A Little Dining Room Makeover (Part 1)

The dining room was the prettiest room when we bought the house – and in the best shape. It just needed a little sprucing up. We are those rare people that actually use our formal dining room – not on a daily basis, but we entertain and host parties a lot, so it definitely gets use. I had been wanting to make some drapes for the room for ages, and when we hosted our dear friends’ baby shower, it was the perfect excuse to finally get this done.

This isn’t a TRUE before of the dining room, but here’s the space last Christmas. When we moved in, I bought super cheap sheers and spring rods for every room in the house. Cheap, lets light in, and shows off the woodwork. And there’s no sense buying curtains until we know what we’re doing with the rooms! I also like how white sheers look from the outside – it makes all the windows look the same in outside pictures.

With windows this tall, I always make my own curtains. Because if you want something really long and affordable, you have like 4 shades of beige or gray to pick from. And if you want something with patterns and color, you have to sell a kidney on the black market. And since drapes are really easy to sew, I do it myself. I don’t do liners or anything fancy – I’m not that good! But it works and I have fun, and it opens up all the color and pattern I want.

But – a warning. This is what I ALWAYS do. And I don’t recommend it – it gets a 0/10 score. When I start thinking about a room, I get excited, and I research, and I order samples. And I fell in love with a striped fabric for the dining room (which shocked me – it was a little modern). I LOVED IT. And I was willing to splurge a little because it was a little pricier than most fabrics I would normally buy.

But I always do this WELL before I’m ready or have the money for a project. And then when I’m ready, EVERYTHING IS DISCONTINUED. This happens with fabric and wallpaper all the time. So, the striped fabric was not an option. SIGH.

Vicious Cycle of Wallpaper and Fabric Selection

(0/10 would recommend)

  1. Search for Fabric or Wallpaper
  2. Find Good Choices
  3. Order Samples
  4. Check the mailbox every day
  5. Get Samples
  6. Be underwhelmed with the one you liked best online
  7. Fall in love with one that you weren’t expecting
  8. Keep it in the room you’re putting it in, so you can swoon as you walk by
  9. Finally get around / have the funds to order it
  10. Find out it’s discontinued
  11. Get SO ANGRY that you have to break up
  12. Look at every other distributer to see if the first one was wrong
  13. Go on Ebay because SOMEONE HAS IT SOMEWHERE
  14. Nope. No one has it.
  15. Commence all the stages of grief
  16. Begin the search again once you’ve given in to despair
  17. Vow that NOTHING WILL EVER take the place of your first choice
  18. Find a second choice that you have to settle on
  19. Continue to be bitter
  20. Order a sample of choice number two
  21. Wait for it to arrive, and contemplate how your house is going to be “just okay”
  22. Sample Arrives
  23. Oh.
  24. Okay, that’s pretty great.
  25. It’s actually better than the first one.
  26. Commences feeling guilty about being excited to leave your love for the old fabric behind for this one.
  27. WAIT! It’s cheaper, too? By a lot?
  28. Smile. And finally start the project.

Every. Single. Time.

Moral of the story – either buy it right away, or know that something better is coming.

I love pattern mixing. And this – the extremely heavy and formal lincrusta, with the vibrant and fun stripe, makes me SO HAPPY. And my plan is to sew the curtains in a way that the styling is formal, even though the fabric is not.

Panels are done!


Bonny was a little mad that she couldn’t see all the neighborhood happenings, but then she realized she just had to be a little creative to make it work.

One day, my studio on the second floor will be done and I’ll have ample sewing space for all these drapes. Until then, the dining room and table are really pretty awesome.

This fuchsia linen is really pretty.

But, everyone needs some tassels in their life. And these gold ones are amazing.

I mean COME ON.

First window, done! I think my only complaint is losing the ability to see the window trim on the sides.

For the valance, I sewed a big rectangle, and then just tied up the corners. I had to play a little to get everything balanced, but it worked out okay! Also, the tassels are a little like my curly hair – if you don’t get it EXACTLY balanced, no one really knows.

Done! It’s amazing how much more finished the room looks now!

I’ll show you the rest of the room in the next post!





  1. Amy, I’m always impressed by how well you pull everything together. I often don’t see how the contrasting patterns will work until you finish. Great job.

  2. First, thank you for the new blog post. I mentioned on Instagram that I was officially all caught up and was feeling the let down. It was getting a little dicey here during the 17 hour cold turkey stretch. My husband thanks you and my children are relieved that their mama is now distracted enough that they can hatch their diabolical plans and I won’t notice for a while and they can blame it on our mysterious resident ‘Nobody’. (Sorry that was a very ugly run on sentence and I’m awful about re-reading/editing.)

    Second, I had no idea how those rich striped curtains were going to fit into that jewel of a room. There were some tense moments. However like Stephanie in the previous comment said it came together beautifully. I can’t imagine this room without them. A job well done indeed.

    1. “Nobody” is the worst. You should evict them as soon as possible. I am so glad to help you hang on to your sanity for just a while longer. 🙂

  3. I agree with the above two comments. How is that wild beach stripe ever going to work in that room. Then you took the fuchsia linen for a valance, and the stripe didn’t even have fuchsia in it. NO,NO,NO It won’t work. And, of course it all works. You are so creative. Love it!

    1. Jewel tones….. somehow, they all work together. That’s pretty much the theme of the downstairs! Thank you for both doubting me and believing in me all at once. I think that’s a pretty perfect combination.

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