Multiuse Dining Room Decor

When an Idaho family entered the Save My Room contest, they hoped Better Homes and Gardens contributing editor Stephen Saint-Onge would transform their plain dining room into a multifunctional space. But they never imagined they would get so much more.

Before: Formal but Empty
The Porters’ formal dining room has a prime location in their Idaho home — it’s the first room guests see. But the mostly empty room left a lackluster impression. “We love the idea of combining a formal sitting area snuggled up to the dining table for nice family dinners,” Jacqui Porter suggested when she entered the Save My Room contest. Better Homes and Gardens contributing editor Stephen Saint-Onge created the cozy, multifunctional space the Porters envisioned.

After: Versatile Decor
Saint-Onge decided to stick with light walls, similar to the previous wall color, but he pumped it up with a pretty wallpaper. Stephen Saint-Onge put the hardworking elements of a beautiful dining room in place: a large table, upholstered chairs, and a sideboard.The curvy vine pattern softens the hard lines of the furniture.

Editor’s Tip: Versatile furniture and room planning are the keys to an effective multiuse room. For example, Saint-Onge didn’t hang a chandelier so the table isn’t glued in one spot.

Before: Misused Wall Space

The mirror on the side wall hinted at the classic yet modern look the Porters wanted.The Porters tried to give the room personality by hanging family photos on the wall behind the table.  Still, the walls didn’t reach their potential.

After: Storage Central

 A large mirror completes the scene. The mirror also performs another function: By reflecting family portraits on the opposite wall, it adds a personal touch to the dining area.A sleek sideboard behind the table adds much-needed storage. The sideboard holds reference books and magazines on one side, fine china on the other, and barware on top. Iron lamps with a branch design echo the wallpaper’s botanical motif.

Declutter in Style
The sideboard holds many essentials. Because the dining room is the first room off the front door, mail can pile up here, but tucked-away bins for magazines and baskets for mail catch the clutter. Matching tins with labels help the space look tidy even when the doors are open.

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