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Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

by | Aug 22, 2016 | Decorating Inspiration, My Dining Room, My Seattle House

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Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

Hey friends! I took a couple of unexpected days off from blogging this past week, mostly just trying to get the house ready and decisions made for all the projects ahead. Phew! We’ve been making progress everywhere but the biggest transformations are just around the corner so I CAN’T WAIT!

I’ll have lots more to tell you about our kitchen plans and the Dutch doors (if you missed the news, our kitchen demo begins in just a few weeks, yippee!) but today I thought I would share the plans for the other side of the dining room (for those of you who wanted to see more of the room the other day when I showed you the shiplap wall).

Nothing to hide here, it’s just slow going on this side of the room. While I wish I could just snap my fingers and show you the shiny after room photos, right now it’s still in process. But we’ve made progress bit by bit so I’m feeling good about it so far.

Here’s a reminder of how this side of the room looked a few weeks ago…a blank slate!

Dining Room Progress + Next Stepsbefore

I’ve been envisioning this room as a breakfast room, a bit cozier and much more casual than a formal dining space. We set the table up near the window to take advantage of the view (our dining bench is on order). To give this bright sunny room a fresh clean backdrop, we painted the walls a soft warm white.

Below I’ll share the additions to the room so far and a bit of what’s to come.

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

We recently installed the bamboo shades. We are super happy with them (they are installed above the windows, but we left enough of room above if we decide to add curtains or crown molding). I’ll do a whole post specifically about the shades in a future post, but in the meantime, they are the Good Housekeeping Woven Wood Shades called “Bali Abaca”. You can find the ones I have and more here (my affiliate link will ensure you receive the best discount available at the time you order).

Our Parson’s chairs arrived and they are just as comfortable as we expected. We comparison shopped by sitting in several Parson’s chairs locally, looking at price, style, quality and comfort (you can see our roundup of some great options here). The Restoration Hardware chairs were the clear winners for our needs. The linen slipcovers are nicely tailored and add a lot of softness to the space.

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

We added a new seagrass rug to add a layer of texture. I was surprised what an impact it had on the feel of the room, it just feels more “grounded” and cozy. While a rug in a dining room can be a challenge to keep clean, seagrass is indestructible! You can find the rug we chose here.

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

In the next few weeks my new dining bench from Ballard Designs should arrive! You might remember me talking about some options for dining benches. The bench I ordered is the Bristol Bench with driftwood toned legs and a linen and navy stripe upholstery (the sample I received shows wider placed stripes than it appears in the product shot, so it’s helpful to always ask for fabric samples before you place an order).

I really wanted a long more substantially sized bench with a padded back to fill the space under the window, so I really think it’s going to help anchor and complete that side of the room.

The biggest changes will be seen as we add more architectural interest to this space. Besides the new shiplap we already installed, the next step is to enlarge and arch the doorway opening between the kitchen and the dining room. The arch will frame the view to our new kitchen and of course bring more shape and softness to the room. The current opening is pretty small and uneventful so I can’t wait to see how the arch transforms the look of this room.

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

Soon we will have an electrician move light fixture box to be centered over our table so we can finally install our new wood beaded light fixture! It’s been just sitting in a box forever. My mom thought our new dining light was small from the product photo I posted on the blog awhile back. To help offer perspective, my daughter Courtney is holding the light up over the table so you can get a better idea of the actual scale.

It’s a large enough light fixture to make a statement, but not too big for the room. It will hang down from the ceiling at an appropriate level for the table. Courtney is only 5 feet tall so a lower height simulation was the best she could do, even on her tiptoes :). Also, note she is a very small person, so you can see by comparison how big the light actually is.

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

We are also considering adding sheer breezy curtains to the windows. I’m always a fan of patterned curtains to add more softness and interest to a room, but heavy curtain fabric didn’t seem right in this airier space.

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

I found some cute sheer panels with a swirl pattern from Target online, but they only had two left. I ordered them anyway but then searched eBay and kept my eye on the Target website for the past couple of weeks just in case. Finally two more panels randomly popped up for sale. They are on their way to my house right now!

