Help Me Decorate – The Dining Room

March 8, 2011 by  

Organizing Is My Thing – Decorating Is Not. I’d Like Your Help


Since we have decided that we are going to stay in this house, I am now finally ready to decorate it.  I moved in here 6 years ago when Dave and I were dating.  After we got married he and his kids moved in and the plan was to sell this and move to a bigger house.

After trying to sell it two different times, we just decided to wait a bit to see what the economy was doing.  Houses still are not selling here and we found out what a similar priced house was appraised for. That was the decision maker. There is no reason to lose big money at this point. We don’t HAVE to move, we just WANTED to move.

So…. that being said, I am ready to make this house my own. I’m just not good at it.  We kept all the paint neutral thinking we were selling. I never got curtains, only blinds for the windows.

I want to take a different room and over the next several weeks have you guys help me! I want you to link any posts or sites of examples.  I’m not going to make it a link party, but you can link up in the comments.

Let’s start with my dining room.

dining room First.. let me start off with saying, this is our every day eating dining room. We don’t have a formal dining room.

dining room We don’t have enough matching chairs and have tried to look for matching ones, but couldn’t find them. We have to have at least 7 chairs for all of us to sit down.

The window.

dining room

This is the pie safe that my husband bought. He loves this. It holds all the plastic cups, plates and bowls for the kids. The top left drawer holds napkins and the right drawer has trivets.

dining room

This is the wall that I am thinking I am going to put some kind of bench on so that the kids can change their shoes when they come in. Then I want to put a wall organizer (mail slots, calendar, etc) for the kids.  I don’t have any other hall space to have something like this.  Yes the craft cart will be leaving the room.

dining room

The dining room is just to the left when you walk in the front door.  My launch pad is on the other side of the wall. I am planning on revamping that also.

dining room

I am really toying with the idea of splurging for the Pottery Barn Wall Organizing System.  Do you know of something similar that is less expensive, but looks as nice?

This is what I’d like to do:

1) Paint  – What color?  I’m ok with fun or bold.  (right now it is a tan color, these photos are a little dark and hard to tell what the color really looks like)
2) Put a bench in to sit down and take off shoes and have a “launching pad” for the kids above it.
3) Wall decor
4) Curtains, valance.. something fun and original?

My Tastes

1) Not vintage or old or antiques
2) I’m not into blue as a color scheme
3) I’m not into country
4) I like a little more modern, but not super modern.

What I can and can’t do.

1) Table stays
2) China Cabinet & pie safe stay
3) pictures can come down
4) Craft cart is going to go
5) I have to keep things as economical as I can.  I don’t have a lot of money to spend for all I want to do in my house.

You can leave links with your comments and ideas, or ideas from web sites or other blogs for me to see –  here on this post (it is ok to leave a link in my comments)  – or if you’d like to link up your own sites ideas for me on my link party, feel free to do that too.

But you can also leave any organizing or cleaning blog post link up to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

I LOVE your comments!!

Thanks for your help!!

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27 Responses to “Help Me Decorate – The Dining Room”
  1. Stephanie says:

    Sandy I see tons of potential with this room. I’d go a little darker with the color on the walls but still a neutral and pull color in with accessories and other details. If you are open to painting and refinishing the furniture I’d stain the top of the table to match the china cabinet and paint the base of the table and all the chairs an accent color maybe a dark green or burgundy. I’d hang a larger piece of artwork on the full wall, or simply get a few canvas wrapped frames (,default,pd.html?cgid=products-artsupplies-canvas-valuepacks&start=3) and paint them yourself, even just a solid color.

  2. Sandy says:

    Thanks Stephanie! I know.. I have like 3 different woods in there. Actually the table and the pie safe came from my husbands house. I had the china cabinet and I had a full dining room set that had similar wood. But when I moved to this house I knew I wouldn’t have room for it. I’m not a big entertainer, so I really didn’t use a formal dining room anyway. We used his table rather than my kitchen table because his was much bigger. When we have all 10 of us home we need the space. As it is we have 7 of us for most meals.
    I like the idea of staining the table and painting the legs. I had thought about painting the legs, but then that will also lead into doing the chairs and frankly I don’t know if I have the time to take on that whole project. But I certainly like the thought of it.
    Thanks for the paint idea too. I like that thought.

