Dining Room Changes

I don’t know about you, but it seems like when summer is over and school starts, I start feeling really surrounded by clutter in my house. Like the walls and all of the decor are closing in on me. It’s probably partly due to the fact that we spend most of the summer outside, so I’m not really paying attention to the inside of the house, partly due to all of the papers and other stuff that come with back to school…and mostly due to the fact that I tend to hoard “cute” decor things all year. Whatever causes it, the last few weeks I’ve been purging, rearranging, and de-cluttering all of the things that drive me crazy. You know that saying, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”? Well, as I get older I realize that the less stuff I have, the less I have to pick up and not having to constantly clean feels a lot better than having cute, decorative things that really have no place. I was aiming for a clever saying with that, but: fail. Anyway, you get the idea.

Farmhouse Style Dining Room on a Budget  MyFabulessLife.com

Since the dining room and the kitchen are two of the most used, and visible spots in our house, I ended up starting there. So I thought I’d just sort of show you a few of the changes.

The biggest change in here really is the dining table set up and it made the whole room look and feel better (I swear I say that every time I make changes–evolution, right?). I’ve been wanting to swap out some of my chairs for a bench for a really long time, in fact, I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to “Benches,” but there’s that whole budget thing and it just hasn’t been a priority. Then a couple of weeks ago, Jamie from Southern Revivals wrote about a bench she built for $50–sold. While we had 15 kids over for my daughter’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, my husband spent the day in the garage knocking this one out. I don’t have a belt sander, so it’s not as pretty and perfect as hers, but it works for us, and imperfections are my jam, so I love it. I stole my white Ikea dining chairs and rug out of my office and we have a whole new setup in here. It’s done wonders for opening up the small space between the living and dining room and not making it feel so cramped.

Small Dining Room Ideas  MyFabulessLife.com

Maybe this post should just be called, “Jenn’s Struggles,” because another one is arranging my buffet. I always feel like it’s too cluttered or the scale is off, or whatever. I’ve mentioned before that while this piece is decorative, it also serves a huge function in here because we have limited cabinet space, so I have to find a happy balance between the function and the decorative stuff, which is hard for someone who just wants to display all the things. The solution was my go-to: baskets. When in doubt, grab a basket. They’re perfect for hiding clutter (toys, blankets…), but also for grouping things together and just making it look better.

Rustic, White Dining Room  MyFabulessLife.com

Small Dining Room MyFabulessLife.com

The absolute worst culprit of my back-to-school-clutter-anxiety: Kitchen counter clutter. I mean, really I just hate the kitchen in general. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at it and plan an entire gut-job–one of my most hated House Hunters terms by the way. Why does everything on that show that has an ugly paint color need a “gut-job”? *insert eye rolls*. Anyway, our kitchen just lacks storage space and you can see it from almost any angle in the house, so if it’s messy, it’s just you-know-what rolling downhill for the rest of the house. But until the budget allows for a new kitchen, we work with what we have.

Kitchen  MyFabulessLife.com

And what we have, again is limited cabinet and storage space, so that means there are things that just have to have a place on the counter, but they have to look nice, not cluttered. So, for the longest time I’ve had a big boot tray on the counter that held the silverware, fruit (that we would actually use), but was mainly just serving as a decorative centerpiece and a place to put little things like Legos that I find on the floor and just haven’t put away yet–you know, because it’s so hard to walk to the other room and just put it away. So the boot tray got the ax and what a difference it made. It feels a little naked, but good naked.

Breakfast Nook  MyFabulessLife.com

I knew it was a de-cluttering win when Chandler walked in from work and said, “The house is really clean. Like, REALLY clean! It looks really good.” I’ll consider that one Mission Accomplished. And I’m feeling SOOOO much better about the new school year now that the house is in order…well, almost. I’ve got a little “This is Real Life” for you later this week ;)

Simple Farmhouse Dining Room  MyFabulessLife.com


  1. Amber says

    There is so much I am diggin’ in your newly decluttered kichen and dining room! The place looks great and I am going to throw that bench project at my husband and see if would like to make it for the foot of our bed. Have a great day!

  2. says

    What is it about summer and clutter? I feel like things just multiply all summer long and then when fall comes I feel exactly like you – the things are closing in on me!! I have been cleaning and purging for a couple of weeks and it feels better for sure. Love what you did in the dining room! It’s so refreshing sometimes just to make a couple of simple changes.

  3. says

    Well, don’t despair! I think your kitchen is lovely. My kitchen is really really small, with no storage, and way too little prep space, but drum roll, I still love it! I cook alot and have learned to make do with what I have. Sometimes it can be frustrating but I manage to put out some pretty good meals. We’ve been here 40 years and we’ve upgrades but there is no room for expansion. Be happy with what you have and overall you’ll be a happy person.

    • says

      Thank you! And I couldn’t agree more! As much as it drives me crazy, I really do love these little spaces of mine and it’s kind of rewarding to figure out how to work with what you’ve got. Thanks for the reminder! <3

  4. Bonnie says

    I really love your kitchen. I think you’ve done a great job decorating with what you have and just always improving it in small ways and by switching things around from room to room. I especially like the cornice above your curtains, kitchen table, and the buffet. Your husband did a great job on the bench. I think it’s perfect. Are those real wood floors? They are beautiful!

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