As I sit here preparing to share my dining room reveal, I can’t help but feel like it’s been a long time coming because, well, it has. I began the journey of my dining room redesign back in February but getting it to this point has been a journey since the day we moved in seven years ago this May. I’ve learned over the years that making a house into a home requires time and patience. It is an understanding that the process is an evolution and often a reflection of the season you are enduring. In essence, it’s a story to be shared with those you invite into it. My hope was for the design to be complete by the end of the month, however, shipping delays, multiple broken shelves, and our product shop launch delayed the completion of my transitional dining room design.
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While I appreciate a thoughtful design, re-designing my dining room meant more to me than creating a beautiful space to observe. That’s because the dining room has always been a meaningful space for me. It’s where I spent much of my life building relationships with family and friends. Growing up, we ate almost all of our meals at the dinner table. When we visited Mimi for our weekly Wednesday sleepover or traveled down to Nana’s for a school break, we spent much of our time in the dining room. It was at the table where we shared delicious meals, retold old stories, and laughed until our bellies ached. It was a place we could show up just as we were. It’s where we made our time spent together truly count.
The Most Important Dining Room Element
Before I set out to pick the details for my dining space, I thought back to the many occasions I was seated at Mimi and Nana’s tables over the years. I can remember feeling at home and like there was always a place for me. I remember looking forward to the moment they’d enter the room and would place their homemade meals on the table. The family would begin passing around each dish and we’d fill our plates often with more than we could eat. I vividly remember wishing those nights would never end. So, as I thought more about my own dining space, it was those feelings I hoped to elicit over any other element in my transitional dining room design.
Stick to the Plan but Remain Flexible
If you read my dining room design board post and skipped below to my reveal photos, then you know I am one to stick to the plan. Aside from having to choose a different set of shelves after five unsuccessful attempts to receive my original pick and deciding to switch out the faux olive tree for a fuller one, I was able to complete my design with everything I had envisioned. I am still waiting on the dining table which is expected to ship later this summer.
A planner at heart, I believe sticking to the plan while remaining flexible is key to completing a design successfully. Having a plan is important to keep you in line with achieving a desired aesthetic. With a plethora of design styles available, it’s easy to get distracted and be swayed in your decision making. This can ultimately lead to a different outcome than originally envisioned. However, remaining flexible through the process allows you to overcome inevitable setbacks and appreciate the final design especially when things don’t go according to plan.
Shannon’s Transitional Dining Room Design
The Foundation – Dining Room Area Rug
Every good design has a strong foundation. Including an area rug was a must-have in our dining room for several reasons. For starters, it helps to define the space. Since we do not have a “formal” dining room per se, the area rug delineates our dining space from our living space which is part of one great room. Additionally, it grounds the space. Our minds naturally seek distinctions between focal points and background pieces. While I want the focus of my dining space to be the table where loved ones will gather and connect, I also want to create balance. In this sense, I want the ground to help define the focal point. The area rug defines the shape of the space, sets the tone for the overall aesthetic and establishes a reference point for the dining area. At the same, the table remains the focus and what guests will notice first.
I chose the Neutral Cottonwood Hand Woven Plaid Wool/Cotton Area Rug by Threshold™ designed with Studio McGee because it provided a warm, neutral foundation for the space. Not to mention, it was a steal! To find an area rug of its size and price (spoiler alter: it’s under $200!) is almost impossible. With that, I didn’t hesitate when I found this piece. This handwoven rug features a simple plaid pattern in neutral hues, while providing a soft and plush feel underfoot to achieve comfort and warmth. While I plan to move this piece to the living room eventually, I do love the way this rug blends seamlessly with my featured decor. I was also pleasantly surprised with just how soft this piece is which will transition seamlessly into the living room.
Softening the Space – Window Treatments
It never ceases to amaze me how window treatments have the ability to transform a space. They can make ceilings feel taller and windows feel wider. Moreover, they soften the overall look and feel as they naturally drape from ceiling to floor. I was eager to switch out my cool grey velvet panels for a more relaxed yet designer-quality drape to help soften our space. I opted for a pair of faux linen curtains in Barley to help warm up the space. Lined with a weighted hem, these curtains look and feel luxurious but can be obtained at a fraction of the price!
