Before & After: A Dim 1990s Dining Room Gets an Unrecognizable Open Concept Redo

Before & After: A Dim 1990s Dining Room Gets an Unrecognizable Open Concept Redo

Sarah Everett

Editorial Assistant

Sarah is Apartment Therapy’s editorial assistant. She recently completed her MA in journalism at the University of Missouri and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Belmont University. Past writing and editing stops include HGTV Magazine, Nashville Arts Magazine, and several outlets local to her hometown, Columbia, Missouri.

15 Stylish Upholstered Dining Chairs for Every Budget

15 Stylish Upholstered Dining Chairs for Every Budget

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Whether you’re throwing a dinner party or gearing up for the return of holiday entertaining, you’re probably imagining your guests lingering at the table, as opposed to say, dining and dashing. One way to encourage this? Providing comfy chairs. The difficulty is that (particularly when it comes to dining chairs, for some reason) finding furniture that’s both comfortable and stylish can be a real challenge. With this in mind, we went looking for upholstered dining chairs that will be friendly to your guests’ backsides and bottoms while looking great in your dining room, too. From modern picks with clean lines and neutral hues to velvet wonders and, yes, even a rattan pick (it wouldn’t be us without one, would it?), below you’ll find 15 of our favorite upholstered dining chairs on the market today. Here’s to nights spent around the table with good people, great food, and even better conversation.

Sarah M. Vazquez also contributed to reporting. 

Nancy Mitchell

Contributor

As a Senior Writer at Apartment Therapy, Nancy splits her time among looking at beautiful pictures, writing about design, and photographing stylish apartments in and around NYC. It’s not a bad gig.

B&A: A $250 Project Adds Character and Elegance to a Plain Dining Room

B&A: A $250 Project Adds Character and Elegance to a Plain Dining Room

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

You already know that many historic homes come with enviable craftsmanship, charm, and original ornate detailing — but it’s possible to add a bit of that old-world character to even the most builder-grade white boxes. And better yet? It’s even possible to do so as a renter. Liz (@capitolcasual)’s dining room project is here to prove it.

When she and her husband moved into their D.C. townhome, they had half of a complete dining room. Liz’s husband built their eight-seater farmhouse table, and they saved up for the boho beaded chandelier overhead. But after a year, they still had no idea what to do with the blank white walls in their dining room. “The room felt so bare and empty, and, honestly, it echoed!” Liz says. It wasn’t the warm, inviting space they envisioned for entertaining.

Liz wanted to add some detail to the space, but there wasn’t enough space for a buffet or other table, and, as a renter, she couldn’t find any removable wallpaper she loved.

Instead, her husband taught her how to use the miter saw, and she got to work on her DIY chair and picture frame moulding. First, she measured and taped out the rectangles on the wall — a crucial first step for figuring out how many “frames” you want and envisioning the end result, she says.

Then, she selected moulding pieces from Lowes (thin for the picture frames, to elongate the space, and slightly thicker for the chair rail, to anchor it), cut them with the miter saw, and mounted them to the wall using double-sided mounting tape that’s completely removable if the next tenant prefers to take the detail down.

Liz used wood filler, caulk, and a little bit of soap and water to make the seams smooth and painted everything a creamy white (Sherwin-Williams’ Stone Isle) to match. “I was most surprised at how long caulking took, but it was so worth it,” she says. Although the project took only one weekend, it took the WHOLE weekend, Liz says: “I was painting until 11 p.m. on Sunday night!”

She says she’s proud that she did the whole project herself.

“This project rang in at about $200 to $250!” Liz says. “It has such a huge impact on the room, and since our living and dining rooms spill into each other, it has a huge impact on the whole first floor.”

Now, she has a complete, elegant, and expensive-looking space that will wow future guests. “I love our friends’ reactions whenever someone sees the updated wall for the first time!” she says.

Sarah Everett

Editorial Assistant

Sarah is Apartment Therapy’s editorial assistant. She recently completed her MA in journalism at the University of Missouri and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Belmont University. Past writing and editing stops include HGTV Magazine, Nashville Arts Magazine, and several outlets local to her hometown, Columbia, Missouri.

Before & After: A Sophisticated Revamp Turns Dining Room Into an Artsy Oasis

Before & After: A Sophisticated Revamp Turns Dining Room Into an Artsy Oasis

Figuring out how to add character and charm to a plain dining space can be a bit overwhelming. Should you opt for funky mismatched dining chairs, or will that look messy? And what about rugs — do they belong a dining room or not?

When it came time to revamp her narrow dining room, Liz Ferguson (Hello From Liz) decided that a rug did belong — and it ended up tying the whole space together.

When they first moved into their new home, the dining room wasn’t a high priority for Liz and her husband, Grant. But once the pandemic began, the dining room became Liz’s home office and the command station for all home improvement projects. That was “the catalyst for me to cohesively design and add finishing touches to each corner of the space,” Liz says.

Liz’s first challenge was that the dining space is open to the kitchen and living room, so it all had to remain cohesive. She got to work painting the entryway, living, dining, and kitchen areas the same shade of white (Behr’s White Lie) to lighten up the 1917 home. “It reads as cool blue to cool white depending on the time of day and what it is reflecting,” Liz says.

Next was adding the perfect white and blue rug, which takes up much of the space. It adds to the cool, bright tones in the room, all while making it look and feel homey.

The Arhaus table, which seats six to eight people, was a wishlist item of Liz’s ever since she saw the same one on Jenny Komenda’s patio. The rounded corners and multifaceted brass legs are unique but classic, Liz says. 

With padded leather seats and metal frames, the West Elm chairs add a modern touch to the space. “The cantilever shape allows for a bit of bounce, which we find extra comfy during long meals or game nights,” Liz says.

The room is scattered with collected art and various finds. Take the Mastercraft Greek key console table straight from the ’70s as an example. Or the art on the walls passed down from family members. “It’s become apparent that we are part of families that include many generations of art lovers,” Liz says.

The biggest project of the redesign was converting the ’80s recessed can lights into pendant fixtures using a kit to hang two lights over the table.

Liz’s advice for prioritizing projects like this one? Start with the room you spend a lot of time in, and don’t wait to make it inspire you.

“I love having an art-filled space that feels representative of my personality as such a central part of my home,” Liz says.