Moving in Flashback: Dining Room

Given that this weekend is the weekend Dan moved into our apartment last year, with me moving in a few weeks later after the wedding, I thought I’d take a look back at the apartment since then and how it’s changed. I’ll start with the room that has come the farthest  – the dining room.


When we viewed the apartment, I really loved its layout, the quiet street, the large kitchen pantry, and the huge kitchen with an island and built in wine rack. But the first question I asked before signing on the dotted line was, “Can we paint?”

You already heard about the baby jail bedroom we’d be using as an office. Those yellow stripes still give me nightmares.


Well, the faded sea foam green dining room walls weren’t much better. Look how much the color faded.

That must have been some high quality paint.


Oh, and did you notice that light fixture? Circa 1970?

We started the room transformation by deciding on a tone for the room. I wanted something more on the formal side, since I love throwing a good dinner party, but definitely wanted to keep it from feeling like you couldn’t touch anything in there.

I also knew the room had to have functionality. For one, it needed to have a dining room table that could expand, but the table had to be small on a day to day basis. Also, I knew this room needed to offer some storage options, but I didn’t want it to look messy.

Back when I was doing this room, I had no idea what a mood board was, so none exist for the dining room. All I had was a feeling. I wanted the room to feel warm and inviting. The color choice? Bold red. For some, this can emit a firy, uneasy feeling, but the color is soothing to me.

After about a year, I did think the room needed some softening up. As you saw in a previous post, I added some delicate curtains and that really did the job.

On to the furniture. As you know, I turn to craigslist whenever I can. And why wouldn’t I? The furniture pieces aee usually well priced and still in excellent condition. The first piece we purchased for the dining room was the table. It’s the Madison Extension Dining Table from Crate & Barrel. It’s well made and extends to seat 8 people. We bought 4 of the Madison chairs with the table and then lucked out majorly when we were able to purchase 2 more from another seller on craigslist.


With all the glassware we were given at our showers and for our wedding, I knew we’d need a place to store them. Our dining room has a cute little nook on one of the walls, and I was hoping to find a sidebar to put there. I found the Orion Chocolate Sideboard from Crate & Barrel on craigslist.


That was a doozy of a drive out to Naperville, and we had to be super careful with the frosted glass doors, but I just loved it. The wood stain almost exacly matches the table. All our barware is neatly stored away in there, along with my table linens and other odds and ends in the middle drawers. The best part? That baby fit perfectly in the nook, without even a centimeter to spare!

The final piece of furniture in the room was a practical choice. Dan and I each amassed a ton of books, and they had nowhere to go. I liked the Sloane Leaning Bookcases from, you guessed it, Crate & Barrel.

I searched on craigslist for these for a while, but in the end, I gave in and bought them directly from the store. It was a splurge, but the money blow was softened by gift cards we received for the wedding. Dan took organization a step further than I ever intended by arranging our books by color. No Dewey Decimal System for us.

Finally, there were the finishing touches. I added some old frames I already had, and that were conveniently red, to the sideboard.


We bought a modern light fixture from Ikea, which my father-in-law was nice enough to install for us. Lucky bonus: the light fixture length is almost exactly the length of the table.


We framed a poster of Chicago that Dan had in his previous apartments and hung it on the wall.


My favorite part of the room has to be the big frame of wedding pictures hanging over the sideboard.


My mom bought the frame on clearance years ago and found it while cleaning out the basement. She gave it to us, saying she’d never use it.

I wanted to hang some of my favorite photos from our wedding somewhere in the apartment, but I didn’t want it to become a display of all the standard wedding poses that every married couple has from their wedding day. So, Dan and I picked our favorite mostly action shot photos to put in the frame. Plus, I really like that the frame isn’t  distinctly noticeable. It’s not the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment, and even not the first thing you notice when you walk into the dining room. It’s subtle, which is exactly what I wanted.

Even though I think a room is never complete in the decoration process, as of now, I don’t have any plans to change this room. What do you think? Any ideas for improvement?

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