Simple dining room makeover – low cost and easy updates

Simple dining room makeover – low cost and easy updates

This post has been a long time coming! I have hinted at my Simple dining room makeover but I never had a 100% done room to show off. But, this if life. I am sharing my real home here on the blog and I work at human pace, there is only so many hours in the day. What I kept putting off for the “big reveal” seemed to get further and further away. I decided to throw caution to the wind and share these low cost and easy updates which can hopefully inspire some others, regardless of the pressure I put on myself to get the room done.

My dining room has gone through a lot of transformations, shifting of furniture, art or other smaller changes. Never really feeling right. It has one small window and is almost always dark. The dining room is also open to the living room, and has a doorway into the kitchen. It needs to function as an open concept space, blending into the living room decor, but still making the visual shift of a separate room. All while working as a walkway between the kitchen and sun room. Let’s not even get into the need for storage, work space, and arrangement of furniture to work for meals and leisure in here. There is a lot going on in this room with only 3 walls!

The first step was to add some color to the room. The wall color was actually a very light gray, that looked white. I was so scared to make the room feel even darker and went non existent with color.

I also painted the ceiling! This is actually my first painted ceiling, and let me tell you… I am hooked with the results!

The ceiling color is Pittsburgh Paint, Misty Aqua in a high gloss for some added shimmer.

The wall color is the perfect gray I have ever found, a legit gray. There is no blue or purple hues in this Solitary gray also from Pittsburgh paints.

The cabinet I purchased for this space is the wonderful Ikea Billy bookcase. Someone from my blogs Facebook page actually came up with this furniture idea. I originally had a dresser turned into a credenza in the dining room. It stored all of our kids lunch supplies. We have reusable everything for their lunches, which is great for our carbon footprint, not so much for ease of storage. We also use cloth napkins and other general storage items. So the original credenza was moved to the basement as a TV stand. My wonderful blog reader suggested a tall cabinet to balance out the off-center window. It also holds all-of-the-things!

It takes a lot of mess and ugly to get to the pretty after. This was our home while I painted.

My kids are junior DIYers, and Nora especially is blossoming into my little assistant.

Before painting any room, usually the longest process is not the painting itself but the prep work. I took off all vents, curtain rods, floor trim, and electric sockets.

Also cover the hanging light. Once all of that is done usually the actual painting is done really quickly. I always use the roller first and paint the walls. Then go in with a paint brush for any smaller details.

Woah! I know, I skipped a big step. I will explain the how’s and why’s of the back wall cabinet. I did some DIYing to get it all pretty-like. I will explain that in a post later this week. Whenever I reveal a room I seem to gloss over the details. I end up getting a lot of questions in the comments or emails sent with people asking for more specifics. So I am sharing the dining room in all of it’s glory now, and will be explaining how I created the cabinet later.

seating area in home

beach decor

A bit aspect to this Simple dining room makeover – low cost and easy updates all comes down to furniture placement. I kept the same dining room table, and used furniture I already had in my home. I redid the cane chairs years ago and this small console table my Grandma gave me. I pushed the dining room table over to the left of the room instead of being center of the room. This allows this cozy little seating area which we actually sit in a lot. We just had a birthday party for my son Gavin this weekend and it was nice to have a few seating options around the house.

So much storage! I kept the top portion of this pretty and the bottom functional. I was able to utilize the cabinet and store everything that was in the original credenza. I am able to store all of my kids lunch supplies, napkins and a few kitchen items.

I arranged the top with a few extra plates, bowls and cups we have. Arranging them in a pretty way, even if it is used as a display space it is still crazy functional!

Those bowls are from Target and are the cutest pattern ever!

I customized this cabinet in a few ways, but one of the easiest ways was to replace the original hardware with turquoise ones.

When the shelf was first set-up I actually had a lot of books in here. I thought shelves = books. But it made the room feel cluttered, not cozy. Next week I will do some reconstructing of this decor to explain a few ways to decorate with open shelving. It can be tricky to know how to balance the need to have it be decorated by not overwhelming.

open concept dining and living room ideas

Here you can see how open it is to the living room.

house with gray and blue decorations

Oh, that high gloss paint on the ceiling is so dang pretty! I was still stressing painting the darker gray on the walls, it was such a difference to what I had before. Even though it is still a light gray, this room is soooo dark I worried it would suck up all of the light. The high gloss blue on the ceiling helps bounce some light off.

Fun fact, this room is still too dark for my liking and to get these bright pictures I have to do a ton of picture editing. The dark side of home decor blogging is that even my home does not have enough light sometimes. The hope is to eventually add french doors where the window is to open up to the back patio, and have the doorway into the kitchen larger. But time constraints and you know…. money constraints have prevented us from doing more now. Like I said, this is a real home and sometimes project have to be slowed down or put on hold.

I will be sharing links to any projects I have in this room below. I just wanted to pop this in there to share another way I keep costs low when decorating. DIYing things like this farmhouse table saved us a ton of money!

dining room with coastal decor

Simple dining room makeover – low cost and easy updates has put me soooo much closer to calling this room done! Aside from the aforementioned french doors and larger doorway into the kitchen (which are still a ways off) I have some short term plans for this room. Adding crown molding around the ceiling, wood work to the large entryway from the living room into the dining room, and new dining room chairs! These are currently attainable and I am working towards them now! I had initially planned to hold off on the reveal to this room, but found myself skimming over this room in pictures I shared of my home. I decided to do the official reveal, get it shared and then do some updates when the space comes together more. Sometimes (a lot of times) decorating a home is a process, mine is no different. Working with what I had, a few well planned furniture purchases, painting the walls and rearranging the furniture is what made all of the difference for this room. It went from a boring room that was awkwardly laid out into a functional room with plenty of seating and storage! This is a decorating win people!








