See how we transformed our dining room in just 6 short weeks on a tight budget! This high-contrast, modern farmhouse dining room makeover will give you the ideas, inspiration and motivation you need to give your own dining room a lovely update.
Oh my goodness, I am SO EXCITED to share our new dining room with you!
This project was especially neat for me because it was primarily cosmetic changes (rather than crazy, wall-removing, demo-heavy construction like most of our projects have been) and so it really allowed me to be creative with the styling and re-engage with my love for design.
The rug is bolder than anything I’ve ever put in our home (which I’m obsessed with, by the way) and we took some fun risks with things like high-contrast black paint in the open hutch and above the white shiplap. There are so many fun pieces to the design and just I can’t wait to share them with you!
We did this project as guest participants in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge – click here for more information on the ORC.
This was a series of post that were originally published between April 4, 2018 and May 9, 2018. They have since been consolidated into one post.
I’ve sourced all the items I can – if you don’t see a link for the item you like, it’s probably because it’s something I thrifted or got on clearance so they’re no longer available.
Here’s a quick look at the sources if that’s what you came for. 🙂
RELATED: DIY CHINA CABINET MAKEOVER
The Dining Room Before
Here’s how the dining room looked when we bought the home:
And when we started the project:
The table we’d been using was given to us from an industrial office and worked great but wasn’t the most visually appealing piece of furniture…
This was the view from standing in the hall, and the counter top to the right is what separates the dining room from the kitchen.
We had been using an “L-shaped” bench seat in that corner, which is why the shiplap stopped so abruptly on that wall.
Our plan included taking the top half of that out, extending the shiplap all the way around as a 2/3 wainscoting and then painting the top half either black or deep navy.
I also planned to leave the black stools there against the peninsula for bar-like seating.
From in the kitchen, you could see the built-ins we put along the opposite wall.
When we bought this house we went from a 4 bedroom, with one of those bedrooms being a large office, to a 3 bedroom and had to be creative with space.
So, we installed a small desk for our desktop computer in the corner next to some built-in storage towers and a storage window seat.
The only changes we anticipated for this side of the room were some new pillows from PillowCubes, possibly curtains and fully closed doors on the storage towers.
The other two sides of this room are our entryway and kitchen (don’t have super great “before” shots of these, but you’ll get some progress shots along the way) and we’d be painting the entryway wall black or navy along with the back of my built-in hutch in the kitchen.
I was anxious to see how the dark walls would add depth to the space!
The Dining Room Design
The first thing I did in planning out this room’s makeover was think through the needs for the room. Since it truly is a multi-purpose space (entryway, dining room, reading nook, and office) there were a lot of things to consider. Here’s what I came up with:
- Closed storage – I need to be able to store my 60 piece china set, crafting supplies, kids project supplies (like coloring and play-doh) and loads of table linens in this space.
- Formal table seating – I want the table to seat at least 8, but possibly extend up to 14 since we have large groups over for dinner pretty often.
- Hidden desk – While I don’t want to get rid of the desk entirely, we recently installed a large desk in our extra bedroom and it’s our primary working space. So I’d prefer if this desk is hidden in such a way that we can use that space for storage when the desk isn’t in use.
My next step in designing this room was to look for inspiration.
I have been loving the blush colors lately (you can see how I used them in my Valentine’s Day decor here) and have also been craving some dark, cozy walls.
We’ve always had light and bright colors in our home, but there’s something about the depth of dark walls that has been calling to me!
Here are the inspiration pictures that really spoke to me.
- I love the deep navy color in this dining room with the gold accents.
- This dining room made me choose to get an ornate rug! I love the style it adds to the clean, modern colors of the walls.
- I have a built-in, open hutch in the space between the dining room and kitchen that I plan to paint the back dark like this one.
- I have a natural roman shade installed on the window already, but this room made me want to add curtains too!
- I love the “casually cozy” feeling this window seat has with the layers of pillows and a throw.
Table & Chairs
- I already knew I wanted a farmhouse style table, and both this design and this room just confirmed my liking of the “X” base with glossy black chairs and slip-covered captains chairs.
