Perhaps you’re dreaming of giving your dining room a complete overhaul (but it’s not going to happen anytime soon), or maybe you like your dining room the way it is but want to change a few components. Whether you work with a designer on a long-range plan to redecorate the space over time or want a quick perk-up now, a dining room refresh is doable.
Formal dining rooms can quickly become drab and outdated. Since most of us eat the majority of our meals at the kitchen table, it’s easy to overlook this space when it’s time renovate.
For me, the dining room in our home has always felt special to me, as it is the place where we celebrate all the holidays and big events in our family. But when I looked at it recently I realized it didn’t look too special and was in desperate need of a makeover. So, I rolled up my sleeves and re-did the room; and the only thing more amazing than the results was all the great DIY projects I found to upgrade it; seriously, I would have used them all if I had the time and space.
Add an accent wall
Whether you paint a wall a bold new color, or opt for a modern take on wallpaper, adding an accent wall will instantly refresh the look of your dining space. Plus, since both paint and wallpaper are quite affordable, and application is easy to complete, this project is a simple way to create a focal point without undertaking any major renovations.
Start by choosing which wall to accent. Typically, the accent wall will be the first wall you see upon entering the room: the wall that’s furthest from the door. Ideally, it will also be a wall that doesn’t have any doors or windows, so that your new accent wall really stands out, without intrusion.
Don’t be afraid to make a statement: accent walls are meant to be eye-catching! Now is the time to play with prints and patterns, to add a few metallic accents, or even to create a gallery wall using some family photos. Anything goes, as long as you make sure to contrast your accent wall from the rest of the room.
Coordinating every element in your dining room can get costly. Don’t be afraid to use eclectic design to mix and match various styles, manufactures—even time periods. Doing allows for more freedom to put a design together that works in your budget.
That said, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that your design remains cohesive. Remember: above all, the space should remain functional. Make a plan for your design before you begin, and do your best to keep function at the forefront. Don’t be afraid to edit as you go. If there are ever so many design elements present that it gets difficult to identify the functionality at first glance, your best bet is to remove less-necessary pieces until functionality becomes clear again.
You’ll also want to keep the room unified. Work on finding a few small details—colors, shapes, patterns—that you can repeat in various aspects of your design. This ensures all of your design elements feel intentional, rather than haphazardly thrown together.
Consider statement lighting
The simplest way to spruce up your dining room on a budget is to trade out your basic light fixture for a statement lighting feature. From large pendants to unique chandeliers, there’s no wrong aesthetic. You’ll want to choose a piece that feels authentic to your sense of style. That said, there are a few functional pieces of advice that you should follow to ensure your fixture works with the room.
First, consider proportions of the room. You’ll want to account for the size of your table, and the proportions of your room itself. If your formal dining room table seats 10 people, you may want to look into a row of matching pendants. But, if the room only seats your family of four, perhaps a single chandelier will do the trick. As a rule, your light fixture should cover 2/3 of the table.
Additionally, be sure to layer your lighting so that the only source of light isn’t that single fixture. Think about adding in some ambient light in the form of recessed lighting, plus a few accent fixtures to brighten up any dark corners. Since dining rooms are all about ambiance, you may also want to look into lighting that’s able to be put on a dimmer.
Don’t forget accessories
Accessorizing a room is like putting the cherry on top of a sundae. It makes all the difference. No need to go crazy, since the goal is still to update your dining room on a budget, but adding a few finishing touches goes a long way.
Try to use your space wisely. No one wants clutter, especially in an area that’s meant to hold lots of people at once. A large buffet is beautiful, but only works if the space allows. If you don’t have much room to work with, a better bet is to opt for smaller accessories like a simple, floral centerpiece or an antique bar cart.
Finally, have fun with it! Your home should reflect who you are and what you like, so don’t be afraid to infuse the room with your personality. Stop at a garage sale and pick up some decorative glass bottles, or paint pine cones with your kids to fill a glass bowl as a centerpiece. Whatever you choose, you’ll love seeing your formal dining room transform if you have fun doing it.