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

The two panels I have so far are just tucked around our shades to simulate what they might feel like. I know how we hung them looks ridiculous in these photos, but at least you can get the idea of curtains. If we actually hang curtains, they’d be on a rod outside of the window and double the fabric of what you see here. I could go either way, curtains or no curtains. I guess I’ll know better once I see the bench in place. What are your thoughts?

Lastly, we plan refinish our old oak floors to a more brownish less orangish tone. The goal is for our floors to all flow together more effortlessly. There are are lots of flooring changes in this old house! While we aren’t changing every floor surface, we will do the best we can on our limited budget help the house flow together style-wise and tone-wise.

So, that’s where we are at so far and the vision we have planned for this space in the upcoming weeks!

Have a great Monday!

*UPDATE: See the progress on my home in my Fall 2016 House Tour!

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps

Dining Room Progress + Next Steps


Seagrass rug

Leather sofa

Blue and white rug

Gray and white striped pillow


Dining bench

Glass sideboard (ours was the antiqued taupe color)

Wood beaded light

Slipcovered linen chairs

Woven wood shades

Rattan shelf – thrifted

Bird botanical canvas art (out of stock)

Blue and white swirl lamps

Rattan and white round mirror on shiplap wall

Shiplap wall details

And as always, you can find more sources in my shop!


  1. Theresa

    Looks beautiful! What is the source for the cabinet you are using as a sideboard? I’m looking for something like that and want to leave no stone unturned!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Theresa,

      That cabinet is from Restoration Hardware. I searched high and low for a good quality piece that was more substantial in size but not insanely expensive by comparison to everything else. This piece and one other with closed doors were the best I could find at the time. They were on sale, too!

  2. Sandy

    I am loving how your breakfast/casual dining room is evolving. I actually could go either way with the curtain panels, too, because I thought the room was looking great without them .. but then the pics with the curtain panels “tucked in” really brought some softness and fun pattern/color to your room that is lovely – plus I think they will look fabulous with that gorgeous bench. Still, the only way you’ll know for sure is when you have everything in the room. The shiplap wall is fantastic, too!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Sandy! Glad you like it. I can’t wait to see how the room and curtains will look with the bench, it really will be the only way to tell for sure.

  3. Cathy

    Your dining room is coming along nicely! I like the softness that the curtains add. I think that along with the bench, the rug, the upholstered chairs, and the print on the wall (Is that fabric on a stretcher?), they make the room nice and cosy. I’m sure you are looking forward to many enjoyable meals in there!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I sure am looking forward to enjoying this space more, it is nice to finally feel like the room is more inviting and cozy. Thank you, Cathy!

  4. Pam Moore

    I absolutely love the bench idea. We have a really small dining room nook that is difficult to fit with furniture. I’ve often dreamed a building an upholstered bench wall to wall to use as seating, but we have an air duct that makes it impossible. I will definitely look into this idea.

    Your room is really looking lovely. I always look forward to seeing how you pull your rooms together.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      We have an air vent, too so I think the bench with legs is a good solution! Thank you for the kind words, I’m so glad you are liking the direction!

  5. Barb

    I love your space so far! I’m a huge fan of white paint and your walls look great. The parson chairs look perfect and I can’t wait to see that bench! I’m weighing in on the curtains and because your bench has a back, I’m thinking no but as you said, you have to put it all together to decide. Beautiful!!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      True, good point to consider the curtains in light of the fact that the bench has a back. Something to think about for sure. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Tracie

    I love the look of the window shades and curtains. They’ll look great with the light fixture! (Thanks, Courtney, for providing better perspective.)

  7. Jo Jo

    I love the texture you added with the blinds and sea grass rug!! Your light fixture is beautiful and I also love that it’s wood beads! Your bench will look awesome and looks like it’ll be very comfortable! I love your ideas and the way younger going with this room. How exciting to be starting your kitchen remodel soon! Thanks for sharing your process! Looks great!!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      :-D so glad you like the direction, Jo Jo! It is slow going but fun to see how the layers start to change a room, isn’t it? Hope you are enjoying your new home!