  3. Roberta says:

    Hey Sandy…just a few suggestions. First, you say your style is NOT country yet the furniture screams county…so how about refinishing it to be shabby chic? Loose the flowers over the window cause they also scream country and victorian and old lady lives here…lol Since these are the first rooms (including the “launch pad”) that you see when you come into your home…I’m not a fan of displaying my papers and memo board here…tends to look messy. How about moving the pie safe and the mirror into the hallway as a wonderful focal point when you come into the hall. Stash all the clutter into the pie safe. THEN move the corner curio to the corner where the rolling cart is and place a small bench or one of the dining room chairs here for removing your shoes, etc. You have beautiful wood floors and this would open up the room more so that you can see them. For the BIG wall at the end of the dining room you need a big focal point to draw your eye into the room. It doesn’t have to cost alot…you can even refurbish some old lumber like they did here in The Old Painted Cottage…scroll down to look at the eat in kitchen/dining room wall…I like it BEFORE she added the fabric to the bottom shelf. Also she has a very shabby chic/french farmhouse look which I think you might like since you don’t like country. Keep the colors neutral…no green or maroon…too country ;) Also like the big mirror and chalk board that they fabricated at The Old Painted Cottage. Hope this helps and I know I’m a bit blunt but from one organizer to the other…you get me ;)

  4. Roberta says:

    Oh yeah…I also like the idea of adding a surface to this back wall that can act like a buffet/serving station since you have such a large family ;)

  5. Nycole says:

    What a great space.
    I would put white beadboard about 3 feet up topped with a chair rail and then have fun with color on top. Maybe a creamy yellow or green.
    Since the chiars do not all match but some of them actually do , I would either
    1) find all mispatched chairs (yard sales) or
    2) spray paint each chair a different color (or maybe 3 colors within the same realm that still works with the new wall paint).
    For fun art you can buy cheap frames, spray paint them and hang your children’s artwork in them. Use one large wall to show them off by starting with one print in the middle, and then going out in all different directions. Make sure NOT to have the frames all the same size and NOT in a predictable pattern.
    Good Luck!

  6. What about color on the accent wall that ties in the warm woods of the room’s furniture? Something orange, bronze, or rusty? Looking at the photo where I can see both cabinets and the table, that’s what stood out to me – the three pieces have warmth to them but they are all different shades and could be tied together.

  7. Margaret says:

    Hi Sandy. I’m with Stephanie on painting the furniture. Without seeing the adjoining areas maybe go with a soft gray or yellow and black and white for the furniture? I would also spray paint the chandelier. The mix of chairs is not a problem if they are all one color. Paint is inexpensive and doesn’t have to all be done at once. Enlist the kids to help sand – that’s the toughest part to me! To stay on the modern side be sure to have clean lines and nothing to fussy. Good luck!

  8. Sandy says:

    lol.. blunt is fine. Yes.. the table and pie safe (country) came from my hubbies house. I love the Old lady lives here. LOL My problem with moving the pie safe into the hallway is 1) space. It is too wide for the little corner where the cubbies sit, and there is no other hall space in which to put it. Plus it houses all our plastic cups/plates and I don’t have enough cupboard space in the kitchen to transfer them into.
    That is a really nice farm house in the link. Thanks

  9. Sandy says:

    Yes were were talking about beadboard. It defiantly is an options. Cost will be a deciding factor there. Cute idea with the chairs too.

  10. Sandy says:

    Hmmm… that is an idea. I know.. talk about a mismash of wood furniture huh? lol Thanks for the idea.

  11. Sandy says:

    I know… sanding yuck! lol I wondered about the chandelier. Will spray paint adhere to that shiny surface or do I have to do something to it first?

  12. If you like “modern country”, you can *easily* revamp this space with just a bit of paint. I would spray paint your chandelier black — I’ve seen it done in person and it looks great! Move your pie safe under the mirror and make it more of a focal point. Can you move the curio cabinet to where the craft cart is?

    Choose a paint that you can live with and that will mesh well with your other rooms since it looks like you have an open floor plan. To keep a modern look and to make your ceiling seem higher, hang some floor length drapes a bit higher than the top of the window.

    Your table is so pretty, unless it’s scratched up, I’d leave it alone. When not in use, I’d pull one or two of the white chairs into the corner {after you move the pie safe}. Add a throw pillow perhaps on the chair for some extra color. Have any pretty pottery that you could toss on the table with some lemons & limes?

