After about 8 months and a whole lot more fuss and bother than I had planned, the dining room is finally done!
I am crazy in love with this space. I feel like when someone in the future asks me what my “style” is, I’ll just show them a picture of this room. This is exactly it.
But before I gush too much about this (trust me, I will later in this post), let’s back up to what the room looked like when we first bought the house.
The Dining Room Before
This space used to be cramped and dark. The windows were small, the walls were a sickly shade of beige/gray, and the carpet was a particularly smelly shade of forest green.
It had built ins on all sides (including a wall separating it from the kitchen, which we later removed), which added to the claustrophobic feel. Plus, they were weird, unattractive built-ins, not the cool ones that add value.
Even the house listing photos couldn’t do much to make the dining room look like a good place to eat.
The Initial Renovation
Even while we were still touring the house trying to decide whether we wanted to take on this big of a project, I knew that this room’s walls had to go. Dividing it from the kitchen just made each room cramped and dark. In our renovation (in which we hired a contractor to do things we didn’t know how to do) we knocked down that wall, and also one of the two built-ins that divided it from the living room, leaving just one for storage and some separation of rooms.
We also had the broken windows replaced with big colonial style ones, including one bay window to add light and a spot to put plants. We also added some awesome trim.
After a bit of paint, this is how the room looked when we finally got settled in:
Yikes, still not exactly a blog-worthy room! (Although you can see a comparison even here of how bad it was before on the still-unpainted built-in in that picture… man, what a yucky color.)
From there, it’s been a long, slow, and steady series of projects – and a few recent big purchases – to get it to it’s final state.
Dining Room Projects
- I spent forever picking out a rug that is the perfect size for the space (it has non-standard dimensions, and I was pretty picky on the color and pattern because I knew it would set the tone for the room).
- We painted the built-in that remains white with a yellow interior to match my doors. Now that it’s painted and doesn’t have the matching-but-slightly-mismatching one opposite it, I love it! The strange, blocky back to it is now a fun detail, and its pattern speaks to the panes on the divided-light windows.
- I spent forever picking out a chandelier after asking for advice, which I finally installed with a new ceiling medallion to cover up an unfortunate hole in the ceiling… using highly conventional methods.
- I painted the window sashes after they had sat in their natural wood state for far too long – not getting them in white to begin with is probably my biggest design regret ever. It took forever and I could have just paid for it!
- I transformed a cabinet that Sage and I salvaged from a science classroom in a condemned high school into a yellow console with storage.
- I bought a record player and figured out an approach to record storage using some old crates that I already had.
- I splurged on new dining room chairs from West Elm which I had been coveting for a while, ditching the random collection of thrifted or family chairs that had been trailing after me from apartment to apartment throughout my adult life. (And by ditching, I mean moved to the basement because I’m a hoarder.)
- After an epic search for “the perfect china cabinet,” I impulse bought a bar/storage unit on craigslist, and I couldn’t be happier with it.
- I asked for your advice on dining room tables, and then bought the one you recommended. (No, the old one fortunately isn’t still in my basement. We met a couple who recently came to the US on craigslist while trying to give away the couch from my old apartment, and the timing was fortunate because they wanted the table, too!)
- I did a massive re-organization of stuff in this room and the kitchen, getting a lot more use out of the storage in the bar, console, and built-in.
- I was extremely lucky and found a beautiful old bookshelf piece being given away on the side of the road, which I transformed into an entry-way unit for shoes, mail, and coat storage.
- I asked for your advice about how I should handle storing Brad’s bird seed in this room… and then promptly ignored it to undertake a far-too-complicated project to build storage of my own. I love it, but it did delay the finishing of this room by quite a bit!
- Finally, I figured out a better solution than I had before to covering the open vents in this house (I’ll share a post on that sometime in the future) and added some final decor/sentimental/organizational elements.
Dining Room After
And now it’s finally done!
It hits all of my favorite things – warm wood furniture, bright colors and patterns, funky art and details, and plants and more plants.
In finishing it up for this post, I added a few final decor elements to add a little fun. I love hanging plants, but figuring out how to get them to attach to the ceiling is something I irrationally find very stressful. After Brad kindly crawled around in the attic for an hour or so, I finally got one up!
The macrame hanger is this absolutely gorgeous one from yanyula on Etsy, and the pot I just found at my local garden shop. I’ve always had a little more of “boho” leanings than I’ve been able to include in my home design, so this scratches a major itch for me.
I also added some white trays to organize mail (one for mail for each of us) and a wicker mirror to go along with the boho elements.
The birdseed storage container fits right in, and I love how it picks up details from both the bar and the rug.
There are also quite a few sentimental elements in this room, including the statue made by my Great-Grandma Anna and the “happily ever after” sign that I’ve talked before.
These are joined by a really awesome statue that my Grandpa Jim bought on a trip with my Uncle Jeep long ago, one of the things that my Grandpa’s wife Kathryn sent to me recently to display and remember him with.
We also have a pot that was in Brad’s Grandparent’s home on the table, a statue that Brad got me for my birthday, and more.
Overall, I just love this room, from the overall look to every small detail!
And of course the before and after:
Thanks for sticking with me through this way-too-long decorating project, and for all of your advice along the way!
(Sharing at Remodelaholic)