Before & After: A Few Small Swaps Instantly Made This Dining Room Way More Inviting

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Before: Dimly lit dining room with large window
Credit: Brett Bralley

You don’t have to dislike a space to think it needs a bit of an upgrade. Whether it’s by doing something small, like adding some oversized art or making your space more cozy with chunky blankets, there are plenty of creative ways to update a room you already like.

That’s precisely how Brett Bralley felt about the dining room in her historic 1920s apartment. She says she wasn’t unhappy with it, but “it definitely wasn’t a super exciting part of my home.” 

Credit: Brett Bralley

“And while the blinds were hideous (and improperly installed), I sure loved all that natural light and adored the high ceilings,” Brett said. “It’s a beautiful well-lit space that was definitely in need of some love.”

Brett used it pre-pandemic for hosting family and friends and as extra counter space when cooking in her tiny kitchen. But now that she’s working from home, the space has also turned into her office.

Credit: Brett Bralley

“I usually worked at the table, but remember what I said about also using it as extended counter space? I was always clearing off my work area to make room for chopping veggies or mixing a cocktail,” she says. “And more often than I care to admit, the table was often handling both at the same time. I knew that for my sanity I needed something that was for work and work alone.”

Brett consulted her upstairs neighbor, who happens to be an interior designer at Jill Rouse Designs, on the best way to utilize the space. “She helped me figure out the best layout and helped me realize how just a few simple additions could make a big impact,” Brett says.

Over the next few weeks, Brett ordered a new desk from West Elm and a chair on Amazon and moved her record player into her living room to serve as a media console for her TV. She also moved her dining room table off-center and hired some help to swap out the ceiling light for a lovely pendant light from World Market that hangs above the table. 

Credit: Brett Bralley

Brett also hired someone to help her remove her blinds and install new curtains from Target. Then, she found some bright new pieces for storage and art: a rattan shelf from Golden Hour at Urban Suburban in Birmingham, Alabama for books, a new record player, plants, and other knickknacks. 

For a couple weeks’ work and about $900, Brett completely transformed her room from “a blah space” into her “favorite room in the house.”

“I was hesitant and waited awhile to jump into the project because I was afraid I’d be moving soon and it would be a waste of time and energy,” Brett says. “But in the end, I’m glad I did it, because it was a learning process and I picked up tips for along the way. And I just love being in my home more. The pandemic has given me a deeper gratitude for my sweet little historic apartment, and it deserves to be treated like the place where I spend nearly all my time these days!”

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Few Small Swaps Make This Dining Room Way More Inviting