Hey friends! Today, I’m so excited to finally share our completed dining room with y’all, but first, let’s rewind a little. As many of you know, we moved into a one bedroom, 600 square foot apartment in Cincinnati back in January (see the full before here). When we first moved in, I had planned on using the tiny space you see immediately when you walk in the door as a workspace, simply because it seemed too small to use as a dining room. With that plan in mind, I bought a new desk from IKEA, pulled it all together, but it just didn’t work. It wasn’t very welcoming and I hated not having a place to eat meals with my husband. So, I started researching small, round, bistro-style tables. I found some that I really liked, but I really wasn’t digging spending money on a table and then even more on chairs. I know, I know, I was being real cheap, but I didn’t want to spend that much money on something that would most likely not work once we buy our own home. Thankfully, before we moved, my Nana offered to give us her old kitchen table and chairs, so, I called her one evening and asked for the measurements. I got out my handy dandy painters tape and tape measure and taped off the dimensions on the floor. It fit and was the perfect size! Next thing I knew, I was designing a dining room instead of a boring, not so welcoming workspace.
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Ready to take a look? Here’s what the space looked like two days after we moved in.
Here’s what it looks like now!
Let’s start with the dining table. Like I said, this was a generous hand me down from my Nana and I’ll be honest, even after taping it off, I was a little nervous about the size. Yes, it’s only a four-seater, but what I originally had in mind was a round table big enough for only two or three chairs. In the end, I’m super happy I just went with it because the table actually makes the space seem bigger than it really is. It also seems more intentional and really defines the space.
Lesson learned: Instead of cluttering a small space with many small pieces of furniture, try one or two larger pieces. It makes the space seem bigger, less cluttered, and more defined.
While we’re talking about the dining table, we might as well talk about the beaded chandelier. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but in the room that is both our dining space and living space, there is no overhead lighting. Dumb, I know. Since there really was no surface to put a lamp on, I knew I needed a hanging light above the table. First, I went with a 15” drum shade from IKEA that served the purpose, but aesthetically, not what I wanted (you can see my roundup of affordable, renter friendly lights here). For a while, I thought of ways I could DIY a light using the one I already had, but nothing was coming to me that I absolutely loved. Finally, I just bit the bullet and decided to make the beaded chandelier we have now and y’all, I’m so glad I did. It makes such a statement that you notice right when you walk in the door! And, I love that in an apartment of our size and nature, it’s a little unexpected.
Lesson learned: Go with something you love and that’s unexpected.
Next up, the bookshelf. For a while, I had been looking online for a tall bookshelf to put in this exact spot, but everything I came across was just way too expensive. I really wanted something tall because everything else in the space and in the adjacent living room was at the same level and I needed something to add a little height. Thankfully, I was shopping at one of my favorite local antique malls and stumbled upon this beauty for $50. Sold! It was originally a polished brass, so to update it, I gave it a coat of my favorite gilding paint. As far as styling it, it took me a while to get it exactly how I wanted. However, from my many edits of this thing, I’ve figured out that variety is key. Use a variety of accessories, texture, and heights. Also, if you find yourself with an open bookshelf like mine, make sure your objects look good from all angles.
Lesson(s) learned: Bring in furniture of different heights to add dimension to a room. When styling a bookshelf, use a variety of accessories (I will be doing a post on this soon!).
Let’s talk about the art. I’ll admit, it took me quite a while to nail it down. I found the bottom piece first and really loved it, but I was hesitant to spend that much money on something I may only use for a year or so. I scoured the internet in an attempt to find something I equally adored and a little cheaper, but found absolutely nothing. I loved everything about the piece; the subject, the colors, and the smooth brushstrokes, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough for the space on it’s own. So, I searched some more and found the piece above it. I chose that piece because the color and the smooth, flowy-ness (I know, totally not a word) of the lace that I thought mimicked the brushstrokes of the piece below.
Lesson learned: When choosing multiple pieces of artwork, find common characteristics like color, style, subject, etc.
And lastly, the big pink mirror. I was lucky enough to find that beauty at a flea market for an absolute steal and couldn’t be more tickled! I chose to put a mirror on that wall because it was cheaper than buying another piece of art, makes the room seem larger, and makes a big statement. I went back and forth on the color for a while. First, I thought I wanted it white, but in attempt to create more contrast, I settled on pink. Finding the perfect shade of pink was a real challenge though. After trying four paint samples against the wall color, I finally landed on Behr Beauty Queen.
Lesson(s) learned: Use mirrors to make a space seem larger and make a statement for less money, but be mindful of what your mirror is reflecting.
I know that was super lengthy, but I hope taking you through my thought process and tips helps you tackle your own space!
Table: Handed down (similar)
Cane Dessert Plates: HomeGoods
Pink Linens: Handed down (similar)
Rattan Basket: Target on sale (similar)
Frames (painted gold): Hobby Lobby (similar)
Bust: Hobby Lobby
Gold Sphere: Hobby Lobby
Gold and White Boxes: Sugar Paper for Target
Brass Planter: Thrifted
Ginger Jar (painted pink): HomeGoods
Gold Shell: Hobby Lobby
Pink Striped Box: DIY here
Small Basket: JoAnn Fabrics
Books: The Book of Palms, Nasty Galaxy, All In Good Taste, domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home, Pizzazzerie: Entertain in Style, Savor, Curls and Cashmere At Home, STYLED, Saints of Old Florida, Things We Love
If you missed the reveal of our kitchen, you can see that here.