  8. Linda Stoll

    Wow, Melissa! You’d never know that this was the same dining area!

    A super transformation for sure …

  9. Jo Jo

    Sorry,my hat should have said ” you are going” not ” younger”. lol.

  10. Anne

    It all looks lovely.

    Definitely the curtains!

  11. Sharon

    Your dining room is coming along nicely. I am not usually a curtain person but in this case I think they add just enough color and softness. As you said, it will depend on how they look with the bench. If they don’t work, I encourage you to try others as they really elevate this space with this layer.
    Thanks for sharing the process. We are contemplating a move in the future..downsizing so I’m really absorbing your ideas!

  12. Pamela Morra

    I love how the dining room is coming together, Melissa. Everything you’ve chosen is beautiful and it’s wonderful to know your thinking process behind the design. I have an odd question to ask: Did you order 3 or 4 Parsons chairs? I can see 3 in the photos and I know that your bench is coming from Ballard’s but I’m curious about the number of chairs. I’m never sure it’s “okay” to have an odd number or if one should have the even number of chairs (with the 4th residing off to the side or in another room, just in case it’s needed). Thanks!

  13. Dianne

    It’s looking very lovely already! Can’t wait to see the kitchen remodel as well!

  14. Linda Tucker

    Looks great; what a nice sized room to accommodate your shelving and cabinet. I looked at rug online(Wayfair) and they do call the material sea grass although it really looks like jute to me. How do your table legs, chair legs, etc. do on this surface? With the loose weave and no real backing I would think legs would poke through.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you. It’s actually a super tight thick rug so nothing pokes through! The chairs move easily over it for the same reason. I’ll do a separate post on rugs!

  15. Dawn

    I’m not usually a curtain person either, but I LOVE these with the other blue touches you have in the room! Can’t wait for that doorway change! The change so far is amazing – it’s so “inspiring” to see how much softer and cozier the room looks already!

  16. Amy

    I like how the curtains bring more color to that side, especially when you get the bench that has more tan and cream there…

  17. Christie

    The view from the living room, over the leather sofa, into the dining room is so pretty. :)

  18. Valerie Preston

    Very nice. In addition to loving the room, I particularly love the chair covers. Did you make them or purchase them? They can be quite costly and I was thinking about making 6 for my dining room…. Always looking for ideas

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Valerie, the covers come with the chairs so we didn’t have to make them! Thank you!

  19. sandyc

    It’s all coming together so well – very open and airy. I think the curtains are lovely and the bench, when I call it up in the navy stripe at Ballard’s, is quite dramatic. As you say, it will depend on how they look together and also how they “fit” together; i.e., do the curtains hang beside the bench or “behind” the bench? I’m glad you ordered a fabric swatch for the bench as the Ballard website pic looks totally different from the pic above. I agree with Christie, the view from the living room into the dining area was what turned me on originally.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Sandy! I’m pleased that you ladies like the view from one room to another! That visual connection is so important to me. It’s always a process to get the “flow” going and I’m pleased with the progress (however slow, ha) so far.

      You are right I’ll need to consider the curtains in light of the bench back. I’m pretty sure the bench will go against the wall so it could feel messier or non-functional with the curtains on either side? But if we decide we like the curtains in the room it might just have to be OK to break the rule. Of course, I may not like the curtains at all once the bench arrives so all will be revealed in time, right? Ha.:) Thanks for your thoughts, have a great day!

