DIY: Create More Space For Dining – On A Budget


Like many of you I find myself with an ever-growing family and forever looking for ways to expand space, seating, etc…. One of the areas I desperately needed more space was my dining table on my screened in porch.  I have the typical oval iron patio table you can get almost anywhere – Home Depot, Lowes, etc. – that seats six people.  For years it sufficed for my family of five.  When my parents came over we could scrunch in an extra chair and manage just fine.  This is what it looked like originally – notice it seats six:

Outdoor Living - Table Setting 2

But, now that my oldest son is married with a toddler and another one on the way; and my middle son has a girlfriend (who is living with us at the moment) we’ve more than outgrown the table.   And except for a few months out of the year when it’s either too hot or too cold it’s our favorite place to have dinner together.

Outdoor Living-Table Setting

After looking at new tables and pondering what to do I decided I could “go cheap” and expand the table myself without having to invest in a new one. Because I’m one of “those” who love to have my table set at all times with a tablecloth and place settings I figured….I could just cover up my new makeshift table with a new, larger tablecloth.  Right?


So I headed to good old Home Depot to look for materials.  For my immediate family and my parents to sit comfortably when we are all together I needed to be able to seat at least nine people, but I wanted to be able to seat 12 – 14 at any given moment to accommodate more family and friends.  So I purchased one large 4’x8’ piece of wood and two 2’x4’ pieces.  I had Home Depot cut the 4×8 piece down the middle so I could add the smaller pieces as table leaves when needed.  (If you don’t have access to a saw just have them do it for you.  You get one or two cuts for free and then it’s something like $1.00 per cut after that.  Very reasonable and saves you the hassle.)


I bracketed the two large pieces together to create one stable piece.  (I just un-hinge it and add my leaves, securing them with brackets when I need to expand)


I added strength and stability to the perimeter of the table with 2×4 strips that I nailed into place.


I screwed in my makeshift legs (that I had cut to size by Home Depot).


I reinforced the legs with “L” brackets.


Yes, girls, you can do this all by yourself!



The iron table acts as my base and supports my new tabletop with the help of the new legs at each end.  Here’s what it looks like from the bottom.


And, here’s what it looks like from the top.


See how nice and big it is now?


And once I add my tablecloth, topper and place settings no one has a clue (till now) what it looks like underneath.  I added at iron bench at one end and two new iron chairs at the other.  (I’m thinking about painting all the chairs red, or maybe a mint green)


Right now you can see I can easily seat ten people:  Six in the center and two at each end.  But, remember I have two leaves that I can insert to expand the table to accommodate 12 – 14.  I have an extra table topper and an extra white tablecloth that I can add when the table is extended to keep it looking consistent and nice.  (I got the table topper and tablecloths from Wal-Mart, by the way)  A table this size makes a great space for birthday and holiday meals.

This can be done on an enclosed patio table or even on your indoor table.  And the total cost was less than $50.00! Much cheaper than a brand new table!  So if you are looking for an inexpensive way to gain more dining space consider this alternative. And, girls, you don’t need a man to do this for you.  You can do it by yourself.  So don’t wait around for him to do it for you.  Take the initiative and go for it!

Happy Decorating!!!

From Dining Room To Dining Room To Sitting Room

Dining Room Before (17 Years Ago)                                                                                                                                                 FLASHBACK:  This is my original dining room when we moved into this house 17 years ago.  I decided to keep a neutral creamy palette with the only color coming through in the wallpaper border and in the rug.  This was back in the day of hunter green, burgundy and navy blue. Remember that? But, I wanted tone on tone cream striped wallpaper – just in case one day I wanted to re-do drapes and chair cushions.  (How ‘bout that hideous builder grade chandelier???)

I was happy with the space and hadn’t planned on changing it any time soon at all.  But, when the cat we surprised our three year old daughter with for her birthday to our horror decided to use the puddling sheers as his new litter box, we had no choice – they had to be removed.  So we were left with the panels and the valance, which allowed more sunlight into the room we told ourselves, so all was still well.  I guess when he, Ashes was his name, discovered the sheers were gone he decided the drapes worked just as well and started doing his “business” on the drapery puddling on the floor.  Once our noses eventually lead us back to the crime scene, and after frantically trying to get them cleaned to no avail, I ended up chopping off the beautiful puddling and leaving them floor length.  They still looked okay, I decided, and well, it was easier to clean the floor without the puddling drapes after all, so it still worked just fine.  But, that didn’t stop our little Ashes from eventually scurrying up the panels and making a mess of them, too.  So down they came.  In the end all that was left was the pathetic little swag across the top.  Luckily he couldn’t get to them and as ridiculous as they looked I left them there for quite some time, all alone at the top of the window, until I could figure out what I wanted to do and could set aside the money to re-do another set of custom drapes.  Sidenote:  After this (and many more cat horror stories) we discovered we’re not “cat people”  so when he went to kitty-cat heaven we swore we’d never have another one. (Sorry cat lovers….I know they’re wonderful….. .just not for us!)

