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The dining room is the space where your loved ones gather for nourishment, comfort, and share stories and ideas — it's the ideal space in your home for entertaining.
Follow along as I create a farmhouse-style dining room from scratch.
I'll share all the factors I consider when designing a functional and beautiful dining area — hint: there's so much more to creating a farmhouse dining room than choosing a dining table.
By the end of this journey, I hope you'll take away some useful design tips and inspiration you can take into your own home.
Your wall color is the foundation of a room because it sets the overall feeling of a space.
Luckily, sprucing up your walls with a fresh coat of paint is an accessible way to transform your home on a budget.
When it comes to farmhouse decor, the emotion and feelings you want to convey are casual, warm, welcoming, and cozy.
The most common palettes with the farmhouse style include earthier tones of whites, grays, beiges, blues, or you can opt for richer hues such as a grey-navy or deep olive green.
I decided to go for a light, cool-toned gray with a bluer shift for this transformation because I want to keep this space airy and light. The drama in this space will come from the textures and details of the furniture, and my farmhouse wall decor.
Now that we've laid the foundation of the room with a fresh coat of paint, I'm going to bring in pieces of furniture into the space that dictates the room's function.
No, I'm not starting with the dining table — Of course, that would be a logical choice.
However, I wanted to assemble a dramatic statement wall grounded by a functional buffet table.
Because my buffet wall will be the statement piece of this room, I wanted the buffet table to have a softer color palette that I can further build my design on. This led me to narrow down my furniture selection to pieces that have a chalky-painted finish.
I love looking for buffet tables that show some distressing wear and tear. This buffet is exactly what I had in mind. It gives off a soft, casual, and relaxed vibe, and it has the classic farmhouse-style detailing that I'm going for.
Of course, you can recreate this same look using the furniture you already have by giving it a chalk-paint makeover and changing out some of the hardware pieces.
I gravitate towards pieces that have beautiful scroll work (like C-scrolls and S-scrolls) because it adds to the softness I want to create in the space. This decorative detailing gives a great contrast to dining rooms because there tend to be many hard lines and surfaces in this space.
I love to include an old China cabinet if I have the space for it.
This type of furniture is both functional and decorative —It's an excellent place for storing all your extra serving ware, silverware, and china pieces, and you can display your favorite pieces.
This type of furniture also gives your dining room a bit of vintage feeling, which is very welcoming and relatable.
I chose this one for a couple of reasons.
First, the beautiful paint finish matches the buffet table.
Second, it has this chicken wire detailing in the display cabinet (and I'm a sucker for chicken wire anything). It feels a lot more casual than glass, but you can still see through the cabinet to display your china.
When I'm looking for a farmhouse-style dining table, it needs to tick off a couple of key hallmarks.
The dining table must be large enough for my family plus extended family or guests. I want this room to be a space where we can have casual sit-downs and more formal meals together without feeling cramped.
I make sure to follow my rule of thumb to be sure there is at least 3’ if not 4’ around the table for circulation and then look for size that will accommodate my family.
Another quality that I look for in my dining tables is the legs. Not only are table legs important to the overall integrity of the furniture to provide strength and stability, but table legs are a part of its design element.
This table has a sturdy leg structure, and it has more curving shapes that add to the softness of the room I'm trying to create here.
Next, the finish on the table is paramount.
To go with the classic farmhouse decor theme, I'm looking for a dining table with a finish that's rustic and weathered.
Since I'm working with soft gray painted finishes in this room, I knew that the perfect contrast would be a natural wood tone with the slightest hint of white-ashed distressed.
Again, you can recreate this look with a chalk-paint finish DIY. I think it's always important to work with what you have — Don't let items go to waste if you can spruce them up to look like something new.
Since the room is starting to look very rustic — thanks to the weathered furniture — I wanted the chairs to feel more polished, which is why I opted for fully upholstered, tufted back chairs that look more inviting.
The linen fabric contrasts with the hard surfaces in this room while still adding to its rustic vibe.
It also feels a lot more contemporary in this space, tying in rustic elements and timeless sophistication together in one room.
You want to base your main lighting around your dining table because this is the most functional part of the room. It's common to have one statement pendant light over the table or multiple (smaller) pendant lights in a set of odd numbers.
Remember that your pendant lights' shape will depend on your space's architecture and design, which is why I like to have my furniture already in the room before deciding on the lighting.
Next, I recommend hooking up the main lights to a dimmer switch to control the lighting intensity.
There are times where you'll want bright lights and then times where you want to keep the lights dim and moody to create a more intimate feel and flattering lighting for your guests.
In all my dining room projects, I love layering lighting.
You can do this with table lamps or adding a pair of sconces into space either on top of your buffet or either side of your China cabinet.
Accent lighting helps to create a glow in the room's edges, which feels a lot cozier than overhead lights.
Wall decor is my secret sauce to any room design.
The magic formula that transforms the most ordinary room into the farmhouse style lives in wall decor details.
There are a few things I always look for to include in my projects.
Another one of my favorite aspects of the farmhouse decor style is using sentimental items as part of my decor. Virtually anything vintage will look fantastic displayed in this space.
I love adding a few decorative elements onto my dining table and buffet top to really make that room feel intimate and inviting to your guests.
Don't make it complicated. Rummage around your cupboards and see what you’ve got. I tend to look for pieces like bread boards, a couple of napkins, a stack of plates, canisters that I can add some flowers into, such as old jugs and old pitchers that all make your guests and your family feel more welcome in the room.
Now we have a beautiful farmhouse decor dining room ready for entertaining.
Many people would have instinctively worked from the dining table out-ward, which is logical, but I think by starting with the walls and buffet table, you can get a lot more creative in the room's styling.
If you have any questions about how I put this room together, please leave it in the comments below.
Many of these decor pieces can be found at Village Antiques in Houston, TX. Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, stop on by! Or feel free to give us a call at 713-468-3931 if you have any questions.
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Until the next time we meet, keep making your home amazing with your design gifts!
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Amitha with Oprah Winfrey
I love the paint, it was so easy!
Just a quick note to say that I love your new paint line!! The colors are beautiful and it goes on so smooth and silky. The gray wax is fabulous. I'm getting some great new looks with your paint but most of all I'm having fun using them!! Hope all is well.
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