Home Decor · Living

Rental Revamps: Formal Dining Room

Rentals….love them, hate them; chances are, they have been or will be your home at some stage of life. I live in the South, where cost of living is excellent and you can really get a lot of bang for your buck on the home front, so most people I know own their properties.

Being a homeowner is something I look forward to in the near(ish) future; however, a rental property is the best option at this point in mine and Benny’s life together. We have truly lucked out in that our space is just under 1400 square feet (size of a small house, I know!), 2 bedroom 2 bathroom, and located in my favorite zip code….all at a super reasonable price!

While I could go on about the great aspects of our particular rental, there is no denying that there are some shortcomings of renter’s life. We have cheap, poorly installed standard carpet throughout the apartment aside from the kitchen and bathrooms. We have little counter space. Average cabinet space. No pantry. And my personal favorite…..only one functioning cable port located on the last wall in the house we’d want to plug in our router. None of these are fun aspects of our space; however, I have the mindset that no matter what, I can make our rental glamorous, cozy, and functional. I view these shortcomings as a challenge.

This challenge has inspired a series I will add to periodically that I am calling “Rental Revamps.” The premise is based on these conditions: we are young, building our savings (aka short on $$$ to spend on fancy furniture), renters, and working with a lot of what has been given to us. I think many people can relate to wanting a home space that they look forward to coming back to, despite it being a rental or them being strapped for cash.

For my first entry of this series, I am focusing on our dining room. It is not finished, and I have at least two more updates I plan to make to it. I thought I’d share though because it has had my most recent focus.

What we had to work with:

-hand-me-down antique Ethan Allen table with mismatching chairs

-vintage hutch

-décor from our wedding—metallic feathers, galvanized light up BAR letters, metallic gramophone, decorative wedding plate

-woven basket (honestly old Pier 1 from my first dorm!)


What we purchased to add to it:



-bar cart



How we made our dining room more functional: used bar cart and hutch to free up some cabinet space in our kitchen; used woven basket to offer alternative to dumping pockets on table

-table leafs are out to maximize table space

-woven basket is our “catchall area” for things like keys and wallets

-our bar cart stows our alcohol (shocking, I know) that previously lived on top of our refrigerator, as well as much of our alcohol serve ware

-our hutch stows all of our wedding China, some seasonal plates, and the alcohol serve ware that is not on the bar cart


How we made it more beautiful: chose a dramatic paint to contrast the rest of the apartment; displayed China in glass of hutch; used bar cart and wedding décor to give a glam 1920s feel and make eating area more formal

-beautiful navy paint

-golden feathers are focal point on back, largest wall

-added BAR lights and gramophone to bar cart—both were from our wedding

-small decorative mirrors opposite the golden feathers

-woven basket to contrast the glam metallic and keep things rustic


Still to come: table and hutch renovations; wedding portraits

-I plan to do a provincial chalk paint finish to both the table and chairs and the hutch to further contrast the glam wall décor with a rustic feel. I just love rustic, provincial themes with glamourous, metallic pops! This will be a big endeavor, but I am hoping to complete it by spring.

-since our dining room is the most formal space of our apartment, I think it would be an appropriate place to hang bride and groom portraits in beautiful frames




I hope this post inspires you to grow new perspective towards working with what you have to liven up your space. Benny and I really enjoy our sit down meals together now because this space has some character to it.

Here are some links and details:

Paint: Valspar in Prussian Cadet

Bar Cart: Target (word to the wise, I snagged this on holiday discount for $80, so maybe worth bookmarking and keeping an eye on)

Cute wedding plate: Anthropologie

China: Target-Threshold (our dinnerware in White is currently unavailable, but they still have some of the serve ware, as well as the dinnerware in several other colors)

Mirrors: $12 find at Marshall’s

Metallic accents (feathers, gramophone, BAR lights): all marked down at Hobby Lobby last summer


What are some of your favorite bargain pieces that really give your home charater:




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