The dining room with the updated blue curtains and rug
Cottage DIYs

Limited budget makeover

I don’t know how long my husband and I can go without doing something DIY. Weekends at home have us figuring out which room to tackle next; if not a whole room, then a mini-project. When we came home from vacation, we were tempted to start the living room project, but pulled back because 1) It is longer, involved, and more costly, and we had just spent a large sum at Walt Disney World and 2) We had never really finished the dining room. How about a mini-makeover? (In other words, a limited budget makeover….) Fun and to the point (and inexpensive).

What to do….

Now, where to do this “limited budget makeover”? Just like that, we magically both agreed to the dining room! (Well, not “just like that”– but almost! I literally said to my awesome hubby, “What if I was married to someone who didn’t like to decorate or do DIY household projects?” and we both laughed).

When we moved into this house, the dining and living rooms were painted Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. It is a lovely, popular color, but though this house has many beautiful, vintage windows, the trees outside block the light, especially in spring and summer. We painted those rooms white and it instantly brightened up the whole downstairs. I added some white fabric and draped it over the curtain rods and had a basic, monochromatic look. With the mixture of black- and cream-painted woods and natural wood, I didn’t want to add too much color or pattern.

an arched doorway opens to a basic, wood and white dining room with black accents
simple and lovely… but not very “me”

Fast forward to living in this house almost two years, and I really wanted it to reflect my personality. This room wasn’t really me, and I didn’t feel like the black painted surfaces went with my china or anything else I had. See, this dining room furniture has a bit of a history….

A bit of history….

Fourteen years ago, Hubby and I found this set in an antique store. It was painted entirely black. I loved its vintage feel (we estimate it to be from around the 1930’s based on the style; if you have are more knowledgeable about antiques and have other information, please leave a comment!), especially the legs and even the way the table is shaped at the corners. But at the time, I didn’t want a black table and chairs, so Mr. Muse painted the whole set white. I loved it!

Dining room with green walls and white table and chairs set
We had this set painted white in our old house.

A few years later, I purchased my buffet at a yard sale (my best vintage find ever at $10.00!). We left it natural wood until our move to Virginia and subsequent stay in an apartment until we found a house to buy. The dining room floor in the apartment had black flecks in it, and Mr. Muse painted the top of the buffet black and the bottom Behr Antique White. Then he painted the end chairs and the top of the table black, and in a bold move, to make the table fit in our tiny apartment, repurposed the other four chairs to make two benches, the tops of which he painted a matte black and the bottoms, you guessed it– Behr Antique White. It was beautiful and so nice looking and made me feel better about living in an apartment (which, by the way, has many advantages!).

Buffet painted antique white with black top
It looked great in our apartment, but in this house I was ready for a change.

Completing the Set

Shortly after we moved to our new house, I found this china cabinet from a local vendor. It seems to be from around the same era as the dining table, based on the legs, and is so lovely with just its natural wood that the seller practically begged me not to paint it! I consented because she was right– this wood is too pretty to paint. Now I was stuck with such a mix of finishes and it bothered me, but that’s because I’m a picky perfectionist, which is another story for another day. God is still working on me. =)

beautiful wood china cabinet

First things first

Since this was a limited budget mini-makeover, the first job was to use paint we already had to change the table and chairs. Guess what color we chose?! Antique White, but this time it was some leftover Valspar we had in the basement. I absolutely LOVE the antique white all over the table and chairs! Mr. Muse sealed it with this.

Sticking to the budget

Mr. Muse came up with a simple solution to the buffet problem… he used some paint stripper to take off the black top and whoila! Done. (This part was actually done a bit before the budget makeover.)

With its wood to and antique white base, the buffet now fits right in with our dining room!

Color, anyone?

Next up was a pop of color! I searched many websites for curtains and, because I am so picky (see above) ;), I couldn’t find any I liked until these. When I find something, I tend to like it better than anything else, so I grabbed them.

long, blue and white floral curtains framing open window; wood cake stand in foreground on top of antique white dining table, all part of our budget makeover
This cake stand, which Mr. Muse made almost 3 years ago for our daughter’s wedding, matches our new dining room perfectly. Who knew!

Thrifted china… still on budget

When I got married, I registered for this china and only got one place setting. (Note to new brides: Don’t register for “everyday” dishes AND china. You’ll have a bunch of incomplete pieces and never a set.) Imagine my happiness at finding a stack of pieces at an antique consignment shop! I purchased the stack and am on the lookout for more. What fun it would be to have a set of this china after all these years… (I will probably still use my everyday white dishes more. I know, I know, “Use your best things everyday because every day is special.” Which is why I use the regular white dishes… every day IS special, which is why I don’t want to spend it washing dishes by hand!) 😉

Cozy factor

I really wanted to do this room right, not half-done. A rug seemed like the best way to round it out. Fortunately for our limited budget, this rug we actually had rolled up in the basement worked perfectly! (We originally bought it for our bedroom, but it was too small. Always measure, then measure again!)

Not quite finished…

A few touches we’re working on adding….

  • The end chairs, which are taking forever for Mr. Muse to strip and repaint. He’ll get it done eventually!
  • Candles from Antique Candle Company… I am excited to try this scent!
  • Wall art… I decided on homemade canvas sign with a quote or Scripture… if you can think of one, please write it in the comments! I’ve already bought the canvas 70% off at Michael’s; just need to wait til one of the artists in my house has time. =)

I’m already feeling so cozy in here with the curtains and rug, and I love the new antique white table top! (People keep asking us if we got a new table!)

Showing the dining room with the updated blue curtains and rug
Soooo cozy!

What inexpensive DIY project at your house is your favorite, or what would be your next DIY project if you could start tomorrow? Let me know.