Budget Decorated Dining Room Before and After Decorating

Dining room before and after decorating ideas that were all done with paint. Paint is the least expensive and easiest way to change or update any item. You will see how paint transformed a dark and dreary room to a bright and cheery – from walls to furniture and even the light fixture – the power of paint.

I am also sharing decorating inspiration in the way of showing you how I took a bunch of mismatched furniture and transformed it all with paint and elbow grease to turn them into pieces I love one by one and after a few years, into a room I love.


I felt my dining room fit the description best since it started out as a room filled with mismatched hand-me-downs, none of which fit my style.  I didn’t feel the love, but had no budget to do anything with it and worked to make each piece my own.

If I was going to make it into a room I loved, I had to DIY it. I turned the room around with lots and lots of paint. It didn’t happen overnight, in fact it took a few years to get the room the way I envisioned. It was a transformative journey in all respects.

My dining room transformation started and ended with paint.  The room has 9 painted projects that range from painting the walls down to the detail of the curtain rod finial. Paint is where I find my inspiration. It can change everything and anything even with the smallest of budgets. 

My dining room transformation started when this hand-me down hutch  I entitled the post I shared with you a few years ago, Good-Bye Knotty Pine.

Painted Furniture makeover

I painted it white using primer and latex semi-gloss and added book pages to the shelves using Mod Podge.  It made a dramatic difference to the room.

I knew I was heading in the right direction since everything looked brighter and cheerier once the knotty pine was history.

Before and after room makeover on a small budget

The next project I took on didn’t involve paint, but fabric. After paint, fabric is the best item to use to transform a room on a budget. I made these chair-back slipcovers for the chairs that were handed down to me from my mom and dad.

How to paint a chandelier

Not all paint projects require a quart or a gallon. I used 2 oz bottles of craft paint to makeover this builder-grade chandelier in the room.

To make it my own took a bit of inspiration pulled from decorating magazines, a mix of craft paint, and crystals to transform it from ho-hum builder grade to a pretty chandelier I love.


The corner hutch was next. I painted it after I learned how to make and paint with DIY chalk paint. I used two colors on it and experimented by mixing chalk paint ingredients together to come up with a super durable finish.

I also made no-sew chair back runners in black and white stripe fabric to accent the white chair-back slipcovers.

How to stain a table in a driftwood color

A few months went by and I took on the transformation of the table.  I stripped the top and re-stained it using Driftwood Finish. I painted the legs of the table with DIY chalk paint.

How to make a paper snowflake window treatment

The walls in the room have had a few different colors of paint on them over the years ranging from orange stripes to the color of celery, to tan and finally white.

I like white walls in the dining room since I can use any color of serving pieces or seasonal decoration and it goes. Nothing to match.


I also painted industrial metal pipe and doorknobs to make curtain rods for the room…


…and gave the mantel a fresh coat of Marshmallow White from Glidden. 

Furniture makeover using DIY chalk paint

Back in the early summer, I took on the last project…the chairs. I thought I wouldn’t be able to change the color of the rush seats, but after some trial and error, I had success using a driftwood color stain over the seats. It soaked right in and removed most of the orange tone. I used white chalk paint over the wood.

Painted Dining Room AFTER


Oh…. and I can’t forget the long basket on the top of the hutch on which I used paint and water to make a whitewash that lightened the color.

I even transformed a few thrift store ceramic pitchers with white spray paint so I would have enough to fill the hutch.

If you have a small budget to decorate a room, paint and fabric are the two materials that can make a huge difference.

To learn more, see my Pillows, Seat Covers and Cushions posts as well as Furniture Makeovers and Paint Tutorials & Tips.

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  1. Wow! The room looks amazing! Here’s an article I think you might like: How To Set The Perfect Table For Any Occasion

  2. Yours is the first blog I’ve ever followed and I absolutely love it! I look forward to each new project you write about and I, too, find you so inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing all of the cool things you do. I really enjoy seeing how you take what you’ve got and make it into something that’s more “you” instead of just going out and buying new stuff. I’ve even made a folder to keep my favorite projects you’ve shared close at hand. Thanks so much for inspiring others and myself.

  3. Diane…this room is fabulous. If I were to have walked in there, soaked it all in and love it like I do, I would have NEVER believed you if you would have told me it was a mix and max furniture room with a lot of paint…never! You are so talented, you have put together a show piece of a room. Everything from that wonderful turquoise corner hutch, to the darling mantel to your painted chairs looks like it came from the pages of a very expensive catalog. I would love to get your take on the mix and match in my dining room, I can only imagine!

  4. Melissa @ The The Inspired Room says:

    What a treat to see your projects, so much talent! I love it. And I’m honored that you would share my book, too! Thank you! I’m so excited to see where you are headed next! Thanks again, friend.

  5. Happy Happy Nester says:


    Your Home is so inspiring! I LOVE all your DIY projects, I’m encouraged keep creating. I always enjoy your posts!

  6. OMG – that white hutch is to die for. I never would have thought that could be done and look that good. Wow! And there’s my favorite little footstool with the houndstooth steps. I wish I had your talent.

  7. I as well find inspiration in all your reno’s and DIY’s.
    Those pieces that you transformed into beautiful swans from ugly ducklings.
    Can’t wait to see what your new home brings!

  8. Loves the Find says:

    Love the makeover. What a transformation! This hutch is gorgeous!

  9. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors says:

    Diane, I love your painted projects, especially the teal corner hutch. It adds a nice pop of color!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jann – Thanks. The corner cabinet is one of my fave pieces in my house. I hope I can find a space for it in my next home. The home we are looking at to buy doesn’t have a formal dining room. I may have to rethink a use for it.

  10. I so enjoyed seeing your dining room makeover piece by piece. You are so talented and creative. When ever I am thinking about a new project I always check your blog first for inspiration. I really am excited for you to have a “new” house and all the projects you will share!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Toni – Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me that you find inspiration on my blog and the posts I share. It means so much to me. XO I love blogging and am looking forward to getting moved and settled in a new home so I can start sharing new budget friendly ways to decorate with you.

  11. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    Love seeing all of your great DIY project in one post like this. Your dining room looks great.

  12. Sue Bauman says:

    The talent you have is tremendous!