Today I’m sharing a recent fall dining room makeover I completed at our house + a full list of sources!
Before the Before
This room has been a design challenge for me to say the least. Because I love you, and I think it turned out pretty good in the end – let me tell you how we got to the “before” in the first place. When we moved in to our house 2 years ago, I was all: we totally need a blue dining room.
We painted it the most gorgeous color from Benjamin Moore. It’s called Stratton Blue. Check it out:
This room is small – let’s call it “intimate.” It’s only 10′ x 15′ all in and I really wanted the option to seat 6 so knew we’d have to be selective with furniture. We had a small, square, high top when we moved in and it was way too small to serve anything family style, let alone have a proper place setting.
Here it is pictured with my second, and last, attempt at putting a rug in this room (along with a photobomb by my main squeeze):
Because of the small size of the dining room, most rugs take up the whole room or are way too small. Even oval rugs caused issues. The whole rule about the legs of the chair still touching the rug when the chair is pulled out? Forget about it!
And least we forget about the rug rolling up under the fronts of the cabinets in the room and making them wobble baby wobble. Guys – it was not a good look.
We finally decided to give up on covering our beautiful hardwoods.
Which brings us to the final challenge this room presented. This is a dining room and we need to store dining room stuff in here.
How on earth do you fit in more furniture to a room that is already tight with a too-small table?
Finding What Fits
I would say this experience was a lesson in thinking and looking. Thinking about the best solves for the unique challenges and looking for the pieces that could make it work.
I definitely recommend sticking it out until you find the right pieces for your home – especially if you have a small space. It really is worth it to find the things that make the room work.
After a whole bunch of looking, we finally found two pieces that we liked and would allow for some sort of traffic flow.
Here is the table we purchased from Haverty’s.
It’s round and includes a leaf that extends the table to seat up to 8. An oval table ended up being the perfect size for the space so I leave the leaf in year round with 4 chairs.
I also found a narrow gray cabinet from Ballard Designs. This piece is so perfect for small spaces!
Once we had pieces that worked in the small space, I suddenly realized that the color didn’t. I loved the room overall, but it felt dark. With full sunlight it was great, but the room is shaded for a large part of the day making it feel even smaller.
So, to give the whole space a more neutral vibe and make it feel bigger at the same time, I painted it the same color as the adjoining living room. This allows both spaces to work as one and the transition from living room to dining room feels much smoother.
Mirror,Mirror on the Wall
To make the room feel larger, we’ve always had a mirror on the far wall. Michael loves this since it allows him to see the living room from the kitchen.
I had dreams of a large, antique mirrored window above the bar. That is, until I saw how much they typically cost. The one below is over $1,300! Yikes.
[inspiration mirror from Restoration Hardware]
[the look for less]
Would you believe this on was only $75? Yup, yup and I like it in white better 🙂
The Starter Bar
This piece from Ballard Designs was made especially for tight spaces. It’s only 7” deep which is perfect for our small dining room.
It’s cabinet interiors are also tall and narrow which makes them perfect for storing bottles and glassware.
It only made sense to use it as a bar.
I really want legit bar gear here but am holding out on buying it since Michael added it to our wedding registry and we may get it soon! For now, I’ve just incorporated a few french inspired decor elements by adding in a vintage bottle from one of my favorite local spots, Kudzu Antiques. I paired the bottle with a vintage mirrored tray, candle, and fresh fall flowers.
I also added in some practical styling with these three vases filled with wine corks. I like the simple look and it keeps stained corks off of my furniture. I also added another glam pumpkin here because: fall.
Everyday Fall Table
I don’t like to keep a ton of stuff on our table, but you can typically expect a runner and some sort of centerpiece.
For the fall dining room makeover we kept it very simple and used items that we already had and brought in fresh flowers to make the room special.
How cool are these flowers?
Natural fibers and animal prints in subdued shades have always been one of my favorite combos. You can see this look throughout our living room. (ICYMI: fall living room refresh is here)
We have things like a metal steer skull and antlers in our living room decor. I love it and it keeps a masculine edge to the room To carry a similar look into the dining area I incorporated this gorgeous horse print, in a similar palette as the living room. I found this on super clearance – like $10 at Hobby Lobby – super clearance
We use this piece of furniture for a buffet when we have dinner parties.
More often than not there is a dessert sitting on top when we have guests.
Since we use this space so often I wanted to keep the overall decor very simple here and only added fresh flowers, a corner lamp and a cloche that is currently holding a mini white pumpkin.
The lamp adds back in the light that we lost by removing the lamp from the (now) bar. It’s tucked away and has a narrow base so it doesn’t take up much space. Everything else is very easy to move. This keeps it pretty and practical.
It also gave us more (very much appreciated) storage.
Since I have 6 chairs for the table, but only leave 4 around it at any given time, I needed to find a way to keep the chair in the room, but still out of the way. To do this, we added an extra seating area near the backdoor.
I style this area very simply and leave one wall open for seasonal signs. The other wall holds an antique window that I got (for free) for our upcoming wedding. Until then it gets to hang here and hold these cool vintage letterpress letters.
I got these for Michael since he loves typography and letterpress anything. I was actually concerned that I’d hung the mirror too low so I added these for extra height. I love happy design accidents.
I originally thought this space would never be used but I was so wrong. We use it all of the time for dropping bags, sitting to take off or put on shoes, or teaching Margo to sit for her leash.
This space is actually used all of the time!
All in all, I think this room is much improved from where it started. It feels lighter, brighter and bigger and perfect for fall.
What do you think? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you get your dining room fall ready!
1st Wallcolor: Benjamin Moore – Stratton Blue
2nd Wallcolor: Benjamin Moore – Revere Pewter
Dining Table & Chairs – Haverty’s Furniture
Table Runner & Matching cloth napkins: Homegoods
Centerpiece Tray: Target
Olive Wood Cutting Board: TJ Maxx
Rustic Tree Cutting Board: TJ Maxx
White Pumpkins: Kroger
Burlap Pumpkin: Jo’Ann Fabrics
Glam Pumpkin: TJ Maxx
Vintage Bottles: Kudzu Antiques
Small White Flower Pitcher: IKEA
Large White Flower Pitcher: Target
White Iron Flying Pig: Tuesday Morning
Horse Painting: Hobby Lobby
Plant Basket: Homegoods
Table Lamp: Homegoods
Black & White Tree Photograph: Finders Keepers Consignments
Lantern Vase: The Home Depot
Cable Knit Throw Pillow – Homegoods
Fall in Love Seasonal Sign – Homegoods
Plaid Throw: IKEA
Curtains: Bed, Bath & Beyond
Gray Console Table – Ballard Designs
Kona Mini Buffett – Marshall’s
Antique Bar Tray: Kudzu Antiques
Glass Cork Vases: Hobby Lobby
Faux Mirrored Window: Jo’Ann Fabric
Small Natural Rug: Homegoods
Metal Harvest Sign: TJ Maxx
Wedgwood Pitcher and other glassware: family hierlooms
Antique Printing Blocks: Kudzu Antiques
Flowers: Fresh Market