How to cheaply decorate your dining room!

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When we moved into our 1,000 square foot little house in the country a couple of months ago I knew our dining room would be a multi-function room, which is a very common occurrence in American today. I put off sprucing up the place as I had to sort through a mountain of boxes that had been in storage for a few years. Let me break it down easy peasy! 

 

De-clutter your space

The first place to start with a room you’re unhappy with is to get rid of the items you know you don’t want in the room. Or maybe you have items in there that you need but they’re a big ol’ mess. Take the time to relocate those items out of the room so that they aren’t in your way. For me, this was removing the few boxes I had yet to unpack. I knew they didn’t belong in the dining room so they were just hindering the overall appearance.

 

Clean up EVERYTHING

Once you have your room broken down to just the furniture pieces that are going to stay in it I think the next best step is a great deep cleaning! I clean the walls, clean the windows and window sills (vinegar and water all the way), sweep and mop, dust baseboards, dust all furniture, etc. I do this so that I have a literally “clean slate” to start with and build upon.

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Use a piece of furniture for a different use

This is a great new trend but I’ve been doing it for ages; using furniture pieces for other uses. One of my favorites is to re-purpose an old dresser and use it for numerous other things. I haven’t had a chance to paint this dresser the way I wanted to just yet but I knew I wanted to use it as a dining room buffet because it provides so much storage which is paramount in a tiny house! So I used this to store all of our off season dishes, holiday dishes and small appliances not regularly used. The top is used to put decor items on and sometimes the theme will change up throughout the seasons.

 

Organize items in your room

Bringing the dresser/buffet into the room I made sure to organize the items as I put them in the buffet. I used the top row of drawers to put in small holiday decor items like silverware, napkins, napkin rings, etc. Then I used the middle row of drawers to house the fancy platters and dishes and the bottom drawer for small appliances. Putting these in an organized manner will save me TIME when I go to look for items I need in the future.

 

Bring in some color

In the next few months I’ll be painting the walls in the dining room and I know at that time they will be a very pale gray. But I couldn’t tolerate that temporary sheet over the window anymore. The old curtains I had from previous homes were all in this beige color tone that I just didn’t want in this house so I sold them after we moved in, which left us with no curtains. The heat got to be ridiculous over the summer so I threw a sheet up there, knowing we wouldn’t be having company right away anyway. So when I decided on my future paint colors I knew what accent colors I wanted and that is aqua/teal blue and pops of sunny yellow. So I ordered a double curtain rod on Amazon, ordered these great sheer panels from Amazon because it was the best price around and then picked up these chevron panels at Wal-Mart one evening! It adds much needed color to this area of the home and the curtains are the first thing that get my attention when I walk through the room!

 

Don’t forget window treatments

Some people like blinds, some like open windows, some like curtains that don’t allow in any light. As for us we live in Arizona where in the summer it can literally get up to 120 degrees (or more, truthfully!) and so we do need something to help with heat BUT I am a lover of all things outdoors and I hate feeling closed in. I need to be able to SEE outside, at all times. So I opted to go with the sheers on all the windows in our home (except bathrooms) and then added other panels to them for balance and a pop of color. This works for me because we have abnormally large windows, although not giant, they just aren’t your stand window size. So if I wanted my chevron curtains to be “closed” all the way across, I would have had to buy 3 panels anyway and these came in a pack of 2. If you are of the mind that you feel curtains make no difference one way or another, but you feel your room is bland, that might just be why. Even if I hadn’t wanted the beautiful, elegant or dramatic look of curtains I would have still had blinds on the windows with maybe a roman shade to “dress up” my windows. It totally makes a room feel complete to me, almost like hanging a picture on a bare wall.

 

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Make a flower arrangement

Flower arrangements make a table look beautiful and they’re so easy! I wouldn’t call myself exceptionally creative (although some might) but the day I decided I wanted a fall flower arrangement (because it is my favorite “season” for home decor) I walked into my office where I had recently bought a bunch of orange flowers, yellow flowers and orange leaves from the DOLLAR STORE. I had a random clear vase in a closet somewhere and I used those to put together this arrangement. I honestly don’t know why I even had the orange paper pieces that I put inside the vase but I do know those and the orange bow I got at the dollar store as well. I put those together and it took me a few minutes of tweaking it with my OCD tendencies and I loved it! It got some rave reviews on Facebook as well from my friends! You can do this with any type of flower, any vase, for any occasion!

