Come see how I was able to easily (and inexpensively) install a shiplap chair rail and tour our new farmhouse dining room, filled with DIY inspiration.
Adding faux shiplap is easier than you may think. When you just do a half wall (think chair rail height) it adds major character to any room.
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Well, It’s finally reveal day. Our dining room is complete. After finishing our board and batten living room and transforming the kitchen with paint, the room that connected the two sat unfinished for longer than I would have liked.
I can’t tell you how good it feels to have the major areas on our main level finished within the first year of moving into this house! kitchen – check. living room – check. stairs – check. dining room – check. check. check!!!!
Before I get into the real nitty-gritty, here’s the big before/after reveal:
Adding a Shiplap Chair Rail
This isn’t really *real* shiplap. I didn’t want to have to remove our baseboard, so I needed something thinner that wouldn’t stick out beyond the tops of the baseboard. Enter, my tried-and-true faux shiplap method. I last used this in our previous house (using MDF instead):
This time, I used the thinnest plywood I could find at Home Depot. I ripped it down to 6-inch strips. I’ve heard some stores will do this for you, but mine would not. So, I used my handy saw guide and handheld circular saw. Then I sanded down the edges of each plank to make them smooth and just a *bit* rounded. I didn’t want perfect looking planks, so this helped give them a little bit of character.
I simply attached the planks to the wall with a brad nailer. If any brads don’t go in all of the way, just tap them in gently with a hammer and nail setting tool. Then fill in holes with caulk before priming and painting.
Choosing a chair rail height
Apparently this is a topic of a fair amount of controversy. You can make yours match the height of your chair backs, if you want to protect your walls. Since we have a bench, that was less of a concern for me. I did, however, need to take into consideration the transition between my board and batten living room and my shiplap dining room.
Mixing Board and Batten with Shiplap
It never crossed my mind to consult with a design expert on whether I can mix board and batten with shiplap. I love them both, so why not! Side note: I also plan to use bead board at some point in another area of the house, so watch out! Things are getting real crazy around here.
Ok, so I knew I wanted both board and batten in the living room, and shiplap in the dining room. The big question was this: how do I transition the two rooms without making it look or feel awkward. For me, the solution was pretty straight-forward.
The second (bottom) horizontal board from my board and batten just so happened to be *about* chair rail height. It made the most sense to transition that second (bottom) board all the way around the dining room as a chair rail. Then I added the shiplap planks under the chair rail. The transition is seamless.
DIY Decor: Painted Dining Set and Wall Decor
My dining room set came together thanks so some very fortunate Facebook Marketplace finds. The two wooden chairs I had in our old house (when I had my concrete dining table – which now serves as a desk in my home office). The table and the bench I snagged online – I think I scored the pair for a total of $140! I just love the idea of an antique church bench finding a new look and new home.
After testing several color options, I settled on Sherwin Williams “Haven” green for the bench. I painted the table base with General Finishes Milk Paint in “Snow White,” then stripped and re-stained the top. I protected the bench and table with a few thin coats of General Finishes High Performance topcoat in Satin.
As for a little bit of new wall decor, I went the DIY route on that as well. I can a pair of wooden framed panels that had other things painted on them… just not my style anymore. So, I just painted over them!
The smaller on is our mealtime prayer, and the other one, well. It’s not fine art, but it makes me happy.
After taking a pencil drawing class for EXACTLY ONE semester in high school and dabbling in painting and drawing ever since, I decided to try something new for this project. No, I’m not an artist. No I’m not comparing myself to a professional. Yes, I enjoyed painting this barn. Yes, this painting makes me happy whenever I look at it (it’s inspired by a barn on my cousin’s farm in ND). So that’s it. My little barn painting to brighten our dining space 🙂
Getting Organized: A Dining Room Family Command Center
Our house doesn’t have a mudroom or even real entry of any sort (that we actually use). We park in the garage out back and walk in through the back kitchen door. This leaves for boots, backpacks, and other school gear to just pile up on the kitchen floor.
In order to help reduce the tripping hazard and paperwork pile up, I created a little family command center in the corner of the dining room. I hung this cute shelf with hooks (Target find!) along with a frame and clipboard to house school and activity calendars.
Two small stacking stools hold backpacks and other bags we need for extracurricular activities. This helps reduce the clutter pile-up around our shoe cubbies by the back door.
I also added a small cart in the corner for mealtime essentials like utensils, napkins, extra towels (spills happen), kids vitamins, and activity books that we like to do at the table. By having these essentials handy on a cart, the number of times that I need to get up from the table at mealtime has been greatly reduced. I used to be like a ping-pong ball back and forth to the kitchen for an extra fork or napkin, or the vitamins that I forgot. Not anymore!
My Finished Farmhouse Dining Room
I tried to shoot pictures from every angle, to give you a feel for how the space flows from living to dining to kitchen.
Here’s the view from the kitchen (I hired an handyman to widen that opening… HUGE impact!).
There’s this odd little cabinet in the corner that I considered ripping out. BUT we really do need the storage space, and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of finding matching trim. So, I painted it to match the kitchen cabinets and blend in a bit better:
Speaking of extra storage, I snagged this incredible antique wardrobe and filled it with all of my baking supplies. This is probably my favorite piece of furniture in our whole house.
Once I had the room put back together again, I ordered these super-affordable pillows that compliment my rug. P.S. – that rug? It’s an indoor/outdoor rug that’s perfect for families and pets. I take it outside a couple of times a year to hose it down. Then vacuum in-between.
Standing in our living room, and looking into the dining and kitchen areas:
And last, but not least, that family command center to keep school calendars and extracurricular organized.
That’s it! I’m so happy to have our main living areas complete, just in time to spend the next few months digging in the garden!
Get the Look
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