If you have been following us for a while, you know that when we are planning any project we always challenge ourselves to not only make it budget-friendly, but also eco-friendly. See below how we were able to achieve those two goals in our dining room project. We envisioned the room to have a rustic-meets-industrial style. So we started shopping the local Craigslist and thrift stores for pieces of furniture that would fit our interior design idea, and of course crafted others that we couldn’t find.
All we had for the dining room from our “rental” life were a small round table, a statue, and three shaky old IKEA chairs. The floor lamp was left (kind of thrown away) by the previous house owners. Obviously, we had to shop for the dining room furniture from scratch. We decided to take a challenge to use as many thrift store items as possible because it is good for the environment and just to prove that you don’t need to break your bank account to create something unique to match your personal style. Revisit the things you already have, decide what you want to keep, and then check Craigslist and local thrift stores for great items. Don’t try to find everything in one go. Sometimes you will need to check those places several times before you find the piece you need. But at the end of the day it is worth it. Some great pieces might need a bit of a touch-up before they fit your design idea perfectly. Sometimes all you need is to paint an inexpensive piece of furniture the color you want or add some accent colors to get that designer look.
But let’s start from the beginning…
When we moved in, there were three crazy types of mixed media on the floor. As you can see, there was hardwood floor in the dining area, linoleum in the kitchen, burgundy color carpet in the living room, and hardwood in the hallway area. So we removed all those media from the entire first level and installed bamboo floors. All DIY. We did not hire anyone. If you are handy, it is pretty easy to install.
We removed all this mixed media to install bamboo floors throughout the entire first level.
Before we installed the new and improved floor, we finished the walls.
For the focal wall we decided to go with Venetian plaster.
It was a new material to us, but we promise it is very easy to apply and creates a cozy, warm atmostphere in the room. You can see YouTube tutorials on how to apply the plaster. There are real and faux plasters on the market. The Home Depot and Lowes carry only faux plasters. After reading the cons and pros, we went with the real lime-based plaster. It is a natural product that is free of VOCs and protective of the environment. I ordered it online from paintandplasters.com. It is amazing that you can go to any paint carriers and choose the color you like, and they will match the color for you! I went to Sherwin-Williams store and chose Puritan Grey (BM HC-164) by Benjamin Moore. Also, the guys from paintandplasters.com are very helpful and responsive should you have any questions. You will also need a primer. It provides a rough surface and allows the plaster to bond with the surface of the wall.
TIP: Don’t buy a large amount of primer. I bought a gallon, but for my 8’x22’ wall I used maybe one-fifth, if not less.
Plaster produces a cozy, fuzzy look and adds warmth to the room. This is how it looks with the plaster on. Depending on application technique, you can create a matte or glossy finish. While the glossy look is more suitable for bathrooms, we believe the matte finish looks better in living spaces.
And we painted the remaining walls.
When the walls were finished, we installed DIY ceiling beams and then dark distressed bamboo floors.
Since we don’t have windows in the living room, and the one window in the dining room doesn’t provide much natural light, we had to improve the lighting situation in the area where we spend most of our time – working, entertaining, relaxing. Installing recessed lighting was not an option for us during this project. Thus, we figured that we could do DIY beams and create kinda track lighting. We installed dimmable LED lights in the beams. The beams are hollow, so all wiring is hidden inside them. Dimmable lighting helps to create the desired atmosphere – dimmed for relaxing, cozy evenings, bright light for work or entertaining. Since we don’t get much sunlight during the day, we sometimes turn the lights on during the day. The great part is that the lights are LED, which is great for the environment and your wallet!
In the meantime, we crafted a custom DIY farmhouse table, our new dining room table, from scratch.
For the buffet we browsed Craigslist and ended up finding a buffet, dresser, and nightstand for $100.
Here is how they originally looked (this is one of three pieces). Sorry I did not take a good picture when we bought it.
All I did to the buffet was sand it with a sander. I really recommend getting this tool. It will save you lots and lots of time. Originally I thought I would apply some paint over it, but I love the effect of the sanded look. I decided to leave it as is and apply a clear coat.
See how those ornaments popped up? And it is just because some of the original stain was left inside the creases where we could not sand very well.
The dining chairs and a mirror were found on Craigslist as well. The chairs are very ergonomic and sturdy, made in Sweden in the late 1800’s. We paid $10 per piece. Someone’s trash became our treasure!
We sewed chair seat pads to match our accent color.
It was a set of 6 chairs. Even though I needed just 4 chairs for our dining room, we bought all of them. And the two extra chairs found their home in our living room. I just threw sheep skins on top of them.
Window treatment: it was hard to find curtains that would meet our needs and have it all – the style, color, size, and pattern that we needed. But we sewed them ourselves! It was super easy!
And a little bit of an industrial element – the light fixture. We handcrafted the ceiling light just using pipes and twisted lighting wire cable (you can find them in a variety of colors) with vintage incandescent light bulbs.
Dining room furniture and decor cost us less than $600.