  13. l says:

    Everyone has their own taste for decorating! First take everything out of the rm and just have the table only. Take the silk spray off the wall. At target you can get double rods for curtains and I would put sheers in the back and a fun color or light print for the main panels. Target should have sales or check thrift stores. Now you have your window DRESSED! Do not put the swag back up it will draw eye to that and not your window treatment. If walls are white I would go with a light creamy tan / not too white and not too dark. Now your chairs look different colors (?) if so, get out the spray paint and paint them a cream color so they all match or even a deep chocolate brown all chairs. Then if you have nick nacks do a tablescape. I do one for the seasons. Like on my table is a tiny birdbath, a wooden bird perched on a black metal stand with a votice candle holder attached and a mint green tea for one pot. The tin cabinet should be centered under the mirror. The roll away plastic box has to go. If you have a place in a living rm or even a guest rm where the corner hutch could go I would put it there. Less is More. You need walk around space and flow of eye in your rm. If you could find a rug to put just under the table that would be great , check sales and thrift finds.Around the corner looks like a wall office? If so too too much. Eye goes too much stuff. I would get some fabric in a print or color off from the dinning rm curtains and make a wall poster board with ribbons going a cross in a cream color or brown if you choose those colors for your chairs to match.both of the office things hanging on the wall in that corner should go down. Only the homemake or purchased fabric wall poster board should be on the wall ; not the wall by the door. then take the plastic thing and take it away. Find a small night stand with an open shelve at the thrift store. Be sure and measue the spot, you want it small but not too small. Then Paint it black then on the bottom shelf put a wicker basket for the items you only need for what that space is needed.In the dinning rm your light, check out the thrift store for matching little lamp shades with clip holders to fit over bulbs. If you want them to be dressie after you purchase them add fringe. Make of list of what you would like your rm to look like and how it would feel to eat in that rm. Then list and measure everything , windows for curtains, rod size add 3 inches on each side for rod, check out chairs ,if you found 4 matching get them if you like them and just use 2 from what you have. My list could go on and on; but measure, list , and go out and spend a day just having fun hunting. Check craigs list for things especially free and if they are on your list check it out; on the error of safty never go to any place on craigs list without someone with you. And never let them bring things to look at to your house. Safty first. But I will repeat Less is More. So much stuff after awhile get over whelming and nothing looks like “you” in your home. Have fun! And keep up the good work!

  14. Sandy says:

    Thanks. Part of the problem is that my house is very small. I do not have another place for the curio cabinet. It has to stay in the room. Yes, the plastic cart is out. You have some great ideas! Thanks!

  15. Sandy says:

    Do you know what kind of black paint I’d need for the chandelier? Do I get a high gloss or flat?

  16. Alisha says:

    Yay for embracing your space and getting to decorating it! Here are my thoughts:

    I would paint the table and chairs black. It’s easier than trying to strip and stain the white or paint the white and have it stay as clean as black will. It does look rather crowded, and I understand you need the seating, so what about a bench on one side to accommodate the kids?

    I haven’t read the other comments, but you mention not liking country decor but your things ARE country. So I might try and tweak what you have into a more “modern country” so you don’t have to purchase all new things. So I would consider something like a grey and yellow color scheme that’s so hot right now – look for some silk drapes in a buffalo check and pull one of the tones for a paint color. The greys will blend well with the front of the pie safe {which would also look very cool painted black, too!}.

  17. Sandy says:

    My hubby brought in the country. lol He loves his pie safe.. so it has to stay. I was actually thinking the same thing with the black on that. But he is a no go to letting me paint it. So I am thinking of some alternatives now.
    I might have to think if there is another place I could put it. I sure don’t know of anything right now. It would involve moving out some other piece of furniture somewhere else in the house.
    I have to look up what you mean by buffalo check. Hadn’t thought of gray and yellow… hmmm..
    Thanks for the ideas.

  18. Cindy says:

    Nike at Choose to Thrive blog ( has a good tutorial on how to paint a shiny brass chandelier in the Feb 21, 2011 post.

  19. Sandy says:

    Thank you!! I’ll go look!

  20. Sandy, I painted all the fixtures in my kitchen for about $3. I used a painted called Sophisticated Finishes paint by Triangle Crafts in Blackened Bronze. They turned out beautifully, were CHEAP (about $1.50 each) and didn’t require me to remove them (yeah!) I liked the end result so much that I’m going to paint all of the fixtures in my house now with the left over paint (it lasts forever!)

    Here’s the link to my post:

  21. Sandy says:

    You are so awesome! Thank you

  22. Toni says:

    I can come over and help you decorate, neighbor! ;)


  23. Sandy says:

    I’ll have to clean first! lol We’ll talk!

  24. Thank you for your sweet comment on my entryway makeover! It looks like you are looking to do somthing similar in your space. You should check out Cost Plus World Market (not sure if they have one where you live)…they have a similar bench/wall shelf to Pottery Barn, but for alot less $. Hope this helps…

  25. Before you spend $$ on the PB wall system, check your local Target. Ours had a bunch of similar units on clearance for a song. I just picked up a few of Peter Walsh’s pieces from Office Max to fill in the ones that Target didn’t have and saved a bundle.

  26. Sandy says:

    Yes… I am going to check it out. Thanks!

  27. wow, some great suggestions here! I like the pie safe.

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