 

Back to point here which is CHEAP! How to CHEAPLY decorate your dining room! I did use all the furniture I had (dining room table and chairs) but moved in another piece of furniture (the dresser) which I already had in another room that wasn’t useful. But if in your room  you don’t have a dresser but love this idea keep in mind that you can find dressers at yard sales or on Craigslist or even Facebook Buy-Sale-Trade groups ALL the time for $40 or less, and even free on the side of the road. Just put a little sweat equity into them and dress them up a bit.

 

The flower arrangement cost me about $10 in materials with items primarily from the Dollar Store.

 

The 4 curtain panels and curtain rod cost me about $45. Being as they have the biggest visual impact and reward, it was so worth it!

 

So with some cleaning up, organizing, rearranging and $55 in new items I was able to revamp our dull dining room at our new house!

 

Are there any sites you use online to find good online deals on used furniture?

 

I also contemplated making my own curtains with a painter’s drop cloth for MONTHS until I finally gave in and bought the chevron panels.

 

Have you ever made curtain panels by hand? If so, did they turn out or was it a “Pinterest Fail”? Lol!

 

If you like the content of this blog post please considering following my blog and subscribing to new posts by email over on the right side! And if you have a blog that you would like me to check out please just comment with it below and I’d be glad to check it out. In the future be on the look out for more content on home decor, homesteading, home schooling, doing everything as a single parent, etc!

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

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06-05-15 Moving in weekend, alas!

Contrary to most people’s beliefs, my ex-fiance and I have managed to stay on friendly terms! So much so that he helped us move! Getting everything out of storage was a HUGE accomplishment! Because not only had we put 90% of our belongings into storage when we had left Maricopa the year before but I also personally had had maybe 30% of my personal belongings in storage for the last 5 years!!! Due to just having so much STUFF and not wanting to keep it at home or move it with me. So since I have more storage at the farm and I wanted to cut the expense of a monthly storage bill, we got it ALL out. I knew I’d have a bunch of sorting, sifting and selling on my hands because I can’t stand for anything IN my house to not be organized!



Riley was working so hard! Lol!


He actually did help but he’s also a regular 10 year old boy who “requires” frequent breaks to play games on his cell phone. That is something we need to work on!


Loading the storage building took much longer than we expected. Plus we had some stuff in Apache Junction and some stuff at the house in Maricopa where we’d been staying with our roommate. So, this venture took ALL day long. And I had planned for it to take like 4 hours, haha! So we dropped Riley off at his friends house for a sleepover and headed to the farm. We unloaded in the dark, got everything IN the house or the storage items in the shop and passed out!



Then, Riley and I spent the weekend placing furniture, starting the unpacking process, etc. This is my old record player inside the front door.


This flag goes with me everywhere. It is old and tattered so it is only for indoors.


This damn giant bean bag that apparently we have to take with us everywhere. Once we got TO the farm I realized for sure that there was nowhere this would fit in the house. Riley briefly said he’d use it in his room instead of a bed but I didn’t sign off on that! So it stayed on the front porch where it (sadly!) still sits today. I have recently concluded I’m going to sell it or give it away.

 

I’m a very organized mover/packer/unpacker. So when we brought everything in off the moving truck all furniture went, at least, IN the room where it belonged. Then all the other boxes that either didn’t state what room they went in or we were too exhausted to care, went into an organized pile of rows here in the dining room. This was my “working pile” to start with the day after moving in. Each of these had been in storage 1 to 5 years so EACH had to be gone through. As well all dishes and glassware had to be washed. It was a tedious process. I had hoped to get it done in about 3 days (as I had work stuff to get back to) but it took me about 2 weeks!


