Small Space Dining Room Decorating Ideas
Join me today as I share decorating ideas to create a functional dining room for everyday living in a small space, with a small budget! We’ll be using timeless, yet on-trend finishes to achieve a comfortable & cozy room for both daily meals, as well as entertaining friends & family for holiday meals and gatherings.
Today’s Small Space Dining Room Decorating Ideas are brought to you in part with the help of my sponsor, Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. Product selections, placement and styling are all my own.
Many of you know I have the pleasure of working with Better Homes & Gardens. Every month, I get to help showcase their exclusive line available at Walmart. How it works, is that we get kind of a theme or assignment each month. Well this month was something really different. Our assignment was to focus of giving back to the community. I knew how to do that immediately, for someone who does nothing but give back to the community! I don’t think there is any field that gives more, or shapes the very fabric of our society, more than that of a teacher.
With my heart set on working with them, I contacted our local high school band teacher, Amber, and her equally wonderful husband Ben. Who happens to be a special education teacher. I mean, talk about doubly deserving!! This post would be hours long if I bragged on them as much as they deserve. In the classroom and at school, they give everything. And then, when school is out, they give more. Taking kids who might not experience these things otherwise, on amazing Band trips, to conferences and competitions. Amber took her kids (my Austin included) to state, and won. Three years in a row. The level they play at has absolutely everything to do with her dedication. And Ben has happily given up his own free time, and went along on many trips to act as an additional chaperon. I don’t know as much about Ben’s job, but I can only imagine the impact he has on his students. This is just a tiny, infinitesimal snippet of what I know is to be extreme love and dedication to the kids, and their callings.
Dining Room Before Photos
Amber & Ben were actually out of state, being amazing kind humans, helping family on their Summer school break when I called them. After a short chat, Amber decided that the dining room would be her preferred makeover room of choice.
Right after moving into their home, they had some pretty substantial water damage and had to have the entire room re sheet-rocked and painted. And while she’s done a beautiful job updating her master bath and other areas of the home, they hadn’t had the chance to give this room the attention they wanted to.
The farm table and the fairly-new chairs were the only things Amber wanted to keep in the dining room. She gave me cart blanche to change anything else that time and budget would allow. And Ben’s opinion was to say that we could do whatever Amber wanted.
That is my kind of husband – We love you Ben!
Ben’s mom Kim was a real life saver, popping over to let me in the house while they were away. I was able to take measurements, grab a few obligatory before photos, and to start bringing in my copious amount of supplies, ladders, a zillion paint samples and some of the Better Homes & Gardens items that Amber and I had picked out online together. Technology can be a wonderful thing and it was great to be able to text her a photo (mainly to make sure she didn’t straight-up hate something) before I ordered a few things.
I started working on the decided upon room like I do many of my own. I cleared out anything we wouldn’t be using so I’d have a clean slate to work with.
- The room is fairly small & very narrow
- It’s heavily trafficked, with the sliding glass door to the deck, access to the kitchen, laundry, backyard, guest bedroom and lower floor guest bath all flowing through the room.
- A beautiful vintage light fixture that didn’t match the homeowners taste
- A non-centered ceiling electrical light box
- A small budget
- A small amount of time to make changes
- Fabulously excited and open to change homeowners (the best kind!)
- A light fixture that could be changed
- An electrical box that could be moved
- Neutral flooring
- Permission to paint the existing buffet
- The farm table was a definite pro!
- The black chairs were a nice style
Using the existing farm table, chairs, and the buffet, I did my best to create a welcoming, functional and finished looking dining room. This is a very busy house, with an active dog, and 3 rescue kitties. I didn’t want to saddle Amber & Ben with a lot of additional “stuff” to move, clean around and keep up. We went with a less is more approach and tried to keep it livable, yet polished and pulled together.
Welcome to the new space, meet Miles…
One of the first things I did, was to add a deeper paint color to the room. I used Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige. I think Miles looks great on it! Lucky for us, Amber had this wonderfully soulful, and conveniently already framed, Miles Davis poster. She’s actually had the poster since college and had just recently had it framed, yet he was currently homeless. Which worked for me! It became the jumping off point for the room. I loved it the minute I saw it and knew it would be a fantastic focal point on the main wall and really add some heft and visual weight to the room. Plus you can just gaze at it and get lost wondering what was going on behind those closed lids.
We flanked it with two brass sconces. These are the plug in fixtures just like mine. She admired them and wanted to add a set to her home during the makeover. Lucky her, she was able to have hers hardwired, and they look fantastic.
