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by Ryann Miller
Fabulous Ideas For Painted Dining Room Chairs
photo by | from: ginny’s dining room reveal

A few weeks ago, Arlyn graced the internet with this post containing over 130 budget living room furniture picks and you guys, rightfully so, were very into it. Then Laurren, one of our contributors, lent us her market expertise with the outdoor furniture post and because, like many of you, we never tire of a good budget roundup, the team happily decided to keep them coming. You guys asked us (begged us?) for a dining roundup, so here we are. I’ll admit, I was a little startled and afraid when this was assigned to me. What I know about dining rooms is minimal, and what I know about decorating/styling them is even less. My experience has been more of trial and error, or perhaps more accurately it is a story of neglect.  [/caption]

photo by | from: brady’s kitchen & breakfast nook reveal

When I started putting together my apartment, my dining area was put on the hold for a handful of reasons. One was that I had a blank slate (meaning I had zero furniture), so to assemble a room on a small budget was going to be tricky. I also did not want to repeat the mistakes of apartments past where rooms became a hodgepodge of furniture thrown together with no direction. Some of you might remember in one of my last appearances, I mentioned my apartment was lacking a dining table for over 6 months and it was for this very reason. Let’s call it design-block (that has to be a thing right?). Or, could it also be because my boyfriend and I somewhat shamefully enjoy many a’meals on our couch while watching Jeopardy? Maybe. (And yes, I watch Jeopardy. I am essentially 24 going on 50). In any case, I focused energy (and $$) on other parts of my apartment (living room, bedroom, etc.) because those were spaces I felt were more exciting to style and play around with. The dining room was my ugly step-child and received no attention. Then, I had an awakening, as you do when contemplating design decisions. The thing that occurred to me first is this: eating is an everyday occurrence so why not do it in a space that you love? There is certainly something to be said about sitting at a table, TV off, and enjoying a meal (and company). Am I an adult?? Yes, yes I am. And second, I realized it’s the place where you get to spend the most time with people you love, and should be apt to entertain (if you are into that sort of thing). I at least figured it’d certainly be nice to have a space where guests can actually sit and (ideally) enjoy a home cooked meal by yours truly. So, all of that is to say that I am happy to announce this girl is the owner of a dining table and SIX chairs (4 of which were bought for under $2 each at Goodwill, and yes I am bragging). 

photo by | from: sylvia’s dining room makeover

I think we can agree that I am not an expert on dining rooms by any means, but I am well versed in starter/budget apartment-ing. So, once again we have a budget room roundup that is secretly helping me chip away at outfitting my apartment. Let’s get into it:

We always gab around the office (and on the blog) about finding the vintage pieces that really make a room, so we snuck in a few vintage/thrifted picks in each of the sections you are about to see, even if only to inspire some online scouring. As we all know, EHD rule #1 is no room is complete without a little vintage sprinkled in. But first, a word to the wise if I may be so bold: if you have apprehensions when buying online, try ing the seller directly and ask for clarification, or more photos. Most of the time they are happy to oblige because selling to a REALLY interested customer makes for an easier transaction (on both ends).

Youxi988 Budget Dining Room Sets Dining Tables2

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Anywho, here’s what I’ve learned while diving headfirst into designing my dining area: The dining table creates a base for the room and can act as a centerpiece to then build the rest of the room around but whatever space you are dealing with somewhat determines the dimensions of the table as well as the shape. Can you afford the space for a long rectangular table or is a square or circular one more appropriate? Are you aiming to offer place settings for 2 or 6? Will a bistro table do the trick or are you looking for a little more elbow room? Once those queries have been considered, you are undoubtedly ready to start narrowing down the usual suspects, and I am happy to say there are so many GREAT ones here. Take that for instance (which is extendable by the way), or that mid-century dream () for only $133.

