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Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

by | Apr 7, 2017 | Decorating Inspiration, Dining Rooms, My Dining Room, My Seattle House

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Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

Hey there! It has been awhile since I’ve done an official progress report on our dining room. I’ve shown bits and pieces as things developed, but I’ve been wanting to catch up in one post with all that has changed in here since we moved in. So, today’s the day.

We still have quite a few more ideas for future updates, but I am so happy we’ve made enough progress that we feel so much more comfortable in this room now. So let’s take a look back at where we started and see what we’ve done so far, shall we?

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

While this room had lots of great light and a view at the window, the room itself did not particularly speak to me as it was :). The window and light were off center, the doorway to the kitchen (before the kitchen was remodeled) was just kind of small and uneventful. The floors were pretty orange and shiny from some sort of new finish coating. They’ve actually started to mellow out a bit since then, but we are still probably going to refinish the floors at some point.

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

We decided since it isn’t a large or grand formal dining room (and not a grand house), we might as well embrace it for what it is and work on a cozier breakfast room vibe.

While we still plan to add larger baseboard moldings, we already installed a planked wood wall on the right side of the room. We wanted to bring a little more architectural interest to that wall and to cover up the doorbell we weren’t going to use.

The whole room is painted a fresh white (Simply White by Benjamin Moore). We sampled all sorts of other colors and neutrals just in case something else felt right, but nothing looked as good as Simply White with our architecture or natural lighting.

Since our table didn’t fit comfortably in the center (it made it feel too crowded all the way around and didn’t leave any walking path), we decided to pull the table under the window to give it more of a “banquette” layout. We were really drawn to want to sit there, so we just knew it would feel like a bright and inviting place to eat!

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

For a “banquette” we found the perfect pinstriped upholstered dining bench from Ballard Designs. It was exactly the right height to fit under the window sill and long enough to seat several people. It’s firm so you don’t feel like you can’t sit up straight at the table, but soft enough to be super comfy.

It’s called the Bristol Bench (ours is 72 inches long). There are lots of wonderful fabric options to choose from; we fell in love with the Navy Vintage Ticking Stripe.

Dining Room Makeover: Before & ProgressGood Housekeeping Woven Wood Shades in Bali Abaca (find discount code at end of post!)

We installed cordless and lined woven shades for those super bright afternoons. The shades are not fully raised in these photos, so you can see what they look like when they are partially down. We lower them often to cut down on some of the glare, but when the shades are totally up they don’t cover any of the window at all. We left them all the way up most of the winter!

We hung the blinds directly on the wall (outside mount) above the window, the shades have a great bracket system that made it really easy to install and also makes them really sturdy. (You’ll find a discount code for SelectBlinds window coverings at this end of this post!)

The shades offer great texture and along with a long black rod and our funky Anthro barn owl curtain panels, they add personality and cozy up the dining space. Not only can curtain panels make a less than stellar window feel more substantial and complete, but it’s easy to change your mind and switch out panels anytime you want a different look or even remove them entirely.

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

We really had to stick to a small budget for this room, so we are mixing and matching furniture we already had with our new bench. We’ve had our table forever (it holds a lot of family memories!). While it’s a bit old and rickety and we may replace it someday, it still works well for our family. We actually love the oval shape and size and the ability to add or remove leaves.

You might remember our rattan chairs from old dining room. Not only do we still love the chairs, but we decided the low backs are nice on that side of the table.

The vintage cane end chairs actually belong to my daughter (they are on loan, ha!). We originally thought we’d use our parsons chairs in this room, but they are happily residing downstairs instead for now.

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

The other new addition to the room was our ombre beaded light fixture, I love the color and the coastal/island twist it brings to the room. To save money on rewiring the location of the light (and to keep it flexible) we decided to just hang a hook in the ceiling and loop it over. We like that casual look, anyway!

Dining Room Makeover: Before & ProgressStriped pillows

With the banquette bench holding down one side of the room, our buffet cabinet adds weight to the planked wall side. Right now we have a seagrass rug in this room to ground the space and help pull together the seating area.

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

Last, but not least, the arched doorway! So many of you offered advice when we were trying to decide what to do with our dining room and the kitchen doorway. While I wasn’t sure what you guys would think of the idea of rounding the doorway into an arch, the overwhelming consensus was to go for it! And we did!

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

We didn’t have enough room in the kitchen remodel to make the opening bigger or to remove the wall entirely, but the soft curve changed everything both from the kitchen side and the dining room side! We didn’t install any trim around the door on the dining room side to keep it simple and similar to other openings in our home.

