The Staged House | Dining & Sitting Room Reveal

The dining room at my mother-in-law’s house was always going to be a bit of a tricky area.

Dining Table

Although it’s relatively large, it is divided in two by a natural thoroughfare to the kitchen. Plus there are storage doors beneath the split-level landing which limits options for that side of the room. Of course, for staging purposes furniture placement doesn’t always need to be practical, but after playing with a few different options in here (my initial plan was to have a long dining table positioned horizontally) it actually worked best to retain the passage to the kitchen and allow relative ease of access to the landing cupboards.

So, here’s how the room looked before…




As per usual my before pics are a crappy mix of progress shots. Sorry!

As you can see, my mother-in-law had a petite dining table and buffet to the right, with a small desk and kids’ setting to the left.

Aside from lightening things up, my main priority was to include a larger dining table so prospective buyers could see that the space could accommodate one.

Dining Room After


I found this great eight-seater table on Gumtree for $80 which is perfectly proportioned and lends a modern farmhouse feel which also imparts some much needed freshness.

To further the fresh vibe, I paired it with these white bentwood style chairs from Fantastic Furniture.


They’re only $25 each brand new, but I was also lucky enough to pick up a set of four second-hand ones from Marketplace for just $50 in total.

Because the room is so dark and also a little bit “cold” (despite all the timber), I always planned on putting down a rug to break-up the slate and add some softness. My preference was for the IKEA Lohals rug – which has a lovely warm earthiness – but when I went to buy one, the size I needed was sold out…Australia wide! Instead I went with the Vokslev, which was a little more expensive and a tad greyer than I wanted, but it did the trick.

Dining Room After

Although the kitchen bar only has a shallow overhang, I added some stools anyway just to demonstrate that it can be used for casual seating. I could have used the generic Kmart/Target/Big W stools (which, truly, would have been fine) but with just a bit of searching I managed to find these more unique, and better quality, ones on Marketplace for just $30 each. I honestly don’t have a problem with using common department store products, but where possible it’s nice to deviate.

Overall it’s quite a simple and neutral room so to provide that bit of memorable punch I included this stunning pelican artwork which I was lucky to be gifted from Urban Road.

Urban Road Pelican Artwork

Dining Room After

He just adds so much depth and personality!

For quite a while I wasn’t sure how to best use the left side of the room.


I considered retaining the desk, but decided that it might not be wise to give buyers the impression that this was the primary home office space in the house. I also contemplated leaving it bare though it just felt barren, so in the end I took a cue from some pieces I already had on hand and settled on a little sitting nook – which actually makes a lot of sense because people always seem to congregate near the kitchen.

Cedar Antique Dresser

The antique chest of drawers was originally in the entry (you can see it in some of the before pics from the living room reveal). Although I didn’t really need to use it in this space, it offers a nice hit of character and also provides a good surface for displaying decor in order to add interest.

Cedar Dresser

You may recognise the wicker armchairs from my friend’s flip house, and the round pedestal table is simply borrowed from my parents.

Sitting Room

It would have been nice to use some lighter pieces in here but the drawers and table weren’t candidates for a paint job, so it was just a matter of making the most of them as is.

All of the decor items are things I already owned, aside from the potted fishbone fern which I found in my mother-in-law’s garden. And don’t tell anyone, but the white lumbar cushions are actually naked because I totally ran out of cushion covers!

Dining Table

Here are the side-by-sides…


Dining Room After




Cedar Antique Dresser

I know this room isn’t anything particularly special on its own, but in conjunction with the adjoining spaces in the house it gets the job done.




PS I’m sure some of you might be wondering why we didn’t update the kitchen at all. Aside from the fact this house preparedness project was purely about staging, the kitchen is actually ripe to be fully replaced so any cosmetic work would have been a bit wasted anyway.


Catch up on all the previous posts about ‘The Staged House’ HERE.


  1. Revital Mitchell says:

    Such a FRESH look! Looks amazing!

    • Thanks so much. It turned out okay. Nothing special but it did the trick :)

  2. Anna, Sydney says:

    Fantastic. Again you’ve managed to make the dark beams and wood look intentional, tying in with the dark print and dark wood dresser and urn. Love the print btw. And the URN! (I have a ceramics problem). And really like what the white table and chairs are doing to the space. It looks inviting. Love it!

  3. CAROL says:

    I think if you staged my house for selling, I wouldn’t want to move out!
    Love the magic you can perform with the things you find

  4. Sue P says:

    Love the pelican artwork. It’s so different and the colors just grab your eye. My second favorite is the sitting area. Clever. And your right, it’s a great place for everyone to congregate.

  5. Sara says:

    Incredible!! You really have such a gift!

    • Oh, too nice. This one is kinda far from incredible but for the price it’s pretty good :)

  6. Cathy says:

    You really do have a gift. Relatively simple changes for a stunning result. Love the way you curate spaces.

  7. Julie says:

    It’s always a delight to see an email from you pop into my inbox. You’re such an inspiration.

  8. Lizelle says:

    Just LOVE EVERYTHING you do!! WOW!!

    • Aw, thank you. Too sweet. This is really nothing special.

      • Tabitha says:

        Don’t put yourself down like that! It truly is something special – its a gift that you can be proud of!

