A few weeks ago, Arlyn graced the internet with this post containing over 130 budget living room furniture picks and you guys, rightfully so, were very into it. Then Laurren, one of our contributors, lent us her market expertise with the outdoor furniture post and because, like many of you, we never tire of a good budget roundup, the team happily decided to keep them coming. You guys asked us (begged us?) for a dining roundup, so here we are. I’ll admit, I was a little startled and afraid when this was assigned to me. What I know about dining rooms is minimal, and what I know about decorating/styling them is even less. My experience has been more of trial and error, or perhaps more accurately it is a story of neglect. [/caption]
When I started putting together my apartment, my dining area was put on the hold for a handful of reasons. One was that I had a blank slate (meaning I had zero furniture), so to assemble a room on a small budget was going to be tricky. I also did not want to repeat the mistakes of apartments past where rooms became a hodgepodge of furniture thrown together with no direction. Some of you might remember in one of my last appearances, I mentioned my apartment was lacking a dining table for over 6 months and it was for this very reason. Let’s call it design-block (that has to be a thing right?). Or, could it also be because my boyfriend and I somewhat shamefully enjoy many a’meals on our couch while watching Jeopardy? Maybe. (And yes, I watch Jeopardy. I am essentially 24 going on 50). In any case, I focused energy (and $$) on other parts of my apartment (living room, bedroom, etc.) because those were spaces I felt were more exciting to style and play around with. The dining room was my ugly step-child and received no attention. Then, I had an awakening, as you do when contemplating design decisions. The thing that occurred to me first is this: eating is an everyday occurrence so why not do it in a space that you love? There is certainly something to be said about sitting at a table, TV off, and enjoying a meal (and company). Am I an adult?? Yes, yes I am. And second, I realized it’s the place where you get to spend the most time with people you love, and should be apt to entertain (if you are into that sort of thing). I at least figured it’d certainly be nice to have a space where guests can actually sit and (ideally) enjoy a home cooked meal by yours truly. So, all of that is to say that I am happy to announce this girl is the owner of a dining table and SIX chairs (4 of which were bought for under $2 each at Goodwill, and yes I am bragging).
I think we can agree that I am not an expert on dining rooms by any means, but I am well versed in starter/budget apartment-ing. So, once again we have a budget room roundup that is secretly helping me chip away at outfitting my apartment. Let’s get into it:
We always gab around the office (and on the blog) about finding the vintage pieces that really make a room, so we snuck in a few vintage/thrifted picks in each of the sections you are about to see, even if only to inspire some online scouring. As we all know, EHD rule #1 is no room is complete without a little vintage sprinkled in. But first, a word to the wise if I may be so bold: if you have apprehensions when buying online, try contacting the seller directly and ask for clarification, or more photos. Most of the time they are happy to oblige because selling to a REALLY interested customer makes for an easier transaction (on both ends).
1. Byfield Pedestal Dining Table | 2. 44″ Maston Dining Table | 3. 28″ Chaptico Marble Bistro Dining Table | 4. Tripod Dining Table | 5. Wynonna Mid-Century Modern Round Dining Table | 6. 28″ Emmond Mid-Century Dining Table | 7. Vintage Mid-Century Pink Faux Goat Skin Dining Table | 8. Docksta Table | 9. 42″ Clarksburg Cross Leg Wood Dining Table | 10. Bjursta Extendable Table | 11. Tamsin Dining Table | 12. Vintage Mid-Century Dining Room Table by Stanley | 13. Antique Mahogany Duncan Phyfe Style Dining Table | 14. Round Natural Dining Table | 15. Carson Carrington Klemens Round Dining Table | 16. Slahult Table | 17. West Line Dining Table | 18. Norraker Table | 19. Hernwood Dining Table | 20. Lisabo Table | 21. Ypperlig Table | 22. Dunlin Wood Rectangular Dining Table 72″ | 23. Brimfield Metal Base Dining Table | 24. Carissa Dining Table | 25. IKEA PS 2012 Drop-Leaf Table | 26. Stornas Extendable Table | 27. GreenForest Rectangle Dining Table | 28. Zinus Jen Mid-Century Modern Wood Dining Table | 29. Candela Plank Metal & Wood Dining Table | 30. Bryant Dining Table
Anywho, here’s what I’ve learned while diving headfirst into designing my dining area: The dining table creates a base for the room and can act as a centerpiece to then build the rest of the room around but whatever space you are dealing with somewhat determines the dimensions of the table as well as the shape. Can you afford the space for a long rectangular table or is a square or circular one more appropriate? Are you aiming to offer place settings for 2 or 6? Will a bistro table do the trick or are you looking for a little more elbow room? Once those queries have been considered, you are undoubtedly ready to start narrowing down the usual suspects, and I am happy to say there are so many GREAT ones here. Take that IKEA farm table for instance (which is extendable by the way), or that mid-century dream (#28) for only $133.
