The process of buying a home was one of the most frustrating and rewarding seasons of my life. In 2016, I remember falling in love with a house, exhausting my brain dreaming up how I’d style each room, and imagine our family running through the halls only to be told they didn’t accept our offer. After having many offers denied, I was ready to give up. I remember not loving a certain home we placed an offer on and feeling defeated with the options left in the market, and I felt as though I had no choice. My brain still hurts thinking of the amount of hours I redesigned the living spaces of that house and nothing seemed to work. Fortunately, they accepted another offer over ours, and we stumbled upon a house we now call our home.
This is our dining room design in its current state.
Judging by it’s cover, we weren’t sold completely on the exterior of our home but the second our realtor opened the front door, I knew. I knew this would be the home we’d raise our children in, the neighborhood we’d plant our roots and the backyard we’d witness our children play until the sun set each night. We placed an offer immediately and patiently waited eight months before closing because of course, nothing comes easy, and short sales are anything but short.
We’ve lived in our home for five years and each space has gone through multiple design changes over the years. Growing up, we’d spend every holiday break at Nana and Pop’s house, and they were always working on some sort of new house project. Upon our arrival, it became our mission to be the first to spot the new changes. We’d eagerly wait for the door to open, hug our grandparents and run through the house yelling, “That’s new! That’s new!” Being an adult who takes pride in home projects, I look back on those fond memories and consider the pure joy they must have felt knowing we appreciated their hard work as much as they enjoyed pouring their hearts into each project.
I’ve become my own version of Nana and Pop. A fresh space brings me joy, even if that means simply shopping my own home and moving decor from room to room in order for it to feel like a new space.
Jenna’s Design Struggle
Over the years, our dining room has transformed from completely full and over decorated to a clean white space. There was a season when I thrived in clutter, for example large hutches filled to the brim, but as I’ve grown older, and busier, I long for spaces that renew my mind – clean and simple.
Recently, a friend texted that my home was going to feel empty after receiving a notification for all of my Facebook Marketplace sales, to which I replied, “That’s the goal!” But truthfully, the overall goal is to transform my dining space to feel warm, welcoming, and inviting. Our dining room serves as the space our children unwind after school with a warm snack, the space we connect after a long day, and where we host gatherings with family and friends.
Similar to Shannon’s design struggle, I find it hard to hone in on my own design aesthetic because I connect with so many. As a designer, I strategically transform the way in which I think to bring a client’s vision to life. If they love moody, I exhaust all moody details. There hasn’t been a design I have not grown to love, and when it comes to my own home, I find it hard to compartmentalize all the aesthetics I love into one that is truly me. I relate to them all and I simply cannot put my style into one box.
Dining Room Mood Board Thought Starters
Would you call me crazy if I told you I loved my space in its current state? I do. I love the creamy-white walls, brushed gold accents, and our refurbished farmhouse table. Our dining chairs are made of metal, which makes them easy to wipe clean. Finally, the space doesn’t take much tidying because there’s simply nothing in the space.
But I know in order to achieve my goals of curating a dining room that is warm and welcoming, I need to add in layers to complete the overall aesthetic.
What I Love About the Space
First and foremost, while we do not have wall to wall windows, we do have rather large windows that allow natural light to fill the space. Every day, I open the blinds to the sun glistening through and my mood instantly perks up. There’s nothing like natural light to make a room feel large and open.
Secondly, I love having a formal dining room. I’ve always been a fan of an open concept floor plan, so long as there’s a separate dining room. When hosting large gatherings, we typically remove all of our dining chairs from our dining room, place them around the living room and/or outdoors, and convert our dining room table to a buffet. I love the amount of space there is to move about the table with multiple guests and the fact our dining room has the capacity to do just that.
What I Don’t Love About the Space
Things I Can’t Change
Go to Pinterest and search, “Dining Room Ideas.” Immediately, large dining spaces with floor to ceiling windows expand from wall to wall to create a light and airy dining room with a lasting impact. While I would love to live in a custom-built home, our home was built in the 1980s, and I know floor to ceiling windows are not in the cards for my dining room at the moment. But overall, there’s not much I cannot change in the space which gives me high hopes!
I’ve worked hard to declutter the space as a whole to start fresh and with a clear perspective. I highly encourage you to do the same if you’re hoping to refresh a room in your home as well. It’s hard to look past knick-knacks and piled odds and ends to gather a clear perspective of what you envision for a space’s end goal. Clear the clutter and pause for a moment. You may feel uncomfortable with all the white space and emptiness but before you know it, you’ll find the clarity needed to transform your dreams into a reality. Especially when it comes to home design.
Things I Can Change
The best part of clearing a space is the ability to start fresh without guilt. We all connect to the pieces in our home. There will always be an emotional connection for those items we’ve worked so hard for or were passed down to us from family members but when you’ve lived with a space, clutter-free, for a while, you’re able to see the possibility and promise the space holds.
My dining room before paining it Swiss Coffee; Summer 2020.
To transform the space, I hope to design an accent wall or create a statement through the use of accent furniture. I’d love to layer a rug for warmth and tie in the warm colors I’ve used throughout our home. Overall, I’m saying goodbye to bare walls and hello to a completed dining area.
For the most part, I can change everything in this space. I will be keeping the creamy Swiss Coffee painted walls but everything else is on its way out to make space for pieces that encourage conversation, warmth, and connection.
Our dining room in 2018.
- The popcorn ceilings
- The dining table
- The dining chairs
- The curtains
- The blinds
- The chandelier
- The paint color
Our dining room in 2018.
Dining Room Mood Board
All in all, when I think about the space as a whole, these words come to mind – transitional, warm, clean, and gentle. I hope to achieve those through colors, textures, and elements layered throughout the space.
And the time has come. I present to you the Mood Board that will be driving the whole design. The use of rich wood tones, dark accents, and soft elements, I hope to curate a space that is gentle and welcoming to those I love most.