Summer Dining Room Refresh

Does your dining room need a refresh for summer? I'm sharing how I added fun pops of color and cute accessories for less than $20!
cottage dining room with painted grandfather clock

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One of my very favorite things in the whole world is details! Yes, I am very detail my observation skills need work 😉 but when it comes to details, I'm all over them! This works to my advantage when I share tutorials and room makeovers with you guys because you WANT the details! 

I recently spent less than $20 to decorate my dining room for summer. Bright pops of color, a few fun DIY accessories, and shopping my home for additional items is all it took.

I used to have a yellow and blue cottage kitchen. Way back when our boys were tiny and we lived in a little 50's ranch in Oregon, with a huge garden and a real basement (oh how I miss having a basement!). It was our first large-scale DIY and it about killed us...but once it was done, it was the best thing we'd ever accomplished...aside from our kiddos of course! Here's a look at my scrapbook page from that time.

blue and yellow cottage kitchen

Since then, I don't believe I've ever paired yellow with blue. I don't know why. I decided to bring back that delightful summer color combo to my farmhouse/cottage dining room in a way that feels so fresh and fun!

cottage dining room

If you're a long-time follower here, you're already familiar with my love of blue! I love all shades and you will find something blue in every room in our home. It's my color. So this room refresh was super easy because the blue elements were already in place...I just moved them around a little, brought some out of cupboards and off bookshelves. Our dining room is a gathering place of blue vintage and thrifted treasures!

Easy Summer Tablescape

DIY bee skeps center piece

Layering is a fun way to add depth and even texture to a table! I started with my DIY ruffled drop cloth runner that I made years and years ago before I was a blogger. It goes with everything and I love it so much!

blue and yellow summer cottage decor

Each place setting started with a woven charger. I added some of my favorite thrifted ironstone dishes, a yellow polka dot napkin and a cute blue and white gingham bowl. I'm not serving soup...these bowls are the perfect size for a big summer fruit salad or ice cream!

The table centerpiece is a square of gingham fabric placed on the diagonal, topped with my super easy and affordable DIY bee skeps and a couple glass bottles filled with yellow flowers.

blue gingham and yellow

Now, let's talk details.

How to make Napkins for $1 each

This little trick has saved me a LOT of money over the years! Have you heard of  'fat quarters'? They're 18" x 21" squares of fabric for quilters and they're only $1 each! I just bought 4 of them, removed the tag, washed them and had INSTANT NAPKINS!!! They are the perfect size for a nice, hefty napkin and the colors and patterns are endless!

fat quarters

Fabric Trick
Another fabric trick that I use, especially for tablescapes, is repurposing a yard of fabric. I wash it, then rip it to the size I want! Ripping eliminates the need for hems, and gives you a frayed edge that is so cute in farmhouse and cottage style! Start the rip with a small snip of your scissors. I used this trick to make blue gingham napkins (one of which I'm using as one of the layers on my centerpiece). This trick is great for making simple table runners as well, and it's so affordable! Most cotton fabric is well under $10/yard! 

I have found endless home decor items at Walmart! These gingham bowls are melamine and were just $1.50 each! Check out the matching plates!  So perfect for summer, especially outdoor dining! I have also purchased ribbon to make my "famous farmhouse wreath" (one of my top viewed posts of all time), baskets for my farmhouse office, florals and more! Some of my items are no longer available at Walmart but they get new stuff in all the time, and it's definitely worth checking them out for affordable decor and craft supplies!

Room Details

Enough talking...let's get back to this pretty summer dining room! I brought the blue gingham pillows in from my living room, and added the little ladder with a blue throw for a little more color on this side of the room. Btw, that ladder came from a bunk bed and I picked it up at the curb one day and painted it white 😉

cottage blue decor

My painted grandfather clock is happy in this room so here he'll stay for the time being. I added a stack of blue vintage books and a thrifted vase filled with dollar store daisies inside the clock.

painted grandfather clock

blue vintage books

I replaced the white plates on my wall with more of my blue transferware ones that I've thrifted. I've hung them using a combination of these plate hangers, these invisible discs, and these DIY plate hangers that are also invisible.

plate gallery

I love these vintage plates, they are just so charming!

blue and white vintage plates

In the other corner I hung a rustic shutter (really a vintage baking rack) on the wall with flowers. I'll be sharing the details of how I did this next week!

rustic industrial flower display

blue gingham and yellow

Something else in this room is brand new, but I'll bet you didn't even notice it! We replaced our grungy blinds that had broken cords with these cordless double cellular shades! The coolest part is how easy they are to cords, just a little button! We can raise the bottom up and the top down, to customize our privacy and light filtering! Go back and look at the pics and you'll see the shades in action!

Decorating my dining room for summer and setting this simple, affordable table was a lot of fun! I hope these ideas, tips and tricks have been helpful!

setting the table

Pin for later!

summer dining room

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Just gorgeous!!! Thanks for the great tips ;]!

  2. everything looks so fresh! i particularly like that drying rack/shutter - that's definitely my style!
    question - i have a real brick wall that was painted white when we moved in, any thoughts on doing a reverse German Schmear with tinted joint compound?

    1. Thanks Gwen! Why don't you try taking a sander to it to reveal some of the original brick? I would try that first!


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