I bought my IKEA dining table via Craigslist (you’d be surprised how many close to new steals you can find) and it’s worth the hunt if you have the time/desire to get thrifty with it. That said, if I would have had this roundup under my belt beforehand, things might’ve been different. i.e. I may have gone for #17 or honestly could have gone the complete opposite way and snagged #13 cause I love the idea of a one-of-a-kind piece to build around (this house tour we did a while back had a similar table and the homeowner made it feel so “now”). Hey guys, FYI, I am just a gal that just recently learned that dining areas are exciting to style so bear with me. Next up, we’ve got my personal favorite category…
1. Upholstered Blue Linen Chairs (Set of 2) | 2. Skin Chair | 3. Natural Papasan Dining Chair | 4. Vitagliano Upholstered Dining Chair | 5. Becket Metal X Back Dining Bench | 6. Vespa Side Chair | 7. Green Dylan Dining Chair | 8. Modern Dining Chair (Set of 2) | 9. GreenForest Dining Chairs (Set of 4) | 10. Carson Carrington Mid-Century Bench | 11. Ellis Upholstered Dining Chair | 12. Postmodern Bent Plywood Metal Dining Chair | 13. Windsor Dining Chair (set of 2) | 14. Rosa Velvet Dining Chair | 15. Walnut Cafe Dining Chairs (Set of 2) | 16. Simple Living Solid Beechwood Cadiz Dining Chairs (Set of 2) | 17. Ellis Upholstered Dining Armchair | 18. Tamsin Dining Chair | 19. Martin Chair | 20. Wheaton Dining Bench | 21. Nilsove Rattan Armchair | 22. Lexington Dining Arm Chair | 23. Ivar Chair | 24. Wantage Contemporary Side Chair | 25. Classic Cafe Lacquer Dining Chair | 26. Ypperlig Armchair | 27. Kvell Kaptain Dining Chair
Once you have your table, you are ready to find the chairs to bring it all together. This is the REAL fun part, in my humble opinion, because you can absolutely mix and match different styles. Who knew chairs could be an adventure to shop for? Certainly not me, but it’s true. If you have a more neutral space, maybe you want to add a pop of color with something like #11 (great for renters who maybe don’t feel comfortable painting or wallpapering), or maybe a funky silhouette is more your style and you want to go for a vintage one like #12. Live your best life, as the kids say.
I will note, #2 kind of stole my heart (and at that price???) and sort of has me wishing I didn’t already have two chairs too many (funny how that works, a few months ago I had but not ONE chair…). But with that guy paired with #17, I would be one happy camper. Then there’s #26 which has my brain going in a completely different (but equally as good) direction, and making me yearn for a more eclectic, retro style. So many possibilities, my friends. There are also a few bench options, which is a nice way of shaking things up visually. A backless bench like #20 works well to open up a space and not disturb sight lines, while the Windsor-esque #5 (which also comes in more neutral colors if pink isn’t for you) would be great with a round pedestal table and two simple chairs (like #6).
1. Natural Wicker Loren Bar Stool | 2. Adjustable Round Wood Metal Stool | 3. Industriale Bar Stool (Set of 2) | 4. Industrial Stool | 5. 29.6″ Bar Stool (Set of 2) | 6. Jute and Wood Cason Bar Stool | 7. Killiam Mixed Material Sled Bar Stool (Set of 2) | 8. Three Hands Bar Stools (Set of 2) | 9. Staffan Stool | 10. Rhodes Metal & Wood Square Counter Stool (Set of 2) | 11. Madrid Counter Stool in Camel | 12. Campbellton 24″ Bar Stool | 13. Hamlet Faux Leather Exposed Frame Bar Stool | 14. Maren 26″ Backless Fabric Barstool (Set of 2) | 15. Bonifay Counter & Bar Stool | 16. Effezeta Rate Italian Metal & Wood Bar Stools (Set of 2) | 17. Gold Fiona Bar Stool With Cushion (Set of 2) | 18. Theo Bar & Counter Stool | 19. Bowden Faux Leather Counter Stool | 20. Wooden Saddle Seat Bar Stool | 21. Astor Velvet Upholstered Counter Stool | 22. Banning Modern Swivel Bar Stool | 23. Maxine Modern Upholstered Faux Leather Counter Stool | 24. Copley Plastic Counter Stool | 25. Vienna 30″ Faux Leather and Walnut Swivel Bar Stool | 26. Classic Cafe Bar Stool | 27. Saddle 26″ Counter Stool (Set of 2)
If your space calls for counter stools (whether you have both a dining room and breakfast bar or just the breakfast bar like most smaller apartments come with these days), I sort of envy you (take a peek at #5 for starters) because you get to play around with more styles which is fun. Guys, chairs are FUN. We included some with backrests and some without of course, because we know that people are VERY passionate about their preferences in this area. In fact, since I am a chair enthusiasts now, I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. When it comes to stools, what side are you on? Is it all about comfort or does style play an important role? Inquiring minds want to know.
