This May will mark 7 years since we closed on our first home. 7 years since we were handed a set of keys that opened the door to so many wonderful chapters in our life. We’ve hosted friends and family from near and far in this home. We adopted our first pup as a couple and welcomed our first baby while we lived here. We’ve cried and laughed and danced and celebrated in this house. We’ve made this place our sanctuary, and it feels like nothing else will ever quite compare to this place we call “home”.
Shannon’s Design Struggle
As much as I love our home, there are some things that have been weighing on me here, and I’m at a point where I’m ready to make some changes. I love this place and I love many of the pieces in it, but in all honesty, I don’t love it as a whole from a design perspective. As a designer (and I believe many other designers can relate to this) it has been a struggle to design my own space. For the last 7 years, I have been dedicated to designing for our clients, whether they were a couple planning to get married, a business looking for a brand identity, or a company looking to promote its products. With that, my personal space has fallen to the wayside leaving me with a sense of discontent. Much thought has always gone into our client projects, including custom mood boards, meticulous sourcing, and timely execution, and I’m ready to dedicate that level of effort to a space that is so important to me and my family.
So, I’m officially kicking off my home design journey and beginning with a space that serves as the heart of our home – the dining space. It’s one of the first spaces you see upon entering my house, and it’s where we spend most of our time when we’re entertaining company. I can’t call it a dining room because it’s far from a formal dining space, but it’s basically the only area we can place a dining room table. Since I love the look and feel of a formal dining room as much as I do, I have done my best to make it feel like a traditional dining room by incorporating an area rug, installing a chandelier, hanging window treatments, and investing in formal dining room chairs (similar). However, I cannot say I truly love the design.
Dining Room Mood Board Thought Starters
As I look at the space as a whole, there are several things I love about it and many things I plan to update. While it has served us well and I do enjoy the decor accents individually, the overall aesthetic is leaving me less than inspired. Furthermore, I want to warm it up a bit by updating the cool tones for warmer ones and modernize it by swapping out farmhouse-inspired decor for more contemporary details. So, I’m beginning this process as we would do with any of our clients and designing a dining room mood board to help me streamline the process. But first, I have to consider what I love and don’t love about the space.
What I Love About the Space
Above all, I love that the space is centralized to our home and adjacent to the kitchen. Because of this, it makes the area the heart of our home, just like our Mimi’s and Nana’s dining room spaces have always been. With that, most of our time is spent around the table when we have company and serving is a breeze with the kitchen in close proximity. It’s not a rare occasion for us to use the kitchen peninsula as a buffet that also provides extra surface area for serveware when the table is full.
I also love that with our nine-foot ceilings, our small dining area doesn’t feel so confined. Additionally, I love how the large area rug and simple chandelier help define the space. Even with an open-floor concept, when we’re gathered around the table, those accents make it feel like we’re in a dining room which has been my goal from the get-go.
What I Don’t Love About the Space
Things I Can’t Change
Needless to say, I have never been thrilled to not have a formal dining space. I always dreamed I would have a large area dedicated to serving and entertaining guests, but with this house, we were not able to check off that wishlist item. Overall, the space is rather narrow which makes for a tight squeeze for anyone sitting near the window or next to the kitchen peninsula. Let’s just say, a formal dining room will be a “must-have” for our next house.
Furthermore, I do not love how the dining table and chairs extend beyond the entry point to the kitchen. This often serves as a bottleneck during dinner parties and larger gatherings. It also requires the area rug to jut out in front of the pass-through, so that part of the rug encounters high levels of foot traffic (read: it gets dirty easily).
Finally, I do not love how small the window is. If I had a choice, I would have chosen a larger window to allow the space to feel even more open and larger than it actually is. Fortunately, hanging floor-to-ceiling drapes wider than the window width allows the window to appear larger than it is. It just doesn’t add the amount of natural light I wish we had here.
Things I Can Change
For the most part, many of the aspects I do not like about the space can be changed. This includes many of the decor I’ve chosen as accents over the years. Some are reading too “farmhouse” for me while others are simply not the style that appeals to me in this season. When it comes down to it, most of the details will be going throughout this design process.
- The paint color
- The curtain rod
- The drapes
- The blinds
- The shelving
- The shelf decor
- The area rug
- The artwork
- The table
- The chandelier
- The chairs
Dining Room Mood Board
As I think about the design direction I’m headed with this area of my home, several words keep resounding in my head – modern; timeless; clean; neutral, light yet warm; sophisticated. Overall, it’s mostly a feeling I want to elicit when our guests come to visit and an experience I want them to carry with them long after they’ve departed – warm and welcoming.
Without further ado, I now present to you my neutral, clean, and timeless, light yet warm dining room mood board! This mood board provides the overall aesthetic I am hoping to achieve for my dining space and will serve as the basis for all of my design decisions. So, be sure to keep up on our Instagram Stories for real-time progress and a behind-the-scenes look into the transformation. Then, check back here for ongoing updates as well as the final design board with all the sources to the pieces I hand-select for our space.
Now, tell me in the comments below, what do you love most about your dining space? Is there anything I should consider while re-designing mine?!
For more home inspiration, check out these posts from other spaces in our homes.