I haven’t really given you guys the full scoop on where our dining room currently stands since our renovation, so I thought I’d give you a peak today. Designing an open concept dining room is new for me, and it is by no means finished!
Let’s rewind for a sec. Here is the main floor space, once the walls had come down and the new drywall was up. The space at the back of the house (which had been our bedroom) was the to-be living room, and the middle section would become the dining room.
See that big 3-pane window on the right above? Well, it’s actually the same window that was in our previous dining room. Remember that space and all of its’ walls? Man it feels like a blast from the past!
Here was what things were looking like once we had our floors in, kitchen semi-installed, and lighting in. We chose to center the dining room pendant on the window, and brought it away from the window far enough that it would also be centered on whatever table we have in that space. You can see that the dining room now sort of floats in the middle of our open concept main floor. I really like the placement, as it makes it easy to bring food from the kitchen, have Maya or guests sitting at the table and one of us in the kitchen prepping food, and just generally still be “together” even if we are doing different things throughout the main floor.
And here is how things are looking today. You can spot the painted mint buffet that I placed to the right of the window, which provides perfect storage for things like placemats, napkins, etc. And we threw up some curtains we had (the Gulsporre set from IKEA), on basic black IKEA curtain rods.
A quick word on the lighting. I had my eye on all kinds of really fancy big pendants for the dining room area when we were in the build process, but our lighting budget line was really slim and I was trying to cut wherever I could. When I stumbled upon the “Montebello” at Rona for $99, I couldn’t pass it up. It was big enough (a too-small fixture over a dining room table can look really womp-womp), I had been looking for something black (this is oil rubbed bronze, but basically looks black), it had multiple bulbs, square lines, and wouldn’t be really obstructive to the view to the living room. Total win.
[P.S. Shauna from Satori Design has some good tips for the size and style of light fixtures for open concept dining spaces – worth checking out!]
Here is the room from the other angle. You can see in this photo that the window to the left of the patio doors is still bare. I actually have some black and white fabric that I’m thinking of doing in drapes for both that window and the dining room window – will help to tie the spaces together. The other thing we are so obviously missing? A rug. Clearly a rug under our dining room table would really help to define the space as it’s own “room”. The problem? Any parent of a toddler will tell you that rugs under the dining room table are a huge pain. We have to sweep under Maya’s high chair every single day and I know any rug would get dirty and stained so quickly and would be a huge pain to clean. Functionality is going to trump style here, at least for the next few years.
I’m not loving is the warm golden tone of the wood next to our grey-washed floors. When we had golden toned hardwood in our previous house, the table worked, but now, it just looks so yellow. I haven’t landed on what colour or style of table I would like, so please chime in with your input in the comments section below!
The other thing is the table size. Again, it worked when we had walls confining our dining room to a small space, but now that we have plenty of room on all sides, it makes sense to have a bigger table. One that could accommodate 8-10 seats would be amazing. Looks like I’ll be building another table at some point (you can see how I built our current farmhouse table here).
In this shot you can see the adjoining entryway. We are missing our closet doors in this photo as I’m currently painting them out in the garage, but as you can see, our front door is still un-painted too. I mean, it’s white and could stay white, but I’m not digging it. I haven’t landed on the colour yet, as I feel like the closet doors (which will be gray) need to be re-installed first. We’ll see how things progress over there.
It’s still a learning process for me, but this is what I have discovered so far about decorating an open concept space:
// Keep things consistent. With open concept spaces, you need a level of uniformity throughout your “rooms” so that the whole area works together. Think flooring, paint, colours, furniture, etc. We carried our hardwood floors throughout the space, the same white walls, and have the gray of our lower kitchen cabinets carried through to all of the interior doors. All of my big pieces are neutral, but I still plan on bringing in more artwork, window coverings, and textiles to add more interest and warmth.
// Careful with clutter. Because you can see into all the different rooms on the main floor, we need to be thoughtful about clutter. I don’t want to be sitting in the living room and see things piled on our dining room table. Or be in the kitchen and see shoes, coats, and hats all over the entryway floor. When you’re designing your space, think about closed storage so that everything has a place. When things are easy to put away and have a “home”, then it actually happens. Having some open shelving is nice to display special things and to give a certain amount of visual interest, but don’t go overboard.
// Unobstructed views. When you are designing and decorating an open concept space, you need to think about your sight lines. You don’t want have to have a really tall, heavy cabinet that breaks up the flow between your dining and living areas. Lighting that feels really heavy can also be distracting. Try to stay away from super bulky pieces so that once it’s all layered in together it works and there isn’t one or two things that are stealing the show.
So, that’s where we are! A work in progress, but one that is totally functional and will come together over time. Do you guys have an open concept dining room? Any advice or tips you’d like to share?