How We Furnished Our Dining Room For $150

I love pretty things. I love pretty fabrics and pretty colors and pretty rooms . . . and pretty everything. But more often than not those pretty rooms come with a price tag that’s not in our family’s budget. so I’ve spent years coming up with ways to make a beautiful home and still stay on track.


Last week, when I finally changed the seat cushions on our dining room chair cushions (you can see how much I changed the dining room with just paint HERE), and it really is just a perfect room (for us.) It’s fully stocked with hand-me-downs, but each one kind of tells a story, and I love it just the way it is.


Here’s how we did it:

  1. Our dining room table was free.  The dining room table is from my husband’s grandparents home, and we were the only ones in the family who had a place for it seventeen years ago when we bought our first home. It was nothing like what I would have chosen (although it is pretty traditional), and for years I wished we could afford a prettier new table. But, over the years it’s grown along with it, and I’m so thankful that we didn’t waste money on an expensive table at a time when we really couldn’t afford it. I also love when my father-in-law comes to visit, and reminds me that he spent hours doing homework on that very same table. 
  2. The toile curtains were also handed down.  My friend Nancy (who blogs at Real Food Allergy Free), called a few years ago and asked if I’d want black toile curtains from her grandmother’s home as they were selling the house and no one else was interested. They fit my windows exactly, and I really do love them. (And those sweet silhouettes of my children? They were my souvenir from Disney World last year ~ and I think a complete steal at $45.)
  3. My neighbors had the small desk in the corner out by the street for the trash to pick up one day. It was a lighter oak stain, so I spent a few dollars re-staining it to match the room, but it’s made for some great extra storage space.
  4. The Kentucky Morning Turn Out print in the picture was a gift to my husband before he and I got married. Other than re-matting it about ten years ago, I haven’t done anything to it and I love that it reminds me of Kentucky whenever I pass through.
  5. I had a Southern Living party years ago and the Southern Living Plate rack was a hostess gift. (Sometimes hosting a party is worth it!)  I just use my everyday dishes on it ~ nothing fancy.
  6. The centerpiece was an old urn I found in the clearance bins at Hobby Lobby seven years ago, and I’ve updated the flowers a few times. My guess is I’ve spent about $20 on items to fill it.
  7. The set of lamps on our buffet were purchased on sale at Kirkland’s for $30, and have been re-painted (with spray paint) at least 3 times. Gotta love what a can of spray paint will do!
  8. The chairs. Oh my heavens ~ the chairs! I have loved and hated these chairs, but right now I’m pretty much in love. They’ve been re-covered four times since we got them (they came with the table), and while I’ve dreamed of having slipcovered chairs, just changing the fabric to a fresh print has made them so much more bearable. I bought the fabric for $20 at Hobby Lobby, and while it’s pretty trendy for this oh-so-traditional girl, I figure when it gets dated I’ll spend another $20 and do them over again. (I love the power of re-covered chairs almost as much as a fresh coat of paint!)
  9. We spent $50 to add wall panels to the molding, which makes such an impact on the room. My husband is pretty good at wielding a jigsaw, so it took one day a few years ago, but was worth every bit of time and money that we spent on it.
The biggest change this last week was just the chair cushions . . . . here they are before:


And just $20 made such a difference . . .

If you’ve struggled with loving beautiful rooms and living on a penny pinched budget, I encourage you to look for ways to fluff what you already have ~ it’s amazing what you can do without spending much at all! Next week I’ll be posting some amazing finds I found at an antique store (which is a great place to start if you don’t have anything), and I’d love to hear how you’ve saved while decorating your home too.



This post is linked up to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday.  I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)


See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!


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  1. Debra Waites DeBord says:

    Love the room and the table set. I don't have hand me downs (all except my bed frame) I have bought at thrift stores, consignment or craigslist. I bought a dining table set for $75 and while it's not in the same caliber as yours, it is truly nice. I recovered the seats with a brown satin shower curtain, bought at the thrift store. So my total was $78 after material. Everyone loves it and they don't have a clue till I tell them.

    • I think buying second hand has so many benefits Debra! I was at an antique store last week and they had BEAUTIFUL tables and chairs – priced at $75 and such a deal. I hate when I see people buy new and there are so many things you can get secondhand for next to nothing. Love Craigslist too!

      • Debra DeBord says:

        You are so right Laurie! Buying secondhand does have benefits! You can find such unique and wonderful pieces that way. One of the biggest benefits is that you wont owe on it or have to pay it off for years. I live in an apartment right now and I cringe when I see an Aaron’s Rent truck, or some other rent to own truck, pull up to someone’s apartment. I am mentally screaming “Don’t Do It!” LOL. Cant’ wait to see your post on your Antique store finds!

        • I agree! I have had these pictures from the antique store on my phone forever, so I’ll definitely get that up this week… I was amazed at the prices, and can’t imagine that more folks aren’t snatching up those deals!

  2. Nancy Martin Broyles says:

    Love it.

  3. So pretty! Did you recover the chairs yourself or have it done by someone else? I feel like I would totally mess up trying to do something like that!

