...because home doesn't happen overnight.

It’s Feature Friday!  On Fridays, I’ll be featuring one room in my house in its current condition even if there are some things I’d like to change about it.  If I do happen to improve something later, I can always revisit it when the time comes.  Plus, I’d kinda feel dishonest if I only focused on “finished” rooms in my house.  And if what they (the professionals) say is true, a room is never really finished anyways…you’re always tweaking it.  Concentrating on just one room weekly should give me some time to tidy it up a bit, too.  At least, I can throw all the toys into another room!  So, without further ado, let’s tour my dining area.

Just off the family room and sunroom lies my open dining area.  When we were looking to buy a house over 2 years ago, Handy Hubby and I knew we didn’t want a formal dining room.  It would have been wasted space.  Our dinners (even with guests) are casual; we didn’t need 1 room designated just to fancy meals.  So, we hunted down houses with open floor plans and both agreed on our current home.  Here’s what our open dining space looks like…

The view from the sunroom…

The view from the kitchen…

To ground the floating dining area (and add texture), I laid down a seagrass rug that I stained with a pattern.  This rug is great for hiding crumbs and easy to vacuum.

For ambience and to further designate this space as a dining area, I got Handy Hubby to hang a West Elm capiz chandelier (that I stalked for months until it went on sale).

Handy Hubby even put it on a dimmer switch which lets us change the mood of our dining area on a whim.

The dining table is from JCPenney and has a self-enclosed leaf that can be pulled out to make a large square tabletop that seats 8.

It originally came with black X-backed chairs.  To avoid matchy-matchiness, I decided to switch them out for 2 different styles of white IKEA chairs.  The side chairs are plastic and make cleaning up after 2 kids a cinch.  I made the pillows out of $0.75 closeout cloth napkins from Target.

Just beyond the dining table is a console that we treat as a buffet of sorts.

The framed prints are photos that I took of my Grandma’s succulent plant in Florida.  I had them blown up then inserted them into IKEA frames.

The buffet tablescape gets changed up at least a half-dozen times a year.  The baskets below hold table linens.

A few “for fun” shots…

So, that’s where our family eats day in and day out – from grilled cheese lunches to birthday dinners.  And that lost shot was taken from my walk-in pantry which we’ll peek into next week.  It’s a room of function more than form…but a room nonetheless.  Happy dining!



Very pretty! I really like those Ikea chairs. Where did you get your rug?


Michelle – The seagrass rug is from naturalarearugs.com I’ve ordered several rugs from them in the past and have always been pleased with their service and products. I just recently stained the pattern onto the rug and will be blogging a DIY how-to soon!

I love the stained rug, very clever!

[…] week I shared my dining area with […]


Oh my goodness I love that West Elm light! I’ve been lusting over it for months, but it’s hard to convince the husband that we need a new light when I insisted that we take our Pottery Barn pendant with us when we sold our last house. Perhaps I’ll do a swap when he’s away. Do you think he’ll notice? ;)


Felicity – I think he’d notice. If you’re lucky, maybe in a good way!


HI there, I wanted to know how tall your black table is. I have the same table from JC penny but I think my table is a bit taller. I don’t think I could put normal size chairs next to it. Thanks! BTW your kitchen looks great!!


LWasgatt – My dining table is ~29.5 inches tall. I’ve seen the same table in a counter heighth…maybe that’s what you have.


I love the plastic Ikea chairs! I would like to buy them for my dinning room. I’m a little worried about how well they will be able to handle my kids. How have they held up with little ones around?? I have 3 very active kids. Thanks for your opinion


Michelle – We have 2 boys (5 years and 2 years) and they’re actually the reason why we bought the plastic IKEA chairs. Previously, we had wood chairs with fabric seats that weren’t holding their own against our kiddos. We LOVE the plastic chairs for our kids. They are extremely easy to wipe off. I’ve even battled stray dry erase markings on them and they disappear with a swipe of my Magic Eraser. Maybe the only thing I would advise is to watch the open back…when we are feeling risky we let our 2-yr-old sit without his toddler booster seat. One time he was extra squirmy and we weren’t watching him closely…he slipped through the back. He was fine but keeping him in his toddler seat (strapped to the chair) solves that problem for us. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being thoroughly satisfied), I’d give these chairs an 8.5. Plus, we’ve used them outside for parties, too. Can’t beat a chair that can be used inside and out!


Thanks for the feedback on the chairs. I hate that Ikea doesn’t let consumer leave reviews on their website. We have an 8, 6, and 2 year old so plastic is the way to go. I completely understand about the wooden chair with fabric seats. We had the same thing and I regretted buying it the second we had our first meal, talk about a mess. Once again thanks for the feedback!

I love the stained rug, but I can’t find a tutorial? Have you made one that I can’t find? Just curious what kind of stain you used and how it’s holding up? I painted a just rug, but I really like the look of yours, too…



Amanda – That chevron rug you painted is genius! The step-by-step tutorial for my stained/stenciled dining rug is here….


Hope that’s what you needed!

Thanks, Dana! That’s just what I was looking for! Maybe I’ll get lucky and find a killer deal on a natural rug and give this a try… Thanks again!


I love your house! Do you have a link to the paint colours you used for every room. My hubby an I hoping to repaint our house this spring and trying to decide on colours. Help!


I love how you decorated your home Dana. We just purchased a new home and are busy cleaning and painting and thinking of what to do. Our house has tons of oak which I don’t like and I am definitely painting the kitchen white (and probably everthing else oak), thanks for the great tips on how to. I love your West Elm light and checked it out on the website but it says that it can not be used on vaulted ceilings which I have. What would be the reason it would not work and do you think I could make it work some way?


Rhonda – Unfortunately, the West Elm light cannot be used on vaulted ceilings as is. There is no way for the suspension rods {there are 2} to pivot below the cover plate. Maybe if you could conjure up some way to allow the rods to pivot {???} it could work on a vaulted ceiling. Anyone else have an idea?


Dana, we are about to buy this exact West Elm light, but I am wondering, what does the ceiling plate look like? Is it just a plain silvery plate? Your room is so pretty — love the gray stripes in the background. Thanks!


Ashley – The ceiling plate is a slender, rectangular chrome plate. We didn’t have any qualms with the plate on our textured ceilings.


I love the gray color of your walls. Is that a brown leather sofa you have? We were going to move, but with the economy we can’t afford to, and our floor is a travertine versailles pattern (more tan/gold hughes) and we have brown leather sofas but I am SO sick of brown brown brown. Any suggestions?