  1. Rebecca Bryant says:

    WOW!!! that is a gorgeous roo. Your whole house is beautiful. I love how light and open it is. Simply beautiful.

  2. I am in love with that rustic table. I would LOVE to have one in my dining room.

  3. Very nice makeover! Everything turned out really pretty, love the colors. I like the idea of having the table offset from the center of the room then adding the seating. That is really cozy.

  4. Lovely colors! Great idea.

  5. This room is gorgeous! I love the colors and the layout. You did an amazing job. I also have a window that I hope to convert to french doors “one day” but that means we need a deck for them to lead to so it’s a big project.

  6. Stephanie Jeannot says:

    I love that you tried different colors on the wall to see which one was best. I also like that your kids get their hands dirty and helped. So nice!

  7. Love this makeover. Such simple changes but makes a huge impact. As always well done on a great job Emily. Love it.

  8. Catherine Sargent says:

    You did a wonderful job, it looks amazing. I love that you also got the kids involved.

  9. I just love what you did! The dining room looks light, airy and relaxing. Great job on the bookcase; function and beauty.

  10. This looks amazing and you make it seem so simple. I wish you were close to me to help me with getting our nursery cute lol

  11. Wow, great job! It’s inspiring me to do some organization and spring cleaning!

  12. I absolutely love your hanging lamp! I have also painted the ceiling before. I painted my workout room’s ceiling in yellow. It gives it a fun unexpected pop.

  13. I love the way that everything looks. I am working on redecorating our hallway, and it is a task!

  14. I love that you painted the ceiling and it looks great. My husband wont let me paint our ceilings another color.

  15. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    I would have never thought to paint the ceiling like that. It looks so beautiful!

  16. I think the finished product looks great!! I love the color scheme you chose to go with. Really stylish.

  17. Oh wow. I think it was worth the wait! The room looks incredible. Love the painted ceiling. And beauty is really in the details isn’t it?? Just lovely.

  18. Your dining room looks perfect for a small family like us. Awesome makeover

  19. Wow, what a wonderful makeover! I love the colours you’re using, they are very soothing and refreshing.

  20. I love everything about the colors you’ve chosen for your dining room. It’s actually a lot similar to the color scheme we’ve been looking into. The only difference is, our blue is a lot darker (husband’s choice!)

  21. Oh my gosh! It is all so so soooo gorgeous!!! I can’t wait for the DIY on the cabinets! Seriously though, SOOOO GORGEOUS!!!

  22. Gorgeous! I love how you were able to create a coastal feel without straying into tacky territory (I think that can be hard for some people). This is very classy and timeless. Love it!

  23. This turned out lovely. I like the beachy feel and that artwork with the shovels is genius.

  24. It is amazing what some paint can do for a place! Your room turned out gorgeous! I love it!

  25. I like your new dining room painting. The misty aqua delivered such a calm feeling to the visitor.

  26. That blue you are showing off is similar to the color I want. I just have to convince the husband painting is a good thing!

  27. I’m not only blown away by how beautiful this is but the fact that you did it yourself – wow! There is no way I could do this myself!

  28. Oh my gosh, I love this! I really hope to re-do the dining room at some point. Yours looks amazing.

  29. Wow, I LOVE that ceiling color! And you’re right, the color really keeps the room bright. What a big project!

  30. Your coastal designs are just so classy and beautiful! And that table! Heart eyes for days!

  31. Wow, you planned out the colors really well. I wish my decorations matched the room theme that well! Great job!

  32. Like the after results. You have got wonderful place. Love the way you have decorated the room.

  33. and what an update it was! You made it look so different – I’m so afraid at picking paint colours! You did really well with the space!

  34. This quite a remarkable makeover. I LOVE the shade of blue that you chose! It accents this room really well.

  35. Very cool! I really like what you did with the room. It looks very cosy…

  36. I LOVE the transformation it made! I had no idea you had to do so much to prep for painting!

  37. This is seriously gorgeous and homey and pretty and cozy and functional all rolled into one. I truly love it! I hope you get your French doors eventually, they are so pretty!

  38. I love the color combination and I think you did a great job! The details make the room even more beautiful. It’s definitely a job well done.

  39. Wow so beautiful I love decorate I would be doing that every single month seriously.

  40. What a stunning transformation! I love the doorknobs so much! The wall colors are just beautiful!!!

  41. This update looks amazing. I am wanting to do something similar when we move into our new house.

  42. love the colors especially the aqua that is so relaxing. everything looks so sleek and neat now i love it

  43. That is so unique to paint the ceiling a color! But the hues you chose for both the ceiling and walls are perfect. Nicely done!

  44. What can I say? Lovely is not enough to describe it. You did a very good job choosing the right colors, and I am totally in love with those turquoise cabinet door handles. Beautiful!

  45. I’ve been wanting to make over my home and keep an eye out for tips. I like the color choices but wonder if it would fit my home as it’s quite small. I like the detailing like the blue doorknob.

  46. WoW! It looks great! I love the color scheme, it really brings it all together and its so beautiful! You did a great job!

  47. Nichole Shirell says:

    Absolutely beautiful, I love the complete look. I especially love the green and Greg color scheme.

  48. I love the new look! I painted my first ceiling last fall and love it! Great transformation!

  49. Wow, What a good makeover I love the new look and the color combination was perfect. Looks like I want this too in my house

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