I bought my IKEA dining table via Craigslist (you’d be surprised how many close to new steals you can find) and it’s worth the hunt if you have the time/desire to get thrifty with it. That said, if I would have had this roundup under my belt beforehand, things might’ve been different. i.e. I may have gone for or honestly could have gone the complete opposite way and snagged cause I love the idea of a one-of-a-kind piece to build around (this house tour we did a while back had a similar table and the homeowner made it feel so “now”). Hey guys, FYI, I am just a gal that just recently learned that dining areas are exciting to style so bear with me. Next up, we’ve got my personal favorite category…

Youxi988 Budget Dining Room Sets Dining Chairs2

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Once you have your table, you are ready to find the chairs to bring it all together. This is the REAL fun part, in my humble opinion, because you can absolutely mix and match different styles. Who knew chairs could be an adventure to shop for? Certainly not me, but it’s true. If you have a more neutral space, maybe you want to add a pop of color with something like (great for renters who maybe don’t feel comfortable painting or wallpapering), or maybe a funky silhouette is more your style and you want to go for a vintage one like . Live your best life, as the kids say.

I will note, kind of stole my heart (and at that price???) and sort of has me wishing I didn’t already have two chairs too many (funny how that works, a few months ago I had but not ONE chair…). But with that guy paired with , I would be one happy camper. Then there’s which has my brain going in a completely different (but equally as good) direction, and making me yearn for a more eclectic, retro style. So many possibilities, my friends. There are also a few bench options, which is a nice way of shaking things up visually. A backless bench like works well to open up a space and not disturb sight lines, while the Windsor-esque (which also comes in more neutral colors if pink isn’t for you) would be great with a round pedestal table and two simple chairs (like ).

Youxi988 Budget Dining Room Sets Bar Stools2

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If your space calls for counter stools (whether you have both a dining room and breakfast bar or just the breakfast bar like most smaller apartments come with these days), I sort of envy you (take a peek at for starters) because you get to play around with more styles which is fun. Guys, chairs are FUN. We included some with backrests and some without of course, because we know that people are VERY passionate about their preferences in this area. In fact, since I am a chair enthusiasts now, I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. When it comes to stools, what side are you on? Is it all about comfort or does style play an important role? Inquiring minds want to know.

Youxi988 Budget Dining Room Sets Dining Credenzas1

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Now we’re entering into “cherry on top” territory. We know not everyone has the space to fit in a credenza (or bar cart, but that’s next), but if you do, they’re great for setting up a little bar if you’re into that, setting platters during a dinner party, storing linens, etc. Something closed is better for storage, but if you’re working with a small space, keeping a more open, simple silhouette will let the room breathe more. These guys offer all the styling opportunities, , like we said, hello storage. This is where you can add some flair and personality, even if you are aiming to keep the rest of the room minimal. You guys know the drill: style with a vessel, a potted plant, stacked books, a collection of vintage figurines, perhaps, and BOOM. A perfectly personalized vignette.

Also of note, don’t feel like you have to hold firm to what a site is saying a piece is used for. For instance, is technically being called a TV console, but we say put it in your dining room and boom, it’s a whatever-you-want-to-use-it-for console. is unfinished, so you can either leave it raw or have fun with a stain or paint. Oh, and has a built-in bar inside, so double whammy.

Speaking of bars…

Youxi988 Budget Dining Room Sets Bar Carts1

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Ah, the infamous bar cart. It seems as if no millennial apartment is complete without it, am I right (or at least that’s what photos on the internet tell us)? You’ll notice the brass trend here, which I am always into having some hints of in a room, mainly due to this space that still makes my budding interior-design heart flutter. Something like #3, for example, would add just the right amount of flair. And then we have that really funky (albeit large) vintage that caught my eye and brought to surface DIY inklings I didn’t know I had in me. I think with a little sanding and a black stain we are in business. I realize now I may have decreased my chances of actually getting it and to that I say, may the best (or quickest) buyer win. 😉

A small rounder option (like , , and ) are great for smaller spaces since these would tuck really nicely into a little corner. You could even use it as a side table by your sofa and then roll it over to the dining room when it’s party time. We included a few utility carts, too, (, ) because they’re usually more price conscious, but these are stylish enough to do double duty at happy hour, too.

Alright, to spare you another long-winded post from the likes of me, I will end here and pass it along to you, the beloved reader. What do you want to see next in this series? As always leave your thoughts, comments, suggestions, et al. below.

Til next time. <3

Need some dining room inspiration? Head to our dining room reveals ROOMS page, then check out the dining section of our SHOP page for more product options. 

  1. Budget family sized dining tables for 8?

    1. Yes! And even for 10 would be terrific to see. Budget becomes a relative concept once you get into these bigger sizes, but I would love help finding something to seat 8-10.

