Transitional Modern Dining Room Makeover & Decorating Ideas


Transitional Modern Dining Room Makeover - Before and After

I recently designed a transitional modern dining room for my friend and client and here is how the room makeover went! The formal dining room often becomes a dumping ground for packages so if you’re looking to update your dining area and give it a modern look, I got you! I call this look transitional because while I love a modern dining room design, my heart is set on traditional decorative accents. 

Before: Not so modern dining room 

First things first, let’s look at the before of the dining area. My friend had an antique dining table from Pakistan which belonged to her grandmother. Of course I had to include that one-of-a-kind dining room table in my new design. The entire space is open concept and leads to the living room and it’s also the first thing you see when you enter the house. One of the quirks of this small dining room is an arched niche or recess in the back wall. This didn’t really add to the design style and was just awkwardly there. That niche did, however, have the potential of becoming the focal point of the room. The dining room layout was key to get the look of a larger space while still keeping some of the old dining room furniture. My friend Amna, who by the way, is an excellent baker at Sugar Plum Bakery, was more than willing to get rid of her old dining chairs. There were also three small windows in a line and one larger window which somehow didn’t get a lot of natural light through. One of the asks was to create more storage space and to give the room an updated, modern look. I asked her to save some of her favorite dining room designs and that’s a great way to get inspiration flowing. 

The Solve: Creating Storage Options for Small Spaces

Transitional Modern Dining Room Mood Board

I had seen this dining room plenty of times at dinner parties, but when Amna asked me to give it a new look, I started like I begin all my projects. Pictures. Lots of pictures and all of the measurements you can think of. Before you even think of a color palette, it’s a good idea to draw out the dining room layout on paper. I personally love a round table but the rectangular table was too perfect to replace. Big changes were in store for this soon to be modern dining space!

Built Ins and Backsplash Inspiration for Dining Room

Custom Built ins for the Dining Room Niche

Custom Built Ins for Dining Room Niche

I sketched out built in cabinets instead of adding a new piece of furniture in there for the buffet table. You can’t usually find a large piece in stores to fit recessed niches like this one. Custom built ins are a popular choice which is worth spending on in this case. The new cabinets followed the curve of the arched niche with open shelving in the middle and glass doors on the side.

Custom Built In for Modern Transitional Dining Room

There was an opportunity to have some fun with the backsplash and I sourced this gorgeous handmade brick from Fireclay Tile to create the perfect neutral color scheme. Using organic materials like this brick really elevates the look of a space. It also added kind of an accent wall by using a different material than the cabinetry. With these built-ins, she would have a dedicated space for all her dinnerware and extra hosting supplies. The bottom cabinets were designed to be the perfect size for her overflow of baking supplies.

Trim Work: The Perfect Way to Add an Elegant Look

Transitional Modern Dining Room Wallpaper

Now that I had figured out the awkward dining room niche, it was time to add some decorative elements. There was already a chair rail going in the room so I decided to use that as a guiding point. I added this gorgeous neutral colored floral wallpaper to the top half of the walls. No more boring white walls! The bottom half got a fresh coat of paint in Natural Cream by Benjamin Moore, a luxe satin finish. This was the same paint color as the built-ins. I also added window casing around all the windows to make them stand out and had the painters match them to the new wall color as well. The clean lines of the trim work instantly made the room feel polished. 

Dining Room Decorating Ideas for a Modern Design

Transitional Modern Dining Room

Once the built-ins were installed and the wallpaper was up, it was time to decorate and add the finishing touches. For the first time in months, Amna got a dust free dining room! 

Statement Light Fixture Moments

Transitional Modern Dining Room Light Fixtures

One of the easiest upgrades that you can do to a room is change out the lighting fixtures. Wall sconces add instant drama – I picked out this brass globe sconce for the built-ins wall. And the chandelier is such a stunner! The blend of modern design with its clean lines and the traditional shape of the shades made this new light fixture a great choice for the makeover. 

Vintage Inspired Dining Room Decor

Transitional Modern Dining Room Gallery Wall

It’s always a good idea to mix and match decor to give it a unique style. Even if your end goal is a modern look, I still recommend adding some vintage or thrifted pieces. I put together a simple gallery wall with vintage inspired artwork and gold and brass frames. Mixing in some round frames with your regular rectangular ones gives a really charming look. Some of my favorite modern dining rooms have thrifted artwork that give it so much character. 

Before and After_ Modern Transitional Dining Room Cabinets

Her old bar cabinet really stood out against the newly refreshed window with a simple faux linen curtain. The original plan was to add a patterned curtain but that didn’t work out in the end. As soon as you walk in from the front door you’re greeted by the gorgeous cabinets and the new modern dining chairs. They’re one of the biggest changes for the space! 

Transitional Modern Dining Room Rug

Changing out flooring was not in the budget but the new area rug with its bold hue really uplifts the room. With a large enough area rug you can cover up old flooring instantly! The new rug here is an 8×10 size. 

Vintage Inspired Dining Room Decor

Brass candle stands and little trinkets are always a good addition to open shelving. If you don’t have the time to go thrifting, you can always find some vintage inspired pieces on Amazon! Don’t worry, I’ll link everything at the end of the post to make it easy for you. 

How much does a dining room makeover cost:

Fariha Nasir Transitional Modern Dining Room Makeover

A dining room makeover can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. For reference, the built-ins here cost $7k including paint but without the brick. The wallpaper ended up being $1000 or so. The lighting and brick were both gifted to me by the brands. My friend saved money by not getting a new table or new flooring. To stay at a lower budget I highly recommend going the DIY route by installing your own wallpaper, painting your own walls. If you’re really handy you could even follow a step-by-step tutorial to make your own cabinets. 

I am so thrilled with how this remodel turned out and I hope you love it too! This previously simple space is now the beautiful first room you see on entering the house. I can’t wait for the next dinner party Amna throws so we can all enjoy it together! Haha, no pressure! 

Modern Dining Room Makeover Sources

This post contains affiliate links to products that I used or recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!
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