A few weekends ago, Steven and I picked out a new rug for our dining room, and it improved the room so much that I decided that I should share an updated tour of the space. It’s really a testament to how much of a difference the right rug can make.
Until I was looking at old pictures to put this post together, I hadn’t realized how much my dining room has changed. In the two years since I last shared photos, we’ve made a bunch of small tweaks that have really added up to a more finished-feeling room. And while I’m sure it’ll continue evolving, it’s come a long way.
The real fun is comparing the before-and-afters. The changes aren’t huge, but it’s obvious that having a rug of the right size is really important. The old rug was one we bought at Ikea when we lived in a different house and had a different table, and it didn’t really fit this table or the room properly, but we hadn’t gotten around to buying a new one. Here are some old photos from the first front room/dining room tour.
Aside from it being the wrong size, another reason to replace the rug was the color. Within minutes of vacuuming, white cat fur re-accumulated on the black part of the old rug. That’s why I took my own rug advice from this post, and matched my rug to my pets. When we were looking for rugs, any with dark areas were out of the running. So the regular rug sunbathing that these two do is no longer a problem:
Some of the things we’ve done:
- Removed the doors. The door to the kitchen, which is shut in the before photos, was a swinging door that could pretty much only swing into the dining room because of the cabinets in the kitchen. It awkwardly blocked off the dining room light switch and and the corner, though, and in daily life, we almost never closed it. Ditto for the door into the hallway, which you can just see in the doorway on the right in the first before photo. There was another door that opened into the hallway, from the kitchen, just a few feet away, and when they were both open, which was almost always, they overlapped and made a door jumble in the hallway. So we took them all down, and stored them in the basement. They’re original to the house, and if we ever want to put them back up, we can, but this works better for our lives right now.
- Got a real bar cart, this one, in silver, which it doesn’t come in any more. I styled it up with thrifted vintage glass decanters and my DIY leather liquor labels.
- Added plants. The big umbrella plant below was one that I was babysitting for my mom. She’s had it for years, but when she got back, she was shocked at how much it had grown in my house, and decided it liked it here better. I think it just needed more sun.
- Moved the curtains. When we moved in there were already curtain rods mounted on the window frame, so we just used those. But this summer I moved the curtain rods up and to the sides, and it made a big difference in the light and appearance of the windows. It meant I had to buy new, longer curtain rods (these), but it was totally worth it. Here’s the best photo I had of the old curtain placement (and look how tiny that fiddle-leaf fig was back then!):
And here you can see the curtains moved up and out:
- Switched out and added art and accessories, including lots of DIYs! In addition to the bottle labels, I also made the faux pumpkin planter/vase, the rock crystal art, the moon phases wall hanging, the chalkboard eye planter, and the faux shibori pillows you can see on the couch in the background.
If you’re thinking of getting a new rug, but don’t know what size to get, Emily Henderson’s posts on picking the right rug size and how not to pick a rug that’s too small are helpful. And if you’ve realized you’re hanging your curtains all wrong, she’ll tell you how you should be hanging them. The rebel in me sometimes thinks that decor rules are oppressive dictates with no reason behind them, but these actually made a positive difference in my case.
The only thing that really needs work in this room now are the dining chairs. They’re vintage chairs from my family, and we either need to refinish them, or replace them entirely. They don’t fit the table that well and there’s only four of them, so a new (vintage) set might be in order, but there’s no hurry.
Paint color: Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue
Dining table: Vintage (Red Snapper)
Chairs: Vintage (family)
Pink lockers: Vintage (Vintage Pink)
Hexagon tables: West Elm
Constellation globe: Vintage (Mark Denver in Melbourne, Australia)
Plant pots: West Elm, and vintage
Jadeite salt and pepper shakers: Mosser Glass
Animal skeleton art: Christina Mrozik and Zoe Keller
Liquor bottle labels
Faux pumpkin planter/vase
Rock crystal art
Moon phases wall hanging