1. Soho Sideboard | 2. Glasgow Metal Console Table | 3. Alvin Sideboard | 4. Wellstone Console Table | 5. Hitchin Server | 6. Touraco Console Table | 7. Zane Console | 8. Conrad Console Table | 9. Weisgerber Contemporary Sideboard | 10. Ashford Bar Cabinet | 11. Silver Orchid Glam Console Table | 12. Beem Console Table | 13. Mid-Century 3-Drawer Wood Console | 14. James Half-Round Marble Table | 15. Hannah Server | 16. Vintage Mid-Century Lane Wood Console | 17. Spradling Mid Century Server | 18. Mid-Century Console | 19. Mid-Century 6-Drawer Accent Chest | 20. Kaiser Console Table | 21. Minsmere Caned Console Table
Now we’re entering into “cherry on top” territory. We know not everyone has the space to fit in a credenza (or bar cart, but that’s next), but if you do, they’re great for setting up a little bar if you’re into that, setting platters during a dinner party, storing linens, etc. Something closed is better for storage, but if you’re working with a small space, keeping a more open, simple silhouette will let the room breathe more. These guys offer all the styling opportunities, plus, like we said, hello storage. This is where you can add some flair and personality, even if you are aiming to keep the rest of the room minimal. You guys know the drill: style with a vessel, a potted plant, stacked books, a collection of vintage figurines, perhaps, and BOOM. A perfectly personalized vignette.
Also of note, don’t feel like you have to hold firm to what a site is saying a piece is used for. For instance, #18 is technically being called a TV console, but we say put it in your dining room and boom, it’s a whatever-you-want-to-use-it-for console. #20 is unfinished, so you can either leave it raw or have fun with a stain or paint. Oh, and #10 has a built-in bar inside, so double whammy.
Speaking of bars…
1. Rattan Bistro Bar Cart | 2. Ladner Round Frame Bar Cart | 3. Round Smoke Black Glass and Gold Bar Cart | 4. Glasgow Metal Bar Cart | 5. Wood & Glass Gold Finish Bar Cart | 6. Sunnersta Utility Cart | 7. Vintage Mid-Century Modern Folding Wood Cart | 8. Kendra Bar Cart | 9. Jolie Bar Cart | 10. Lanford Kitchen Bar Cart | 11. Molger Cart | 12. Mota Rolling Cart | 13. Howden Metal Mirrored Bar Cart | 14. Vintage Hollywood Regency Bar Cart | 15. Mainstays Tempered Glass and Metal Bar Cart
Ah, the infamous bar cart. It seems as if no millennial apartment is complete without it, am I right (or at least that’s what photos on the internet tell us)? You’ll notice the brass trend here, which I am always into having some hints of in a room, mainly due to this space that still makes my budding interior-design heart flutter. Something like #3, for example, would add just the right amount of flair. And then we have that really funky (albeit large) vintage wood cart that caught my eye and brought to surface DIY inklings I didn’t know I had in me. I think with a little sanding and a black stain we are in business. I realize now I may have decreased my chances of actually getting it and to that I say, may the best (or quickest) buyer win. 😉
A small rounder option (like #3, #8, #12 and #13) are great for smaller spaces since these would tuck really nicely into a little corner. You could even use it as a side table by your sofa and then roll it over to the dining room when it’s party time. We included a few utility carts, too, (#11, #6) because they’re usually more price conscious, but these are stylish enough to do double duty at happy hour, too.
Alright, to spare you another long-winded post from the likes of me, I will end here and pass it along to you, the beloved reader. What do you want to see next in this series? As always leave your thoughts, comments, suggestions, et al. below.
Til next time. <3