A Little Claire-ification

bright ideas for the busy & budget minded…

31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 15 – The Dining Room

on October 15, 2012

Hi there!  This is Day #15 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


Halfway through October??   That’s just crazy talk.

What a challenging and inspirational month it has been!  And, after coming off of our successful “Bedroom Makeover” weekend yesterday, it’s a little hard to concentrate on anything.  I just want to sit in there undisturbed and read (ok, and maybe have someone feed me grapes… is that so wrong?).

And that could prove to be a problem since I DO have to actually work!   Today was a rude awakening.  Happy Monday.  Nice bedroom.  Now get up!!

This eve it’s onto the next room – we will not give up!!  So today (tonight), we are getting our dining room in order.  Anything to avoid the Master Bedroom closet, right??  (oh don’t you worry – it’s coming…).

Now this isn’t some massive overhaul (sorry, we won’t be buying all new dining furniture this month!) but that space sure can use some help and organization.  Since our dining area is the first stop inside the front door, it has officially become the “first stop to drop” everything.  Backpacks, homework, mail, shoes, hamsters (ok not yet, but I am prepared for anything…), you name it!   And, of course, the next most common “drop off station”  is my workspace in the kitchen so if you missed THAT post it’s here.  “This is why we can’t have nice things, people!!”  🙂

First, because I always need a goal, I really want to get into the habit of sitting down at the table as a family every night for dinner.  Getting this area organized is key to achieving that goal (ie: where would we even set the food at this point…?  “Nice table but please set the plates in your laps”.  Ack!).   Now I know it can’t realistically be “every” night that we all dine at the table together.  I work in a creative industry and I have crazy hours some days but, when I am home, I want us to actually  Sit. Down. For. Dinner.   What a concept!   While we certainly make dinner every night, the kids usually eat around 6:30PM and then later, once they are in bed, The Husband and I usually eat together while we catch up on a show.   Just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day so we even multi-task during dinner!   Does anyone else have this problem?  I know I have several friends that never compromise on “family dinner time” and I’ll be the first to admit that I feel like I really have really failed in this area as a Mom.   But… it’s never too late to change the rules, right? (I hope that is true…).

Anyway, our “formal” dining space is a little crowded right now.  And messy.  Apparently all of my “Before” pictures are trending this way so I didn’t want to disappoint.  😉

Here is the current dining set-up (“Before #1), tool box and all:

It’s pretty much right inside the front door by about 10 feet on the left.  I do love our antique table and our China cabinet (especially with The Husband’s yellow level leaning against it.  Sexy.):

And my Father-In-Law pulled this gorgeous piece out of his New England attic (it belonged to my Husband’s Great Grandparents – wow!!) and he had it restored and shipped to us about 6 years ago:

Why are there always things piled on top of things??

So the space is crowded and, as I’ve mentioned, we just don’t have the same amount of room we have had in the past.  I just pulled up a photo from our dining room in the house we renovated together back in 2001 – we took it from a 2/1 to a 5/3.   It was just beautiful… (and it was also Fall at the time. Weird.  This was actually taken in 10/08).

Honestly it was maybe a mistake to look at those pictures right now  –  we had no choice but to move in late 2008 and I guess some days I am still not quite over it yet.  It was a HUGE renovation and we were there for 10 years… sometimes you just leave a little piece of you behind.  That will be another story to share someday when I am able.  I do know that everything happens for a reason.  I count my blessings most days.

Ok, big girl pants on.  Focus!  The point is, we definitely had more space before and even in the last house in between.  The leaves are not in the table in either picture, but we always had room for them when needed in the past.  Not so much right now, so we need to re-think this space!  Work with what ya got, right??

So… a little rearranging here and a shimmy there and … here’s where we landed:

As you can see, we turned the table (ha) and I did NOT think this would work.  I thought it would be too crowded in the entry way into this house.  Another angle and you can see that is clearly NOT the case – it actually does work (and…hello, Kitty..):

And a view from the kitchen:

We actually shifted the table to the left for now so it’s slightly off center. This is so that (when we don’t have company in town for a big holiday or visit) the Littlest won’t break the glass in the China cabinet with the back of a chair.  Oh yes, there is PLENTY of room there for any normal person but he is “Destructo” (or “Wreck It Ralph”, as the case may be this week) so we are taking no chances! 😉  As for the awesome antique loveseat / bench – we moved it out for now.  It may actually fit on the left so we don’t have to store it in the garage, but we just don’t want it to be so cramped anymore.  It is definitely a piece we’ll hold onto for another home with more space down the road.

Anyway, I thought I could wrap this small space up in one day (night).  The original idea was to hang some existing art in the arch (EDIT – new pics below!!) (and please don’t get me started on the floor tile – you will recall my strong dislike of the tile in my last post – yes, we also need an area rug here) but, since we couldn’t start until after 7PM, we are going to come back to this again over the next few days.  I have have some new ideas now that we have the space in order (so it’s a good thing the stores are closed right now!).

More to come!   For now, I’ll leave you with this – it’s the one month out of the year where she matches everything :  🙂


EDITED 10/18: New pictures of the almost finished Dining Room arch:

So I still haven’t decided what color to paint the arch.  I want it to pop and I think it will somehow tie into the fabric I choose to recover the dining chairs.  I had last re-covered those in 2001 and they need something more vibrant and fun now!  Speaking of fun… rather than just hanging a random piece of art or pictures, I found these whimsical little pieces at Target.  I then surrounded them by colorful, inexpensive plastic (melamine?  what’s that material??) plates.

We actually have one more fun plate to go towards the bottom but I am waiting on them to restock the plate hangers I like.

Since we absolutely love to cook (and eat!) good food, I think these just lighten up this area and offset the darker (heavier) antique pieces quite nicely (and it looks like I need to re-stock that wine rack too!!). 😉


Thanks for stopping by!  As always, I want to hear your feedback and your own stories about your Dining Room and family dinners, etc!!


~ Claire


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