Redo a Budget Dining Room

A high-traffic area is often the best place to start when a house needs repairs. J.K. Pfannmuller’s 1985 Colonial Revival dining room was the perfect place for them. They needed a place to eat regularly and entertain, but their kitchen was small. So they decided to give the dining room a formal, yet casual, feel. They had the laminate floor and baseboards in good condition so they turned to the walls. The couple rolled a gray-blue over the chair rail, before adding crown molding. Panel molding wall frames were glued together to create a low-cost wainscoting. To complement the shutters that had been installed, all trim was coated with semigloss white. Wood furniture warmened the room’s cool colors. The transformation was completed by a new chandelier and two lamps that were tied together with their natural-fabric shades. The space is now warm and inviting, but not too stuffy or cold. J.K. says, “We feel comfortable here, and it’s perfect to host our dinner guests.”

Shown: A new crown and panel molding were added to the stock trim.

Before: Simple Features

The room was blandly painted and had few architectural details.

DIY Artwork

The couple decided to buy prints instead of spending a lot on expensive art. Instead, they found images from an old catalog at the New York Public Library’s site. They scaled the artwork to fit into IKEA frames, and then hung four sets of prints over the sideboard.

Additional Comfort

Extra cushioning is added to the curved-back chairs by adding pillows that are normally kept in the living area. The six chairs were $125 each on Craigslist by the Pfannmullers, which is $655 less than retail.

Dining in Style

A table runner topped with decorative accessories adds warmth to the natural fiber-look weave.

Project Tally

* A company was hired to mount wooden shutters in the large windows of the room. It cost $300

* Hung crown, panel molding added below an existing chair rail, to create a wood-wainscoting effect. $100

* Unified trim, white paint and traditional tone, with gray-blue walls. $40

* I was able to track down a complete dining set that would seat six people from two different Craigslist sellers for $425

* I downloaded four botanical prints for free and set them up with IKEA frames, $60

* A chandelier and linen shades were added to the sideboard, $249

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