The third “bedroom” in this house is super tiny. And by super tiny I mean, SUPER…TINY! This picture is of my executive style desk and it has about 6-12 inches of clearance on each side before it touches a wall!!! On the other side of this that entire wall is floor to ceiling closets or cabinets so that’s great for storage. But I knew from the beginning this room would either be my office or a small guest room with a daybed. I used it for my office for the first few months and now I’m leaning towards getting a daybed for it and making it a cute room for visitors.


Tiny house storage tips! The hall bath that Riley and the visitors use is small BUT efficient! The only storage in the bathroom is under the sink and that’s it. So while sorting through all my organizing treasures that had been in storage I came across this contraption I once upon a time used in my pantry. I hung it over the back of the bathroom door and put rolled up towels in it. Then I found this other little guy that I had used in the pantry to put spices in so I hooked that to it and what goes in there is Riley’s items you would normally find in a medicine cabinet (b/c that bathroom doesn’t have one) like his deodorant, body spray, tooth paste, etc. This way the counters are kept clutter free, there is room under the cabinet for excess towels and actual storage.


We did have a Scentsy in there but that has since been moved. I always keep a small basket on the back of the toilet for extra TP because I don’t like those TP holders that sit on the ground…because they’re on the ground. And after this photo I hung a cute picture up behind the toilet that reminds Riley of his morning and evening routines so he doesn’t forget to brush his teeth! In the future I’d like to paint this cabinet white because the wood is super dated and worn out but for now it is totally doable.


The living room barely put together. We had this giant sectional that we had gotten when it was myself, Riley, my ex and his 4 kids and it worked perfect for a large family. It seats 8 comfortably with a chase on one end, breaks into 3 pieces and has an ottoman. When I first brought it into our small living room we left the ottoman on the porch knowing it just wouldn’t fit. After this photo was taken I actually removed the chase as well so now it is just L-shaped and seats 5-6 which is still more than we need. This is an odd shaped couch for me to attempt recovering it myself so in the near future I’ll be replacing it with a sofa and either a love seat or an arm chair. We don’t need a ton of permanent seating and we do need floor space so the furniture itself doesn’t make the room feel tiny since it’s where we spend a majority of our time. I have long had a vision of a dream living room having hard wood floors, white baseboards, white window trim, painted pale walls with white furniture and white distressed wood furniture. Then the color would be infused in the room with rugs, curtains, pillows, paintings, etc. So…the sage green sofa just won’t do for long. Since my home decor redo is a slow process…(still not done to date) it will be replaced when the time is right.



Some before and during pictures of the unpacking process. I’m a visual person so I often take photos of projects midway through to compare to the before’s to remind me of how far I’ve come, thus motivating me to cross that finish line. I’ve done that A LOT here at the farm!



Making progress! Dining room table put together, half way through the boxes!



This was once I got ALL the boxes unpacked, the buffet in place and just had a few tubs left to sort through. I hadn’t found any curtains yet and midday in June in Arizona the sun was beating through those windows like crazy. So I found sheets and blankets and threw those up over the windows for the first few weeks. It looked super corny but being IN the house and not sweating…it did the job for the time being!

Ahhhh! A complete before and after of the dining room unpacking process! Wow! I think it was 10-14 days about.



Riley man…has enjoyed exploring the property. Due to the size of the 8 acres and how so many different types of people have lived here, some with horses, some without, some with goats…oh and the fact that we don’t have city or county trash out here at all so you have to burn your trash, Riley keeps finding interesting items all over the grounds. That day he had found a wood pole and wrapped a chain around it like some gladiator or something and ran around the yard swinging it at things, lol! I was just glad he was reminding me of when I was a kid growing up in the country how we’d just go outside and FIND something to do, explore, wander around. I will be glad when that is what he eventually spends the majority of his free time doing, once video games are more a thing of the past. However, since it is 2015 and I have no desire for my son to hate me or hate living in the country I am planning a slow, gradual progression for him to adjust and learn to love the country life!



After we got everything out of storage and put the items that I knew were “storage items” in the shop, this is what we had in there. Much more went in there after the unpacking was done inside because we have a lot of camping, sports and holiday decorations which all found a semi-permanent home in the shop.


This is all for now! Many more posts and photos to come as I moved from unpacking to working on the house and ever continued work on the grounds!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
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