Now that I knew both what I needed and what I wanted, the next step was to bring it all together in a design that was both beautiful and functional!
The Final Design
Ready to see my dreams for this space?? Here they are:
Don’t you just love seeing all the elements together – you can almost feel the space! Mood boards are my favorite. 😉
For this room’s design, I knew I wanted the rug to be the focal point, so that’s where I started. I chose this rug from Mohawk Home because I loved the pattern and colors and felt that it would easily go with the rest of our home’s décor too.
Most of the colors and patterns for this space (the deep black/navy paint color for the walls, the curtains and throw pillows for the window seat, and the paint color for the chairs) will be matched or coordinated with the rug so I “estimated” them for the design and finalized them in the weeks following the rug’s arrival.
The Mini-Project List
In our minds, this makeover wasn’t too complicated – it was mostly cosmetic compared to our prior makeovers that were demo and construction heavy.
We recently got a bunch of chairs on Craigslist that we planned to paint all the same color, we were getting a new rug, I had gotten slipcovers for our captains chairs and I was hoping to do a DIY abstract art piece using the colors from the rug.
I was also thinking we’d install some picture moulding along the main wall and then hang some large matted frames from it using copper or rose cold wire for some visual interest.
We had also decided that all the recessed lighting we previously installed in this room was totally unnecessary (just WAY too much light) so we were going to scale those back and just install some task-oriented lights.
I love taking our makeovers/large projects and breaking them up into a list of smaller, more manageable, projects so here’s what we had coming:
- Demo upper shiplap
- Remove all recessed lights
- Install one light above desk
- Install shiplap wainscoting
- Patch sheet rock on wall and ceiling
- Paint walls and shiplap
- Paint chairs
- Build table
- Install frame moulding and crown moulding
- Install new storage tower doors
The Dining Room Makeover Process
We started by fixing/installing the shiplap wainscoting:
If you’re wondering why we had shiplap that abruptly ended 1/3 of the way down the wall, it was because we used to have a built-in bench seat for the table there along the peninsula and then around to the end of that shiplap. I promise, when the bench was there it didn’t look so odd… 😉
The rug arrived early in the project, so I was excited to start choosing items to match it!
Shop This Rug
My first item to choose based on the rug’s colors was the black paint color for above the wainscoting, the back of our built-in hutch and the entryway wall.
You can see my simple process for picking the perfect paint color in this post, but simply put, I used the color of this blog’s master bedroom as my starting point, chose 4-5 samples to try, painted patches on every wall, and then painted a larger section before making my final decision.
After much deliberation, we went with “Little Black Dress” from Behr and LOVE it.
It was at this point in the room makeover that we decided not to change the lighting situation in this room. It really wasn’t too bad and we didn’t want to worry about rewiring everything.
After finishing the shiplap and painting with our newly chosen black paint, we were on to finishing up the built-ins and making some decisions regarding final purchases!
I think this project is one of my favorites to date due to the fact that I was purposefully thinking through the process as a DESIGNER.
Choosing a bold rug to as the focal point.
Selecting paint colors that compliment and give depth.
Pondering the aesthetics of each piece I place in the space and how they will play off of other elements in the room.
It was so much fun to think through all of those details as I pulled together the design and to figure out how to make it both beautiful and cohesive! Now, let’s take a look at what I chose for the room.
What We Got
I was so blessed to have Pillowcubes as my sponsor for this room’s makeover. Having their input on the best style of pillow inserts was a huge help when it came to selecting the pillows for our window seat.
The seat has a blueish/charcoal-gray colored upholstery, which we decided to keep because it’s super durable and matches well with the overall design of the room. (Secret – the “fabric” we used to upholster it is actually projector screen material!)
Originally, I had planned to fill the bench with pillows all the way across the window to create a “back” to the seat, but since removing all the pillows for the construction portion of the project, I’ve realized I LOVE having the window unobstructed.
Thus, I shifted my design and decided to put just 3 pillows on either side, propped against the built-ins (rather than the window) to encourage people to sit parallel to the window.
I got 4 new pillow inserts from Pillowcubes – two 18″ and two 24″ inserts.