After some considerable time I saved up enoughDining Room After money to change my look and decided on blacks and tans.  I had a scalloped cornice made to dress up a mock roman shade and black silk drapery panels.  I glued on some black beaded trim to the shade after they were hung to dress them up a bit.  (Hint: This saves on labor costs, too!)  And, since I had the forethought to go with cream wallpaper originally I was able to keep it and just re-do the border.  I found this perfect-for-my-space black border at Sherwin WilliamsSince wallpaper stores are so few and far between these days I discovered they have a nice selection of wallpaper books and can order samples for you to take home.   I finally replaced the hideous chandelier with one that had a bit more personality and I had the dining room chairs recovered using coordinating fabrics to compliment the drapes.  I used a stripe for the front, repeated the damask for the back and used the same beige from the mock roman shade for the seats.  The floral sconces were custom made and the oil painting is an original oil I was fortunate enough to find on one of my World Trade Center excursions with some girlfriends. ( They helped me pick it out.)   Under the chair rail I decided to give it some "oomph" with textured, paintable wallpaper (again from Sherwin Williams).  I painted it black.  So even though the basic wallpaper stayed – with all the black and the new fabric, I had a brand new dining room which worked well for a number of years.

Dining Chair - Three FabricsI Used Three Fabrics On Chairs

But, of course, as time marches on life has a tendency to change things.  As I mentioned under my "About Me" page as my kids have gotten older our family has gotten larger and we began to need a larger dining room.  And, like so many people these days, we had less and less need for a formal living room.  You know the one – the room that stays pretty, but the room that no one ever sets foot in.  Who needs it?   Sooooooo… was time for a change……again.   I decided the best solution for my family was to flip the two rooms.  My dining room would be perfect as a smaller "sitting" room.  Or what I like to call my "girlie" room.  And my larger living room would be perfect for a more accommodating dining room for my growing family.  So I had my draperies flip flopped, my lighting flip flopped  and the furniture switched.  I angled the chaise lounge to create a little interest and painted my wallpaper below the chair rail Sherwin Williams Relic Bronze this time.  The cream wallpaper stayed, which was good, since it saved me money.  I was going to switch out the wallpaper border again to a red and gold border this time, but decided after pulling some black back into the space with the reds and golds I transferred from the living room that it worked just fine and could stay.   I needed two small club chairs to finish out the space since I could no longer use the sofa from the original living room.  It was too large and too formal.  I wasn’t sure what style chairs I wanted, but couldn’t stand the room looking unfinished so I decided to purchase two very inexpensive "temporary" chairs from "IKEA" until I could figure out exactly what I wanted.  They were a perfect fit and a perfect style.  (I may just keep them and have them recovered!)   Now that I’ve flipped the rooms both are used frequently.  I spend a lot of time in my "girlie" room reading, napping and listening to music.  And my dining room is much more accommodating and roomy for my growing family.  I just wish I’d thought of it sooner!

Girlie Room Full View

My Cozy "Girlie" Room — A Quiet Space Of My Own



Like My Little Monkey?  I Think He Belongs In This Space!


My “Temporary” IKEA Chair


                                        My Scrumptious Chaise Lounge

Field Trip Finds: Savvy Dining, Dining And More Dining!

Charming Entrance To A Charming Store
My sweet friend Becky took me on a “field trip” to one of her favorite stores on the planet.  A quaint little store called “Armoires & More” located in Dallas on West Lovers Lane.  Becky loves everything in this store (I mean the heart palpitations, cold sweats, rapid breathing kind of love!) and, if she could, I think she would take it all home with her.     And I must admit I can see why.  It’s filled with some of the most interesting pieces and fun combination of textures.    They’ve paired sleek rattan chairs with a traditional walnut pedestal table, high back Louis style chairs with farm tables and burlap lighting.  Fun, fun, fun! You can’t help but imagine yourself in such oh-so-savvy style wining and dining with family and friends.  Check out some of these fabulous field trip finds. 

My Friend Becky — She loves, loves, loves this table!


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