Modern Dining Room Makeover {One Room Challenge Reveal}

I couldn't be more excited to share our dining room makeover with you! This has been my eighth One Room Challenge, and as always it was a race to the finish line... but we made it and the space turned out better than I had imagined. It also remains one of the hardest spaces in our house to photograph, so I hope my pictures do it justice.

Modern Dining Room Makeover

Our kitchen dining area was the first to be decorated when we moved into our house ten years ago this month. That's because it was one of the few rooms that we had furniture for after moving from our downtown loft. The moving company delivered our table and sideboard and we hung the same shelves and art that we'd had in our loft for the three years prior. Let me remind you where we started just six weeks ago...

Teal Dining Room

Teal & Gray Kitchen

Although I still love teal, I was ready for a more neutral backdrop in the kitchen, and I was really ready to update the glass furniture, and especially the curved glass shelves above the sideboard that really dated the dining room decor. 

In addition to updating the style of the dining area, my other goals for the space included adding more storage, making the kitchen island more of a focal point, and finding a way to finally decorate the large, blank wall below our long, thin kitchen window. Add in a new rug, art, and a few new accessories, and our kitchen dining area has a very fresh new look!

Metropolitan gray dining room walls

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Our house has lots of these high, skinny windows, and they've always presented such a design challenge to me. Over the past decade, I've slowly figured out creative ways to decorate around them in various rooms of the house. In the kitchen dining area however, I just couldn't get it right. We added the words years ago, and I still love the quote, but the big blank wall below it was mocking me. Finally I found an inspiration photo where an entire wall was filled with three rows of large black and white photos and it struck me that I could create a similar look with two rows of framed photos below the window.

dark gray dining room walls, black and white photo gallery wall, West Elm Mobile Grand Chandelier, White Dylan Dining Table

In the inspiration photo, the black and white pictures were matted with rounded corners. I couldn't afford to get custom mats cut, so I instead used Photoshop to round the corners of the photos before printing them, then trimmed the excess white in the corners off and mounted the photos on top of mat board inside of these 20"x24" frames to achieve the same look without the custom price tag.

Dining room centerpiece with Ikea Candleholders

Now instead of just seeing a big blank wall when you look across the dining table, the view is so much more interesting! 

Gallery wall of large black and white photos with rounded corners

I especially love that all of the photos are ones Scott and I have captured in our travels, making this art display personal and meaningful to us.

Dining room gallery wall

As for my favorite feature in the new dining area, it's a toss up between the wall of photos, the new tile, and the dining table. The X-shaped legs add so much interest to the space, and they also show of the mid-mod dining chairs that I searched for long and hard!

Modern Dining Room with mobile chandelier, Dylan dining table, Porthos Home Warren Dining Chairs

And I love the way the angles of the new chandelier mimic the angles of the table legs.

modern dining room, white dining room table, Ikea Eket storage cabinet

I wanted something for the center of the dining table that would be simple and streamlined, but would also be substantial enough to not look dwarfed by the 104" long table. I selected a teal, velvet table runner that adds a gorgeous pop of bold color and then added a line of chunky candle holders.

Modern dining room centerpiece

In addition to changing the style of the furniture in the dining area, I also wanted to add more storage because... well, because you can never have enough storage!

Ikea Eket in Dining Room

To keep the project on budget, we opted for inexpensive storage cabinets from IKEA. I painted the light wood base black, and added modern, matte black cabinet pulls to give it a higher end look. 

White Ikea Eket Drawers and Gray cubical shelves with modern handles

Pairing a gray cubical shelf with the white cabinets adds interest and gives me a new place to display some books and accessories, and I look forward to decorating this space for each season and holiday! 

Another major change in this space is on the front of the kitchen island.

Where it was once just drywall painted the same teal color as the other walls, it's now a graphic black and white tile!

We've had these clear, acrylic barstools for years, but they look better than ever in front of this statement tile. 

Of course, we also updated the lighting above the island as well. I love these faceted pendant lights almost as much as I love their price tag (under $100 each).

Despite being a busy, bold pattern, the tile adds style to the overall kitchen design without being overwhelming. 

Of all the changes we made in the kitchen on thing that stayed the same is the chalkboard wall. Most days this wall is covered in the kid's drawings, but right now it features the owl mascot of my sons' elementary school that I drew there for a Mom's Happy Hour I'm hosting next week.

It used to be that when you rounded the corner from the entry way into the kitchen dining area, the big blank wall below the window was the first thing you saw. Now the first view of the space is so much better!

Looking beyond the dining table, you see the double-sided fireplace at the far end of the room.

When we bought the house, there was a chandelier hanging at the far end of the room, suggesting that the table should be right in front of the fireplace. We had an electrician move the chandelier electrical to the center of the space, allowing us to create a cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace instead. The small, black swivel chairs face the fireplace {which is also open to our back patio}, or can turn to face the dining table or the television above the wine rack.

Just behind the sitting area is the same wine rack we've had for many years.

I really loved the blue and teal over-dyed rug that we had in this sitting area before, but the style just didn't go with the new tile on the front of the kitchen island. I started searching for a new rug that would still add some vibrant color to this end of the room without competing too much with the graphic black and white tile. I was thrilled to find this new rug on sale! It really lightens up the space and still has the deep teal color that I love. And the old rug has found a happy home in the upstairs hall.

To the left of the sitting area is our kids' play kitchen. It was a gift from Santa four years ago, but still gets played with every day! I love how similar the style of this play kitchen is to our real kitchen, with the dark wood, silver appliances, and light brick backsplash.

Looking past the play kitchen is our back door and mini-mudroom.

Here's a view toward the same corner of the kitchen, looking across the newly tiled island.

When we bought the house ten years ago, the kitchen cabinets stopped short of the back door, leaving an completely unused corner. A few years after moving in, we added matching cabinets to create a super functional mudroom-like space, complete with a bench, extra storage, and shelving for all of my cookbooks. This space looks about the same as it did before the makeover, but I did update it with a new rug and a couple of new teal, velvet pillows with a subtle paisley pattern

That's a wrap on this round of the One Room Challenge. Here's one more look at the final before and afters...

Modern style dining room Metropolitan Gray Walls white dining table tiled front of kitchen island



  1. The cabinet pulls on the new storage catch my eye from every angle - so good! LOVE that tile on the island too!

  2. Angela you create such fun and interesting spaces. Your gallery wall of black and whites is great (and love the quote too!) and it all looks so polished! Hope you are enjoying it all!

  3. Ah looks gorgeous!!!
    I love the finishes you chose.

  4. This is so cool. So much visual interest. I love what you did on the island and the hardware is so so good! Kudos.

  5. I love the station for your "junior chefs"!

  6. This is so cool, it looks like a downtown loft!

  7. The dinning chairs are my favorite. Great job and congratulations on a finished room!

  8. Love it! Especially the statement tile.

  9. Really like it and I'm pretty traditional!