My eyes glance from the blue-lit screen to the patterned, warm white walls that surround me, and I cannot help but smile. Moments of relief, hope, connection and prayer flash through my mind as I sit here and replay the memories that have already taken place in this space. It has only been a few weeks since I’ve completed my transitional dining room redesign, and so much life has already happened around this charcoal dining table.
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What’s Good Takes Time
It feels like yesterday we set out on a journey to remodel our dining room and transform it into a space that is warm, welcoming and comforting. Although the project took a little longer than planned, I’m a firm believer that what’s good, takes time, and I’m always willing to be patient for the best.
We’re coming up on the fifth anniversary of owning our first home, and being the sentimental woman that I am, I can’t help but ponder about where we started with our dining room and the journey that led us to today. Before purchasing our home, I daydreamed of each room in the house and envisioned our family’s laughter echoing through the halls, I pictured the wood floors housing well-loved toys, and I imagined family dinners and the full bellies surrounding the table and filling our dining room space. Little did I know then that this house would gift us so much more.
It’s Our People
I’m a firm believer that the materialistic stuff we own is not what brings us joy. In fact, it’s the people we surround ourselves with and the relationships we cultivate. So while our original dining room brought us special moments I’ll cherish forever, I’m grateful for the opportunity to pour my creative spirit into this space to provide my loved ones a warm and welcoming space to come as they are, to be loved and love well.
Every project we’ve completed in our home has taught me a life lesson. Most homeowners who partake in remodeling their fixer upper would agree each project takes patience, perseverance and flexibility, but this project brought a whole new perspective about myself that I was not expecting.
My word of the year is Confidence and having confidence in myself and my decisions is truly what allowed me to complete our dining room remodel. As an Enneagram 9, I dislike conflict which has ultimately kept me from believing in my own opinions for 20-something years. I went along with others’ opinions and quieted my own ideas in hopes of pleasing and helping others. This year, I’ve challenged myself to lean into all that I am and the talents I possess so I can live out my purpose for a purpose. And the first step is to have full confidence in myself and the decisions I make, including the simple ones such as choosing a dining room table.
This dining room redesign gifted me a whole new level of confidence in myself because I trusted my gut and followed my heart to create a space to cultivate connection. And it brings me great joy to invite you into my home and reveal our completed Warm & Welcoming Dining Room Design!
Jenna’s Warm & Welcoming Dining Room Design
The Foundation – Dining Room Area Rug
At the beginning of 2021, Shannon and I traveled to Atlanta to curate our very first APIARY Spring Summer Collection. That trip was an experience to remember. During my time in college, I studied Fashion Design and had the opportunity to work beside Interior Designers and Merchandising students. Truth be told, all of the departments inspired me! Give me a sketch book, a shelf to decorate and/or a retail store to design, and I could spend hours and hours creating new looks. Atlanta brought all of those exciting emotions to me as well. Especially, when we discovered designers I’ve admired for years on end were showcasing their pieces at market. Loloi is one of those designers that I literally felt starstruck as we walked through the large glass doors. Having the opportunity to physically touch and inspect each rug in person was a dream come true, and I knew instantly they’d have the perfect rug to become the foundation of our dining room redesign.
I chose Loloi II’s Skye Grey/Apricot area rug for many reasons. First being the warmth and comfort I knew it would bring to our space. The Skye Collection is timeless and classic and provides a beautiful, old-world design. The splashes of apricot bring touches of color to the dining room while staying true to the natural tones dispersed throughout the space. Not to mention, the pattern perfectly hides wear and tear, to withstand the love of a hungry toddler and an occasional cleet of a sport-loving son. I knew whatever I put in this dining room would need to be able to keep up with our fast-paced family and ever-moving home. I’m happy to report it is holding up well!
Warm and Welcoming Dining Room Custom Features – Accent Wall
One of my most favorite opportunities of owning a fixer upper is the ability to customize each room and truly transform the house into our own home. Over the years, I’ve learned the power of an accent wall and how an accent wall can create a huge impact at a little cost.
We created our accent wall by designing a paneled wall-to-wall feature complete with modern crown molding and new streamlined window trim. It’s amazing what a little primed MDF board and a saw can do to transform a single room from a 1980’s builder-grade house into a custom home.
