How do you decorate a room after downsizing? It's not always easy but so worth it! Here is our story and the evolution of a dining room.
It’s been two and a half years since we moved into our Tanglewood House and we have gradually made so many changes. Our dining area was and still is the room that gives me angst! Who knew that such a small space would be so hard to decorate and get right! Let’s look at the evolution of our Tanglewood dining room and how I finally made peace with this room!
Welcome to our monthly series about downsizing. In this series, my friends Ann from
You might like to read my whole DOWNSIZING STORY.
Ann, Lory, and I all have different styles so we thought working together to share our homes with you would give you lots of ideas and inspiration for the rooms in your home! And you can hear our different downsizing stories! You can see links to their dining rooms at the end of this post.
Today is about our dining rooms!
Here’s my evolution of a dining room…
OUR DINING ROOM STORY
One of the biggest changes, when we moved from our StoneGable home to the Tanglewood House, was the dining room.
The dining room at StoneGable was ample and comfortable and familiar and it was my favorite room in our home! We used our dining room too! Not just for holidays and special occasions but for family dinners, which were often.
And this is the room in our StoneGable home I miss most of all! Even to this day!
No wonder the Tanglewood dining room, if you could call it that, was already at a big disadvantage because it just wasn’t the StoneGable dining room.
Here’s the story of this open concept area and the trouble it gave me when it came to decorating it!
Here’s what our Tanglewood dining room looked like the day we moved in…
UGH! What an ugly duckling!
The dining room was more of a “dining area”.
The only real wall in this open dining room was the one with the window.
Here is another image of our dining area the day we moved in. I remember rooting around all the boxes for something to put on the table!
I really had no idea how I was going to change this into a dining room we would want to eat in and entertain in and make memories in!
Wow, things have really changed! But this change took over two years!
When we moved, I used the furniture from our StoneGable breakfast nook and put it into the dining area because it fit. I knew it was not the look I eventually wanted but it worked in the interim.
I bought a Ruggable rug for our dining room with a fun stylized animal print to bring a bit of life to the room. Our children were having babies and because this is the only place to eat I wanted a rug that was also pretty much indestructible!
A FEW NEW CHANGES
Christmas 2019 was really the first time I decorated our dining area, just a few weeks after we moved into our home.
We hung a new basket pendant light over the table and added some white linen curtains we brought from StoneGable.To fill up space, I also brought up my favorite bar cart from the basement and decorated it for the season.
The color palette of our home is neutral and texture is very important when you have a neutral home. Thank goodness for the textured pendant light!
This was phase one of our dining area’s evolution.
THREE PHASES IN THE EVOLUTION OF OUR DINING ROOM
I think about the changes we have made in our dining area as “phases”. Each phase brought new things to this space and refined its look. It’s really all about finding your style and your look and what works best in the area you are decorating and what brings you joy! And that can often be a journey!
It just takes a while when we downsize to redefine our style to work with a new home. And it often takes even longer to let go of things we might be holding on to that no longer work in our homes!
And that is exactly how it was for me.
I call phase one “shock and awe”.
Going from a large dining room to a small open-concept dining area was a shock! Honestly, I just could not wrap my mind around this little area! And I was in awe that a little space could best me! You would think this space would be so easy to decorate. After all, there was only enough room for the basics!
But it was definitely the hardest to decorate! I think I was mourning my StoneGable dining room! Sounds silly now, but there’s nothing silly when it comes to the psychology surrounding downsizing!
So, at first, I made a few changes and then just ignored this space… for about a year!
I literally walked through this room so many times a day but never really paid attention to it!
NEW THINGS AND A BAD DECISION…
Phase two of the evolution of our dining room brought a flurry of changes. I call this phase, mindless decorating!
I made some good changes to the dining area and some, well, not so good!
Eventually, I made peace with this small but important area of our home. But that comes later!
The first thing I changed was the curtains. And I bought new chairs and then I bought a table!
The curtains were a win! They were soft and white with a warm, thin stripe. I liked how they worked with the patterned rug. They had just enough interest to be noticed but not to attract too much attention.
And I really liked the new chairs. They were updated and neutral and very comfortable. Three adjectives I wanted to describe my dining area as well.
The chairs had just enough classical styling and a little contemporary nod to work in a Transitional home.
I liked the curtains and the chairs but the table was pretty much a huge fail!
I was trying to recreate the beautiful concrete table I had at StoneGable but this table just screamed FARMHOUSE and that was a look I was moving away from. This house was not a home for farmhouse style. Not at all!
It would take me almost another whole year to give up this very farmhouse looking table and buy another table that worked much better with my new style.
I was trying so hard to make this table fit into our dining area. And I knew it was really all wrong. Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole is such hard, frustrating work!
There are many psychological things that happen when we downsize and we may not realize them! It takes a while for all the changes to sink in!
Obviously, the table was a big mistake. I pretty much knew it right away but I was still holding on to things from a different season of my life.
These ghosts from our decorating past can really stop us from moving forward! And it did me! I was trying to hold onto my StoneGable dining room with the lovely concrete topped table.
It wasn’t until I sold the table that my vision for this room finally became clear!
Another thing I changed during this phase was the rug. I bought the same rug, from Ruggables, in a larger size. This made a huge difference in how our dining area looked! The rug defined the space so much better and made it look like a dining room!
Let’s circle back to the table issue again for another minute…
After I sold the farmhouse table we brought the round table back up from the basement. It was the table we put in the dining area the first day we moved in.
This table was really a placeholder! We had been looking for and found a table that we loved!
So until our new table arrived, the round table came up from the basement for a last hoorah!
Here’s the round table decked out for Christmas…
And did you notice the pretty little chandelier? Bob installed it and then I asked him to take it down. I returned it. It was really a beautiful drum chandelier! Great quality and well made. But I missed the texture of the basket shade.
PHASE THREE… A TABLE THAT WILL STAY
In early spring of this year, our new table finally came to live at the Tanglewood House.
There’s a saying I can really relate to… “You know when you know”. And I did!
At last, I felt the dining area reflected the style that had eluded me for over two years!
I gave the bar cart to my daughter and the basement round table too.
Then I brought a bench from the foyer over to the dining area to sit under the window. It’s out of the way and adds a nice little sitting space for our cat Teddy and grandbabies.
I can now say I am at home in our dining room! It suits our home and our home suits us!
WHAT I LEARNED DURING THE EVOLUTION OF A DINING ROOM
Here are 10 important things I learned while decorating our dining area…
Downsizing can be a long journey! Finding your way can take a couple of years!
Not only do you have to let go of things you love when you downsize but also you must let go trying to make your new home look like your old one!
You might need to decorate and redecorate and redecorate before you get it right!
Make sure you know the return policy of things you buy online!
Changing your decorating style does not happen overnight! It’s a bumpy journey but well worth it!
In smaller spaces, less is definitely more! Actually in larger spaces too.
The two biggest things that helped me, in the end, be successful when it came to decorating my dining room were staying true to my color palette and not quitting!
I was not willing to use what I had when it did not work in our new home.
Ask a professional (decorator and otherwise) to give you a little help.
Walk away from decorating for a short time if you get frustrated but don’t give up.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Know in your heart you can do it.
Well, that’s eleven, but who is really counting!
DINING ROOM SOURCES
Here are sources for the things you have seen today! When something is no longer in stock I tried to replace it with something similar. And many things come in different colors.
If you are interested in our new dining room table you can see it Here.
Oh, friend! I know to never say never!
I’m sure there will be another chapter in the evolution of this dining room! Until then please visit my wonderful friends and see what they are sharing about their dining rooms…