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7 Ways to Refresh a Dining Nook in a Flash

Simple swaps you can make in lighting, dinnerware, furniture, and styling to make a dining nook feel instantly welcoming.

This post is sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. 

We set a new record for a dining nook makeover today! Or any room makeover really.

dining nook with black chandelier blue china cabinet green dining chairs and round dining table

Back when Robert and I did a couple of room refreshes at our friend Kristina’s house (during her 1 day bedroom spruce up, patio glow up, and powder room remodel), I saw her dining nook and thought how perfect it would be for another quick makeover day.

Kristina is a single mom, cancer survivor, teacher, and one of the absolute sweetest souls on the planet. I’ve warned her before that we’ll basically makeover every single room in her house if she’s not careful. 😉

Dining Nook Before

dining nook before

Her dining nook started out like this, and after about 3 hours, some rearranging, mixing in thrifted items, and a few decor swaps from Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart, it looks like a newly pulled together space with a modern cabin twist.


The goal was to knock out this one without the need for any painting or pulling out power tools and work with her existing color palette.

Since her china cabinet was already this light blue shade, I pulled in a few colors that reminded me a little bit of this year’s HGTV Dream Home – vibrant blue, sage green, and rust.

8 Ways to Refresh a Dining Nook in a Flash

1. Swap the chairs

The beauty of replacing a table and chairs set with chairs that don’t match helps a dining nook feel more carefully collected.

Kristina’s matching chairs that came as a set with her table were very wobbly, so they were due to be replaced with these sturdier X-back dining chairs. The sage green brightens up this windowless corner so well with an extra punch of color.

(We had planned to swap out the table too, but the one we ordered ended up too big for the space. Oops! Rookie mistake. It all worked out though because the existing round table just works, and thankfully it was in good condition.)

colorful dining room nook blue china cabinet green dining chairs

2. Update the chandelier

Lighting makes such a huge difference in adding ambience to a dining nook or creating the illusion of a larger space. A good rule to follow is to hang a chandelier so that the bottom is 30″-36″ above the dining table.

Swapping Kristina’s half working chandelier for this modern one instantly added tons of light. (I’m sharing more info about it next week, by the way.)

modern chandelier

3. A little wall art goes a long way

If you need some great inexpensive art inspiration, here are 20 creative DIY wall decor ideas. Keep a lookout at thrift stores too. Art is one of my favorite things to buy secondhand!

I just cut up a calendar with black and white Ansel Adams photographs of a few National Parks in California (since that’s where Kristina is from) and placed them in these matted floating picture frames. Never throw out an old calendar with great art. 😉

modern rustic dining room nook

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4. Replace old dinnerware

There’s something about a new unbroken set of dishes… eating a meal off of sturdy, unchipped, matching plates just feels good.

I love our very durable exposed clay dinnerware so much that I bought a set for Kristina too.

stoneware exposed clay dinnerware and bowl planter

5. Rearrange the china cabinet

Highlight a few favorite pieces on your china cabinet shelves like a painting, an heirloom platter, or a vase. Move items around; stack and stagger them.

Kristina had a few geodes and fossils I placed among the dishes on her shelves. Her little coastal painting and hand painted plate deserved to have the spotlight front and center on her cabinet.

breakfast nook dining set and blue china cabinet

6. Create a planter centerpiece

If you ever say to yourself, “Something is missing,” add a plant. That’s my solution anyway. 😉 It couldn’t hurt, right? Can you really have too many?

I planted a little succulent garden using this hammered bowl, and it turned out to be just the cutest fresh centerpiece!

Place some river rocks in the bottom of the bowl followed by soil to help the plants drain and it will perk your dining table right up for months.

bowl planter succulent garden

7. Add a low pile rug to define a dining nook in open concept

Rugs are great at “defining the space” in an open concept room if your living room and dining room are adjoining. In this case, Kristina’s dining nook now feels like a separate area from the rest of her open concept home.

Low pile or indoor/outdoor rugs are best for using under dining tables because they make easy clean up in the case of food spills and allow chair legs to slide.

modern eclectic dining nook

Many of the items we used in this dining nook refresh were Kristina’s that we just reused in new ways for her, but here are all of the items we brought in from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart to finish out the space.


You can see more dining room ideas here too.


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  1. Looks lovely and I’m sure your friend appreciates your savvy styling. Love the rug, it really makes the room come together. Yes, can you do some more of these quick fixes.

  2. Such a wonderful transformation and thankful that you did a mini makeover. Can you do more of these budge friendly makeovers? Blessings

  3. This is beautiful and well put together. Can I hire you for your decorating ideas? Sort of like a Modsy thing? Just need furniture placement ideas and decor ideas. I’m serious. ๐Ÿ˜Š Willing to pay.

    1. I just picked up a two small hanging baskets of the succulents in the garden department at Home Depot and replanted them in the bowl.

  4. I am really interested in finding out the maker/order information for the rug. Is it available, please? (nice work, btw!).