  20. Patty

    Your dining room is looking fabulous, I love everything you have done and the bench will be the perfect touch. That rug is so beautiful it really pulls that room together, and I love the shade on your window, I do love shades, but I am a curtain person even if it is just a panel on each end of the window, to me it is like adding a string of pearls to that little black dress to complete the look.
    I just can’t wait to see it completed with the arch, not half as much as you I’m sure, I can’t imagine how anxious you are with some anxiety, I always have so much anxiety worrying if I am making the right decisions, knowing I will have to live with those decisions for many, many years.
    I noticed you pretty much stick with timeless beautiful decor and you just can’t go wrong, but yet it is updated and will be beautiful for years to come.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Patty! Thank you for the vote of confidence! I know what you mean about curtains, they do add something special. I love layers in a room! You’re right, I definitely lean towards timeless decor and classic styles that can be put together in an up-to-date way. Thank you so much, it was so nice of you to stop by and chat with me! xo

  21. Casey

    It looks amazing! What a great space – and I love that light fixture!

  22. Tracie

    The dining room is looking absolutely beautiful! This post, combined with the kitchen inspiration post just previous, is getting me really excited to see things come together. Thanks for taking us on this journey with you :)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Sure, thank you for coming along with me! It’s nice to have some girlfriends to chat with as we go through the process.

      • Tracie

        Absolutely! We’ve already actually redone our home.. it was a foreclosure that needed various repairs that dictated the necessity. Windows, siding, porches, kitchen, bathrooms, and flooring (oh my!).. you name it, we touched it. We are considering a move now and it’s great to see how a home can be made your own without quite that level of.. catastrophe :D

  23. Teresa

    Progress is so much fun! Its so light and bright, with just enough color and texture to keep all of the whites fun and interesting. The curtains are a big yes. They bring the pattern and color from your lamps to the other side of the room and soften the big window nicely. I think you will love them even more once the bench is tucked under the window. That will be lots of straight lines and the curtain pattern adds movement. Love it all :)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thanks Teresa, I agree yes wavy lines seem to add some fun movement (as will the arch). Thank you so much!

  24. Gail

    I love the curtains – pattern and color in that spot. I think they are an excellent addition, and imo, lighten up the blind that to me is a bit too much ‘dark’ above the window. The curtains make a better ratio of light-dark areas to my eye.
    How do you plan to minimize dust/ mess 1. during enlarging doorway to kitchen 2. during refinishing of floors ?
    Thanks !!
    ps- And how do you source everything ? Do you constantly troll through every website and catalogue ??!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Gail! I love the classic look of natural blinds with white walls (British Colonial style is one of my favorite influences!), but I know it might not be for everyone. These blinds are a medium mix of warm grays and natural straw so the lighter tones adds just enough warmth to the room for my taste. But I see that the curtains soften the look, so definitely worth considering the impact!

      As far as the construction dust, it’s tough! I will ask the contractors to hang heavy plastic between the kitchen and the dining room. When we redo the floors we will have to move our furniture out and let the dust fly in those rooms with plastic to cut down on it flying to other areas. I also hope they’ll cover my walls so they don’t get all dusty :).

      We do a lot of research before we make decisions on what to add to our home. It’s a lot of work but at least we get to share our findings here so hopefully our work helps others save some time!

  25. Cindy Childers

    Hey Melissa! I love your blog and don’t think I’ve ever put in a comment. What?! Love it! Anyway, can you tell me where you got the print with the birds. I am desperate for a really nice vertical print/artwork in our entryway and there just do not seem to be ANY that jump out at me. This one of yours did. I would love for you to do a whole post one day on vertical artwork. It seems 90% of the art work out there that is a landscape scene (which is often what I love) are only horizontal. I realize that this is a natural thing as most landscapes you want to see a wide shot of a garden/beach/field/pasture….but goodness I really wish I could find something in vertical form. We live in England (we are military) for the time being and I love English landscapes! Thanks Melissa!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Well, that’s interesting, I definitely will keep my eye out! I know it’s frustrating when you want to find something but can’t! I love this canvas, I got it from World Market. I will see if I can find a link and add it to the post! Thanks for commenting, it’s so nice to know you’re out there!! :) xoxo

  26. teresa

    Love what you are doing so far! and you always have amazing window treatments…that is the hardest part of decorating for me.
    Can’t wait to see it all come together!
    Happy Day.

  27. Deanna Rabe

    Love it!

    I think the curtains will add to your whole look! I like how its coming together!