    2. Check out outdoor furniture that you can bring inside. We spent years eating dinner at a redwood picnic table in the corner of the kitchen. Each of the benches held 3 people and with a chair at each end…8 spots. Put a tablecloth over the table and no one knows it’s an outside table.

      1. Thanksgiving dinners when I was a kid we went to my dad’s old army buddy’s house. This was for two families of six. They brought in the ping pong table which worked great. Plenty of room for all the food, too, since it was so wide.

  2. I think these roundup posts are great. I wish you’d do one on swivel rockers. They are, to me, the answer for those layouts where the TV is above the fireplace and there is a sofa facing the TV with armchairs on each side of the sofa. The armchairs would be so much more functional if they swiveled, and so much more comfy for viewing if they tilted/rocked. Finding adult chairs that look good and both swivel and rock is very difficult.

  3. You know…….those dining chairs #26 from West Elm would GO WITH EMILY’S BEAUTIFUL DINING CHAIRS!!
    What do you think? 🙂

    1. You’re not wrong!

  4. Yes – this! There are so many cute dining tables in this post, but I need help finding a family dining table to seat a minimum of 8-10 also. It can be hard to track down the larger tables and sometimes even extended tables are not big enough.

    1. We have this expandable table from West Elm. It sits 8 very comfortably with both leaves, 10 with minimal squeezing, and we’ve squashed up to 14 at it for some very friendly holiday dinners. It’s usually about $700 but currently on sale for $490! West Elm has some other expandable tables as well at reasonable prices.


  5. I just saw this on IG this morning and thought of the mountain house. And the today’s post worked in amazingly well! (although I don’t know about a white base with little feet kicking it.)

  6. I’d love some dining room chandelier options! I’m struggling to find something that isn’t boring/generic or hugely expensive…

    1. We have a lighting roundup (and decor + art…all budget focused) coming up next week. Stay tuned.

      1. Please tell me you include decent flush mount and semi-flushmount lights that are NOT boob lights in this round up. I would also appreciate a range of approaches $1-$499 for this style of light.

        Thanks!

  7. Ah, that small World Market bar cart is so cute!

    My number one criteria for a dining room chair is comfort. Over anything else. I’ve been known to wait a while to be seated at a particular restaurant because the chairs at the tables hurt my back. So, I’ll wait to get a booth.

    1. I am a booth person too! 100% would way rather wait then sit in a uncomfortable chair for hours..

  8. Thank you for the roundup (and decorating commentary)! I would love to see a post about search terms to use when looking for vintage items (AKA what to type into Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace, etc.).

    1. OH I want that, too. We’re on it…

  9. I love the idea of this post but all of these tables are too small. Can you feature something for families with children who host holidays?

  10. I recently got this table for around $375, although it’s more than that now. Comfortably seats 6 and can squeeze 8. It’s super sturdy and has the perfect amount of rustic detail. Still trying to decide on chairs as me an my husband have totally different ideas about things. 😆

    1. Thank you for sharing!

  11. What a wonderful rundown! As I read it, I kept seeing the pieces I liked most morphing into my living space.

    How about a post for tips on handling limited storage and counter space in the kitchen? I get sad trying to cook in this thing.

  12. A thought about the chairs featured – most of them are very cute but most of the websites selling them do not list their weight restrictions. I learned the hard way, after purchasing 6 adorable chairs on Overstock, that you should never purchase chairs without knowing how much weight they can hold. It was so humiliating for everyone involved when a friend who is rather large came over for dinner and his chair collapsed beneath him! Now, I’m shopping for chairs all over again but only considering ones that list what they can hold.

  13. Oh some very fun options! I really like your comment that you should look in related categories for similar types of furniture that are labeled for different purposes – I was recently looking for a console/TV table to go under a TV that is mounted on a wall, and a lot of your credenzas you picked would have worked so well for my purpose too! Is that table a nightstand or a an end table? Isn’t a nightstand just a side table for your bed? A credenza, a tv stand, a sofa table, a dresser? All similar height with storage! A utility cart or a bar cart? Who cares what the website says, does it work for you? Especially when you’re on a budget, being flexible and creative can turn up some awesome ideas at great prices!

  14. 120?
    See also The Paradox of Choice:

  15. nice website and good article for

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