7 Tips to Decorating a Chic Dining Room on a Budget

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, we’ve put the finishing touches on our dining room and I’m so excited to share!

What was once a dark two-tone brown space with a gaudy chandelier, is now one of my favorite spots in our entire home. Thanks to several coats of paint & fabulous decor, of course! I’ve teamed up with At Home today to share our “dining room reveal” and give a few tips on what makes an airy & inviting space for dinnertime, on a budget too!

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

1. Start with a specific color palette.

We chose gray with shades of white, blue, brown & black. Our dining room is part of an open concept floor plan and sits right in between the kitchen and living room. Having the colors work with the rest of the house was key. A can or two of light gray paint was an affordable (and basically life-changing) update to the space.

And I can’t tell ya’ll how obsessed I am with these blue & white vases from At Home. They were both less than $20 each! (Serious steal!!!) They tie in the colors from our table setting and also go with quite a few of the accents we have in our kitchen & living room too.

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

2. Make Sure Your Chairs Fit Your Table. 

We’ve had this small dining room table for years. It’s been perfect for just the two of us. To update the look for our new home, we replaced our chairs with these mid-century modern ones from At Home. (Still can’t get over that they were only $59 a pop!)

A good rule of thumb when picking out chairs to go with your table is to subtract 12″ from the height of your table. Take that number and you’ve got the best seat height for your table.


Using a black trunk as a bar and topping it off with blue and white vases filled with hydrangeas.

3. Add a statement light. 

One of the best decisions we made was replacing the chandelier that came with the house with this $25 pendant shade. The difference between the two was night & day! When hanging a light fixture above your table, the bottom should fall no more than 30″-34″ inches above the surface.

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

4. Mix & Match Your Dishes. 

If you’re cooking for one, two, four, or ten – don’t stress about having to have enough matching dishes for every guest at your table. I think mismatched pieces are half the fun!

No matter the occasion, I like to always start with white plates. I’ll grab whichever colorful bowls & napkins I think fit the occasion and then mix them about the table setting. The trick to making it all look cohesive, while eclectic at the same time, is to try to stay somewhat in the same color family or style. Of course, I picked shades of blue! 

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

5. Have a Backup Plan for Additional Guests. 

We keep an accent chair at the ready for any additional guests that might pop by. This ghost chair is only $99 at At Home. I’ve been on the hunt for an affordable ghost chair for AGES and couldn’t believe it when I saw this price tag!

I miiiight just have to get another one for a potential 6th guest, right?! 😉

Using a black trunk as a bar and topping it off with blue and white vases filled with hydrangeas.

6. Serve Drinks Nearby.

This storage chest turned “buffet table” acts as a mini-bar, thanks to this handy silver tray. (Only $12 from At Home!) Depending on the occasion, we’ll fill our decanters with whatever it is we’re serving and pull out the appropriate glassware. This way wine bottles and decanters don’t crowd the table and guests can choose whatever it is they want to drink.

Lately, it’s been bourbon for Patrick & La Croix for me! But I have a feeling it will be mostly red wine over there in 2.5 months. Oh cabernet sauvignon, I’ve missed you so!

7. Add a Personal Touch.

Whether it be a photo of your family, a portrait of your pup or a picture of your favorite travel destination, your dining room is the perfect place to show off your personality. We snapped the framed photo above on our honeymoon and had it printed on blueprint paper for less than $5! We dropped it in a frame and voila – a large piece of art that looks great in the space with added meaning to us too!

A mid-century blue and white dining room remodel.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m seven and half months pregnant (and eating at the coffee table just doesn’t work anymore) or if it’s because I’m obsessed with our new dining room, but Patrick and I have been eating almost all of our meals here lately! Before we moved, we always ate on the couch, in front of the TV. Even if it was a pretty fancy meal. It was how we liked to unwind, plus we’re Netflix addicts. No shame.

But these recent dinners at our table have been SO much more fun. Sometimes we’ll stay seated and chat with each other long after we’ve finished eating too. It’s become something I look forward to at the end of each day and I’m so thankful for this fresh & chic space for giving us that!

In the end, you really don’t have to spend a lot to update a space in your home, thanks to At Home. This home decor superstore is literally so big you can (and most likely willget lost inside when visiting. At Home offers everything you’d need to transform your home into something both comfortable and beautiful.

Dining Room Decor:

mid-century chairs, ghost chair, blue vases, silver tray, potted plant all c/o At Home

dining table, area rug, candelabra bottle stopper, light fixture, throw pillow, plates, bowls, colorful knives, glassware

Photos by Lauren Rathbun Photography

*Big thanks to At Home for sponsoring this post! Thank you to my readers for supporting the brands that make this blog of mine possible. All opinions are my own.*

  • Wesley Shaw

    Okay, I’m so glad to hear that you’re as big of an At Home fan as I am! I recently did a big re-do on my bedroom and got almost every piece from there. So cute and affordable! Also dying over those blue and white vases–they remind me so much of Greece!

    Fabulous post!


    Wesley Day // haveawesleyday.com

  • Carolyna Bauer

    This post is perfect for all the holidays coming up and thanksgiving too. XOXO, Carolyna

  • Kelsey H

    This is the dining room of my dreams! Love that it wasn’t extremely expensive!

    xo Kelsey | http://www.chasingcinderellablog.com

  • Amy

    This is so cute, I love your tips and LOVE your ginger jars!
    Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins

  • Love all the blues! And that rug… GORGEOUS!

  • Taylor-Rae Drake

    This is such a wonderful post! I’m sharing a very similar post today, but it’s more holiday focused. Speaking of which, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with you family!


  • I have that same ghost chair and love it! I love the modern and eclectic feel of the room. You did such a great job decorating!

  • Nicole Leffew

    Great tips!! I love your color palette. I need you to come to my house lol 🙂

  • Your dining room is stunning!! I love the combo of blue and white and your silverware and displays are perfect!!


  • Nicole Kestenbaum

    I love this pace in your home Alice! It has so much character, it’s chic and I love the mismatching of plates! I love shopping At Home-they have a lot of neat stuff.

  • Rachel @ It’s A Hero

    I love what you’ve done! And I love that it’s done on a budget!! 🙂 Beautiful!

  • What a beautiful dinning table. I love the blue accents and the furniture its so pretty yet modern!

  • Ashley Hargrove

    What a gorgeous space!! I love how you’ve decorated!!

  • Alfa Sengupta

    This is such a beautiful space! It looks so calming and inviting! LOVE!

  • Ashley Solberg

    I am not normally drawn to blue for decor, but this is gorgeous! So beautiful!

  • Annie

    I love all of the blue colors! These are great tips for when you’re trying to stick to a budget.

  • Your dining room is gorgeous!!!! Love the blue accents so much!

  • LOVE your dining room! Never knew the tip about sizing chairs for your table. I literally have the same ghost chair in my dining room too, but my room needs to be redone other than that. Maybe someday 😉

  • Thanks for sharing your tips. I find that the hardest part of decorating a dining room is finding the perfect chairs and lighting because the height has to be perfect with your table. My favorite part in your dining room is how you perfectly tied in the blue colors. They accents are predominate without being overwhelming.

    Charlotte Lindsay | http://www.maelmoderndecor.com