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How to Turn Your Dining Room into a Coastal Retreat You Will Love

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Before reading this post, will you do me a favor and cue a soundtrack that evokes images of picturesque beaches, blue skies, and gentle breezes? If you are planning a home refresh, it’s a great idea to engage the senses. Let happiness fill you and dream a little. 


They say that every picture tells a story. That is especially true of this beautifully reimagined dining room that has become the heart of my clients’ home. I’m going to walk you through the remodeling process and share the behind-the-scenes details that work to transform a traditional, dated room into an inviting coastal retreat.



We created a plan that bridges my clients’ appreciation of traditional decor and the relaxed, informal lifestyle they want to enjoy. You can’t help but smile when viewing the dramatic differences in the before and after photos. You can actually feel the differences in the visual weight of the space. It’s positively transformational, and it’s the reason that I love the work that I do. 


I have lived on the East and West coast. I’m mentioning this to share that although this renovated home is located in California, the overall design theme will work well in most regions. You will turn your dining room into a timeless, uplifting coastal retreat you will love when you take the time to plan well. 


Strategic Planning – Good things take time.

Planning for a new space is complex, but it is well worth it as it will increase your return on investment of both time and money. As a designer, it is my responsibility to make the process more manageable, enjoyable, and as stress-free as possible. 

For this project (link to this post), My clients hoped to create an artful coastal beach house vibe that would be warm and welcoming to their family and friends. They entertain often and also use the space frequently throughout the day. My clients’ shared inspirational images from Pinterest, Elle Decor, and a handful of snapshots. We captured the home’s existing dimensions and built a 3d digital model of the space to visualize new ideas and concepts. 

Bringing Function into Your Space

In assessing our options to add more versatility, one consideration is an open floor concept (link to this post) that includes removing a load-bearing wall. Conveniently, this home has plenty of quiet spaces, including two oversized work from home offices (link to this post), making this an ideal solution. 

Next, we discussed how to take full advantage of their backyard retreat (link to this post). We met with a general contractor and draftsman. We developed a plan to maximize outdoor access and minimize the budget’s impact (there is a wide range of options and price points). 

Design Development

For the best possible outcome, consider the possible consequences each decision may have upon the adjoining spaces. It’s a great idea to store your original inspiration documents, finish samples, and photos of products you are contemplating in a portable file folder or storage box. Include photographs of each of the surrounding spaces and the view from your windows. 


For this project, we chose finishes, flooring, lighting, and furnishings. We updated the 3D model to include each of the finishes and proposed updates, making it easier for our clients to envision the changes and move forward with decisions. 

Here’s the top 10 list to turn an outdated dining room into a coastal retreat you will love:

  1. Bring the outdoors in and encourage frequent visits to the backyard (link to this post) by installing oversized sliding glass doors. 
  2. Remove a wall between the kitchen (link to this post) and the dining room to visually enlarge the space and increase dining comfort. The wall removal also ushers in more natural light and fills your home with energy. Use a flush beam approach rather than incorporating an exposed beam required when removing a load-bearing wall. 
  3. Add depth of field with a generous opening in a shared wall.
  4. Install low maintenance flooring with a strong hue that juxtapositions nicely against the barely-there finishes found throughout the dining room.  
  5. Build in layers of dimmable task lighting. Add sparkle with dining room lighting that is so luscious that it draws the eye upward – lending to the illusion of increased room dimensions. The ideal placement above the dining room table is a minimum of 30″ – 36.” 

Designer Tip – Lighting: My clients planned on installing a linear fixture with dark metal and opaque globes. For this particular installation, I shared that it would be ideal to consider a pair of clear glass cloche pendants with a bright finish. In this way, there will be minimal backyard view obstruction. 

  1. Do use a harmonious color palette that resembles the sea and sand.
  2. Paint walls and trim with shades of white to create a backdrop for your favorite art pieces. 
  3. Replace an awkward fitting dining room table set with a perfectly scaled, rattan wrapped, hardwood table that adds texture and tone. Rattan subtly elevates a room and infuses the setting with texture. 

Designer Tip – Furnishings: Another way to visually enlarge the space is to select dining chairs with a low profile that can be pushed in flush against the table’s edge. 

  1. Discretely place shiny objects that reflect light into the room, including a protective glass table topper, brass end caps on the table legs, and metallic fittings on light fixtures. 
  2. Add in pops of black accents for a modern twist.


The pendant lighting is by RH. The rattan solid hardwood frame table is by Serena & Lily. The upholstered dining room chairs (in supersoft natural fiber performance fabric) are by Pottery Barn. The flooring is part of Quality Wood Floors’ Tuffcore Collection (hand-scraped wood plastic composite).A well-planned dining room remodel is a wonderful way to experience the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. And if your dream home happens to include an oh-so-inviting coastal vibe, some of the planning solutions and design tips offer insight into the design challenges your home may pose. Wishing you all that you envision for yourself and your family. 


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Gigi Day
Gigi Dayhttps://themoddaily.com/
Gigi Day is a designer and writer. Her blog, The Mod Daily, is full of life-enhancing home décor, lifestyle tips, and advice to optimize life at home.

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