More Ideas for the Dining Room

More Ideas for the Dining RoomJessica Helgerson Interior Design

I‘m finally back to share more ideas for the dining room! So sorry for the delay, I was all ready to post and then BAM! Technical difficulties. Also, many of you might have missed a week or so of posts. If you receive my posts via a Comcast email address, there have been periodic glitches over the past year that occasionally keep your posts from being delivered and I don’t realize it until someone emails to let me know. Hopefully you are back now!

When I shared about our dining room last week, I talked about the option of adding built-in bookcases. We are still very interested in the character that built-ins will provide, but we have several other options we’ve been thinking about as well, so I thought I would come back and share a couple more ideas with you.

While there are a lot of great ideas we might love, our main objective in this house will be to spend the least amount of money and get the most bang for the buck as far as additional charm and personality.

So my daughter Courtney and I had seen a photo of a dining room looking into a kitchen that really intrigued us. You can see it above. Of course, we love the kitchen in the inspiration photo. But what we also loved was the archway between the two rooms. An archway is always charming. We’ve lived in several homes with arched doorways between rooms, so we were instantly in love. In a house that is very boxy, a little curve could make a real difference in its cozy and friendly-factor.

At first we told ourselves you can’t do an arch in a house like this. Perhaps you are thinking that, too. But then we said, WHY NOT? It’s so easy to be derailed from what you would love and what would look great in a house by worrying what the “right” thing is to do, and fearing doing the “wrong thing.”

Some of you may be purists who feel this home should have only straight openings for doorways. Certainly there are houses where you want to preserve architectural accuracy, but in our opinion this is not one of those times :). Our goal is to add charm, not create a time capsule. Interestingly when we looked around our house, we noticed that our interior doors all have a double arch moulding. We do love that another arch would tie together what is already a feature in the house.

But we really wanted to visualize it, so we brought in some painter’s tape and framed out a new look for our doorway just to see what an arch might feel like. So while this is only one idea among many we have for this space, we instantly loved how much charm and warmth even just one arched doorway could bring.

More Ideas for the Dining Room

We also put the table back into the corner to simulate a possible built-in banquette. What if we built in benches around the corner walls and slid a table up next to it? That idea was intriguing too, as it created a cozy niche to sit on a bench and look out at the water, or to enjoy a family dinner. Having a table in the corner also helped balance out the weight of the room and in real life it makes the room feel bigger as well! It’s also a great arrangement for allowing plenty of space to walk through to the kitchen.

We could also include built-ins on the window side of the room to make it a very functional and cozy space.

Below are a couple of banquette inspiration pictures so you can get a visual of what it might look like to have a banquette (not necessarily the exact style, but more of the concept).

More Ideas for the Dining RoomStudio McGee

More Ideas for the Dining RoomTraditional Home

More Ideas for the Dining Room
Right now we just have random furniture sitting around the room so all of that needs to go to streamline the space. If you missed our post with our kitchen window seat idea, see that post here! We think that window seat in the kitchen would be an adorable sight to see through the doorway (whether we have an arch or even just an opening).

More Ideas for the Dining Room
A couple of you have asked for room measurements and floor plans so I’ll try to get the room measured soon, so you can better imagine the space. It’s a nice sized dining room. Not huge at all, but not too tiny either. But since you definitely have to walk right through the room to the kitchen and it does feel a bit tight when the table is in the center. A banquette would solve the space issue, plus of course add personality.

If we built in a buffet under the window (where that random sofa table is sitting) we’d have an extra surface and storage space underneath which would be really nice with a smaller kitchen.

More Ideas for the Dining Room

There are lots of charming possibilities for this corner for character-building!

We have also thought about removing part of the kitchen wall in the dining room, perhaps creating a half-wall, to make the kitchen a little more open to the dining room. This was an idea I shared before we bought this house (above). It might not work due to the arrangement of our kitchen, but I always love this inspiration pic (below) so we aren’t ruling out the option of removing all or part of the wall. In all likelihood though, we are going to preserve the layout of the kitchen which would mean living most of the wall intact. Thus, the appeal of the arch.

More Ideas for the Dining RoomCrazy Mary

More Ideas for the Dining Room

Another possibility is to keep the dining table in the middle and raise the ceiling, possibly even just the center part of the room like the ceiling in our old dining room. The ceilings here are normal 8 foot ceilings, but a little vault or a boxed ceiling with wood on it might be a charming addition as well. We have an attic above so we could do some sort of vaulted ceiling, but we aren’t sure we will invest in that project, at least at this point.

You might have noticed that we removed our ceiling light fixture. It was too distracting to have it off center as we are moving furniture around, and we wanted to be able to better visualize our options! It really helps to take things away so you have less for your eye to have to compensate for as you reimagine your room.

So, those are a few more ideas that we’ve been tossing around. We have so many projects to attend to all over the house that we really want to weigh each option carefully to make sure we choose what makes the most sense, not only to our eye, but to our wallet :).

