DIY · Home & Garden

How to Create a Traditional Dining Room

Learn how to update a dining room to create a traditional feel to it. Using a few paint colors and a mishmash of old and new decor, this traditional dining room is now complete and ready to entertain.

A rustic picnic dining table is in the middle of a dining room with flowers on it.

We learned how to create a traditional dining room with cottage and farmhouse influences. I am so excited to have finally completed a room in our home! I’m always making small updates—especially as the seasons change, the scene around evolves. However, for the most part, we have a cohesive, curated look for the dining area.

I’ve slowly been turning our 1950s ranch-style house into an English cottage, in bits and pieces, over the last few months. Though these restoration projects and special touches will require years of work, it feels so good to have a single space that is mostly complete. 

I’ve decorated with a mishmash of new and antique items for a one-of-a kind look that fits us and our quaint home.

A galvanized funnel alongside a porcelain pitcher is filled with flowers sitting on a dining table with a chandelier above.

To create a cottage dining room, I like to add fresh herbs and/or flowers. I always pick up eucalyptus and a flower bouquet whenever I head to Trader Joe’s for my monthly grocery haul. Flowers are the perfect way to liven up any room with their bright colors and floral aromas. It sure does add some character to the room.

One way to cut costs and make flowers and greenery stretch is to buy varieties that still look pretty even once they’ve dried up. When I buy baby’s breath or eucalyptus, I don’t even bother putting them in water. I place them wherever I want around the room. Once they dry up in a week or so, they still look the exact same. No one would know they’re weeks old unless they actually felt them.

The dining area is so important to us. We sit down every single night to a meal at this table to enjoy homemade food and talk about our day. We have so many more memories to make here.

A black chandelier with glass bulbs and eucalyptus hangs above with antique China sitting on a ledge in this traditional dining room.

Get the Traditional Dining Room Look

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Target. I absolutely adore secondhand items that make my home feel so special. But for many items in my house that just isn’t feasible. I don’t always have the time to drive all over and check multiple shops on a consistent weekly basis. Target tends to carry a lot of farmhouse-style decor that meshes really well in the cottage we’re morphing our house into. It also works for the traditional style I gravitate toward.

I will browse antique shops for very specific items, but my go-to place when I need something soon is Target or Amazon. If it’s something special that I can’t find at either, I’ll start scouring sales online and then just wait for the right time to buy from the right place. 

Lowe’s is also where we do most of our shopping for DIY projects, including painting, because of its proximity to our house. Plus, we get a discount when we use our Lowe’s card. Almost every baseboard, door, piece of lumber, etc. has come from Lowe’s.

Gardening boots are on a denim rug with a vintage white trash can next to it.

Paint Colors

I knew I wanted a clean white look in the kitchen. I wanted a clean slate that was easy to decorate around, so white it was. Just be prepared to incorporate other colors in the overall color scheme once you begin adding in decor and whatnot. All white would be such a bore.

Side kitchen Door: Valspar Interior Semi-Gloss Prickly Pear

Wall paneling: Valspar Interior Semi-Gloss Patina Blue 

Walls and Masonite Door: Pittsburg Paint Interior Semi-Gloss Atrium White

A painted white masonite door has a denim rug in front of it.

Dining Room Decor

I enjoy a lot of older pieces in my home. To get a truly traditional dining room look, you’ll need to add in some antiques and many vintage-inspired new pieces too. That’s exactly what I’ve done here.

Levi’s x Target woven jute scatter rugs: discontinued – I love that these were recycled. A great way to repurpose old jeans, I suppose. These give the dining room a rustic Americana flair to its nooks.

Masonite Winslow Door – We literally had to install a new door because the previous owners had left an accordian style closet door in this stairway. Very tacky and dangerous. I love this new door. It reminds me of old Craftsman homes.

“Classic Cocktails for Classy People” 17×17 Art Print – Definitely a modern piece of art, I find it practical. Humorous and complementary, it lists several cocktail recipes at a glance.

A black wall clock and thermostat hang above a national parks wall calendar.

“Roaming Wild in our Parks” Calendar – We love exploring National Parks in the U.S. The color scheme is perfect in my home and sits very cozily under the farmhouse style clock.

Hearth and Hand by Magnolia Clock and Thermometer – Vintage inspired, this clock and thermometer are a must-have for any kitchen.

Rubber Tall Rain Boots Size 7 Green – Smith & Hawken – You can have a cottage without a garden. These gardening boots are handy for those days I’m flying out the doors to get work done.

10” Beeswax Blend Taper Candles Set of 2 – Classic and perfect for a traditional style home, these candle are great for a table centerpiece.

Set of 3 Tapers Cast Aluminum Candleholders – I love the brass color of these simple candleholders. They are tapered which makes them ideal for a tablescape.

2.5L Porcelain Pitcher – Until I get my hands on some antique ironstone pitchers, this piece will do. With an old-fashioned flair, it’s a charming , affordable piece to add to a traditional dining room.

Hearth and Hand by Magnolia Large Stoneware Oval Platter  – The serving platter we all need. Fits just enough food for a dinner party and looks elegant on display like it is now in my dining room.

Guzman 5-Light Candle Style Wagon Wheel Chandelier with Wrought Iron Accents – I am obsessed with this chandelier. It’s modern, but the black look is timeless and works for a cottage or farmhouse. I have it decorated with eucalyptus branches on occasion.

Walnut Stain with White Farmhouse Table and Benches: This was locally sourced. I love to support local small businesses when I can. Be sure to do a quick online search for “rustic farmhouse table with benches” in your area or find one secondhand on Marketplace.

A side door has a cocktail recipe photo, national parks calendar, and wall clock in its nook.

The old world look is in style, so handmade furniture is making a comeback and shops are popping up all over. Most of these smaller places make them to order, so you’ll likely get to design it yourself. Meaning, you’ll get to pick the stain and paint color you want.

Antique Decor

Galvanized funnel – used for practical purposes in the kitchen, this piece is part of a display on my farmhouse table.

1942 Homer Laughlin Saucer – China pieces are great for hanging throughout the home. I especially love having it behind the dining room table, so it catches the eye immediately when entering.

A porcelain pitcher filled with flowers next to an antique funnel with China sitting behind it in a traditional style dining room.

Tips for Antique Decor – Traditional Dining Room Interiors

Try finding one-of-a-kind items at estate sales, thrift stores, and local antique shops or antique malls. This really helps to complete the look.

I personally love to look for baskets, vases and pitchers, linens and table clothes/runners, scales, china and other old-fashioned knickknacks. eBay is also great for finding rare items that you don’t have time to wait around for at your local shop. That is, if it were to ever show up.

A large, walnut-stained dining table in a traditional dining room.

The beauty of shopping for antiques: You can never seem to find exactly what you’re looking for until you’ve forgotten about it or no longer need it. When I’m not looking, items start popping up left and right.

Adding just a couple of vintage finds can really bring a room to its full potential and charm once you’ve mastered the art of antiquing. Don’t be intimidated by it.

Whether you decorate your home with all new or only used, I hope I’ve sparked some creative ideas for you to freshen up your look.

More on Home Interiors

Decorating with Antiques for a Cottage Style Home

Simple, Natural Fall Decor

Our Cottage Bathroom Makeover

Winter Cottage Decor

Living Room Decorating Ideas You’ll Love

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