before and after

Before & After: A Beautiful Dining Room On A Budget

by Maxwell Tielman



We’ve all been there. Faced with a room that desperately needs an update, but a wallet that desperately needs a fill-up. Redesigning a room doesn’t come cheap, especially when factoring in all-new furniture and fixtures. Oftentimes, one might find themselves ogling over home goods in shop catalogues, but opting to wait a little longer on the renovation because of their ultimate price tag. When Felicia Brickey of Little Brick Home encountered this issue with her kitchen, however, she was undeterred. Instead of handing over an arm and a leg for big-bucks designer furnishings, she opted to get the same look through the DIY route, furnishing the room with a mixture of self-made creations and budget finds. The results, achieved for a little shy of $400, are even better than the pricy alternative. The space went from drab and ordinary to elegant and charming. Check out all of the pictures plus links to the DIYs and product sources after the jump! —Max

felicia_ba_2 felicia_ba_3

Above: Felicia assembled her dining room’s table and bench using DIY instructions from Anna White (Table, Bench). They’re stained using Varathane’s American Walnut. The hanging light fixture is Pottery Barn’s Rustic Glass Pendant. The walls are painted in Behr’s Porpoise.


Above: Felicia hand-sewed the floor-to-ceiling curtains from bare canvas drop cloths (available at most hardware stores).



Above: The chairs are Overstock.com’s Paloma Dining Chairs.


Above: The shelves were constructed using 2×8 boards stained with Varathane’s Early American. felicia_ba_getthelook

1. Pottery Barn’s Rustic Glass Pendant | 2. Tea light Lantern | 3. Glass Carafe | 4. Paloma Dining Chair | 5. Canvas Drop Cloth | 6. Behr Porpoise Paint | 7. Varathane American Walnut Wood Stain

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  • Absolutely love this post. I love the inspiration from the high-end reno’s but truly appreciate a design we can actually afford.

  • What a fantastic job you did! Lots of great ideas here that I never even thought of (the dining table and drop-cloth curtains for 2)

    I know you’re proud and pleased with this lovely space, and I have a feeling you might even create some of your own artwork for the other wall!

    Great paint color too.

  • The table is AMAZINNNNGGGGG! The whole area is wonderful. I love the rustic but clean look. I also like putting the simple dishes on display, right there, giving it a kind of diner feel.

  • It looks great. But that light cannot possibly give off enough light for the room. This is an issue I ran into when I was decorating my small dinning room and was so upset that it wasn’t mentioned anywhere – all the inspiration pictures have these lovely pendant lamps… but one pendant lamp will give off very limited light – not enough for dinning!

    I wonder what the owner of the above actually does in the evenings?

  • Simple, charming, affordable and lovely. Who doesn’t love a space that oozes all that without being out of reach? Well done.

  • Well done! And thanks for sharing something that’s a budget I could probably swing as well. Oh, and thanks for the reminder to make some bloody shelves already!

  • This is beautiful! I am currently working on staining my old dining room table and chairs using the same walnut stain. Walnut is so rich without being too red. I love the paint color as well! Finding a gray that isn’t too blue, purple, or even red can be tricky. Well done!

  • Great work here, I really like the pendant a lot. I like Ana White’s blog too, she’s a hard-charger!

  • You’re right – this is indeed a beautiful dining room! Well done :-) and OMG, I adore that pendant light…I actually gasped out loud when I saw it. Love it, love it, love it.

  • Thank you for all of the kind comments!

    ARACHNA: I use an Edison bulb in this glass pendant which tends to give off a subtle warm light in the dining room. However, our dining room is open to our kitchen where I installed some brighter track lighting. In the evenings when I walk into the room I turn on both sets of lights. The track lighting supplements the pendant light at night without being too bright. I personally prefer the softer light over a bright fluorescent. It makes the dining room feel cozy and intimate.

  • This is such an amazing post!! My husband and I are in the process of buying our first home, and my head is spinning from the prices of a new kitchen table! This setting is so elegant and perfect, and I cannot believe the cost of doing it all. Ana White has a beautiful coffee table pattern on her website, it might be worth it to invest in some new power tools!!

  • this room is lovely, but the price tag is misleading. I’m assuming she had a lot of these things already — like the $400 light fixture from Pottery Barn — in order for the project to only cost her $400.

  • VERY beautiful! It’s amazing how much paint can transform a space. One thought–I know it wouldn’t make any difference when people are sitting there, but just visually looking at it having the chairs facing away from the window feels off-kilter somehow. Have you thought about switching the chairs and the bench? Might be a personal preference on my part. But still, really fantastic dining room!

  • Hi Alex. The light fixture is currently listed for $169 at Pottery Barn- which was the splurge for the room since I got everything else so cheap. True, some of the items I already had- like the dish ware, candle holder, and curtain rods among some of the other items. But, the cost of the large items: table, chairs, bench, shelves, curtains and light fixture, when all is said and done, come in just over $400. That also assumes that any DIY’er also has access to the tools necessary to complete these projects.

    I also looked for the cheapest way to buy things (for example holding out for sales or waiting for coupons or promotions to get items for cheaper). If it meant waiting a couple of months for a good coupon or promotion before buying something – to me the wait was worth it!

  • Hi, your post was an awesome idea for dining room makeover..cheap budget but good quality and fully inspirational..I love this rustic design ideas. Keep Sharing..

  • Vera- I have a two year old and the reason we have the bench is to create a seat where he could easily climb up and move around while having a snack or waiting for us to finish eating. Plus sitting on the bench gives you the better view – looking out the glass sliding doors :)

  • I would love to see this with the chairs and the bench reversed. Perhaps space does not permit but the chairs visually break up the space and it feels like the energy flow is moving into the corner. However, the $400 budget is mighty impressive.