Dining Room Makeover

maggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-31Hi there! I’ve been working on a big project for the last couple of months and am excited to share it with you! We’ve been redoing our dining room and I am so thrilled with how it has all come together!

light-bright-dining-room-makeoverYou may be wondering how we could be doing a makeover in a brand new home… well this one is all about the finishes and furniture. We’ve been going for light and bright in the new house and as soon as we moved in, I quickly realized that our dining room furnishings were not matching the vision we had. The dining area is right off the kitchen and family room and it’s all one big open connected space, so next to the all white kitchen, this area was simply feeling too dark.

We had quite a bit of unmatched pieces that we had collected over the years and used in previous houses and while they worked great in different set-ups in our other homes, none of it was adding up to come together for me. The only thing I was really loving was our chandelier. I even got a new rug to try to pull it all together but that didn’t end up working either. While I love the pattern and colors of the rug, it made the area feel darker and the proportions aren’t right for the space. In fact we determined the only way to make a rug work in here (which we are still trying to figure out) is probably to have one custom made. The dimensions that we need don’t quite match up with standard rug dimensions. To get the length we need, the width gets too wide and sticks out too far into the adjacent walkway/kitchen area. You can see below that we had it all the way against the wall, which is not good either. It just didn’t work.

dining-room-before-5I started painting some of our older dining chairs white in an effort to brighten up the space, but it still wasn’t working. The other main problem was that some of the pieces, like the gray bench, were just not big enough for the new space, which was an obstacle that I couldn’t fix without replacing it. The styles of the chairs don’t vibe and the heights are too different to work together. So, I decided to throw in the towel and just start fresh with the whole room! Here’s what the finished room looks like.

dining-room-makeovermaggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-42maggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-40I went with a light, bright and neutral color scheme for our new dining room furniture, choosing pieces from Joss & Main. I wanted classic dining furniture that would provide a very neutral clean look. This is a great way to go when you are like me and want to swap out the pillows and decor on your table all the time (More on that later!) I went with pieces that all have beige linen fabric. Not all of the colors are exactly the same in the woods or the fabric (the end chairs have more gray than the dining chairs) but they all go together and feel very cohesive. Remember everything doesn’t have to match exactly – the tones just need to feel like they play well together.

I decided on beige instead of stark white for a couple of reasons. Beige or off white is definitely more forgiving when you have kids and it also warms up the space a lot. Everything ties right in with our floors and the pieces stand out against the white wall instead of blending in. I think this is a very doable and nice alternative to the all white look that so many are loving right now. I also like that the different shades of wood and linen are subtle but combine to create a lot of depth and texture. So if you’ve been wanting to brighten things up, but are nervous about all the white (especially with kids) all of these pieces are a great solution!

maggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-39Another problem I needed to solve (that is good to remember when designing your own space) was proportion and size! Remember the gray bench from the before (that was big in our old home but way too small in here)! I was sure to pay very close attention to length and height when looking at, selecting and ordering my pieces. This is especially important when you shop online. Shopping online for furniture can be a little intimidating but it also opens up a whole world of things that I can’t get anywhere locally. Just look at the dimensions and map them out in your space so you know that what you are ordering is size appropriate.

I’ve always loved adding a bench or settee to a dining room because it adds even more seating (you can fit a lot of kids on one bench) and also breaks things up visually. I went with this one that is nice and long and with a high back so it wouldn’t be swallowed up in the room. I also measured to make sure it was not too long or too short in proportion to the dining table. Measuring will ensure you get it just right!

maggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-34I’m also a fan of details so I look for things that make a piece special like the caning on the chairs and the different fabric on the sides of the bench.

maggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-41Another key detail you’ll notice is the moulding we installed on the walls. I’ve got a lot more info about choosing and installing your moulding which will come in some future posts so stay tuned for that. But for now all I can say is you’ll truly never be disappointed when you invest in this type of a detail in your home. It adds so much and really sets the stage for a well designed and put together room!

maggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-26When you have a neutral foundation, you can really pick whatever you want when it comes to the accessories. I love to use cake plates and dishes to dress a dining table. For a casual feel you can simply keep the dishes stacked on a serving tray or cake plate and the nice thing is, they are already there when it’s time to use them!

maggie-holmes-neutral-dining-room-makeover-4Another reason I love having a settee or high back bench at the dining table is that it allows for adding pillows to the look. You know how I love my pillows and they just add so much to the space! Bigger arm chairs on the ends like I have here also beg for a cute pillow as well. I chose pillows from Tonic Living that fit right in with my neutral vibe. I added a bit of color in the blush pink pillows and the gold & silver marble pattern pillows as well. But overall it still reads very calm and serene which is exactly what I was going for. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I’ll show you how I completely transform the whole look of the new dining room simply by changing out the pillows and a few things on the table!)

I’ve got a lot more tips and how-to’s that I will share in some upcoming posts (about the furniture, adding accessories and installing the moulding to the walls) so stay tuned for lots more info and details about our dining room makeover. Also let me know if you have any questions so I can be sure to address those in the follow up posts!


All Furniture: Joss & MainEnd Chairs – Similar End Chair – Dining Table – High Back Bench – Dining Chairs – Similar Dining Chairs – Similar Dining Chairs Option 2 // Pillows: Tonic Living – Blush PinkGrey Buffalo CheckNatural Herringbone – Intersections PatternMarble // Moulding: Metrie // Chandelier: Arizona Lighting

While many items in this post were gifted to me, all design, item choices, and opinions expressed are my own. A huge thank you to Joss & Main, Tonic Living and Metrie for making our dining room makeover possible! We are in love with the results and are enjoying it all so very much!!

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  • Julie {CalleLillyCafe}
    September 24, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    This is beautiful Maggie! I love the mixed seating too! Super comfy!

    • Maggie Holmes
      October 3, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Thank you so much Julie!

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