To complete the look, I sourced these wooden curtain rod pole brackets and hung the drapes on a prefabricated round wood dowel with two sets of these curtain clip rings in warm gold. The wood rod and bracket holders bring a natural element and tone to the space. The warm gold rings tie in the 8-light chandelier and various decor accents throughout the design.
Adding Depth and Dimension – The Shelving and Decor
Finding the shelves for this transitional dining room design was quite the process and required much patience. It turns out, marble shelving isn’t the easiest to ship and receiving two identical ones in one solid piece was inevitably impossible. After five attempts, I finally hung up my hat and decided it was time to resort to Plan B. (Remember that flexibility thing I mentioned above?)
Through some mindset work recently, I came to understand that everything in life (both good and bad and everything in between) happens FOR us. Essentially, this means something perceived as “bad” is occurring to allow something “good” to happen in exchange. And sure enough, this was one of those moments because I am just so happy with these floating shelves. They create depth and dimension and provide a streamlined look while highlighting their displayed accents.
To create additional visual interest with dimension and depth, I layered in various decor elements that help tell a cohesive story throughout the design. Featuring fine art prints, vintage-inspired pottery and transitional decor, this vignette might be my favorite design moment created within this space.
The elements I used to style my shelves:
- Thin Gold Metal Matted Gallery Frame
- Hudson 43 Reclaimed Burnt Pine Photo Frame Matted to 11”x14”
- 8″ x 7″ Weathered Jug Vase Brown
- 6″ x 6″ Stoneware Vase Beige Crock
- Vintage Book (Goodwill find)
- Decorative Wooden Box (similar)
- 8″ x 10″ Float Thin Black Gallery Frame
- Glass Jar English Pear and Orchid Candle
Bringing Life to the Space – The Greenery
Choosing the greenery for the space was the only other design decision I changed but also one of the slightest. I chose this faux olive tree in a ceramic pot over my original design choice because it was fuller and a tad taller. Even though this piece is artificial, it brings an aspect of life this space was desperately lacking over the years.
Creating Visual Interest – The Artwork
To complete my transitional dining room design, I included additional fine art prints to add another layer of sophistication and visual interest to the space. The beauty with these pieces is that I was able to achieve the look of fine art without having to pay fine art prices. Instead, I found all of my chosen prints on Etsy and printed them at my local Walmart. From there, I framed them in various Target and Joann matted frames and the final product is absolutely stunning!
The prints and sizes I chose:
- Country Painting (11×14)
- Botanical Print Set (5×7)
- River Landscape (4×6)
- Vintage Sketch (4×6)
- Flower Painting (8×10)
The frames I chose:
- Hudson 43 Reclaimed Burnt Pine Photo Frame Matted to 11”x14” (Country Painting)
- Thin Gold Metal Matted Gallery Frame (Botanical Print Set)
- 8″ x 10″ Float Thin Black Gallery Frame (River Landscape)
- Thin Black Gallery Matted Photo Frame (Vintage Sketch)
- Hudson 43 Reclaimed Burnt Pine Photo Frame Matted to 8”x10” (Flower Painting)
Finishing Touches – The Final Details
The remaining details within my space were either existing or they’ve yet to come. These pieces I consider the finishing touches. They truly pull the final look together and complete my transitional dining room design. Each piece is unique and makes a statement on its own, however, when styled together in an intentional way, they truly bring out the beauty in one another to encourage guests to pull up a seat and stay a while.
- Dining Table (coming soon)
- Leather Arm Chairs (similar)
- Cane Back End Chairs (similar)
- 8-Light Candle Style Chandelier in Champagne
- Pottery Centerpieces (Old Time Pottery finds) (similar) (similar)
- Matte Pita Dinnerware
- Cream Fringe Dinner Napkins
What Matters in a Transitional Dining Room Design
Now that my dining room design is complete (minus the table), I am eager to see how it invites guests to gather around and connect over meaningful conversation and deep laughter. However, I know none of these elements are needed to create memories and build lasting relationships. Instead it’s the people I invite into the space who truly matter. Needless to say, I am quite excited to have a dining room that truly feels like a reflection of the relationships I plan to cultivate.