Renovation inspiration - living and dining

Small spaces are tricky to furnish and decorate, aren't they. For example a combined lounge and dining area that isn't entirely teeny-tiny but certainly isn't spacious, like the one in our new house... how would you fill it and make it yours in a way that worked? For us, the big challenge is designing the rooms so they look great and function practically, but don't feel overcrowded. Here are some ideas I've gleaned from the Internet so far.  

Dining↑↑ The dining area has to visually fit in with the lounge area, so the decor needs to work on a broader scale than just "eat here." I love the pop of these yellow chairs, or this amazing cross-stitch chair (which unfortunately is a DIY, so let's face it I'm stumped). I also thought putting open shelves above the dining table was a lovely idea that was both decorative and space-saving. Meanwhile, those pendant lights? I LOVE them and think they would be perfect above our dining table. Mr B disagrees. Cue sadface.

Clockwise from top left: open shelves in the dining via Design Sponge; cross-stitch chair via My Poppet; yellow dining chairs via Living Room TV; pendant lights via Marz Designs


Sidetables↑↑ In a small space, furniture that shares wall-space or serves multiple functions is great, because you get maximum use and appeal while taking up minimal space. My favourite? This stylish fold-out wall-desk. I think it would be fantastic in our hall, to dump keys and mail and Mr B's ties on as we walk in, before folding the mess up and away.

Clockwise from top-left: wall-desk via Swiss Miss; low bench and mini-gallery via Old Brand New; mid-century-modern style pet boxes (so stylish they can double as coffee tables!) via Modernist Cat on Etsy; wall-leaning side-tables via Kenyon Yeh


Sofas↑↑ We've decided to splash out on new lounge chairs to go with our new house. Our existing lounge chairs were around before Em started school (she's 15 now). They have taken a LOT of family-related love and rough and tumble and wear and tear. They're threadbare on the arms, and seem to have magical talents when it comes to collecting dirt and food and cat hair and goodness knows what else. It. Is. Time.

Clockwise from top-left: leather armchair via Design Sponge; granny-square covered mid-century couch (I love this so much!) via Zakka (originally seen on Meet Me at Mikes); the after in a 'before & after' upholstery project on a small sofa via Design Sponge; super comfy-looking antique-style sofa via Home Life


Walls↑↑ For these small rooms, Mr B and I have somewhat reluctantly reined in our love of colour and opted for fairly neutral bones: white walls, pale floorboards (the original colour), simple sheer curtains. So we're relying on all the finishing touches to add character and interest to the rooms. Walls are a great canvas to start doing that, and I've been searching around for creative ideas.

Clockwise from top-left: gallery wall via Poppytalk (I've been thinking of these a lot lately but I'm nervous about doing it right, I'd love your tips); a classic 1950s Eames Hang It All coat rack; eclectic mix of ornaments, recycled objects and plants on the wall via Old Brand New; gilt mirror (for above the fireplace) via English Muse

What are your top tips for decorating in a confined space? What do you dream about having in your lounge room, or dining room, or both?

Want more renovation inspiration? These are my kitchen ideas.