Classic Family and Dining Rooms

Designer Jessica Bennett creates a living space full of cozy, timeless furnishings, perfect for this family with kids who loves to entertain.

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For this Irvine, Calif., project, designer Jessica Bennett remodeled the family and dining rooms for $12,000. Traditional furniture pieces in kid-friendly fabrics make this a classic design that works for the whole family.

We caught up with Jessica to learn how her design came together.


Browse More Photos of this Family Room and Dining Space

Describe the homeowners' wish list.

The family wanted something that would be great for entertaining but could also function with lots of little kids running around the house.

They often have events and parties at their house but small kids are always in attendance.

What were the homeowners' design problems?

This family understood the importance of having good staple pieces to anchor the space. My biggest issue was pulling everything together with the finishing touches that would truly turn the space from a house with furniture to a home with warmth and personality.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

The biggest obstacle for the dining room was finding and then hanging the mirrors. The wall was empty and really needed something to take up the entire space. Trying to find mirrors that were large enough but could still be hung on the wall was a challenge.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

In all honesty, this project was a dream. The clients were fantastic and really trusted my idea of the space. They also understood the value of spending just a little more to get pieces that would last and remain true to the design. Nothing really changed from the original plan with the exception of a few small reselections we had to make due to pieces being backordered.

What lessons did you learn?

There were spots in the home where I had specified a few extra accent pieces to balance the space plan and complete the design. Due to budget and practicality, the clients didn't end up getting those pieces. When it came time to install, I really wished I had them. I learned that I need to better explain the reason why having those accent pieces is important.

What are the "hidden gems"?

The details are always what make a space. To me, that means the accessories you place in a home really reflect the life and personality of the people who live there. The mirrors, accent pillows, tabletop accessories and frames — once those are in place, then the room really comes to life.

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