Today I’m introducing you to another room in our house- our dining room!
When we were house hunting, a formal dining room was high on my wish list. I am pretty strict about dinner time being family time. Everyone sits together until the last person is finished, no phones, no toys, just each other’s company. I feel like a formal dining room makes each dinner more of an occasion- an occasion to be together without any distractions.
Well, this house didn’t come with a formal dining room. We do have a dining area alongside the kitchen, and it’s been serving us just fine for family dinners. The open concept makes it a little more difficult to keep the two-year-old focused on eating, but that could also have something to do with the broccoli and asparagus I serve her. I swear if broccoli came out of a wrapper she’d have more interest in eating dinner, formal dining room or not.
If you’ve been following along here, you know that our house came with epically bad listing pictures. This room was no exception…
It’s a head scratcher for sure. Why is there a fish net on the wall? Why is the table askew? Why is there a flamingo trapped in the fish net? Who were these former owners who had an affinity for all things nautical and hunting (note the deer heads in the background)? I just pray that those mystery hooks coming out of the ceiling are awkwardly placed pot rack holders and not dead-ducks-dangling-from-their-feet holders.
After we’d moved in, this space was a blank slate. Take away the fish net and there really isn’t much going on. We kept that chandelier for about a year and a half, so at least we had metal grape leaves and dead light fixture bugs adorning the space.
You know the running theme of this blog is “time and money”. Well when we moved in, we had no time and no money to devote to this space. Our previous houses had small dining areas that could only accommodate four chairs. I was excited when we moved in here that I could finally put the leaf in my table, but that meant that I had a 6-person table and only 4 chairs.
My husband and I bought our table on discount at a furniture warehouse. When we bought it, I didn’t realize that it was a counter height table. How? I don’t know. You’d think that when a table comes up passed your navel you’d realize there was something different about it. It drove me crazy for years. I hated eating Thanksgiving dinner with my feet dangling bar style.
We’d lived here a year when we were having company come into town. We were having 6 people come to visit- 9 people and 4 dining chairs just wasn’t going to cut it. It was the push I needed to finally invest in some new chairs. The problem? I didn’t want to invest in new counter height dining chairs since I hated having a counter height dining table. A further problem? I loved the style of my table and didn’t have money for a new one anyway. What’s a girl to do?
Send your husband out to the garage the night before company arrives to cut down the table legs, that’s what!
This could have ended in disaster. They’re turned style legs, so there was only one part where we could make the cut to make it look natural. We lopped off the tapered part and had it end with circular feet. Thank our lucky stars that this is one of the only projects to have gone smoothly for us.
I chose these metal chairs and have been happy with them. I wanted a modern element in this room, and these chairs fit the bill. I chose white because my bar stools are white metal as well. It’s such a tight space that I figured too many colors or textures would be overwhelming, and this way I can pull up a stool to the table for extra company without it looking jarringly different.
These chairs only came in sets of four though, so I decided to add a bench to one side of the table. I knew the bench would be fun for the kids and could potentially provide more seating than just two chairs would. Turns out, I love this bench! My toddler is on it all the time. She can get up and down from it herself, so she’s drunk with freedom. My husband and I can both fit on there with her for craft time or cake eating. This bench is unexpectedly where a lot of those family moments around the table happen, and I love it.
I knew that I wanted to formalize this space a little bit to compensate for not having a formal dining room. I didn’t want it to feel stuffy, but I did want it to feel a little more refined.
The rug was actually my first purchase for this space and the jumping off point for my “casually elegant” dining room. One might question how elegant you can be when the table is covered with cloth diapers and soggy Cheerios, but I digress…
I love that the rug is more traditional, which in my world means grown-up, which then translates to “this person has their life together”. The colors are mostly muted but with bright pops of pink, green, and yellow. It’s a little wink of fun in a rug that could otherwise go very serious, kind of like a man in a formal suit rocking a colorful bowtie.
But my main motivation for choosing this rug? It covers all the stains! Between the busy pattern and the different colors, go ahead and drop your noodle wormies and baby trees on my rug! Not even calling them baby trees makes her eat her broccoli.
We replaced the chandelier with this one. Y’all- this was my first chandelier purchase! I knew I wanted a light fixture that looked like it belonged in an old farmhouse. I’m desperately trying to give this home some character, and one way I know how to do that is by making things look like they have a history. Another chandelier requirement? No bowl globes that are just glorified bug traps. All of the lighting in this house was designed to catch bugs and illuminate their shadowed carcasses for all to see.
We recently put new roman shades throughout the house, we installed the hardwoods when we first moved in, and the bird picture was one that I already owned.
I still want to do some kind of wall treatment in here to give this space a little more oomph. I go back and forth on what I want to do- shiplap, wainscoting, brick veneer?. If I do something on the wall behind the bench it has to go along the whole wall, past the dining area. I could do the bay window wall instead, but it would need something impactful since it’s such a small amount of drywall space there. Any suggestions?
Like the rest of my house, this space is a work in progress, but like the rest of my house, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the memories that we are making here at the crick. And all of those mashed potato beard, flung sippy cup, “maybe she just needs to go straight in the bath” memories are precious, and they’re happening around this table, formal dining room or not.
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