Reader SOS – Dining Room in a Condo

I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for #DIYPlaybookSOS is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips and tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some of my favorite design solutions from this series…

Reader SOS from the DIY Playbook

I’m heading into maternity leave tomorrow, so I’m doing my best to prep some content ahead of time and take a few things off my plate. I recently met Erica when I shot her gorgeous home for this Reader OMG! feature and she mentioned that she would love to help out with the Reader SOS series. She wrote last month’s post and will be helping with future Reader SOS posts here on the blog. Oh, and be sure to check out Erica’s new blog right here.

Take It Away, Erica!

The Dining Room…or what a lot of people might be calling “the office” these days (I know I am) can be a tricky space to get right, especially in a smaller home. Today we are tackling this multi-functional space for a reader, Hannah, and her gorgeous new condo.

Let’s hear Hannah’s SOS…

Creating a Dining Room in a Condocreating a dining room in a condo

My dining room is currently completely empty as I’ve never had a formal dining area before, so I’m starting from ground zero with blank walls and zero furniture. I love hosting, so I would be interested in hopefully finding a dining table and chairs that would seat at least 6 people. Creating a dining room in a condoBefore I had bought the condo, the area was staged with a 4-seater round table, so I’m not sure if the space is big enough to fit a larger dining table – Hannah

Defining the SpaceEmpty dining room in a condo

Although right now, entertaining guests is not something we can do, it is something we can all look forward to doing in the future. So let’s get that space ready for when the time finally comes!

First, I would suggest grounding the space and creating a defined seating area. The best way to do that is with a rug. I’m currently in love with this rug. It’s so good – the perfect combination of traditional and modern with the most gorgeous neutral color palette.color palette for a dining room

This is also where I pulled my color inspiration for the space – beautiful natural browns and blush tones. With this color palette in mind, we can start shopping for the rest of the pieces in the space.

Choosing Dining Room Furniture

I personally prefer not to opt for dining “sets” that come together (Casey chats all about why matching furniture is a big rookie mistake in this post). By buying these pieces separately, you oftentimes end up spending less and actually getting a higher-end and more custom look. Just say “no” to matching furniture sets…trust me!

I’m a big fan of mixing high contrast colors and textures when it comes to a dining table and chairs – light wood with dark wood, marble with metal, cane detail with linen, etc. Don’t be afraid to shop at one place for a table and another for your chairs. In fact, you don’t even need to get all of your chairs from the same place. My rule of thumb for seating around a table is to keep it to a set of two looks/design styles. You can mix and match two sets of chairs – two end chairs in the same look and then two to four more in the same look on the long sides of the table.

Here are a few great examples of mixing and matching seating…Studio Mgee's new dining room

Image via Studio McGee

You can also consider doing a bench on one side (like in Casey’s mom’s dining room)…Jan's dining room And like I have in my dining roomErica's dining room

Or in this contemporary space…Anderson Weir Studio

Image via Anderson Wier Studio

One thing you’ll notice in all of the above is the mix of tones and textures. This is definitely something I want to replicate in Hannah’s dining room.

Finding The Perfect Table & Chairs

To accommodate her desire to seat as many guests as possible in this dining nook, I would recommend a rectangular dining table with four-poster legs and no center anchoring structure. This will allow for a maximum number of chairs that can be fully tucked into the sides of the table. World market table

I chose this table, which has some visual interest and light mid-mod vibes with its tapered legs. Plus, it’s a great price.

chairs for a condo dining room

I narrowed it down to these two chairs – both light wood with cane detail. When we pair these light wood chairs with the dark wood table, the whole setting takes on a high end, expensive look. I also really love this look with three of the same matching chairs on either side, however since three chairs on either side may be a tight squeeze, I would opt to go with the mixed design.  That means placing two of the round-back chairs on both of the long sides of the table and one of the rectangular back chairs on each end of the table. That way, you will end up with seating for six.

Adding Accessories

Now, for some artwork to cover that blank wall behind the table and a light fixture to visually fill the space above. For both elements, I set out to look for something clean and streamlined.

For artwork, I was looking for pieces that were hand-drawn, graphic, or illustrated. And for the light fixture, I wanted something sleek and minimalist that would not take away from the art on the walls or block the view of Hannah’s gorgeous kitchen. Choosing artwork for a dining room in a condo
I recently stumbled across this print shop called Vintage Supply that I am now OBSESSED with. It is such a cool concept. The owner, April, set out to bring vintage art into the modern space at an affordable price, and the pieces are gorgeous! Her shop allows us normal folks to obtain the high-end look of large scale vintage art without the thousand dollar price tag. Thank you, April!

This stunning piece featured in the upper right-hand corner is called “CROWD” and can be downloaded for only $15. The other abstract pieces of art nicely complement it and they’re from the new Studio McGee collection at Target! You can check out a roundup of all of my favorite items from the collection here. There is soooooo much good stuff (not just artwork).

I didn’t want the light fixture to clash with the kitchen, so I chose this streamlined one. It’s perfect for a dining room in a condo like Hannah’s. And if you need help figuring out the correct size of a light fixture and how high to hang it, Casey has a great Dining Room 101 post to answer all of those questions.

A Few More Accessories…Creating a dining room in a condo

In the corner of the dining area, there is a small alcove just above what appears to be the radiator that is perfect for a little vignette. My suggestion would be to maximize this cute nook and make it a bar area.Creating a dining room nook

I would place a mirror on the wall above the radiator and add some bar accessories on the shelf below. The mirror will also reflect the kitchen and make the space feel a bit more open, which is always a plus!

The Final Look

Now let’s see how all of these pieces start to come together in an actual space.Designing a dining room in the city

Although in this layout the dining table is horizontal to the back wall, I think I would suggest positioning it vertically to maximize space. This would also make it a tad easier to pull the chairs in and out for Hannah’s party of six.

Dining Room in a Condo – Shop the Lookshop the look dining room

1.Light Fixture | 2. Dining Table | 3. Crowd Artwork | 4. Storage Box  | 5. Sketch Art | 6. Scribble Art  | 7.

Area Rug  | 8. Cane Dining Chair | 9.  Mirror  | 10. Bar Shaker  | 11. Cane Dining Chair Square Back 

Submit your Reader SOS

We always love hearing your design dilemmas. If you have a space you want us to tackle next, email [email protected] with the subject line “READER SOS”. Please include as many photos and information as possible.


More Reader SOS Posts

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

your home playbook sidebar