A Mighty Fine Dining Room for Under $2,500

Thanks to the internet and technology, there is no doubt that today we have greater access to a wider variety of budget friendly furniture. I truly believe it's now easier than ever to furnish your home at a lower price point and still make it look wonderfully curated and unique. Everyone likes a good deal, raise your hand if you don't. The challenge is to make sure that your wallet-friendly purchases don't look budget, am I right? This dining room is a perfect example of how to make smart choices and create an entire room for a relatively small amount of money. Here we go! 

This client recently moved into a new home with her significant other. They were combining their respective furniture and personal items for the rest of the home but decided to start fresh with the dining room. Below is the before. 

Generally, I'm not a huge fan of dining room sets that are counter-height. It often feels awkward, a bit too far from the ground to allow guests to linger at the table after dinner for conversation. As you can also see, the dining room space is actually quite large but it wasn't really being optimized for entertaining. I was consulting and purchasing for other areas in the home. but this was the one room that we were starting completely fresh. With a fairly tight budget, I knew I had to be cognizant of price points without compromising on aesthetics or quality. 

Below is the design plan. 

Table  ($449)/ Dining Chair  ($119)/ Rug  ($150)/ Buffet  ($1,099)

Table ($449)/Dining Chair ($119)/Rug ($150)/Buffet ($1,099)

We ended up purchasing the bookcase and accent chair for the living room.  Everything else on the board we purchased for the dining room, as reflected in the after photos below.  

The majority of the money went towards the buffet, which was one of the pieces for which I wanted to focus on quality. To reflect the beautiful natural light from the skylight, I chose this affordable glass dining table. The glass table alongside the mirror creates the most awesome halo of light for this room. And for color, we chose this flat weave rug with lovely movement and texture. 

Boom! So bright and beautiful. I know some of you may be thinking, a dining room for under $2,500 still sounds a bit steep. And It's true that I can definitely whip up a dining room design plan for under $1k or even less than $750. But keep in mind that there is a fine line between saving money in the near term versus saving money overall. You may end up needing to replace cheaper but less well-made pieces every couple of years, resulting in a recurring expense over time. On the other hand, you may pay more for a higher-quality piece, but that could be a one-time expense for an item that you can take with you to each new home over a longer period of time. 

Just remember to make smart choices.  If necessary, invest in one single piece and fill out the rest with more affordable choices until you replenish your furniture budget.  Bookmark furniture for most of us is a necessary fact of life. If you're thinking about redoing a room on a budget, know that it's possible to do so and still make it your own! 

A Plethora of Pots for Plants

Indoor plants are now more en vogue than ever. And I wholeheartedly embrace this trend. I've always been a huge advocate of inserting plants to bring life and greenery into any room. 

What's just as important as placing plants throughout your home? As with everything, details matter, and the vessels into which you place each of your plants determine whether your plant family will shine and impress or fade into the background. Keep the aesthetic of your room in mind, but I generally gravitate towards more neutral colored planters with clean lines.  Below are some of my favorites. 

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A couple of things to keep in mind if you are creating a plant collection. If you are keeping a simple color palette for your plant containers, there are a couple of ways to make each vessel stand out. Consider putting one or two plants in a vessel with a stand or maybe using a footed container to get some elevation. Using a container with some texture such as one made of concrete or a pebbled ceramic brings in something different while staying neutral enough to work with whatever else is going in your room.  

Amp up your plant game even more? Dress them up in their Sunday best by placing river rocks, gravel or moss on the top soil. Your plants will thank you and your house guests will steal this idea for their own home. 

And sometimes you just need one really big vessel for that plant that won't stop growing...

Decorating an Open-Concept Space

I'm often asked to help bring cohesiveness to common spaces in all kinds of homes, from those with small footprints to those with more room. Room Assembly asked me for some tips you can implement in your own home to make sure your open-concept space feels natural and beautiful. I've also included an design inspiration board with some looks that are trending now so you have some building blocks if you happen to be furnishing your home. Come read more about it here!