I already had a blush pillow I was going to move in from the family room, so I didn’t really want another pink cover. I also knew I wanted the 24” pillows to match at either end of the window seat. I ended up ordering these white corduroy covers for the 24” polyester-filled inserts (polyester holds its form a bit better than down making it great the back pillow and they can even be used for a floor pillow too!), this black and white geometric cover from West Elm and a blue/beige chevron cover from Etsy for the 20” pillows. I also ordered this grey throw pillow from Pillowcubes in the 14″x20″ size to add a bit of sizing dimension.
I chose these curtains from Lowes for in the window seat. I love the texture of them and the color looks much more grey in person. I think it will go nicely with all the different colors in the room. I still need to hem them up so they rest just above the seat height.
I love the feel of greenery in a space, and since I’m taking away most of the open shelving in this room (where I would normally place greenery) with the switch to wainscoting and art on the walls, I decided to purchase this faux fiddle leaf fig to place in the corner between the window seat and the door.
I’ll also likely place some of my favorite small faux plants from IKEA around the room – whether that’s on the buffet, entry shelf, open hutch or table.
I still haven’t made many solid decisions when it comes to the art in this space… I did buy this awesome gold clock from Lowes to place on the entry wall. The gold is much much more classy, and even a bit brushed in person.
I also found a fun long, oval, gold mirror that I may put above the end of the countertop on the black wall, but haven’t decided. I’ve considered a DIY canvas abstract art, a large antique book page print, large matted black and white photos… and the list goes on. I’m thinking once the rug and table are in place I’ll be able to get a feel for how bold (or not-so bold) I want to go on the walls. So stay tuned!
If you’ve been following along on this project over the last few weeks, you’ve likely read about our plans to build a custom farmhouse table for this space. WELL…. my husband (the contractor ?) came to me this week with a few concerns. First, with the tight timeline of the ORC, he was only going to have about a week to build the table (I know there are two weeks left, but I have to clean, stage, and photograph the room before I can write my post so that takes about a week…) and within that week, we have a 2-day client project that is going to take up a huge chunk of his “free” time. Also, we don’t have a shop at the house, so his working space is currently the garage (which is FULL of stuff at the moment) so he didn’t have anywhere to effectively lay out the lumber for the building process. Lastly, he believed we could purchase a nice table for close to the same cost of the high-quality lumber he was looking at.
With all of that said, we did our typical pro/con analysis and decided to purchase this fabulous table from Pier 1! We ordered it on Monday at the local store in hopes that it will arrive this Friday, but there’s talk it could take all the way until next Friday – making the timeline a bit tight!
Say a prayer for me that it comes this week… 😉
We have 8 chairs with lots of spindles to paint, and while I considered brush painting them, I took my husband’s advice and finally purchased a paint sprayer and a painting shelter!! I’m so excited! I honestly spent like $60 on paint for just 2 chairs in my last spray painting project (those tiny bottles can add up!) and so it will be much more cost effective to invest in a quality sprayer and shelter for these. I ended up with this sprayer, this shelter and this paint. Painting the chairs has always been one of my responsibilities for the project, but since we aren’t building a table anymore, I may have hinted to Chris that he could have that task too… ?
We plan to reuse our captains chairs because they are super high-quality chairs and in great shape, so I ordered these linen slipcovers for them from Joss & Main.
I spent hours looking for the perfect buffet or sideboard for this room, and even mulled over the idea of a bar cart, but finally settled on repurposing a console table we’ve had in storage. The distance from the table to the wall will only be about 3ft, with 2 of those feet having rug on them, so I needed something less that 12” deep. This sofa table is beautiful in design, and we’re planning to paint it the same gray as our base cabinets in the kitchen to tie the rooms together a bit.
CLOSED DESK STORAGE
Chris has just about finished up closing in the built-in cabinet around the desk corner! I purchased, and he installed, the peel-and-stick glass frost this week so that I can have “hidden” storage in that area. It looks great! I was a bit nervous they would look like frosted shower doors, but they don’t. They look really nice.
The Finished Room
Are you ready to see what it looks like now??
