I’m really excited for today’s post because it’s a first of what I intend to be a series of tours of rooms in our home. I really love the space Greg and I have created for ourselves and I’m really proud of our home, so I’m excited to share it! I’m also hoping to talk through some of the design choices, particularly decisions that helped solve aesthetic or functional problems. Our dining room is a great place to start because it has some wonky symmetry we had to solve for when laying out the room. My goal is for this problem-solving to help inspire anyone who is stuck with something that isn’t quite working in their space.
Another thing I’m excited to share with this series is all the DIYs we’ve done around the house. When I first bought the house I did a lot of projects myself because I didn’t have the money to hire someone to do it or to buy a fancy thing. I actually considered starting a blog at the time to document it all, but the idea of coming up with enough content for a blog felt daunting. Now I have Amanda to tag-team, so we have Paint the House Pink!
Here’s what the dining room looked like when I bought the house:
The dining table was one of my first DIYs. I wanted to host Friendsgiving but didn’t have a table big enough. My roommate and I had move from a much smaller house, so we didn’t have very much furniture in there. I built the table using a tutorial from a blogger named Ana White, and it still one of the things I am most proud of. For a while I didn’t have any chairs to go with it so we were usually comically small folding chairs. I eventually found chairs I loved on Facebook marketplace and refinished them to match the table. Now they look like they’ve always been a set:
In one corner, we have my piano, which was a Christmas gift from Greg. I took piano lessons growing up, and he knew how badly I wanted to be able to keep playing. We found this one on Craigslist, and through a crazy stroke of serendipity the seller ended up being my next-door neighbor from when I was a kid. We had both moved and lost touch since we lived next door to each other. Small world, right? I made the painting above the piano myself. I wanted something really big to fill that wall, and I love playing around with paint on a canvas. The lamp is from World Market a few years ago.
In the corner next to the kitchen is an old pew I bought from my church when they were renovating. It was originally ten feet long! We cut it down to around four feet and reupholstered the cushion. I had the neon sign custom made from a shop on Etsy. The fabric draped over the pew is a tea towel my mother-in-law brought back from a trip to Italy, and the throw pillow is from Target when they first launched their Opalhouse line. I also made the curtains in both windows. I started with a giant piece of white cotton and dip-dyed it to get the ombre effect, then sewed the curtains.
Our bar cart is sits on the other side of the doorway connecting the dining room to the kitchen. We really like making cocktails, so we keep it well stocked. The painting above the cart is one of my favorite things in the house. Greg and I commissioned it from a local Austin artist named Tyler Guinn as a wedding present to each other.
I haven’t finished decorating the last corner in the room yet. Right now it just hosts one of the spare end chairs we pull up to the table if we have more than six guests (the other end chair serves as my desk chair in my office). Eventually I want to have some sort of shelf situation to store cookbooks that don’t fit in the kitchen, and we need another lamp.
The lighting situation in this room is super wonky. Aside from the windows, the only lighting in the room is two little boob lights. At night the room is really dim, so we’re gradually adding lamps to help brighten it up. We could solve the problem by changing the light fixtures, but we know this isn’t our forever house. We don’t want to invest a lot of money in changing out light fixtures we can’t take with us, so we’re solving the problem with something that’s more portable. In case you don’t know what I mean by “boob light”…I’m talking about the builder-grade dome-shaped lamps that always get put in houses and, quite frankly, look like boobs. Exhibit A:
The other issue we have with the lighting in this room is neither of the boob lights is centered on the windows. It drives me mad, and I don’t understand why the lights are placed like that. There is absolutely no good reason for it. You can see what I’m talking about in these pictures:
The lack of boob-light symmetry made placing the table in the room a challenge. The paper lanterns were our inexpensive solution. They helped us create a clearer zone for the table, especially in conjunction with the rug. They also help add a focal point because the room is so big and the ceilings are high. Plus, they just make me feel happy! I think the room is mean to include a formal living room in addition to the dining room, but our table is on the large side so it would make the spacing awkward if we did that. We also just don’t need a formal living room with our lifestyle, so we’d rather center the table and not need to buy another set of living room furniture.
I want to give one last shoutout to my plant that hangs out in the middle of the table. He’s a bromeliad, and chills in a bowl by a Danish pottery company called Raawii we discovered on our honeymoon in Copenhagen.
The bromeliad is on his way out because its flower is dead (bromeliads flower once and then die out after that). The cool thing, though, is it’s given of several pups that I can cut off and propagate into new plants. I’ve already taken three pups, and it has two more growing now:
And there you have it-that’s my dining room! Thank you so much for letting me share it with you. It makes me really happy, and I hope it made you smile, too. We’d love to hear from you, either on social media or in the comments below. You can also find more of our decor posts here, and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter to get updates as the other parts of this home tour series roll out!