Illuminating Accents – The Lighting
Lighting was a challenge for me during this project. Truth be told, I usually struggle when it comes time to select new lighting. The pieces I typically love are way out of budget, or in this case, on backorder. Going into this design, I knew I wanted a brass chandelier to serve as a feature and complement our charcoal dining room table.
I chose this Linear Brass Chandelier that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. This piece resembles a high end linear chandelier that I’ve admired for years at a fraction of the cost.
As I began my hunt for a chandelier, I knew I wanted to draw the eye from one side of the room to the other by the use of a linear chandelier. Our formal dining room is one of the first things you see as you walk into our home, and my goal has always been to create a welcoming space that invites my loved ones to come in, take a seat and stay awhile.
This brass chandelier paired with a dimmer switch and warm LED light bulbs does just that. Every morning I find myself lighting a dim room to cultivate my relationship with Jesus. Then the light bulbs get turned up by 9:00 am to kick off a day of work, and dimmed again, setting a calming mood for my family as we come together to connect after a full day.
Finally, to create a cohesive look, I paired two Brass Picture Lights to accent the artwork and create symmetry. While these two lights are not hardwired and serve as more of a decorative accent currently, we have the ability to wire them in the future to highlight the art pieces.
Centered to Come Together – Dining Room Table and Chairs
Choosing a dining room table felt like a stretch of my creative bones for this project. Deep down, I desired a dining room table that felt like the heart of the room to bring everyone together. While I loved our previous vintage wood farmhouse table, I ran into two problems: one: everyone owns a farmhouse table and I longed for something different and two: it’s Mimi’s table that I borrowed many years ago.
I’m so happy I trusted my gut and chose this 60″ Round Charcoal Wood Dining Table. (It’s sold out but I found a similar one here!) A circle represents wholeness and timelessness and this round table welcomes our guests to feel deeply connected and stay for as long as they’d like.
To complement the natural charcoal wood tones of the dining table, I chose to pair these Natural Weave Dining Chairs to soften the room. These chairs are so comfortable and bring the natural element I desired to tie into the design.
Softening the Space – Warm and Welcoming Dining Room Window Treatments
In past projects, window treatments were always my last priority, and having spent time really dwelling on the impact window treatments can provide this time around, has really shown a difference in the spaces of my home. If you’re anything like the old me and usually graze over window treatment details, I hope you’ll reconsider the next time you redesign a living space.
As I set out to create my dining room mood board, I made it a point to pay close attention to the Interior Designers I admire and their window treatments. Most times, I loved their ability to make a room look larger due to the length of the curtains they selected and the softness each linen selection brought to their designs.
Shannon was the one who found these beautiful faux linen curtains, and I couldn’t be any happier. Lined with a weighted hem, these curtains look and feel luxurious but can be obtained at a fraction of the price!
If you revisited my original dining room moodboard, you may have noticed I switched out the curtain rods from gold to black. Do not ever be afraid to be flexible in your designs! The color black adds depth and timeless elegance to a room, and when paired with natural tones and warm whites, it provides a complete transitional look.
Adding Depth and Dimension – The Shelving and Decor
When selecting shelving and a buffet for our warm and welcoming dining room design, I knew it was best to trust my gut. Originally, I had fallen in love with a Thousand Oaks Scalloped Console from Target but I knew deep down it would be too small for the space and how I intended to use it. As you’re selecting pieces for your home, always ask yourself what the main purpose it will serve and how it’ll serve you and your loved ones. For me, the idea of having a buffet in our dining room was to create a space to house our homemade potluck recipes while hosting neighbors, close friends and family get-togethers. The original buffet was beautiful but simply too small.
I ultimately chose my backup choice, which now has become one of my most favorite pieces in the entire room, the Palmdale Woven Door Natural Console Table by Threshold™ designed with Studio McGee. This console features two woven doors, natural wood tones and brass knobs that tie all the other brass details used throughout the space.