Welcome, my friend, to our new dining room…
Won’t you stay awhile? 🙂 I may have gone a little overboard with the pictures, but I couldn’t help myself! Enjoy the tour, my friend.
I was initially wanting to put a sideboard or buffet along this shiplap wall, but with the way the rug ended up centered in the room, I didn’t have much space to work with. Thus, this narrow console table came out of storage and got a fresh coat of grey paint to match our lower kitchen cabinets.
I like that the open bottom paired with the see-through lamp help the space to still feel open and airy.
The window seat is now one of my favorite places to relax in our home. I added the little marble and gold side table (which is really a plant stand!) as a spot to rest a drink or phone. I love all the natural light that comes in here!
Say hello to my PINK DOOR! I am so glad we decided to paint it this playful pop of color – and the way it highlights the simple pink accents throughout the rest of the room is seriously dreamy.
I’m a huge fan of using small details, like these brushed gold knobs on the built-ins, as pretty finishing touches in a room.
As you can see, the dining room really is the “hub” of our home. The entryway leads into it, the hallway goes out one direction, and the kitchen is just on the other side of the peninsula.
I painted the same black on the backside of my built-in hutch to continue the dark contrast all the way around the room. I love how it accentuates my white dishes and draws the eye in.
LARGE WHITE BOWLS / PLATE RACK / SMALL WHITE PLATES / LARGE WHITE PLATES / FAUX GREENERY / PINK GLASSES / BREAD BOX CHARGING STATION (DIY) / LARGE OVAL PLATTER / SMALL WHITE BOWLS / LARGE CAKE STAND / LARGE RECTANGULAR PLATTER / LARGE WHITE PITCHER / PINK SMALL PLATES / BASKETS
The “STAY awhile” sign was a DIY and ended up being hand-painted by a Starbucks barista I met last week! When I went in for coffee, I noticed she was drawing a neat chalkboard sign for the store, and so as I got my drink I asked her if she’d be interested in painting a sign for us.
Chris and I built the sign and then she painted the words on it. I love when a collaboration is both spontaneous and successful!
She and I are actually meeting this week to talk through the idea of selling these signs – I mean, they’re awesome, don’t you think?! 😉
The dining table arrived just in the nick of time and ended up being PERFECT for the space. Its modern farmhouse style, with the “X” legs and rustic coloring, ties in really nicely to the rest of our home’s decor, as well as the classier parts of this space.
The black and white drawings in the entryway are super special because they were actually hand-drawn by my husband when he was 10! They even have the labels on the back of them from when they were entered into a drawing contest. I love adding personal touches like this to our home.
One thing that pleasantly surprised me about the changes we made to the built-ins, was the fact that adding closed cabinet doors on the towers flanking the window seat actually make the space feel bigger and brighter!
The glass-topped doors (reused on the right with frosted glass) always felt dark (even when filled with pretty decor) because we didn’t have lights in them and they were 24″ deep. It was kind of like a cave effect!
But now that the cabinets on either side of the window seat are fully closed and all bright white, the space feels so bright and welcoming! And the frosted glass doors on the right look really nice too. I like the flush front on the built-ins now.
Isn’t the rug fabulous? I love the variety of pinks, blues, creams and greys it has in it and the way it really ties everything in the room together.
I’m so glad we added curtains to the window seat nook! I hemmed them up so they rest just at the windowsill and we cut down some cheap curtain rods to just 6″ to permanently hang them on each side.
With the blackout wood shade, they don’t need to function for privacy, but rather their purpose in life is to soften up the edges in the window seat and create a cozy spot to relax. 😉
We purchased and installed the chandelier just a few months ago, and its simple black curves go perfectly in this space with the rounded black chairs and the black metal bar stools.
Can you believe it’s even the same room?? It is incredible to me how much a room can change with just a bit of paint and some new furnishings!
Just for fun, a few before/after side-by-sides:
I hope you had fun following along on our dining room makeover!
I can not say thank you enough to Chris, my husband, for all his hard work on this room, as well as our official sponsor, Pillowcubes. Without them, this room makeover wouldn’t have been possible!
See you soon!