Laura’s Dining Room Redo

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Turns out it takes me years to settle into a house…to learn what it needs and what I need in it. It takes time to see things different ways, get stuck, ask for help, try something else, not have money to make changes, have a partner who just can’t get rid of that piece of furniture, life, laundry, repeat.

Or maybe it just takes years once you have a kiddo because she needs snacks every .2 seconds. I don’t know, but this dining room was neglected. Or unsolved. Yes, it was an unsolved mystery staring at me everyday. Driving me bonkers.

the challenges

In this room we were working with a very small budget, dark pieces that are special to Pinky that couldn’t be painted or sold, mismatched furniture from a previous house, and a really dark room that gets little light in our mostly gray climate. Mix that all together and you have…my waking nightmare. I’m being dramatic but that’s how it feels in my head and my soul. I’m a designer and a problem solver by nature. And neither of these attributes were being used here. What’s worse is that my desk literally faces this room. So for my 40th birthday? We fixed it.

before: sad lonely mismatched room of despair

We thought when we moved in 3 years ago that putting most of the darker pieces in one room would help tie it together. Y’all, the dining table also used to be dark wood until I painted it white. This room gets the least amount of light of any in the house, too, because our neighbors’ house is so close next door. #cityliving So this above was actually an improvement on what had been there. I know. It’s called cramming things from a previous house into new house and hoping they fit. It’s what budget would (not) allow, it’s what happened.

after: happy light-filled place where all problems are magically solved

the solutions

For my birthday present to myself, I bought the light fixture and amazing pink rug (color, y’all! I was so proud) While those were being shipped, I casually asked A if she wanted a mini dining room makeover post for the blog, not realizing that her fabulousness would help complete the transformation of our sad room into my favorite room in the house.

She suggested since we couldn’t alter the dark pieces that we group them in the back corner. Just simply doing that move added SO much light and lightness to the room. It was already a whole new space.

The rug and light fixture arrived and they totally jazzed up the space immediately. I’m stoked I went out on a limb and chose such a fun bold choice as the focal point in here. I think it really grounds the room since the value is similar to the wood floor. Because the room is also the throughway to the kitchen I didn’t think a rug would work well in here, but it totally defines the space.

A recommended the mirror and console table for the now-blank wall and they not only fit perfectly there and elevate the room’s style, but the mirror adds even more light. She said since we can’t paint the bookshelf or cabinet let’s put white items in both to brighten up the corner. I already had a bunch of white boxes in my office, so this was an easy fix. She added more white to the room through the planters and I adore how the green plants contribute one more gorgeous color in the room. I chose plants that need barely any light to survive – hey, me, too plants. #happynorthwesterner #ilovegray

The final touches came through in some metallic pieces I found (the bowl, the small planter) that compliment the light fixture and move your eye around the room. Oh and Sienna did that artwork over a year ago and I LOVE it in here. I’ve had it in my office until now, but it’s like she foresaw the rug I would choose. Ha. I’ll add one more sheepskin rug on the other chair and we’ll be totes set in here.



1/ West Elm Sculptural Glass Pebble 3-Light Chandelier – I’ve been dreaming of a new light fixture forever. That old one you guys. BAD. This one is so lovely and adds such sparkle to the room.

2/ Threshold Hammered Large Serving Bowl – It’s a nice large size and brass with the pink just works. It’s also an easy centerpiece to fill for more drama or move when I set the table.

3/ Threshold Textured Ceramic Planter (Large – on floor) – I love that this doesn’t add too much weight to the room but sets off the pretty plant.

4/ Langley Street Minerva Accent Mirror – LOVE the reflected light this adds to the room and the round is such a nice compliment to the rest of the square pieces like the tables and cabinets.

5/ NuLoom Distressed Floral Anabel Pink Rug – Definitely the star. It’s probably my favorite thing I’ve gotten in a while. It’s just so fun.

6/ Iittala Kartio Green Glass Tumblers – This green with bright pink is one of my favorite color combos. I might try to bring it in somewhere else, too.

7/ Terracotta VaseThis is most similar to mine but a different color. This one is the terracotta in the collage and is gorg.

8/ Zipcode Design Nelly Console Table – We couldn’t have anything overwhelming in that spot and this is the perfect narrow table that still makes a big impact. The bit of wood color and texture on the surface tie it in.

9/ Threshold Textured Ceramic Planter (Small on cabinet) – It’s always nice to have a bit of repetition of texture or color and this is lovely on top of the cabinet.

10/ Sheepskin Rug – I’ll add another of these cozy pieces on the other chair. Such a nice warm touch.

There has been a lot of stress in our household over the last few years…mostly due to unforeseen job changes and financial uncertainty… oh and a strong willed toddler thrown in and just ALL THE LIFE THINGS. This room has been a reflection of things getting better…light and bright and happiness. At least to me, it represents a significant time of renewal and moving forward, even if that does mean getting older…I’m learning to embrace that.

Do you have a room that makes you feel better in your own house because you’ve spent some time on it? Our home is our safe space and our place to express ourselves freely. I guess right now myself is hot pink and brass and white and beautiful plant-green and glass and I’m owning it. It feels good.





About Author

Meet Laura! She's a reader turned contributor and we couldn't be happier to have her as part of the team. Her fun, creative style is, as she says, "somewhere between Madewell and Joan Jett" (YES.) and she delivers some mean dressing room selfies so keep an eye out for those. Fun fact? She loves getting her haircut and we love to see what she has up her sleeve.  

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    • We painted them sherwin williams snowbound when we moved in. I searched long and hard for the perfect white and this was it for me! I love it. It’s not too harsh or blue or yellow.

  1. Looks lovely! I love how real and honest you are in describing the process; life happens for all of us, but you persevered and it rocks!

  2. I love how you write, Laura – so open and warm and real-deal … you aren’t afraid to let us in and you do. Your dining room is so open and fresh and gorgeous. Wow! And I couldn’t be more pleased it’s reflecting you and where you are on your journey (and where you’re heading too, it feels like). Enjoy it! And thank you for sharing it with us!

  3. The room looks great, and your daughter’s artwork is awesome! And really pops with the rug. Which segues into my question: I love how the rug brings the room together, but with six-year-old twins who both still make big messes when they eat and who use the dining room table for art projects I am nervous about a dining room rug. How is it working so far with a little one? Anyone else have thoughts on that? Thanks!

    • Thanks! The rug is working well. It’s not an expensive rug so I feel ok with it under the dining table while we still have a kiddo and other kiddos visiting. It’s just a poly blend rug I think and seems to be wiping well so far! Though we haven’t had any major messes. The pattern also seems like it will hide things well, too!

  4. Looks sooo good! It’s amazing how white makes everything look lighter and brighter. It sort of brings in some artificial light. I’m going to paint my wood kitchen table white too, can’t wait to see how it will transform my small kitchen.

  5. That artwork is brilliant! How did you hang/ mount it? I have a few similar kid-modern-art pieces that I haven’t found a good way to display, but I really like the way yours looks.

  6. I love that light fixture. Is it fairly bright? I’m considering it for my kitchen (above our table). Thanks!

  7. Laura, I love this room! We just painted our great room Sherwin Williams Eider White and we’re in the process of brightening up. I’m using some of these ideas! Big question, I’m definitely painting our dark wood dining table, but no idea the proper paint to use. What type of paint do you suggest?

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your new dining room! I just wanted to say that I saw this rug and it was exactly what I have been looking for! Luckily my husband is not afraid of the color pink. We just received it over the weekend and it goes perfectly with our navy furniture and I couldn’t be happier – especially for the price. The rug feels nice and soft and brings so much fun color into our otherwise dark room.

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