The Dining Room Progress Update: The “Before & So Far”!

The Dining Room Progress Update: The "Before & So Far"!Dining Room Before

The Dining Room Before & After

Sometimes being so slow with projects can be a little flustering. You don’t have the instant gratification of a fabulous before and after. You can feel like you are only inching along, each step feeling like things are better than they were, but not quite where you envision them in the end.

Doing a project over time, using mostly what you already have, can be fun but is not always the easiest way to do a room. It takes patience with being “undone,” hanging on through some twists and turns as you try to work with what you have, and a lot of persistence to keep on keeping on.

It has taken me TWO YEARS to arrive where I am today with this dining room. You’d think I was remodeling (HA!) but it was mostly just painting furniture, walls, and rearranging things (and just living life!)! Yes, two years is a slow pace, but I’m on a roll now! I’m not done yet but it feels like it finally has turned in the right direction. In all fairness, even though that before photo is two years old, I did most of the updating in this room in the past 7 months.

Step by Step Dining Room Progress

  1. I had to be patient for 10 long months waiting for my old house to sell so I could move all my furniture here.
  2. I put up my antique stained glass (from a real church) to hide a less than pleasant view.
  3. I painted my old table, chairs & armoire to brighten up the room and unify mismatched, less than lovely wood.
  4. This fall I hung some temporary curtains leftover from my old house (note: new curtains just might be in the works).
  5. Then right before the holidays we painted the walls Behr All in One Studio Taupe Paint.
  6. Then I got a new lantern with lots of character.
  7. And then, I moved the dresser out and put in my baker’s rack.

The Dining Room Progress Update: The "Before & So Far"!

Dining room during —
prior to the walls being painted and the dresser being moved

The Dining Room Progress Update: The "Before & So Far"!

Dining Room Now (lantern from Pottery Barn)

The Dining Room Progress Update: The "Before & So Far"!

The Dining Room Progress Update: The "Before & So Far"!

The Dining Room Progress Update: The "Before & So Far"!

Dining Room before and now.

And finally, the side by side view.

The before and now, two LOOOONNNNGGG years apart.

Since I have felt like I wasn’t making fast enough progress,  it helps to look at what the room looked like when I first set my furniture down and review the step by step progress along the way.

Yep. It has come a long way.


The Dining Room Progress Update: The "Before & So Far"!

Oh, and now it has come a little further! Check out my new dining room curtains post!

Thanks for bearing with me, particularly this week with so many posts and photos in my dining room! Next project for this room: the new curtains made out of my 16 year old fabric!

NOTE: All the furniture in this room was FREE because it was recycled from a previous house, with the exception of the new (but free to me!) Pottery Barn lantern, the paint (Studio Taupe Behr all in one) and the seagrass rug (Cost Plus, $125).


  1. Looks great!!! I love the stained glass! It adds just the perfect pop of color!

  2. WOW! Looks great!

  3. Big improvement! I’m loving that wall color. And switching your buffet and baker’s rack was genius! Such a cheerful yet relaxing room.

    This whole post got me thinking about the ‘before and after’ tag. Won’t there always be a ‘before’ leading to the inevitable ‘after’ with us? Does anyone get to a point in their home where they say ‘OK, this is it!’ ?
    Maybe from now on we should say ‘This is my dining room in it’s present manifestation’. (Maybe I need more coffee!)
    :) Hugs…maggie

    • Ha, that is awesome….I agree. My dining room is in its current manifestation. Not after. Not done. :-) HAAA! Ok, more coffee all around.

  4. What a fantastic change! Your “new” dining room looks so inviting and warm.

  5. My favorite thing in these photos is your round mirror. I’ve admired in various photos taken at various places in your houses. Do you mind sharing where you got it?

    • I actually don’t know where the mirror came from, it was my moms and then she gave it to me in our last house. Sorry!

  6. I absolutely love how much of your personality is in this room and in the rest of your house!! Hands down that’s my favorite thing about your decorating – it has personality! Isn’t it great to be a blogger and have tons of before and after photos? It’s amazing the difference in your b&a… pretty, love the details.

    • Lisa, thank you so much for this comment. If there is one thing I would hope people could take away from my blog is just that…find a way to decorate with your OWN personality so it shines through and doesn’t look like anyone else’s room. So thank you :-) That made me happy!

  7. Man Melissa, this post came at just the right time for me since I’ve been feeling really frustrated with my slow Project $2K progress. Everything is “in progress” and it feels like I’m NEVER going to finish… this was a good reminder that when you’re decorating on a budget, patience and persistence are your best friends!

    I love how your dining room has progressed; it feels very “You” now… and I can’t wait to see your new curtains! :)

    • Thanks Shauntelle…it sure does feel like it takes forever sometimes….especially in blog world where it seems rooms magically transform over night!

  8. You did a great job, Melissa! Being in that “decorating limbo” can be tough, but I’ll bet you gathered all your ideas together and knew what you wanted to do. I think that helps things move along once you can actually do what you want in your place, because everything is basically decided on.

