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Updated Dining Room Using What I Already Had (Coastal Theme)

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This dining room was updated for less than $20! The owner used what she already had to decorate the dining room with a coastal theme. Decorating with what you have is a budget freindly way to decorate any space in your home.


Having an unlimited budget for decorating my home would be a whole lot of fun, but having a limited budget has caused me to learn a lot about decorating and helped me define my decor style.

When we first moved into our home a little over two years ago, our income was split in half since I became a stay at home mom to our son. I wanted so desperately to buy new decor for our home, but it just wasn’t possible.

So I painted the main living areas a neutral white and then decorated with what I already had. The Nester calls it “shopping your house” in her book The Nesting Place*.

It saves money, forces me to be creative, and decreases clutter.

This is what our dining room looked like after I decorated it with curtains that I had in my previous home, a corner cabinet that was left by the previous owners, and decor that I already had.  It wasn’t spectacular, but it worked for the time being. 

Updated Dining Room, Decorating with what you already have

I really loved how it looked at Christmas.

But in January I took down all of my Christmas decor, and the room just didn’t feel right. I knew that it didn’t reflect me or my family. I started changing things up a little at a time and searching my home for things that I could add to the space.

Slowly, VERY slowly, (we’re talking 8 months!) the changes started to reflect more of me.


I started by painting the corner shelf a neutral color and getting rid of the red background. Then I spruced up the outdated ceiling fan by painting a couple thin coats of black acrylic craft paint over the brass finishes and turned the blades upside down. I would love to eventually put a chandelier in here, but for now, I’m happy with the simple update.




In March I took the Love Your Home Challenge from Melissa Michaels’ book Love the Home You Have*. This challenge helped me pinpoint what I love about my home and things that I really wanted to change. I realized that I love pops of red and the coastal look! 



I white washed a wooden sign and added some twine to give it a coastal feel.

Then my brain started turning, and I switched out the curtains. I never really liked my green curtains that I purchased when we were first married. So I switched them out with these beautiful curtains that my mother-in-law had made for my son’s nursery that he is no longer in.

The curtains were the icing on the cake! I’m so glad I moved them to the dining room.

Book Review of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Next up, I decorated the corner shelf and shared my five tips for decorating shelves with you all in this post. The transformation in the shelves had me wanting to change up my temporary gallery wall. I spray painted a few frames white, painted an outline of a crab, framed an old flag, added a wreath, and fixed up an empty frame.

I almost threw the empty frame away but decided to salvage it by wrapping twine around it and using clothes pins to hang a picture and a folded book page with a heart drawn on with permanent marker.




The last thing that I added was a chalkboard that I purchased from Hobby Lobby. I love the touch of red on this wall.




In the near future I would love to refinish my table. It is worn out! I’m on the look out for a pair of chairs that I can add to the ends of the table and hopefully soon I’ll be able to re-stain the top and use white chalk paint for the base and chairs.

Two years ago I didn’t spend any money to decorate my dining room. This time I spent $19 for this transformation! I love how getting creative and using what you already have can go such a long way!

Here is the breakdown of what I spent and the items in my dining room:

$15 (Hobby Lobby) Chalkboard

Free (I already had it.) Vinyl Ruler*

Free (I already had them.) Curtains*

$3 (Goodwill) Black Lantern

$1 (Wal-Mart) White Spray Paint for Frames

Total Spent: $19!


Other Posts You Will Enjoy:

6 Ways to Decorate with What You Have

5 Tips for Decorating Shelves

What the KonMari Method Didn’t Tell You








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