Amber also selected a new ceiling fixture. She’d been wanting a change and felt this was the perfect opportunity to swap out the existing chandelier. It was installed in a brand new box, that is perfectly centered in the room.
In the spirit of being authentic, when it came time to share the new look with you, I didn’t want to pull a bunch of photo props & filler from my house, and then strip is bare afterwards! That just would not be true to the budget and it would feel wrong to take everything away afterwards.
In a small space, don’t be afraid to go bold! Instead of playing it safe with a neutral, we used a bold floral to anchor the room and make it feel like it was it’s own space! Not just a walk-thru. I felt is was important to create a visual boundary that kind of said “this is the dining room”.
Next, I removed the old drapery hardware. When I installed the new rod with the pretty finials that coordinate with the tones in the wood farm table, and the floors, I centered it on the wall. I also raised it higher to better fill in the wall, and frame the sliding glass doors.
It’s also a bit more dramatic with the new longer panels. I pulled the blue from the rug, and brought it up into the room, with the deep blue draperies, sporting a crisp white pattern.
For the sake of being able to pull the chairs in and out, there is no room for additional furnishings on the main wall.
I loaned Amber my twin to her bar cart while she shops for a Fiddle Leaf Fig for the left hand corner. We both felt that the addition of another plant would feel really good in this space but weren’t able to find one before this post went live. The pitfalls of small town life.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind.
We had actually found and agreed upon a completely different set of dishes for the table… but I happened to run into Walmart and saw this set on the shelf. It was the last set. And it was meant to be. I loved them right away, and Amber did too when she saw them in person. They remind me of denim. And we all know jeans go with everything!
The solid blue portions look like textured fabric, and the patterned salad plate & bowl are lively and a little bit whimsical.
In fact, I liked this set of dishes so much, I would have done a little – one for you, one for me if they would have had another set. Might have to resort to a bit of online shopping when I get the chance.
I do love a good pair of “jeans“.
We are both keeping a look-out for just the right furniture piece for the wall under the clock. Additional storage would be useful, but any potential furnishing would need to be very shallow, with drawers or cabinet doors verses open shelving.
Keeping measurements with you is super efficient. I use the NOTES function on my phone, that way I’ve always got them with me, and if I run across a maybe, I’ll know if it’s a yes or no, by checking my notes.
It’s important to consider how your space works and exactly what you need before shopping for furnishings. This is an active door that is heavily used to let the fur babies go in & out. So open shelving is not a good choice. Unless you like to dust. Several times daily. I don’t know anyone who is a fan of that scenario.
Speaking of fur babies… Halo very much approves of the new rug.
Halo has exceptional taste. This rug has the best ivory, mushroom, and taupe colors, what I swear is a match to Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams, a gorgeous aqua-teal shade, and a stunning deep, deep blue that fades to an inky black.
Now the saving grace of this small space, is the fabulous little nook between the guest bed & bath hallway, and the entry to the kitchen, laundry and back porch door.
This is the original existing buffet (that fits perfectly) but it was a soft vanilla color. I gave it a paint makeover to pull in into the room more and connect it with the rest of the space.
I also painted the back wall in the same color as the main dining wall, Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige.
The slightly deeper wall color and the new black buffet finish pull your eye over into the nook and make it feel more a part of the room, marrying the buffet nook and the dining area.
I added extra brightness with the mirrors reflective quality, and a feeling of movement with the potted palm. A mini martini bar vibe adds sameness to the space by mirroring the adjacent bar cart.
The brass & marble lamp adds a soft ambient light, where no lighting was previously present, as well as mimicking the mellow gold brass color in the wall sconces. The mirror does the same, with it’s similar brushed silver-tone finish.
While it’s a lot different to work in someone else’s home, it’s so much more rewarding! Everything I did from filling nail holes, prepping walls, painting, and pouring over what was available online, to getting to actually put it all in the room and decorate was all with a final goal in mind. To make Amber & Ben love their home, just a little bit more.
When I was finishing up and putting the final touches on everything, Amber had a friend stop by and when I heard her say “It feels so good to have this all done, I feel like I have a real-live grown up house now”. I felt as good as her, maybe even a tiny bit better.
Jim & I consider ourselves so fortunate that Austin got to take part in such wonderful opportunities with the band program, with Amber at the helm. We’ve tried to continue to support the program even though Austin has since graduated. We know it’s an incredibly important part of the whole scholastic experience.
I’m not smart enough to be a teacher, but I thank God for people like Amber & Ben, that are, and do.
If you stuck around to read all that, you get cake. xo Shannon
Better Homes & Gardens Items Used:
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Better Homes & Gardens Jute Placemats [in store]
Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige | Harmony Paint in Eg-Shel