Before and After: A $1500 Redo Makes This Dining Room Bright and Cozy

published Oct 27, 2020
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Before: Dining room with black table in front of window
Credit: Betsy Wood

Even large spaces can feel small and cramped when they’re dark and poorly lit. Take this dining room, from Betsy Wood’s 1974 home, which is actually pretty spacious—but with its dull paint color, heavy furniture, and lack of lighting, the space felt closed-in. “It was full of old furniture we had brought from our previous home, and although we have a big beautiful window in the room, and it’s a rather large room, it always felt so dark in there,” Betsy says. “The space under the window seemed to be wasted and underused and to be honest, it was just boring.”

“The room was large but didn’t seem to be used to its full potential,” Betsy adds. Plus, there was little storage in the house as a whole, which started to become a problem as her family grew from two to four over the last few years.

Credit: Betsy Wood

While the warm terracotta floors are the same—as is the built-in fireplace—they look way brighter and warmer against white walls. “We have a great window in the room where we get lots of great Arizona sun, but the room always seemed so dark and dim with the dark furniture and gray walls,” Betsy says. “It just needed a little change!”

Betsy replaced the old dark wood table with a lighter, more modern set. She also swapped in a minimalist gold chandelier that makes a statement without overpowering the room.

Credit: Betsy Wood

The cabinet under the window added tons more practical storage. It used to be a built-in cabinet in Betsy’s parents’ dining room for almost 70 years, Betsy says. With a little DIY— sanding, painting, replacing the doors, and adding a new reclaimed wood top—she was able to turn it into a built-in that sits just below the window. “it was an absolute perfect fit in our little nook!” Betsy says. “It provides so much storage and history—the wood on top were old bleacher boards from a high school in our city.”

The room cost $1500 all-in, and Betsy’s in love with the results. “My absolute favorite part is our built in. It provides so much practical storage, I can’t figure out where I put all the stuff inside before I had it!”