Budget-Friendly Dining Room Updates

Updating your dining room doesn't have to cost a fortune. We have nine easy fixes that will add major drama for very little cash.

Add Chair Cushions

Cushions are a great way to add color and pattern to ho-hum chairs. They're inexpensive, too, so whether you have two chairs — or 12 — pretty cushions are an affordable style booster. Tip: When shopping for cushions, consider buying a few spares as replacements should one become permanently stained. Design by Kristine Watson.

Add Interest With Accessories

Express your style with unique accessories. Handmade or vintage pieces that tell a story are great conversation starters as are items specific to your city, town or state. Dining rooms are meant for gathering and entertaining; by filling your room with one-of-a-kind items, you'll create a space that reflects your style. Design by Kristine Watson.

Perk Up With Wallpaper

Dramatically change your dining room's appearance with wallpaper. Once a dirty word in the design community, wallpaper — with its nearly endless texture, color and pattern options — is coming back strong. Design by Nicole Balch.

Have Fun With Color

Dining rooms don't have to be formal or uptight, especially if they're open to a casual kitchen, living or family room. This dining room gets a kick courtesy of flirty pink backing the china cabinet and on the chair seats. Design by Nicole Balch.

Style Underfoot

The right area rug adds warmth and puts the finishing touch on any space. When selecting a dining room rug, keep this tip in mind: The rug should extend 18 to 24 inches beyond the table on all sides to allow each chair's four legs to remain on the rug when the chair is pulled away from the table. Design by Rhoda Montgomery.

Mix and Match Furniture

Although a matching dining room set can be beautiful, it can also be boring; instead give your space a collected-over-time look with mismatched furniture. Tip: Select your table first because it's much easier to find chairs that work with the table's height than the other way around. Also, pay attention to function as well as form when shopping for chairs — choose ones that are sturdy and comfortable so guests will want to linger. Design by Rhoda Montgomery.

Display and Store

A sideboard is great for storing serveware you need to have on hand but may not want to display. Put your favorite pieces to work as decoration; sturdy wall ledges are a great option for safely showcasing your prettiest collectibles. Design by Rhoda Montgomery.

Drape the Table

There's nothing like a beautiful tablecloth to disguise a worn-out surface or protect a new or valuable table from wear and tear. Finding just the right tablecloth to match your decor can be tricky, so carefully consider size, color, design and fabric durability before making your purchase. A truly terrific tablecloth will tick all the boxes and take your dining from so-so to stylish. Design by Joni Webb.

Select the Right Chandelier

A beautiful chandelier is the focal point of any dining room; it sets the tone for the room's style and provides the main source of illumination. When selecting a chandelier, match the fixture's size to your space. If your room is smaller than 10' x 10', use a fixture that measures 17 to 20 inches in diameter. If your room is closer to 16' x 16', choose a fixture that's between 24 and 36 inches in diameter. Also, your chandelier should hang about 30 to 36 inches above the table's surface. This height ensures a properly lit table and clear view of dining companions. Design by Joni Webb.

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