  9. Melissa, it’s looking amazing!!!! It’s so hard to believe that your dining room now used to look like the before. Wow!


  10. Melissa,
    Your dining room looks wonderful and so fresh and cheery. We (hubby and I) are in the process of a re-do of our reading room and so I totally relate. When you are doing the work yourself and “living life” while you are renovating it takes more time. It’s still satisfying to have the ball rolling on a much needed redo.

    • Thanks Karen, we’ve been extremely busy over the past two years so it is really a miracle we get any decorating done ;-)

  11. Very nice! The way you disguised your less than perfect view is terrific. Does this table have leaves so that more than four can be seated? Hope so! I know what a busy life you lead.

  12. The dining room looks great! Sixteen year old fabric for curtains? I thought I was the only one who hung on to fabric that long. Can’t wait to see them. I’m on pins and needles! (:

    • Yep, I have always loved the fabric I had used 16 years ago as curtains. I kept the leftover fabric all these years hoping to use it again. Now it will be resurrected as — once again, curtains!

  13. Looking great Melissa!! Looking forward to seeing more. Have a great day!

  14. I am so in love with that lantern!! I want one for my dining room and have been on the hunt! I love how yours came out and it is such a great focal point for your beautiful space. Well done!

  15. Well, I have to say…it was well worth the way. Love all the details. I’m going to “pin” this…. to help remind me it’s okay to wait =)
    My dinning room is still waiting….
    Have a great day

  16. Very, very nice – what’s the deal with the table…the first photo is a different table than the final, right? I recently painted my first Heirloom White project: my table! Thank you for all the fresh ideas!

    • Yes, it is a different table. I was waiting for my furniture from my old house. Then when the round pine table was moved here, I painted it white!

  17. The colour from the stained glass is so lovely. I absolutly adore everything you’ve done.

  18. Wow, great room and LOVE the color on the wall. Can you tell me what it is?

    love the blog!

  19. Are you kidding me? That looks amazing. It’s so much brighter and more open. Love it!

  20. I love what you did w/the painted furniture! Your patience has paid off!!!!

  21. I have waited 5 years for my house to take any shape .. and will have to wait longer .. but if the result is like yours , I don’t mind waiting .. I also have a husband who is no help whatsoever , but still wants his input .. so I have stopped doing anything .. my next house will be modern , and done!!

  22. It’s hard to believe it’s the same room. The color palette is beautiful and those stained glass windows are gorgeous. I love how bright, open, and roomier it looks now. 2 years doesn’t seem bad to me. I work at a snails pace over here.

  23. Wow, those walls really were swiney! But the new colour looks great! Now it looks like such a peaceful, sweet, comfortable room. You have done a great job! It has also taken me two years to do much to our house.

  24. Love the transformation! I definitely know where you are coming from..I feel like every room is a work in progress, with tweeks here and there to make it better and better and the way I like it…It takes time, but the overall result is worth it!

  25. HI Melissa, what a wonderful makeover. Yes everything in blogland or tv seems like overnight makeovers…but we all know too well the time and elbow grease that goes into the after photos. Love love love the dining room. I bet you just smile each time you walk in there with a sigh of relief. It is just wonderful!

  26. What a great job! Enjoy!

  27. It looks great. I’d say the 2years was worth the wait! It looks so bright and open. It’s a good week to finish a project – this weekend I hope to finish one I started back in September!

  28. Hi- I love the dining room! The stained glass was such a cool move. Love your blog- thanks for sharing! -Roberta

  29. Is a room truly ever finished anyways? There will always be things we want to change or update. I truly envy your patience with such a project. It’s been two weeks since I started painting my cabinets and I’m frustrated with the absence of instant gratification. It’s all worth it in the end though!

  30. Wow Melissa! It really came a long way. I love all the white and then the colorful stained glass windows. You know I love my color! Fantastic:)

  31. Can you tell us how you did they stain glass windows….please.

  32. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Beautiful!

  33. Oh my gosh! It’s so cute I just want to have a tea party with scones and stuff. Great job, it has really turned out nicely!

  34. It looks like a different room! It is so charming and classic.

  35. Your room is AMAZING!! Quick question… I love the stained glass in your window. Is it in the frame or is it propped against the permanent window?

    • The stained glass itself has always been framed, but I attached its frame with Command Strips to the frame of the window and then just set the stained glass on the window sill. So it is basically sitting on the window sill, but it won’t fall over because of the velcro strips :-)

      Thanks so much!!!

  36. That is so creative. You are amazing!

  37. Oh wow…the side by side comparison! Love it, Melissa!

  38. Looks awesome Melissa! And I love the comfy chair in the corner! So cool!

  39. Carol in Md says

    It looks wonderful! I especially love the lack of clutter, though I realize that some of that might just be staging for the photo ;)… My husband uses our dining room table as a desk, so it never gets decorated – there’s just no point.

    I was curious though where you keep additional chairs to use at your dining table – your before shot shows 4. Did you just move them out for the shot or do you use them elsewhere until you need them at the table?

