over the cabinets. The additional usable space is remarkable, and I can easily get in and out of the chairs at the table and sit comfortably.
In addition to the larger seating area, we can now install a longer table. We found one on Amazon that is 55" x 24" (see pictures) which should allow 4 to sit at the sides of the table in real comfort. Furthermore, because the dinette table is now on a flat floor, a 5th person can sit at the end of the table. Viewing the TV from the L.H. side of the table is excellent, and the dinette now has a terrific view out the large rear window instead of the neighbor's patio, which is a deal-breaker for some RV shoppers.
If desired, there is actually enough space for a 60" x 24" or 72" x 24 table if you needed the extra length, but it's a bit harder to find a 72" table that is less than 30" wide. You will need to rotate and secure the table to fit flat to the rear wall to bring the slides in. Also, because the dining area floor is now vinyl, the table and chairs will need to be secured when traveling. My solution is to install a length of stained-to-match brick molding along the rear wall with bungee tether loops in multiple locations to facilitate securing the furniture.
Electrical Modifications: I added a Blue Sea 12VDC powered dual USB charger on each of the side cabinets near the rear wall for charging portable devices from 12 VDC power. The cabinet top makes a excellent place to keep them when charging. I also added a hospital-grade 120 VAC duplex outlet with dual smart USB charging ports to the center of the rear wall using Legrand Wiremold surface box and surface channel for the wiring. See pictures below for details.
Securing for travel: I added a 6 foot length of pine brick molding along the rear wall between the side cabinets and stained to match the woodwork. I secured the molding with #8 counter-sunk screws every 6" and applied a bead of acrylic caulking between the molding and the wall to ensure the force of the bungee cords did not pull the molding from the wall. Next, I attached four nylon eye strap hold-downs to the brick molding, one on each end and two near the middle, for attaching the bungee cords. A moving blanket over the table, a pillow case over each chair back, and attaching the 48" bungee cords around the table and chairs as shown below should securely hold the furniture in place during travel. (Disclaimer: If you proceed with this modification as described here, be sure your security method works for your application. This setup works for me, but the author is not responsible for any security failures for others who make this modification.)
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