Sadly I don't have a lot of photos of the dining room but I did want to talk about the space since it was definitely a budget conscious room.
The first element of the dining room that we bought was our dining table and chair set. It was actually the first large purchase we made after we got married when we were living in our apartment. When we moved to Alabama we had a full sized mattress, a broken papasan chair that my brother had given us, a super heavy tube tv, a desk I had rescued from the dump, a drafting table, and a suspiciously unstable tv stand. We definitely needed a place to eat and I remember being so excited when I found our table and chairs for $300 at a consignment store. I put them on layaway and made a couple payments before we brought them home.
When we moved to this house we had little extra money and I still hadn't found a job after eight months of looking since we moved to Alabama. I was offered a job as an administrative assistant the day we closed on our house (October 31, 2007...yep Halloween). The money from my job funded our house transformation and was a timely opportunity.
A co-worker and friend of mine invited us to her house one night and when I entered her living room I immediately noticed the chandelier at one end. I assumed it was something from one of her grandmothers since I knew she was close to them. When I told her how beautiful I thought it was she informed me that she hated it because it didn't match her more contemporary style and that I could have it. I was pretty excited. It is a 1950s reproduction of an antique Delft chandelier and I love its vintage/antique charm. It was the perfect addition to our dining room which had previously been illuminated by a very cheap and ugly chandelier. I researched online and found similar chandeliers to our Delft one starting at $500 so that made me even more excited about it.
Our curtain rods came from Ross and were about $15 each. We used $10 drop cloths from Lowe's as curtains, a trick which I got from The Lettered Cottage. With the addition of curtain rings and some cheap sheer curtains from Ikea our window coverings cost under $100 for three large windows.
Rugs were difficult for me to shop for. I had a hard time finding any in my price range that I really liked. I wanted something understated but I still wanted it to have vibrant colors and be interesting enough to be the main decorative element in the dining room. One day when I was walking through the J.C. Penney outlet I came across a runner for my hallway that I absolutely loved. I bought it at significantly less than the retail price (I think about $70 if I remember correctly) and decided to try to find a larger rug in the same collection for the dining room. It's a Kathy Ireland rug and the best price I could find online for the one I liked for the dining room was $500. Once again the local flea market was a lifesaver. The guy who sells rugs there had some from the same collection and was able to order me the rug I wanted for $300.
With our dining room decor as with a lot of other things we bought for the house, it paid off to research the things we wanted and look for innovative solutions to decorating needs. The Lettered Cottage was the first decorating blog I discovered (about two years ago) and that opened up a whole new world of ideas and resources for me. I'm definitely thankful for the inspiration!