A Thanksgiving Dining Room Makeover

Just in time for a crowd of 20, HGTV Magazine helped new homeowners in Wilmington, DE turn this cheerless space around.
By: Jessica Dodell-Feder and Styled by: Elizabeth Demos

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: Kelli Wilke

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: David A. Land

The Homeowners

When Kelli and Andy Wilke moved with their three kids from a small cabin in Jackson Hole, WY, to a four-bedroom Colonial in Wilmington, DE, they were thrilled to have more space, including a formal dining room, which they’d never had before.

Bare Space

Although Kelli loved the room’s size, she just wasn’t sure where to begin. She set out a few basics—a small table, a wood hutch, and some leftover chairs—but as November approached, she started to stress. “We wanted to host Thanksgiving, but our table could barely seat five, let alone 20!”

Thanksgiving-Ready Dining Room

So we answered her SOS and set about making the once bare room holiday-ready. It took smart storage pieces and a fresh color palette of gray, gold, and green (plus a bigger table, of course!), but the end result “couldn’t be prettier,” says Kelli. “I want to eat here every night, not just holidays!”


For buffet-style dinners, a sideboard is a must. This one is from an estate sale and was originally stained wood. We spruced it up with two coats of tropical green paint (Talipot Palm by Sherwin-Williams), then spray-painted the wood legs Gold by Valspar. The brass pulls and latches are all original—they just needed a good polishing.


With three kids younger than 4, the Wilkes needed a rug that could handle wear and tear. This 8-foot-by-11-foot flat-woven wool option by Genevieve Gorder ($1,347, capelrugshome.com) does the job. The green-on-white design mimics the color scheme without going overboard.


Drapes made from cotton ikat fabric (Duralee Malachite, $44 per yard, insidefabric.com) hang from West Elm brass rods.


This glamorous Circa Lighting fixture is one of the first items Kelli splurged on for the new house. “I just fell in love with it,” she says. Its brushed gold finish adds warmth to the gray walls and sets the tone for the rest of the hardware in the room.


The Wilkes traded in their hand-me-down dining table for a trestle-style acacia wood one ($1,299, zgallerie.com). “Finally, a table that fits the space!” says Kelli. It has two leaves, so it’s big enough for all the adult guests who will be coming to Thanksgiving, and the kids will sit at a smaller table nearby.


The six 1960s honey-color chairs—a steal at $350 for the set—are from the same estate sale as the sideboard, and they match the oak floors perfectly. It took four yards of fabric (Robert Allen Circle Grove, $79 per yard, calicocorners.com) to re-cover all the seats.

Hutch: Before

Kelli liked all the storage that the wood hutch offered but knew it needed modernizing.

Hutch: After

We painted it high-gloss white (Atrium White by Benjamin Moore), then polished the pretty brass hardware and stapled brass-tone metal radiator screening ($100 for three 3-foot-by-3-foot sheets, mdteam.com for stores) to the inside.

Fashionable and Functional

Kelli keeps auction and flea market treasures on display.

Table Settings

“We’re pretty casual,” says Kelli, so Thanksgiving table decorations will be simple with white and gold china, a linen-and-burlap runner, and small bouquets of orange and coral flowers in birch-wrapped containers (for similar styles, try save-on-crafts.com).

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