A Dining Room Face Lift
Updated: Jul 13
Since buying my home, the majority of my renovation energy has gone into my kitchen. My dining room was always just a little transition space between the living room and the kitchen that never really got much love. When I moved in, I hung some art and used what furniture I had, I threw some paint on an accent wall and called it a day.
Now that I am spending 8 hours a day in the dining room working from home during quarantine, I figured it deserved some love. My biggest pet peeve of the space was how crappy the drywall was on the wall that separated the room from the kitchen. It was cracked, patched, textured, and flat all at the same time. I had always envisioned having an arched entry way into the kitchen, so I finally decided to go for it. As I've mentioned in the past, I am terrible at drywall work, so I decided to hire this job out.
With the archway done, I had a much clearer vision of the design aesthetic I wanted to give the space. There wasn't a ton of DIY work on this refresh, so instead I'm going to share what I changed and a breakdown of cost.
First let's start with a little before and after. I failed to take very many befores, so I've included what I could scrounge up between pics of when I first moved in and photos of the dining room throughout the last 3 years.
I don't have a good view of the old ones, but the first change I made was to take down the old curtains and curtain rod and replace them with these hand-dyed mustard yellow curtains. I had some old IKEA curtains lying around and lots of mustard yellow dye that I'm using to dye napkins for my wedding. So I decided to give these old curtains some new life with a little bit of color. I replaced the curtain rod with a new one from IKEA and hung them higher and wider.
Tip: I always suggest hanging your curtains much higher and wider than the actual window. It will make your room look bigger and your ceilings look taller. And I prefer for the bottom of my curtains to graze the floor.
Next I decided to move one of the pieces of furniture out of the space and upgrade one of the vintage cabinets. I purchased two dowels, cut them in half, sanded and stained them, and then attached them to the bottom of the cabinet to give it legs and height. The whole project was only $7 and it looks so much better!
I was never in love with how we had hung the art in the dining room, so I pulled as many old frames as I could find around the house and put together a sweet little gallery wall. I still have several frames to fill, but it's always a fun challenge to hunt for art we love.
Finally, I added some finishing touches to tie the space together. I added this area rug from West Elm to give the space some texture and to better define the room from the living room. I also added a mirror above the bar to make the room feel bigger. And because no room is complete without a plant, I added a gorgeous elephant ear to fill in the blank wall where the vintage cabinet used to live.
Because my fiancé is Colombian, and I am Cuban, we love a sort of vintage Latin American design aesthetic mixed with a touch of modern Millenial style. And I really think I nailed it with this little upgrade. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out, and now I actually look forward to being in this room all day for work.
Here's a breakdown of every dollar I spent on the upgrades:
Arch Install (includes both kitchen arches): $1500
Aures West Elm area rug: $204
Dowels for bar cabinet legs: $7
Yellow curtains: free
Elephant ear: $43
Grow bag for the elephant ear: $3
Grand total with the arches: $1875
Grand total not including the arches: $375