Dining Room Makeover: Before & ProgressKitchen Tour with sources

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

I love the personality the rounded doorway brings to the dining room and it is a really nice addition to the house overall. There is a second rounded doorway in the kitchen, so it’s fun to see the repetition!

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

All in all, we feel like for such simple changes it’s come a long way!

I know we’ll do more, but it’s great to feel like we can call it “done,” at least for now (however long this phase of “finished” lasts, ha!).

Do you tend to decorate in phases over time? My house is always evolving, but I do love when a room finally feels “done enough” to call it finished, even though I know it really isn’t :). 

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress

Room sources:

Bristol Bench from Ballard Designs (Navy Vintage Ticking Stripe) – many fabric options and size options

Blue and white dishes – Ballard Designs Bunny Williams Campbell House Dinnerware Collection

Seagrass Rug

Light Fixture or this similar one (multiple sizes)

Glass door cabinet in antique taupe

Rattan chairs (out of stock) or these similar ones

Gray and white stripe pillow covers

Rattan shelf – flea market find

Framed art: Crane / Peacock

Navy curtains

Wall color: Simply White Benjamin Moore

Kitchen Reveal and Sources

Woven Shades: SelectBlinds (Bali Abaca). To order any window coverings from Select Blinds, be sure you use my special link HERE to ensure you’ll always get the best price available. If you use my link when you order and my discount code INSP1RE5 you’ll receive an additional 5% off the very best price offered anywhere!

Dining Room Makeover: Before & Progress


  1. Cathy

    Your dining room is beautiful! I love that you went for a casual breakfast room feel rather than a formal one. It’s very cozy and inviting. I’m sure you must enjoy spending time there.

  2. Jacqueline Csutor

    Beautiful ..I love the way you talk us through the process ..Thank you x

  3. Kay

    What a charming room! Our dining room is off-center like that, too. Your tall plant echoes the tall window on the opposite side + balances the room. Your mix of textures + prints make the room more interesting. I definitely need to add more prints into our decor. TY for the inspiration!

  4. Laura

    What do you do with the vent under the bench? We have a similar situation and I would like to put in a bench but my husband doesn’t like the idea due to cutting off airflow.

    • Allie

      We faced this with a vent under a kitchen cabinet (exits in the toe kick). Definitely require that your HVAC contractor put a “boot” on it. Ours emptied into the entire cabinet underside, and we ended up with mold from the condensation on our subfloor.

  5. Karen

    Such a lovely, inviting room. Adore that glass-door cabinet. :)

  6. Arlene Johnson

    Love it all! I’m partial to blue/white color schemes.

  7. Sharon Warren

    Melissa, loved this post for so many reasons. First, the encouragement to embrace what your home gives you, and work with it rather than tear out and make everything brand new. Your style is collected, warm, interesting, with a mix of textures, eclectic without being incompatible. The mix of seating around the table enables everyone to find a comfy spot that works. I know my four grandsons would line up on the bench! And as for the floor, no need to refinish. The color warms the room, and the furniture and rug cover most of it anyway. I’m kind of liking the warm tones of an original floor contrasting with the cool tones of paint and furnishings we are all going to now. A nice interplay of warm and cool bring balance and interest.
    Thanks for sharing your home, and the process!

  8. Julie Holland

    Love all of this! I have woven shades in our dining room, and chose the cordless option. They are always crooked, won’t hold a straight line at any height:(. Are yours cordless? And do you have similar issues? Don’t remember the company I ordered from, but looking to switch them out with the corded versions. Would love to hear your thoughts on this! Thank you so much for your time!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Oh dear! You should consider using the link in this post to get shades (you can use my link and discount to get whatever style you like). My shades are cordless and they are really amazing quality and never get crooked. I love them!

  9. Samantha

    I would have never thought of moving the table over and doing the banquette. What a great idea. The entire room looks great!

  10. Ann Becker

    Most definitely a great relaxing room. We are in the process of trying to figure out our dining area in our new to us home in the Appalacian mountains. Loving the padded bench idea.

  11. Sandy

    I love everything! It looks fabulous!!Well done times a million!!

  12. Stacey

    Oh Melissa! This is absolutely magazine worthy. The navy and white is so pretty in the space and I love the light fixture! We just purchased the World Market version to go in the new house we are building. Love it!

  13. Jann Newton

    Melissa, your dining room looks beautiful! I love the idea of the bench under the window.

