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Eight dining room upgrades on a shoestring budget by Jillian CariolaPublished: August 24, 2015Updated: September 22, 2015

Refreshing your dining room doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Check out these small changes that make a big impact on the overall look of your dining room.

The dining room is where you and your family and friends often congregate over great food and conversation. Being your home’s most-used section, it quite expectedly experiences a lot of wear and tear, which requires you to renovate and upgrade it more frequently. Like any home renovation project, updating the look of your dining room does require opening your wallet, but getting it to look like a million bucks doesn’t mean you have to spend that much. Here are eight simple ways you can change the look of your dining room when you’re strapped for cash.


A quick and easy way to drastically change the dining room’s mood is to repaint its walls. The general rule in picking the right color is to keep things light if you want the dining room to look spacious, although there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with bolder hues. To start, pick a color you see in the room that doesn’t easily stand out, like the color of a stripe in the rug.


Update the chairs
Does your dining table come with cushionless chairs? Add foam seats that you can buy on the cheap in malls, or make your own if you have the material and skills. Alternatively, you can paint your chairs a different color, or strip them bare and varnish them for a natural finish.


Refinish the table
Is your wooden table full of nicks and scratches from years of meals with loved ones? If it’s still in generally good shape, all it probably needs is sanding and varnishing. If you have to invest in something, make it a glass topper to keep the surface protected. A nice tablecloth works, too, as long as it goes with the room’s overall look.


Are you a constant traveler who picks up souvenirs everywhere you go? Or do you just like to hit yard sales and buy eccentric pieces simply because they look interesting? Put your little knick-knacks to good use by placing them strategically all over the dining room. They can either act as centerpieces in the middle of the dining room, or conversation starters you can hang on the walls.


If your dining room’s feeling a bit cramped because of the bookcase on one wall or the oversized vase in the corner, it could be time to remove them. You’ll be surprised how open and inviting the dining room will look and feel once you’ve removed the things you placed there since you first moved in.


Change the lighting
Are you still stuck using old lightbulbs or boring fixtures? Take them down and replace them with more unique choices. Sometimes, all it takes is a little brightening up or a statement chandelier (which you can get at thrift stores) to make an impact.


Put down a good rug
The right rug can really spruce up any room, so putting one under the dining table will do wonders in bringing character to the space. Choose one that’s closest to the running motif of the room to keep things cohesive. Also, make sure it’s big enough that when you pull the chairs away from the table, they’re still on the rug.


Replace the curtains
Because curtains are one of the first things you notice when you walk into the dining room, picking the right one can easily give the room the pick-up it needs. Feeling a bit bold? Pick curtains with an interesting pattern, and make sure they hang all the way to the floor. If you like having a bit of natural light shine through the fabric, choose ones that are a bit on the sheer side.

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