Coming off the heels of a successful first Thanksgiving in our new home, and the fact that I can now lose the sweatpants and fit into my jeans again, I wanted to share another peek into our ongoing home improvement. At the top of our wish-list of DIY upgrades for our new house was giving our dining room a face lift. Now, our dining room is not a "proper" dining room in which we reserve use for special events or Sunday dinners. Ours is an all-purpose, every-meal-of-the-day kinda room. It's the room that links our kitchen and living room and it's the most highly trafficked area in our home. So even though it's small, our dining room really takes center stage in our house. That said, we didn't have the budget to renovate it or even the luxury of buying new furniture. But, as it turns out, this shabby dining room cleans up nice. All she needed was a little love. Well, that, a fresh coat of paint and some serious styling.
The first thing I did was paint an accent wall. For every apartment I've ever resided in, I've painted an accent wall in the same blue color. Call me predictable, but for some reason this rich blue never fails to brighten up a room. The wall I chose is visible from the moment you walk into our home, so it truly helps in dividing the house into separate living spaces.
With the blue wall complete, I needed to decorate the rest of the room. Throughout the years, I have accumulated my furniture piece-by-piece. Pretty much like a frat house furnishes itself, minus the dirty couch on the front porch. Whether it's the navy blue painted hutch handed down from my husbands grandmother, the olive green console table from HomeGoods, a walnut colored dining room table for $50 from Housing Works thrift shop, or my giant gold ornate mirror snagged from a liquidated restaurant, nothing really matches in this room. So to keep things simple, I stuck with a black and white color scheme. The green console table was sprayed matte black and I swapped the generic drawer pulls for these adorable forest critter knobs from Anthropologie. (Note: if you plan on spray painting furniture, make sure the paint has a matte finish. It's forgiving and dries without any splotches.)
I left the hutch navy, mostly because I was too lazy to paint it black. Also, I still like the navy color. I hung the mirror on the accent wall because I love the gold/blue combination. The rest of the room is painted a light grey color and on the one remaining wall, I hung a series of black frames in an asymmetrical pattern.
Although the we didn't have cash to replace the existing chandelier, I swapped out the boring traditional light-bulbs for these smoky filament bulbs. In keeping with the monochromatic theme, I opted for simple black and white curtains. The chairs–a carry-over from my old apartment–aren't ideal, but they're perfectly functional and a great Ikea find. Yay, Ikea!
Last, but not least, is the stairway in our dining room. These are the stairs that lead to my toddler's room, and although I'm typically not a fan of carpeted stairs, these are the world's squeakiest. Seriously, there's not a single quiet step, so installing a runner was a must. As it turned out, however, our stairwell is so narrow that a runner covers the entire step. So, with an electric staple gun in hand and this grey runner from Overstock.com, we were able to silence those squeaky steps and sneak out of my son's room undetected. Success!