Featured above the console are two off-white floating shelves that were a backup choice as well. My husband Nick is a man of many trades and originally built two large floating shelves to hang above the console table. While I loved his craft and appreciated the hard work put into each shelf, they just didn’t feel right in the space. Not to worry, they won’t go to waste! We simply swapped them out for these two floating shelves and completed the look with transitional decor elements to tie the whole space together.
The elements used to complete the look were a mix of personal pieces, including a painted photo of Nick and me in Arizona and a vintage clock from our early years of marriage, and the following:
- Personalized Recipe Board featuring Nana’s Meatballs & Sauce (Use code THEBUSYBEE25 to save 25% your next order!)
- 10″ x 7″ Weathered Jug Vase
- Glass Jar English Pear and Orchid Candle
- Matte Chalk Salad Plates or Soup Bowls
- 5″ x 10″ Round Bamboo Woven Natural Bowl
- 8″ x 10″ Black Thin Metal Frame with Ring (Sold Out – but here’s a similar one!)
- Seagrass Woven Basket
- Matte Black Candlestick Holders (Sold Out – Shop APIARY Collection)
- Ribbed Glass Pitcher
- Small Fluted Tumblers
Remember, each space in your home should be a reflection of you and your loved ones. Do not be afraid to include family photos and personal pieces you hold near and dear to your heart. Try to think of pieces you picked up while traveling with your family or homemade knick-knacks hand painted by chubby toddler fingers. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to home decor and every piece should bring you joy!
Bringing Life to the Space – The Greenery
Over the years of visiting Mimi’s house, I’ve always admired her ability to make her house feel like a home. “What pieces come together to create such warmth?” I’d always ask myself. It took me a few years to recognize the faux and real lovely house plants spread throughout the rooms of her home! It’s no secret that nature literally brings fresh air and breath of new life. Have you ever experienced a hard day and forced yourself outside to take a deep breath? Nature holds so much healing power, and as I began designing our warm and welcoming dining room design, I knew I wanted to bring the outdoors in while taking note that I live a full life and already have three children to feed and keep alive.
This full, deep green Faux Olive Tree is the perfect compromise! It brings life to our dining space while granting me the freedom of not having to worry about it’s life, if you know what I mean. All jokes aside, I love how this artificial plant achieves the ultimate goal I was hoping for – bring life to the space.
Creating Visual Interest – The Artwork
Being an artist, artwork has always held a special place in my heart. I tend to love more abstract, hand-painted pieces that cause your mind to wander and explore a little longer. Pieces that bring a personal element by sparking a treasured memory from a family trip or a longing and dream I’ve held onto are pieces I also love.
Recently, I learned about North Prints on Etsy and fell in love with their vintage inspired, dark and thought provoking pieces that reminded me of what I treasure most – home, nature, and landscapes.
The best part of ordering these prints from North Prints is that they provide a level of sophistication to any room without the hefty cost that comes along with original art pieces. Not to mention, any opportunity to support a small business and an artist is exciting to me!
The prints and sizes I chose:
- Antique Cityscape Sketch (5×7)
- Antique Branch Drawing (5×7)
- Vintage Botanical Still Life Print (5×7)
- Moody Landscape Print (5×7)
The frames I chose:
- 20” x 20” Matted to 5” x 7” Gallery Single Image Black Frame by Threshold™ designed with Studio McGee.
Warm and Welcoming Dining Room Finishing Touches – The Final Details
As I walk through my home, I’m able to pinpoint unfinished projects here and there. Completing our warm and welcoming dining room design is a huge achievement because there’s simply nothing left to do. It truly feels complete and better than I ever imagined.
The final details to complete the space were all about creating a sense of warmth and life through certain elements such as our Essential Throw Blankets and fresh greenery.
- Metal Blanket Ladder
- Sand Essential Throw Blanket
- Matte Chalk Dessert or Salad Plates
- Tall Fluted Tumbler
- Organic Edge Brass Tealight Holder
- Pure White Tealights
- Concrete Planter (similar)
- Brushed Gold Flatware
Overall, it feels good to see something transform from start to finish. I appreciate the opportunity to work beside my husband to create spaces that’ll connect our family and cultivate our relationships with our friends. And I’m proud of myself for believing in my own ideas and leaning into my purpose as a relaxed and present homemaker.