  9. Pat from New Jersey USA says:

    I can’t get over how removing the curtains make such a difference in lightening up the rooms or how scaling up/down the size of the furnishings can change the way one feels about a room. I almost had a whiplash moment when my eye caught the pelican art. Like WOWZA!. It looks like he’s doing a little fan dance to show off.

    Putting a sitting area across from the dinning room actually makes sense. I think the dark dresser and table help to blend in the railing so it does stick out like a sore thumb. And I am drooling over the antique dresser. Me wants it!

    Will you be showing pics of the kitchen? I know it’s due for an overhaul by the new owner, but I’m terribly curious how it looks. I LOVE watching before and after shows on renovation’s of very old home. Great job!

    • Thanks so much Pat. Yes, that pelican is a stunner.

      Sorry, I didn’t even take any photos of the kitchen. All we did was give it a good clean then I added a couple of simple accessories. It’s actually made from chipboard which has simply been faced with pine panelling so it’s pretty degraded. Some of the drawers can’t even be opened properly, so there’s not much about it that can be salvaged unfortunately.

  10. Pauline says:

    Such beautiful space. It’s an interior I too would love to redecorate!. :)
    Marvelous change!!! Can’t say I like the round rattan piece atop the dresser but ooh, the gorgeous pelican enwraps it all magically together!

    • Yes, rattan isn’t for everyone. It actually ties-in with a basket wall I added in the third bedroom, which is visible from the sitting area space, but it was also just a matter of me using what I had left-over! Ha, ha. I didn’t want anything “pictorial” which might compete with the pelican so this was simply a nice sculptural item which just adds a little height to the dresser vignette given the wall is so tall.

      • Pauline says:

        I appreciate to see inside how your decorating mind works, thanks for the explanation but yea, I know, been following u all these years. No problem with rattan per se, I just don’t like the new kinds of rattan’s target-y and FUZZY ends design, if that is the right description, that’s all. I’d have opted for a softer focal point to lessen the heaviness of those dark beams..

  11. Andrea says:

    Wow it’s amazing what small changes can do. The light furniture, the rug and the artwork with the large bird. It looks transformed. It’s a great inspiration that you don’t have to spend a ton to make a big impact.

  12. Jamie says:

    I just love the bones of this place. I grew up in a split level with the same flagstone tiles and similar wood paneling so this house just sorta calls to me. I even like the ‘Before’ photos, though obviously the ‘After’ photos are so much more sophisticated and homey! Love the small seating area – there’s something so cozy and beautiful about making the most of those odd little nooks in a house. It’s a way of really appreciating and honoring the house’s character and design, and letting the house appreciate you right back!

    • Thanks Jamie. Yes, it’s a lovely “real” house with lots of architectural interest which makes it appealing regardless.

  13. Stacey says:

    Stunned by the difference. Well done.

  14. tegma says:

    People are probably going to hate me for saying this, but if this were my place, I would paint all the wainscoting in the kitchen and dining area. It’s beautiful, but it’s just darkens the whole house. It would give a lot of “pop” to the house painted white or any color for that matter. Nothing says wainscot has to be white. It could be green, blue, any color. Anyhow, that’s just my opinion. I feel there’s enough wood there with the beautiful ceiling and beams and painting the wainscot would make the gorgeous ceiling, hutch, dining table and other furniture really pop and bring the whole house up to date!

    • Honestly, I think most people would paint at least some of the timber after living in the home for a while. There is a LOT of it and that means it’s all competing, plus it is a bit dark and oppressive in person. I would paint the panelling too, but leave the ceiling as a natural feature.

  15. tegma says:

    And yes, I know…. it’s not my house! LOL

  16. Julie Ritter says:

    Looks great Kristine !! It needed a shot of light to bring it out of the darkness. Love the pelican picture it’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Jennie says:

    It all looks amazing, Kristine, as always! I was wondering, where did you get the wooden dough bowl holding the lemons on the dining table? Thank you for sharing.💜💜

    • Thanks Jennie.
      I bought that a few years ago from Etsy. They are so hard to find here in Aus for a decent price. Usually they are well over $200 for this size, if you can find one at all! I got this one from Croatia (from memory). But just a word of warning, on import it needed to be treated because apparently the customs officers weren’t satisfied that it wasn’t pest free. It was an additional $60 I hadn’t accounted for, but still way cheaper than any I have seen here.

      • Jennie says:

        Thanks Kristine!❤️❤️

  18. Leslie Wood says:

    As always – this looks amazing. I know I’ve said it before, but that pelican is so stunning! I love how some simple changes can make such a difference in the space. Even just removing the curtains, has a pretty dramatic effect, and showcases the beautiful window. Your talent is always inspiring Kristine! Thank you for sharing!

  19. Deborah Bethay says:

    Kristine, I have loved your style for years now. You are amazing in your use of “previously loved” items and budget buys. You have quite a future ahead of you. Home stagings in your area surely need you.
    Continued success!

    • Thanks so much Deborah. Yes, it would be nice to get some traction in the field but it’s proven a bit tricky. A lot of agents have contracted stylists which limits the client pool, and I’m not great at putting myself out there. But it is nice when I am contacted by someone who has seen my work and wants to engage me.

  20. Carole Peck says:

    What a happy refresh.

  21. Cara says:

    You’ve done amazing, I love the way you styled this house.

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