A Stylish Dining Room for $661
A couple tackle their first redo, turning a blank box into an inviting space to use and enjoy
Live in a rental long enough and you'll be itching to DIY when you finally buy. Once Amy and Chad Whited purchased their 1951 ranch house, in Durham, North Carolina, years of builder-grade finishes made them anxious to take a hammer and paintbrush to their bare dining room in hopes of making it a comfy, cozy gathering spot.
Shown: New panel-frame wainscoting adds old-house charm, while wood and wicker furnishings keep the room looking warm and fresh.
The wood floors were in good condition, so they worked on the walls, installing chair rail and crafting wall frames out of panel molding that was glued in place, secured with nails, and painted white. To replace the chandelier and clip-on shades, they chose a simple drum pendant. Below it, they positioned Amy's old dining table, which they'd refreshed with dark stain.
Shown: Plain walls and a dull chandelier made the room look generic.
A set of wicker chairs added more warm, natural texture to the room, as did a natural-jute area rug. The stars of the room, though, are their ikat curtains; friends are amazed to learn that Amy turned a pair of canvas drop cloths into two pairs of panels with just a stencil and navy craft paint mixed with textile medium. From breakfast to bill paying, the room now gets lots of use. "It's casual and relaxed but still traditional—just like us," says Amy.
A marble-topped $25 thrift-store table serves as a corner plant stand. $15 frames hold photos they took at home.
Installed chair rail and wall frames, then painted the lower half of the walls white to create a wainscoting look. $108
Spruced up an old table with mahogany stain. $5
Bought four shapely wicker chairs with white cushions. $320
Cashed in two gift cards for a pendant with clean lines. $0
Added texture underfoot with a natural-jute rug. $65
Finished the walls with framed photos, and put a small table in one corner. $55
Stenciled two canvas drop cloths to make four curtain panels, adding textile medium to the paint so it would be washable. Hung them from rods and clips. $108