I love having a more clear vision for this house. I’m so excited that even a few simple changes could add so much personality and make it a very cozy and charming home!

Related Posts:

Our Video House Tour

Catch up on all of our new house posts here!

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}Homes to Love

Hello! Wow, what a week it was last week. My apologies for being a bit MIA. I missed you all! I’m so sorry, I didn’t intend to go off the grid and not post, but sometimes I bite off more than I can chew and last week was one of those weeks! I’m beat, but I’m so excited to be back!

I had the pleasure of being a part of Bloom Bash in Seattle this week, a creative workshop designed for entrepreneurs, hosted by our very own Michaela Warner along with her friend and business partner Ashley Slater. It was an amazing, beautiful, inspiring event and I can’t wait to share about it!

But for today…I have a few ideas to share for our new dining room! Prepare for PICTURE OVERLOAD :). For those of you just joining in, yes, I moved to this 1950s house in Seattle just a few weeks ago. So yes, that means we are staring over. Fun, and overwhelming at the same time. You can catch up on the scoop via the links at the bottom of the post.

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

I’ve been so busy catching up on projects that all collided over the past few weeks (unrelated to the house) that I have not really made progress yet on actually doing the house projects I want to do here! But I guess I can give myself a little grace period for just moving in and being so busy with other things that I just haven’t had time yet.

But I’m thrilled because we are about to shift into house mode. I’m SO excited I can hardly stand it! I’m already plotting what to do.

I have always believed it’s important to take the time to actually live in your house before you charge ahead to making drastic changes, so I’m glad we’ve taken a little time. It has already paid off.

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

The longer we’ve lived here, the more we’ve been able to refine our ideas and see what this house really needs. Living here and observing it slowly has helped us to realize what’s important to do as we understand how we actually live here, as opposed to how we imagined it would be when we first looked at the house.

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

As far as what we have to work with and the considerations we have for this space, in many ways this dining room feels like a pass-through to get to the kitchen since it has three openings and to get to the kitchen you have to walk all the way past the table.

Compared to our previous dining room, this actually feels like a slightly larger space, but with a different layout and lower ceilings.

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

As you can see, the center light is hung on a chain off center currently, which doesn’t work well with our table which is nearly in the middle (you can see our table in the room, below). While it is a nice light, we are checking out some options online that would help open up the space a bit, as this one does block the vision a bit.

Most of the room is already painted white, which we are fine with, but the wall leading to the living room is a tan color so we plan to paint it white to keep it consistent.

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

Above is how the dining room looked the day we moved in. It’s pretty much the same now (minus the boxes and other random things) and we currently are using our World Market console table as a coffee station on that back wall.

When we first saw this house, we had contemplated opening up the kitchen completely to the dining room but we quickly realized that idea is not as easy or even as desirable as it might sound. Opening up the kitchen/dining room wall would cause us to have to reconfigure the location of the appliances, and there are a few complicating factors such as a stairwell (besides the added cost). I’ll share more of the reasoning and ideas when we talk more about the kitchen.

We may open up the doorway slightly, though, to give a little more breathing room between the dining room and kitchen. We only have a few inches to spare though so if we do it will be slight. We’ll get into more detail on that when we chat more about the kitchen!Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

This is what we see when we look out the dining room window. Can’t you just picture that little shed all fixed up and pretty?

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

I really appreciate that this dining room is basically a blank slate with nice wood floors and that great view out to the water and all the glorious sunsets we experience! The large window lets in so much light, it’s a very pleasant room to spend time in.

What I’m thinking right now is the idea of adding built-ins along the dining room wall where the kitchen is, so it would give our dining room a ‘library feel” as well as add additional kitchen and dining storage. I’m not 100% yet, but it’s fun to dream so I’ll share a bunch of photos that might inspire you, too.

I think built-in bookcases would be be fabulous for adding character to the space and leading into the kitchen. I’ve always dreamed about a library dining room so it seems like a good solution for both the charm and the added storage for books, and possibly even dishes and accessories.

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}Emily A. Clark

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}Blair Harris / Cobble Hill Townhouse

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}The Makerista

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}

Decorating-wise we haven’t quite nailed down exactly we want this space to look like. I have a few visions of it as a modern cottage, with color and warmth but still fresh and clean and nothing fussy (and even though some of the inspiration photos have various styles of molding and millwork, don’t worry, we won’t use anything fussy in this house. Just clean simple lines.)

I’ll share more of the decorating vision in a future post since this is getting so long :).

Anyone have any ideas for the doorbell chimes? :) Taking suggestions!

Related Posts:


Click here and scroll back to catch up on all of the posts about my new house.


PS. My book release is in less than A WEEK! WHAT? I can’t believe it. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about a fun opportunity to share your ‘inspired rooms’!
Vision for the Dining Room Built-Ins {My New House}