  28. Lisa E

    It’s looking lovely! I vote for drapes which I think will soften the white walls. The larger opening will be a game changer. We had a large opening, but took it all the way to the opposite walls and love it.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you! We can’t open ours the entire way because our kitchen is so tiny it needs some wall space, but I can’t wait to see what a difference a wider opening will make!

  29. Julia Molewyk

    I really like the way your dining room looks. I like the curtains.
    I really like all the rooms you’ve shown. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement you give on your blog!

  30. Leslie

    Beautiful space so far! It has a great casual, relaxed organic vibe, yet so nicely appointed. I do like the addition of the curtains. They add that extra softness and dimension.

  31. susan maclean

    I do like the curtains, If you don’t plan to close them over the window, how about two panels each side, taking the fabric right to the corners of the room? Whatever! The room is taking on it’s own personality now, which is lovely.

  32. Elizabeth

    it will be lovely! Just a tip on restaining floors, use the darkest brown stain you can, every other lighter color will not cover the orange.

  33. Carol g

    Hi, Melissa – I ordered woven roller shades from select blinds and LOVE them. Wonderful quality and such speedy service. Also, most economical for custom blinds. I’m now looking for shades for my living room. I want the privacy of blinds, but I want them to let in light when they are closed. How much light do your new shades let in? I know people usually have the opposite issue, but I am looking to keep light as much light as possible while minimizing an unpleasant view! Thanks! You are definitely my design inspiration.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Carol! I will be writing an entire post about blinds so I can cover all of the tips and specifications we had. My blinds have white black out liners, because one of the needs we had was to be able to cut the heat and glare from the sun on the hottest summer days. They are AMAZINGLY effective, my house feels so cool even when the sun is beating in. And best of all, I still get plenty of light!

      I was wondering if it would feel too dark with black out liners but it doesn’t at all. We only pull down the panels we need to (in the living room and dining room we have several panels we can adjust) and we don’t have to pull them all the way down hardly ever. It just makes the room feel so much COOLER, which was important on the hot days. I can imagine they will make us feel more snug on cold days, too.

      Note that we hung our blinds ABOVE the windows to let in the maximum light all day and not overlapping the wall much on either side so our house still feels just as bright and light when the blinds are up and still pretty light when they are down.

      I’ll share more details soon! I agree they are wonderful quality and speedy service, too.

      Thank you, Carol!

  34. Susan A.

    Love everything you do and love the dining room plan. I’m not wild about the wooden shelf unit next to window. Seems to take up too much space and too much stuff on it to present the room as ‘airy.’ Maybe a smaller shelf unit or nothing at all? Perhaps if I was in the room I would see the entire picture better.
    Just a devoted reader’s thoughts! All my best to a great designer!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Susan, I love the bamboo shelving unit and it feels right to me. Nothing is necessarily permanent, if course, as this room is evolving with what we already had or can add as we go. I’m sure it will continue to look different every time I share it, so who knows what will be in the room longterm!

      I don’t think I’d necessarily describe my goal for this space as airy, although I do love that shelf for its more “airy” open Chippendale patterned sides. I prefer texture and natural elements mixed in to the white space rather than all white or all painted or a lot of empty space. I like some white space but my creative eye loves to see interesting textures, contrast, pattern and shapes in room! It’s all personal preference of what one enjoys in their home. I know plenty of people who want all white rooms with no visual interest and that’s just not my style. And you are right, you have to be in a room to really know what fits. That shelf isn’t crowding the room at all, it’s wide open and to me it feels just right for that spot (for now)!

      Thanks for reading and following along with my home.

  35. Pauline

    I love the look without the side curtains. The room looks more spacious and airy (there’s that word again) and there’s no interruption from the stunning outlook. The bird canvas is beautiful.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thanks, Pauline! I can’t wait to see what it will feel like once the bench arrives, I think that will likely tip my decision one way or another.

  36. Judy

    Hi Melissa, your room looks amazing! It’s hard to believe ti’s the same room. Wow!

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