Budget-Friendly Dining Room Updates From Expert Designers

We asked. They answered. Expert designers share what to buy if you only have $200.

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dining-room-budgetHide CaptionShow CaptionDesigner Jessica Nixon updates her dining rooms with elegant upholstery, easy-to-make window treatments and a fresh coat of paint.
Jessica Nixon, Jessica Nixon Interior Design:
Vamp up the dining room chairs with upholstery fabric that fits your new style or coordinates with existing rugs or drapes. To cut down on cost, reupholster them yourself using a heavy-duty stapler. If you have all wood seats, buy seat cushions or slipcovers for the dining chairs to soften all the wood edges.

My next suggestion is to hang drapery panels, which dress up a room in an instant. Tackle this project on your own to save on cost by sewing a three-inch hem on the top and bottom of a fabric panel and you're done. If you have left over fabric, make a table runner to coordinate.

Lastly, paint is another option that magically changes the look of a dining room for very little money. Be sure to bring samples of your existing furniture and finishes, such as a drawer from a buffet or a drapery panel, with you to the paint store when searching for the right color. Many paint stores offer $5 sample cans you can bring home and test on your walls or on large sheets of poster board so that you can make sure the color works in your lighting at home.

Check out more of Jessica's eclectic design style on Designers' Portfolio.