Dining Room Makeovers
Before: Replacements Needed
Lisa and Mark Hellman, in a yearlong, top-to-bottom-renovation, restored their 106-year-old home to its former glory, creating a pastoral family retreat in upstate New York. This photo, of their dining room before the renovation, shows just how much work this project required.
The best advice these homeowners got: "Our contractor talked us into replacing the old windows. We lost some character, but wound up saving thousands in heating bills."
After: Southwest Chic
Though they had to replace the beyond-repair tin ceiling with a plaster version, the homeowners added interest to the room by installing beadboard along its lower walls. The antique table, chairs, and rug are family heirlooms, and the wrought-iron chandelier is custom-made.
Before: Lackluster Dining
This "before" photo reveals this dining room's great bones. Since no major renovations are needed, the homeowners could rely on a penny-wise plan, relying mostly on eBay to find china, glassware, flatware, and one-of-a-kind pieces.
After: Vintage Chic
The chestnut trim and window frame, original to the house, dramatically echo the mahogany tabletop's color dynamic, which is punctuated with equally deep values of purple, from the glassware to the transferware plate to the flowers (potted violas).
A natural sea-grass area rug from Home Decorators and linen curtains from Ikea anchor the room, reinforcing its depth and warmth. They also supply striking contrast with the handsome dark wood floors and even darker legs of the linen-upholstered armchairs.
Before: Small and Bland
The dining area in this city apartment badly needed a fun facelift. Without a lot of money to spend, the homeowner relied on a creative paint treatment and Ikea finds.
After: Stenciled and Stylish
The walls were stenciled with silver paint, then finished with bronze highlights. Benjamin Moore's Super White freshened up a 30-year-old Saarinen table. A lively patterned and completely washable plastic floor mat was brought in to bring joy underfoot.
Before: Outdated and Old
Faded patterned wallpaper, a brass chandelier, and heavy, dark furniture date this dining room. But the bones of the room have great potential, including a beautiful wood floor and white wainscoting.
After: Black and White
A wallpaper swap—and some savvy catalog shopping—dramatically changed the tune of this space in no time flat.
Schumacher's Chenonceau paper feels both modern and old-fashioned, with a pattern reminiscent of traditional paper-cutting. A round table by Ballard Designs softens the room's right angles; Crate & Barrel's white bentwood chairs provide contrast. The old curtains were the home-decor equivalent of a dowdy skirt that hits midcalf; new floor-length, linen drapes give the room elegance.
Before: Basic but Beautiful
Some might see a plain white dining area as basic and boring, but we see it as a fantastic space full of potential.
After: Budget-Friendly Redo
This dining room was redone for just $68 with some pretty flowers, cute chinaware, and this witty, stain-resistant slipcover, which turns a cafeteria-style folding table into a trompe l'oeil take on a fine Chippendale antique.
(Cover, $68; 30"W x 6'L; Under Stella’s Umbrella for stores. Table, $75; walmart.com.)