You will all know by now that I'm a little obsessed with interior design (if you haven't seen some of my room tour posts you can find them here!) so when I was asked to take part in the These Four Walls Project I just had to take up the opportunity to restyle our dining room. It's the one room in the house that's never really been how I wanted it, and with it being an old house with some questionable features (hello ugly fireplace) I've never really been sure what to do with it so just left it be. We rarely sat in there to eat and it didn't really feel very welcoming with a lack of a colour scheme or theme. It tended to be a bit of a dumping ground for our belongings when we arrived home, and the table was often cluttered with anything and everything from post and keys to notebooks and pens. Time for a change!
Below you can see what the room looked like before the challenge (and after a good tidy up - it was much worse than this!), and the challenge was to restyle the room on a budget of £100 to celebrate the launch of the Four Walls interior design blog with Ocean Finance. I knew straight away the theme I wanted to go with, so I got down to work on planning how to spend the money.
Firstly, other than the cupboards either side of the fireplace, the room lacked storage, hence why everything always ended up on top of the dining table! I knew I wanted to get a piece of furniture, but I didn't want to spend more than half of my budget on it, so rather than hunting online, I visited a local Sue Ryder charity shop that stocks some brilliant second hand (sometimes Vintage) furniture. As there's already a lot of woodwork in the room, I tried to get something that would match as closely as possible so that it wouldn't look out of place. I spied a Vintage sideboard at a bargain price of £40, and knew it would be perfect. It had been painted white and sanded back down to give it more of a 'shabby chic' look, with new handles, and although we had to do a little repair work on the inside, it fits perfectly against a wall that used to be a place to dump bags and coats.
The next thing I wanted to do was move attention away from the horrific fire place in the room, but the fire itself is so large that I struggled finding anything to hide it. I decided to concentrate on the mantelpiece instead, by making a feature with photos and prints in black and white - my chosen colour scheme - as I already had a few frames lying around that I'd bought when we moved in but never got round to using. I had to pick up a couple more to make it more of a feature, but they were cheap as chips at The Range, then I purchased a couple of downloadable prints off Etsy, and made a few myself on good old Photoshop. I wanted to give them more of a personal feel, so a few of them feature things that mean something to Dan and I, including song lyrics and photos of our friends and families.
To give the shelves at either side of the fireplace a bit of an update, I moved a few things around, such as the baskets that had previously been on the floor, I brought in some black and white books and magazines from the living room, and a chest of drawers that had been in our spare bedroom. It's amazing how switching a few items around can give a completely different look! I kept to the black and white theme again, and got rid of the red drawers and accessories that were there before. I then added some finishing touches to the Vintage sideboard by moving a lamp, trunk and basket over there, and purchased a couple of candles from Primark in monochrome patterns.
The biggest change of all in my eyes is the dining table. It used to look so bare and lost in the room as it blended in to the floor, and it was never used for it's purpose. To add some more warmth and interest to the room I purchased a rug in the sale at Very to sit directly underneath. Just this alone has made a huge change! I then found some fabric table mats in the H&M sale to replace the dated wooden ones that we had before. I also got some cute coasters from H&M in monochrome geometric patterns to stick with the theme.
I'm so pleased with how the room has turned out, especially now that I've seen the before and after photos. The room now has character, feels more inviting and I actually want to spend time in there. I've already spent a couple of mornings sat at the table eating my breakfast, and hope to have guests over soon for dinner now that I'm not embarrassed about the way it looks!
Here's the break down of how the £100 budget was spent:
£40 - Vinage Sideboard, Sue Ryder
£7 - Extra photo frames, The Range
£9 - Prints, Etsy
£25 - Rug, Very
£11.20 - Placemats, H&M (20% discount code used)
£1.60 - Coaster, H&M (20% discount code used)
£6 - Candles, Primark
Money well spent and a job well done if I do say so myself! It just goes to show that changing the whole look of a room doesn't have to cost bucket loads, and there are some clever hacks that can make the whole thing much cheaper. Keep an eye on local charity shops for great bargains on Vintage furniture, scour the internet for discount codes to get your basket price down, and shop around to find the cheapest options.
What are your top tips for shopping for the home on a budget? Take a look at the new Four Walls blog for more inspiration!