One Room Challenge

Six weeks to modernize a dining room

By Lindsey Mahoney
Photos by Mary Wyar

If you are like me, one of the best motivators to complete a project is a deadline. That’s why I decided to participate in this Better Homes & Gardens magazine’s One Room Challenge, where participants transform a room from start to finish in only six weeks while documenting the process along the way. With the holidays coming up, this was a perfect opportunity to renovate my dining room.

This year, more than 200 guest participants documented their renovation progress each week from the design concept to a final reveal. Along the way, we formed a community and cheered each other on, asking for advice when needed and offering suggestions when one of our fellow renovators ran into a roadblock. I made new friends and was inspired from following other projects to incorporate these ideas into other areas of my home.

Talking more about my project, when we first moved into our home, the dining room was a formal space built for a 1960s home. I wanted to modernize the dining room and give it a more relaxed feel. Whenever I design a space, I like to include some quality (aka more expensive) pieces that can withstand daily wear and tear, while also peppering in DIY projects and thrifted items to save money.

Before
Before

After
After

The back wall was my biggest challenge— it is the focal point of the room and whatever I put on the wall had to be substantial. After much deliberation, I realized the best focal point for where we gathered to eat as a family each night was our own smiling faces! I built a wood art ledge to run along the wall and used black frames I already owned to create the gallery of family photos.

I removed the wallpaper and applied a moody gray paint to the wall. I swapped out the formal chandelier with a modern light fixture and added a weathered, wood table with black chairs to give the room a more casual vibe.

With the bulk of my budget going towards the light, table and chairs, I had to get thrifty with the rest of my design. I found a beautiful buffet at Consign-It and used a Rust-oleum Furniture Kit to paint it black. It turned out better than I could have imagined!

Mahoney-DiningRoom-PhotoCredit-MaryWyar-35

For the final reveal, I worked with Bartz Viviano Florists to create a beautiful holiday floral arrangement to inspire One Room Challenge followers.

The design came together perfectly. In the end, this six-week project cost me $3,000 for all materials and labor. With my dining room now complete, I am looking forward to hosting my first
dinner party in the new space.

To see the full dining room transformation, visit buildingbluebird.com.

For more information, contact Lindsey Mahoney at buildingbluebird@gmail.com.

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