    • You know, I really meant to explain how to cover them in the post, but as I was photographing I was so excited when I added up how much we spent on the room that I pretty much left that out! They are SOOOOO easy to cover (really, really easy.) Just use a screw driver to take off your old chair cushions, cut the fabric to the right size (leave maybe 3 inches on all sides to give yourself plenty of room), and then just pull it tightly around the sides and staple with a staple gun.

      I usually start and get one side stapled in one spot, then pull tightly on the opposite side, make sure it’s straight, and go. It took about an hour to do all of those, but was so worth it! I tried to find a tutorial that will give you more information ~ hopefully this will help!

      This is exactly how I do it ~ and I don’t even remove the old fabric because I figure it gives it a little extra padding (those chairs are almost 70 years old…. they need the padding!) 🙂

  4. Love it!! So pretty–all of it!! Thanks for sharing!! Thanks for all that you do too!! Have a Great Weekend!!

  5. Oh Laurie the chairs!!! We just inherited my Great-Aunt’s dining room set this summer (over 100 years old) and it is in rough shape. Eventually I will have to refinish all of it but for now I think I’ll follow suit & recover the chairs. Any tips for fixing creaky, squeaky chair seats??

    • DEFINITELY try re-covering them Lauren – You’ll be amazed at the difference!!! Ours are pretty squeaky too ~ is it the seat or actually the chair? We’ve used wood glue on the bottom parts of the chairs to put them back together which has helped, but you can definitely tell some wear. I’m betting though that when you re-cover them, just taking the seats off and then putting them back on (and screwing them in tightly) will make such a difference. What fun!

      (Just talked to my husband and he said use vice grips to hold the chairs together after glueing them so they’ll stay in place. Hope that helps! Also, if you do them I’d love to share your before and after pics… I think we might need to do a new series on that!!!)

  6. I redid my small front bathroom this summer for $50. It had this really weird painted paneling that I had matched up well with the decorations, but I was more than ready for a change. It also had the piece that comes down from the ceiling as a little divider (about 1 1/2 feet the length of the tub/shower. It had been covered with paintable textured wallpaper. It was fuchsia (against a paneling that was gray with peach and green tiny accents – WHAT were they thinking?)
    Anyway, after 15 years I decided to tackle that paneling. I read up on painting paneling, and it was time-consuming and more costly than I needed. I decided to just paint over it and see where that went. Lowe’s was putting free coupons in the magazines for a paint sample. The sample was supposed to be from their spring line, pre-mixed. I wasn’t clear with that. Anyway, I took my coupons to three different stores, and they mixed it for me. Three sample sizes was enough to paint the bathroom. (8 oz each). Is that cheating? It was not the intended use of the coupon by Lowe’s, but I used them legally. The paint has worked (I did this in June). All of the prep was not necessary for this job. (The wall is still textured, but is now a prettier texture).
    Next, my daughter had a shower curtain she had used one year in her college apartment. I had matched the light brown paint to that. I kept my deep green over the toilet shelf, standing shelf and wall shelf that we had had for 15 years. (It doesn’t overwhelm like it sounds. ) I took out all of the peach accessories I had. I also took out a hamper that I had had in there since we moved in. We barely use the bathtub in there, so a small clothes basket in the tub to throw towels in is sufficient.
    Now for the cost. Two cheap paintbrushes. A memory foam bath mat. Two new hand towels. A new trashcan. A collage picture frame. All less than $50 from Wal-mart. We printed off pictures on plain paper, I moved a framed picture in that I was not using. We also hung a “new” light fixture. It i as very nice brass three down-light fixture I bought from Goodwill about 5 years ago for $8.99 and could never get my husband to hang. I didn’t count that in my cost because it has been sitting around here for so long!
    I LOVE my new bathroom, as does everyone who has seen it. Lowe’s has new coupons out and I will go get samples this month. I have a stairway wall I want to paint if I can find the right sample color! My paintbrushes are wrapped in saran wrap in the freezer so they stayed soft and I won’t have to replace them.

    • LOVE that Lisa! If you happen to have before and after pictures I would love to share them here ~ what fun! If you’d like, email them to me at

      We had the bathroom in one of our houses with that same wall, and I just wondered the same thing all the time…. amazing what some fresh and a new outlook will do! 🙂

  7. LOVE those curtains! I have the Waverly Blue toile ones in my bedroom.

  8. Penny Hood Watson says:

    Love the silhouettes from DisneyWorld! Is it possible to go to Disney on a budget?

  9. Renee' Crowson Doss says:

    Love it… I love the new fabric…

  10. Kathy Moreland says:

    You've done a fabulous job!! Love the chairs!! I blog at I'd love for you to visit and check out some of my thrifty decorating ideas.

  11. Michelle says:

    It’s beautiful! Love it! Could you tell me the brand and paint color of the walls?

    • Hi Michelle! It’s Benjamin Moore Hollingsworlth Green, but I think it’s more blue than green. I love it (but also love Sherwin Williams Seasalt which is in our new dining room in Ohio – such a pretty color too!)


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