Our Farmhouse

Farmhouse Dining Room Makeover

It has been way too long since I have posted a room makeover!  My intentions are great and my daily to do list is long.  But here it is!  Our dining room makeover!  Are you ready for all the details?  Let’s dive in…

First, let’s take a walk down memory lane and see this room when we did our initial walk-through in the spring of 2015.



We settled in that summer…


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Phase One of the demo was pretty soon after we moved in and it was the removal of this corner cabinet as we needed the wall space.


With the cabinet gone, we were able to get a better look at what was beneath the bottom knotty pine paneling.  We also realized that thin black strip on either side of the picture below is the original chair rail.  Unfortunately, it has taken quite a beating over the years.  The dark wood on the bottom half is what we believe to be original wall boards.  And take a look at that 10 inch baseboard!  Wow!


For a year, I decorated for the seasons and made the room feel homey.  All the while, the cabin feel that the paneling added to the room was not what I was going for.  I kept practicing patience and focused on other room makeovers.

I attempted to add some color into the dining room to detract from the color on the walls, but it wasn’t successful.  It just felt too busy for my taste.


We received this beautiful 8 foot pew from my parents for Christmas and it fit in here beautifully.  And that cabinet moved here with us.  Both of these pieces of furniture are gorgeous, but they were completely lost in all the wood that this room held.


After working on three bedrooms, our living room, a bathroom, as well as the front entry and upstairs hallway, the time finally came for this rooms turn!  Let the work begin!

After much snooping and in trying to maintain a very small budget, we opted to remove the bottom panels only.  Little by little…


No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you!  Yes, that is shiny gold wallpaper!  Yikes!

Oh, and take note of that hole in the wall in this picture below.  This is a cat door that lead to the basement.  It used to have a small door on it, but I ripped it off and forgot to get a good before picture.  Since we don’t have any cats and it was an eyesore, the plan is to fill it in.



And no, not another eye trick!  Yes, there is a second corner cabinet…for now!



Our dining room is to the right from our front door…and the room you see further in the picture below is our living room.


Time for wallpaper removal!  Isn’t my Mom awesome?  She came out and spent a week with the kids and I, just to work on this project!  I won the Mom jackpot!  🙂


Look who volunteered!  Little fingers at work!


In the middle of this room are two beams.  They look fairly important, so we opted to keep them…ha!


The mantel matches the two beams and the character of all these beams is incredible!  However, we were not fans of the orange undertone and the gloss sheen.


After wallpaper, came the removal of the second built-in cabinet.


All gone!  Oh, and we found an original beam behind the cabinet in the corner below.  It was boxed in at some point and we’d like to expose it fully in the future.


So, these original boards gave us a little more work than we had anticipated.  Below the wallpaper, on the wood was some type of stain or poly.  Once that mixed with our wallpaper steamer, it became gooey.  Again, Mom to the rescue as she did a lot of tedious work to remove it.



Now, it was time to break out the paint and begin the cutting in process.


After doing quite a bit of research and talking to employees of various paint stores, I settled on Zinsser B-I-N Shellac Based Interior Primer and Sealer.  The cost was above any price I’d ever paid for primer, but to cover up this paneling, we needed the right product.  This primer did an excellent job and after two coats, there was no bleed through.  A disclaimer: you MUST take precautionary measures and allow proper ventilation when using this product.  If using this product indoors, it is imperative to open all of your windows.  It really works, but it really stinks!

Two coats of primer:


And now for the wall color!  I choose the white that I have throughout the house since this room really needed to be brightened up.  The sun only hits this room for a few hours a day, so a light color was needed.  I decided to paint the bottom section a light grey.  It is actually the same grey that I used in my son’s bedroom makeover.  I had so much leftover from that project and it was perfect for this one too.  Remember to check what you have before buying new paint!



I painted the chair rail grey, as it was quite beat up.  Maybe someday when we replace the paneling with sheetrock, we will try and salvage the chair rail and bring it back to it’s natural beauty.  For now though, I felt that the horizontal line would be too busy of a design with the vertical paneling.


In the meantime, those beams were worked on as well.  They were all lightly-sanded down.  It was decided not to sand them more thoroughly and sand down to the unstained wood.  We were concerned that this would take away the character of it and well, it would be near impossible to get into all of those grooves.  That being said, going lighter on the beams was not an option.  So, a darker gel stain was chosen and no poly was placed on top to avoid the glossy look.

