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Old Dining Room Update

Easy DIY Dining Room Update

How We Updated Our Dining Room on a Budget

Color makes me so happy! Except when it looks how our before pictures of the dining room looked at our old house. I know at one point it was stylish and I’m all for classic character, but this was not the look we were going for. So… as we always do, we fixed it šŸ™‚

Before pics: Again, Brace yourself.

Things I Love

The built-ins, first and foremost, SO much storage. And the character, oh I loved that built-in cabinet; the size; the fact that it’s a true dining room – I love house that has a dine-in kitchen in addition to a separate dining room instead of all open concept; it had a huge floor-to-ceiling window for great natural light and it opened beautifully into a wide doorway to the foyer.

Our To-Do List

As usual, we had our work cut out for us but this room was not as many projects. Here is a list of the projects that turned this room into my favorite spot to host!

  • Wallpaper Removal
  • Paint Walls
  • Remove carpet
  • Change light fixture
  • Update built-in cabinet

Wallpaper Removal

This list was completely doable. We jumped right in with wallpaper removal as we did in the rest of the house. This is the kit we used in the entire house to remove wallpaper. Under the chair rail was just paint so we only had to remove wallpaper on the top portion of the walls.

Paint Walls

While we were excited the wallpaper didn’t go all the way to the floor, it was painted in the darkest shade of a purple/burgundy I’d ever seen on a wall. I knew I wanted the bottom of the walls white with white trim so priming was absolutely necessary. I use Kilz – use a drop cloth for sure and because it is oil-based, you’ll need to clean your brush really well with paint thinner or mineral spirits. Once we got it primed, you could still see the burgundy shining through but the white paint I used stuck to the primer beautifully and didn’t take too much work! For the wall color, I chose the same bright chartreuse we used in the kitchen – I know it’s bright and I LOVE it. This room was so happy!

Remove Carpet

Removing carpet is one of the grossest things we did. This carpet was super old and while it seemed clean, it definitely wasn’t. I was also pregnant while we were doing this – so I wore a mask inside and spent a majority of this project outside while my husband and our friends and family did the dirty work. Once the carpet was out, they used kilz again (same primer as above that we used to paint) to seal off any odors or stains on the subfloor. Then he laid the new flooring, the same hand-scratched laminate we used on the entire downstairs with the padding attached. I thought the flooring looked beautiful with the bright colors. And SO much cleaner!!

Change Light Fixture

I had purchased an old dingy chandelier from an antique shop for $10 to paint and hang in the dining room. Once we got our table in Ā the room, I realized the chandelier I’d found was far too big. Since we used a small dining table, it actually looked perfect with the size of the chandelier that was already hanging. I just wanted it more modern… so we took it down, and I painted it white. Then I covered some lampshades in coordinating greek key fabric to add some personality. (Same fabric used on the chairs in this room). I loved this light! Even when we had extra cash to replace it with something, I didn’t have the heart too because I loved it so much. I will do a post on how to make a lampshade soon! But.. in the meantime, here are some options: I’m OBSESSED with these seagrass shades.

Update built-ins

Aren’t the built-ins charming? I loved them and couldn’t wait to stock it with my great-grandmothers china and our new wedding gifts. But first, it needed a little update. Originally, I thought the gold wire looked like chicken wire and I wanted to replace the cabinet doors with glass. Then I found the perfect gold knobs and hardware and I fell in love with the gold wire. So… we kept it! I’m so glad we did, it really kept some character in the room. Before anything, I sanded & cleaned the cabinet really well. Then I freshened up the paint with a bright white trim paint, the old paint was a little linen-yellow/off-white color and next to our new white walls, it was dingy. So, once the paint dried, I added hardware and all of our beloved treasures into the cabinet. The hardware I got has been discontinued, it was a super cute gold knot. But… I’m on a gold and lucite kick right now and really love these, they would have been a perfect mix of traditional and modern for this space. This is a more affordable, more traditional option if you’re on a budget like we were when we did this.


Almost all of our furniture was given to us by family and friends or purchased an antique sales, we were so lucky – I really didn’t buy much at all for the dining room. The dining table was kind of small, but perfect for the space. We found it in a warehouse at one of my family’s businesses and it had been spray painted. What a shame! It’s such a nice wooden table. So we sanded & sanded & sanded until we got the wood to it’s natural state. We worked so hard on this table & it turned out beautifully, we still use it in our new breakfast room! We chose a very dark stain and white legs.

I love Minwax Polyshades – our favorite is Espresso in a gloss. This is a new product that I’ve really used a lot lately, it’s SO easy! Definitely choose the stain that comes with poly already in it! Cuts your steps in half & turns out beautiful.

The other wooden furniture was inherited from my family (thanks guys! I was a very poor law student when we did this room). But, had we not been so lucky, I probably would’ve gotten something like this one.

The bar cart was my favorite accent and something I purchased from an antique store but have seen so many fabulous ones like this beautiful gold bar cart online. It’s a must in my opinion, so much fun and opportunity for decor for parties and holidays. This one is just like mine!

For the window, I added a coordinating cornice board and added some of the extra fabric to the bottom of plain white drapes I found on sale, such an easy but custom looking update!

All of our hard work in this space paid off big time, we hosted countless meals and laughs in this room!

Chartreuse, fun dining room Preppy Green Dining Room

Isn’t it a great improvement? I loved our dining room and cannot wait to share how much I love our new one. Hope this inspires you to tackle a small project on your own!

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