Before & After: Our Dining Room Reveal

Last July, Ryan and I bought our first home: a cute little ~900sqft condo in a suburban neighborhood of Seattle proper. I fell in love with the unit at first sight, due to the amount of natural light flooding into an efficient floor plan — not to mention the plethora of windows affording awesome views of the downtown skyline and Capitol Hill. The building is a little over 20 years old, but our unit was pretty well maintained, so aside from new bedroom carpeting and a few layers of paint, we had little renovations to do.

I’ve been meaning to do a home tour ever since we moved in, but decorating took much longer (and proved much more difficult) than I imagined! Sometimes, when a piece seems to fit (mentally), it doesn’t actually work in real life because the proportions are off, or, by measurements, the furniture will fit, but when you actually assemble it and move it into place, something is off. As a recent Seattle transplant and first-time homeowner, we didn’t have much to work with, thus the partial reveal 10 months later. Regardless, I am most proud of our living room progress (thus the debut!), as I think it is the most collected and composed room in our home thus far.

For starters, here’s how the dining room looked when we first toured the unit. (Most bloggers like to show horrible cell phone-quality, low-lighting “Before” photos to juxtapose next to the staged and photoshopped “After” photo, but I won’t do that.) Here’s the professional (and obviously wide-angle) shot of the dining space, posted onto Redfin (so Before shots courtesy of Redfin, err and/or listing agent):


and for context:

As you can see, we have bay windows framing a partial view of the Needle, a hideously outdated pendant lamp, and a space that we thought would only fit a 4-person dining table (thanks to the staging).


As a better progress photo, here’s a panoramic of our living/dining around the holidays:

Here’s our dining room today (sans wide-angle as I don’t own one):


Not only were we able to fit a 6-person table but also a storage buffet and a shelf! And of course, we replaced the lamp with something more modern and well, us.

If you’re thinking rooms just come together at once — you’re mistaken. It took a few months just to get the dining table (we were eating off of our coffee table), half a year to replace the light, and just recently did we add the buffet when our kitchen cabinets ran out of space. Considering that the furniture were mix-n-matched from various sources, I had to do a little wood staining and spray painting to make things match.

On the contrast, some pieces just unexpectedly work! That $30 painting from Ross used to hang above our bed in our previous apartment, and after I changed our bedding and repainted the bedroom walls, I had that painting sitting on the floor for a few months — until I realized one night that it could fit in our dining room. How I managed to miss that for months is beyond me (me, a visual designer). The even funnier thing is, we painted that accent wall before we even moved half of our boxes over or purchased anything. I just thought that shade of teal would compliment the red floors nicely.

Lastly, the chalkboard wall was Ryan’s idea; he likes to get credit for his few but brilliant contributions :).