    • Our kitchen and dining room chairs are interchangeable, we move them back and forth as needed! I have about 8 dining chairs that just float around the house!

  40. I’m so in touch!
    We started our kitchen re-do right before Thanksgiving. That was the floor. Since then, we’ve painted the walls – er, twice, since I second guessed myself in the store. We swapped out all of the wall plates and some of the outlets. Installed a new ceiling fixture. Painted a very specific pattern (it’s a secret till the reveal) on the wall – which took forever.

    Now, we still have certain decorative aspects that are taking a lot of time to make but are very fun and will completely worth it for our 13 year old. And, I’d like to paint the bottom of our our movable island and replace our 80s baker’s rack with metro rack from Home Depot.

    Soooo close.
    Yet, no reveal yet…

    Psst – There’s still time to enter our giveaway. Treat yourself!

  41. Marilyn Holeman says

    Lovely,Melissa! Waiting to see the curtains.



  43. I love how you added the “so far” in your title. I am doing the same process in my breakfast nook and sometimes feel so fooling to keep posting “Breakfast Nook During” posts for my readers, haha! Great after pics!

  44. It looks so great. And I absolutely love the stained glass.

  45. wow– it’s so welcoming and cheerful now! i love your rug and the price tag too. what does it mean that everything was recycled from another house? sign me up! :)

  46. I’d say it was worth the wait, they don’t look like the same room. Beautiful and cozy! Janell

  47. I love the change, it’s very beautiful! I especially love how you placed the curtains, seeing the before and after photos shows such a huge change to the window simply by how you placed the curtains.

    I’m glad to see you still have a bird in there. (I watched your funny post w/ the bird video the other day, what a “hoot”!) Now I’m nervous whenever I look around and see birds in my home, and I start counting. But, the truth is I like birds, I think I’ll keep what I have, & just not go overboard.

    It may take us 2 yrs. to finish our laundry room, life gets in the way, and we can’t always work on it every day. I’m making progress, little bits at a time. Glad to see you’ve made so much progress in this room, it’s very lovely!

  48. What a beautiful dining room. What a lovely, inviting place to share many family dinners together!

  49. It looks great! I, too, move at a snail’s pace. But for me, it’s mostly because of budget and indecisiveness.

    May I ask a couple of questions?

    -HOw do you like your seagrass rug? Is it easy to clean? Does it stay in place?

    -I know the white, upholstered chair came from your old home, but do you recall where you originally purchased it?

    Thanks so much.

  50. It does look really good though! I think sometimes slow can be better because then it represents a more true reflection of your personality. At least it’s that way with me – when I decorate an area too fast, sometimes it reflects only what I was feeling that day, but not necessarily how I want the room to feel over the long haul.

  51. Love the room! What a cheerful yet restful place you’ve created!

  52. Wow! It’s gorgeous – you can’t even tell it’s in the same space – the room looks totally transformed. Congratulations!

  53. Mega charm! I love it. Congratulations. Especially love the window treatment and the light fixture.

  54. Amazing! What about the curtains? Are those just tension rods up against the window casing. Love how you did those. Very unique. And are they black and gray? Hard to tell.

  55. Wonderful, bright, cheerful room! Love the white furniture and stained glass windows. Very beautiful!

  56. It looks fabulous! I can’t get over that lantern + the stained glass. Well done.

  57. I love it! Where is that beautiful rustic carpet from? I am in love!

  58. Things are looking great! I like that the light fixture is oversized, that combined with the drapes helps to add punch to the room.

  59. I was wondering where you got the white bird figurine. I have two similar to that one and have been looking to expand my collection. Thanks!

  60. I love your new dining room! I do have a couple of questions for you. What paint did you use on your furniture and how did you apply it.
    I’m getting ready to paint an old dresser. I’ve painted other furniture with enamel paint and a brush but it took forever to completely dry enough to set something on it. I’ve been thinking about using spray paint this time.

    Gotta get to sanding. ughhh!

  61. Melissa, it looks wonderful! I know you are so enjoying this room. It’s so bright and cheerful…what an awesome place to dine with family and friends. Don’t feel bad about the two years…my “home library” has been in progress for more years than I care to admit. lol

  62. Oh I can’t decide what I love more! The curtains, the stained glass or all the other lovely touches. Good things do come to those who wait and patience is a virtue.

    Well done!

  63. Absolutelly gorgeous, your new dining room! My goodness, it was worth the weight, but yes, it was long, I’m not patient, but these is stunning, you’re a great interior decorator and furniture restorer!! I adore stain glass, I’ve had in both, my previous house and this one and yours is beautiful, it frames the area beautifully! Congrats, I can’t wait to see what you come up with later…DO NOT WAIT TWO YEARS!!! Lots of hugs.

  64. carol ann says

    Your room is so pretty and so worth the wait! Great job:)

  65. Your room is so beautiful. Definately worth the wait.
    Thanks for sharing!

  66. Love it – amazing what some light and wall hangings can do. I particularly like the stained glass. It was two years well spent. Thanks for sharing.

Join the Conversation