  14. Sallie

    Your dining room is beautiful! Gently welcoming, calming, and airy. Lovely! To answer your question, yes – we decorate in “phases,” probably more by necessity than desire. Either we don’t have enough money to do it “all at once,” or we can’t find just the right materials. I think decorating in phases is normal, but we’re all spoiled by the “instant” makeovers on TV and think we should be able to do it all at once. Real life doesn’t seem to work out that way! So we enjoy the process and each new improvement, right? Love the chairs you borrowed from your daughter! Maybe she’ll let you keep them? ;)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I agree, the slower process allows us to appreciate each as a gift along the way. Yes! I’m hoping to keep the chairs, hahah.

  15. Diane @ An Extraordinary Day

    Melissa… my souls breathed an “ah…” as I enjoyed the photos of your beautifully transformed dining room. The colors, the textures, the “borrowed” vintage chairs–perfection, all the little details. It’s beautiful, a wee bit dressy (Yay pretty vintage chairs!), yet comfortable and not pretentious. I think you can be content with it for quite a while… and that is such a good feeling. Enjoy your breakfasts and dinners with that amazing view, too. xo

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thanks, Diane! It’s so nice to have this space pulled together and able to be fully enjoyed. We really love sitting around the table. XOXO

  16. Pat Miller

    Oh my gosh!! What beauty! Loved the way you used some of what you had, rather than buying everything new. I always thought “phases” were pretty normal :) Your decor seems to all melt together, and just oozes perfection! L O V E all that you have done, rockstar!
    Enjoy your meals!

  17. Patty from Colorado

    Milissa, your dining room looks amazing! Let me tell you, you accomplished exactly what you set out to do and how you wanted it to function for your family. It might be small, but when done well as you have done, the impact is HUGE……KUDOS for a job well done! ?❤️?

  18. Shannon

    I love it & your charming “white brick cottage” …if you ever want to visit Maryland I would love to have you and all your ideas :) I would love your ideas on styling a kitchen hutch …

  19. Debbie - Mountain Mama

    What an absolutely cozy dining room, Melissa, I love it! Simple changes, but they really warm up the space and make you want to spend time there!

  20. Lisa B

    I had a similar doorbell in my entryway. I removed the doorbell, and gave it to a neighbor, whose 1950s house was by the same builder. He had the slot, but a previous owner removed the doorbell. I now use the niche to display art.
    I love your arched doorway. My parents’ house has several, and my sister copied the design when she built her house.

  21. Jo Jo

    I love all your design & style choices! The chandelier is so,pretty! Live thecwooden beaded and ombré look. The bench seating was a brilliant decision and perfect for your space! Unique and you can entertain nicely with all that seating. I really favor mismatched chairs around a round or Ocala tablecand youve done it so well! Thecarchway is so pretty and your choices in the kitchen really goes so nicely with this adjoining dining room. A very lights& airy, but cozy space! The light you’ve got there is fantastic. The little bit thatvIncan see from the photos appears to suggest a really pretty view! Great job, Melissa! What a wonderful,place to break bread with family & friends, God bless. Enjoy!

  22. Donnie

    Beautiful transformation.

  23. Tonya Nagle

    Love it all!! I am thinking of painting my table white as well…what paint/process would you recommend to make it durable and not tend to scratch or chip? Thank you!!

  24. Kim B.

    It’s a lovely room and it’s so smart how you maximized your window view by moving the table over there. And of course making the door into the kitchen arched is perfection!

  25. Melinda Young

    It’s beautiful! Very inviting and charming. Glad you’ve got that “done” feeling with it! That’s awesome!!

  26. Kelly

    You are inspiring me toward an upholstered bench in my dining room. Our dining room is pretty tight so this would be a great solution to always bumping in to one another when trying to get around chairs. If you’ve answered this already, my apologies, but I was wondering what paint and painting technique you used for your dining room table? Did you go the traditional route with sanding, priming, painting or did you do the chalk pain and wax? Trying to decide for my own rickety table :)

  27. Christie

    I like the table placed closer to the window for the view. So glad you kept the assymetrical balance in the room!

  28. Amanda

    Wow your dining room is to di(n)e for (lol sorry I couldn’t help it). It’s stunning though honestly! I can’t wait to fix mine up. Look forward to exploring more of your interior posts for my inspo :)

    Amanda /

  29. Sarah Swartzentruber

    Love that wall with the buffet cabinet and the mirror! So pretty! Could you please source the glass lamps and the grey lamp shades?

  30. Siv

    Where is your dining room table from? I’m looking for something similar! Also does it scratch easily?

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