Hello my friends! How are you? My sister-in-law and nephew have been here all week and this is our last day with them. I’m excited we have a sunny day (I think ALL day) to do something fun!

In celebration of two anniversaries recently – ten years in our home and my blogging anniversary – I’ve been sharing the progress of some of the rooms in our home over the years. By the way, I totally forgot about my blogging anniversary when it hit – six years at the end of May. Whoot!!

I ALWAYS struggled with our dining room. I don’t know why. Part of it was that shortly after we moved in I marched myself to the furniture store and bought a complete set of dining furniture. I liked it OK – but I wasn’t madly in love with it. I just wanted to fill the space. Now I know better and would wait it out, but you know how that goes.

Long ago I added molding to the walls (with Liquid Nails! No.) and jazzed up the ceiling:

I also recovered the seats of the chairs almost immediately to add some color to the room. It was very beige/brown.

You’ll see here that this was my gold and red phase as well. Ah yes…

I still wanted some more contrast so I changed up the drapes and added a solid red to the bottom:

two tone drapes

Then things just got crazy and I painted the whole room (the entire. room.) brown:

brown dining room

You know, looking back, I don’t hate it. It was dramatic and pretty – I say you can go dramatic in two rooms safely – the powder room and the dining room. Or all the rooms, it’s your house.

I always struggled with the fact that this room opened up to our two story living room so I just added a piece of trim down the wall to separate them. Probably a major design crime but you know, I like to live on the edge.

But the thing is…it was DARK. Shocking, I know!:

brown dining room

I didn’t mind it much till we had new floors put down after a water issue. Then it was positively cave-like. Dark on every surface in the room and I couldn’t take it anymore.

A new idea formed in my head over time that I talked about here. I was tired of not using this space. I wanted to make it more functional and change up how we used it.

So the DIY built ins began:

how to build built ins

You can see the synopsis of how my Dad and I built them here. It wasn’t hard, just time consuming. It took me forever to get them finished – eight months total I believe.

I had a design in my head all those months of thinking about it and a big part of that design was lights at the top of the bookcases. It took months to find something that was affordable but I finally found what I wanted in the outdoor section:

inexpensive library lights

And now…I love it. This room is one of my favorites in our home.

I could not be more pleased with how it turned out:

DIY built ins

It’s been about a year and a half since they were finished and they are holding up great. I’m really proud of Dad and I for tackling it. :)

Funny thing is, the plan all along was to put a coffee table and four chairs in here, but we moved our old kitchen table in here a year or so ago and it’s become my husband’s office in the summer months:

dining room built ins

He has a basement office but can’t stand to be down there without natural light in the summer. So although his stuff laying around kind of drives me batty, I love that we’re actually using it. Many of you have suggested adding a more casual table back in here and the idea is growing on me. Plus, finding four matching (comfy) upholstered chairs is so dang expensive!

I can’t forget the other view of the dining area – it’s really more of a landing/hallway of sorts. I found this before shot of our stairs that I didn’t know I had:

And I showed you this more recent after here:

wood staircase

Such a difference! (Here’s the how to on pulling the carpet off of stairs.)

Many of you have asked how much I spent on the built ins and I’m not positive of the cost because we did them over such a long time. The kitchen cabinet bases were $320 total and the butcher block from IKEA was $130. I’m guessing we put in another $150-200 in trim and wood (I used basic pine wood for the actual bookcases). And the lights came to $140. So a rough estimate is about $750-800 for 12 feet of built ins.

I would have paid three times that to have them done. Easily.

So there’s a look back at what is now one of my favorite spaces in our home! It was one of my problem children before though. :)

Do you have a dining room? Do you use it? Have you considered changing up how it’s used?

P.S. Check out my tips on decorating bookcases in this post.

Have a great weekend!

 
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