Today I’m giving you the full tour of my dining room, including all the projects that I did in here to make it a wonderful, welcoming place to entertain. Just like everything else in my LA apartment, my dining room was pretty white and boring. So the plan I came up with to add some architectural interest and to give it a warmer feeling was to build some wall panels that also incorporate banquette seating, which I love. The first part of the project was to build the bench out of MDF. I had all the pieces cut at the hardware store and I assembled it using clamps and a drill.
I primed it and painted it white and also made a no-sew cushion to make it more comfy. Next I made an upholstered back using pegboard and foam that I covered with inexpensive drop cloth fabric. The last step was to add some buttons for a tufted look. With all the pieces for the banquette complete, it was time to build the panels. I made them with 1/4-inch plywood and one-by-two pine boards that I cut to size at the hardware store. I glued the one-by-twos to the edge of the plywood using clamps and then I reinforced the corners with screws. I also had to prime the panels because I chose to cover them using this beautiful, shimmery grasscloth. For the side panels, I glued and wrapped the grasscloth around the sides to cover them completely. And for the middle panel, I flipped it around and only put the grasscloth in the middle to make it look like a frame.
Dining Room Tour and Decorating Ideas
I hung all the panels using French cleats. Using a Post-it note is a great trick to catch all the dust. With all the panels installed, I turned my attention to accessorizing them. For the middle panel, I made an art piece with driftwood that I had found at the beach. And for lighting, I decided to reuse these wall sconces that I had made for my New York apartment. I made holes in the panels to be able to hide the cords, and then I plugged the wall scones into a receiver that’s controlled by a wireless wall switch. So no electrician needed for this setup. Next I had to deal with the vertical blinds. I really don’t like them, but I had to keep them in the dining room because of the afternoon sun. So I used a curtain panel to hide them, which I hung using a wood dowel that I slid inside the existing hanging hardware brackets. I can use the blinds when I need to, but I don’t have to look at them all the time which makes me happy. For the table and chairs, I went with this inexpensive set from IKEA.
I stained the legs of the table to make them white and I painted the chairs to match the blue in my kitchen and upholstered the seats in a matching fabric to make them more comfortable. The latest addition to my dining room is this side table that also doubles as a scratching post and extra seating. It was a really easy project. I used two-by-threes and a pre-cut wood circle for the structure, which I then covered with a concrete form that I wrapped in sisal rope. I’ll show you in my detail how I made it in an upcoming video. Putting together this dining room took a lot of work, but it was well worth it to have a warm and inviting place to entertain my friends.