Here is a beam in progress:


A before of the mantel:


And the after:


There are also two cabinets built into the wall that were also refinished.  The shelf space in these is shallow and perfect for spices, etc!


Bye, bye cat door!



Now, while we worked on this dining room, we also painted the kitchen cabinets.  That was a big undertaking and I will share all the details in another post.

After an intense work week, we were done and ready for the reveal to my husband, who had been out of town.  I’ve done some tweaking and decorating since, so here is the final after!





I opted to exchange the pew that was in here for these rattan chairs that were in our living room.  Now the living room has the pew!  And I LOVE this comfy little space.



And doesn’t this cabinet look incredible now against these white walls?!





It’s been a lot of fun decorating with the white walls.  I’ve fallen into a black, white, and earthtone base with pops of red…and a little green!  It also blends in well with our “new” kitchen and the bathroom located right off the dining room.





Thanks for following along on this makeover!  It was an exhausting week, but it was worth every minute.  And I cannot say enough about how much I loved working with my Mom.  She is such a blessing to me and my family.  We all loved having her spend a week with us!  Have a beautiful day, friends!


  1. Aunt Judy

    I don’t know how you come up with these ideas and then plan and get such a beautiful room afterward! That is such a gift you have! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Love you!
    Aunt Judy

    1. leighsn

      Oh, Aunt Judy, you are so sweet! It was a joint effort this time with my Mom. Thanks for reading through this post! xo

  2. Well done, Leigh! So clean and happy looking! You must be so elated to walk into that room every day!

    1. leighsn

      Yes, Heather! I felt an, “Ugh” every morning until we got this done. Now I love coming down here first thing in the morning and it’s so bright and cheery! Thanks for reading through this post! Hope all is well with the family! 🙂

  3. Nancy Vossler

    I enjoyed this so much! It is beautiful and I can imagine all the work it took. You do a great job with the photos. My only wish is that you could put full size photos in there for us old people. I love the photos but it’s hard to see the details in them.
    Keep up the good work!
    Aunt Nancy

    1. leighsn

      Aunt Nancy,
      Thank you for reading through and enjoying these room transformations! 🙂
      I am so sorry that the photos are hard to see. If you read from a phone or another touchscreen, you should be able to enlarge each picture. Thank you for the encouragement to up my picture game…I know that I need to! Now to become more techy…that’s when James steps in! 🙂

  4. Geka

    I am so ready to help with the next project whatever it may be. The dining room and kitchen redo was so much fun. Loved it and loved spending time with you and my precious grands. You should post the pics of your hubby when he came home and saw what we had been up to. Priceless! Love you my little girl!

    1. leighsn

      Love you too, Momma! Hmmmm…which room should we do next? xo

  5. Laura Baer

    So beautiful! I remember the first time you took me to your parents house in college, how I loved the feel of that old house. Now you’ve got your own beauty! I agree with the others, you have a real gift for this!

    1. leighsn

      Oh, Laura! That was so fun to have you there! Such great memories! xo

  6. […] our recent dining room makeover, I was quite smitten with Zinsser B-I-N Shellac Based Interior Primer and Sealer that I purchased […]

  7. […] we made-over our dining room, it was only natural to transform the kitchen as well.  These two spaces occupy the same room, so […]

  8. […] now that our rattan chairs are in our dining room, we have moved our 8 foot pew into this […]

  9. […] let’s move over to the right side of the room to our sitting area.  After our dining room makeover, I decided to move these two rattan chairs into here.  Best. move. ever.  I love that there is a […]

  10. […] {If you are wondering about the makeover of our dining room, you can read all about it here.} […]

  11. Patricia Koso

    I am very impressed with all you are doing!! It looks like it could be home up in the mountains for skiers.
    Definitely feels like a different era, love it. Pat

    1. Leigh

      Thank you for your kind words! I so appreciate you taking the time to stop by!
      Have a great day!
      Leigh 🙂

  12. Just. Wow. I’m totally digging your vision and ALL the WORK you’ve done on your lovely home!!! So fun to see where you started! Cheering you on, sweet friend!!

    1. Leigh

      Thank you, Sarah! This dining room is one of my favorite makeovers. I really did despise the room before and we tried to entertain guests elsewhere. Now I’m like, “Don’t you want to come into the dining room?”

  13. Susan

    Amazing!!! You are so blessed to have your mom come and help. And I love the old beam and that cool tall skinny cupboard. White paint sure does make it look so much brighter and clean.

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