One Room Challenge: Dining Room Week 2

In this post: I share how I created a budget for the One Room Challenge and how you can create a budget to work from too.

When I was younger, creating a budget for a room makeover would go something like this:

  1. Search catalogs and the internet for products I love.
  2. Pick out all the products I wanted to buy for the room and add up the cost.
  3. Set my budget at whatever that number came out to be and then walk around with a pit in my stomach because I usually spent more money than I should have.

Oh yes, I remember those days well.  Wait!  That was just last year!  Does this sound familiar to you?  If so, you are in the right place because today we are going to talk One Room Challenge budget and I’m going to share the real numbers with you (and the progress we’ve made so far).

Step 1: Come Up With A Dollar Amount

This is numero uno.  The big decision.  Primary.  I cannot stress this enough.  Set your dollar amount before you create your wish list, start shopping on Wayfair, or even start pinning all your favorite spaces on Pinterest.

This is the only time in the process your mind is free to think logically about money without the pull of that dining room table you saw in Restoration Hardware that you have to have (but can’t afford) or this room will be a total disaster, not be at all what you wanted, and you end up quitting before you even start and decide to just eat some Ben & Jerry’s instead.

This amount should be the amount you can allocate to this reno whether you have a loan or are doing it with cash.  This is the “for real” number, down to the penny.

For this dining room reno I have allocated $1,200.  Could I spend more?  Yes.  But, with family vacation coming up and other expenses, I felt the prudent thing to do was set it at this number and stick with it.

Step 2:  Create A Wish List

Seem counter-intuitive?  I just put the kibosh on the hopes and dreams by putting down that for real number.  I know, cruel right?  But, it is worth it to sit down with good old pen and paper and create a wish list in general terms.  For instance, my wish list for this space went like this:

  1. Sofa
  2. New Dining Table
  3. Shiplap Wall
  4. French Chairs
  5. Double Chandeliers
  6. New Rug
  7. Wall Sconces
  8. Oyster Plates
  9. Linen tablecloth or runner
  10. Coastal and French Pillow Covers
  11. Something amazing for a centerpiece

Step 3:  Get Real About Your List

Finally!  Shopping for your dream items!  Well, sort of shopping.  Go through and find the item to fit your wish list item and put the dollar amount out next to it.  Add up all the numbers.  Here’s what mine looked like.

  1. Sofa-Baxton tufted sofa $890 on Wayfair
  2. New Dining Table-Shannon extendable table $620 on Joss and Main
  3. Shiplap Wall- $125 for all supplies to purchase
  4. French Chairs- Baxton Studio Estelle Dining Chair 3 @ $215 from Overstock
  5. Double Chandeliers- Iron Chandelier from Target 2 @ $199
  6. New Rug- Maui Loop Rug 9×12 Rugs USA $315
  7. Wall Sconces- Already Own
  8. Oyster Plates-Already Own
  9. Linen tablecloth or runner- Tablecloth $60 on Etsy
  10. Coastal and French Pillow Covers- Amazon  $50 for pillow covers
  11. Something amazing for a centerpiece- PB Lanterns $150

Total:  $3,253

Yikes!  Talk about dreaming bigger than your budget!  If I wouldn’t have set my dollar amount ahead of time I might have been tempted to purchase and worry about the numbers later.  Later being when my credit card bill came in the mail.  Ouch!

Step 4:  Whittle It Down

We’ve finally arrived at the hard part.  Getting the dream wish list under control and within budget.  Go through and determine what is an absolute.  For me, the sofa was absolute.  It is the thing that makes the whole room work the way I want.  I have a long dining room table I was using on my patio so even though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted I knew I could make it work in the room.  I also had to take the rug off the list and use the one we have in our master bedroom.  The master has carpet so it can loose the rug.  The dining chairs also went good bye.  I have dining chairs and am just going to reinvent them.  That’s a whopping $1,580 dollars!  I was able to come in under budget with some great shopping tips I’ll be sharing next week.  🙂

Step 5:  Adjust

As you purchase items and use my shopping tips I’ll share next week, keep adjusting the bottom line.  If an item you had taken off your list is able to come back on because of some shopping savings, go for it!  Keep the list with you and keep the bottom line current.

Here’s our progress on the room so far.  The shiplap is up and I love it!  This ended up being a gift from my parents.  Not the kind with a big bow but a gift none the less.  My dad went to Lowe’s to have the plywood cut and when I asked him how much I owed him, he said it wasn’t very much and not to even worry about it.  They also had a gallon of pure white paint in their garage they weren’t using so my budget just came back by $125.

We used regular 1/4 inch plywood cut into strips of 6.75 inches.  This wall took us one day.  It was a full day of work but I wanted to get it all done so I could move on to the other items right away.

I also ordered and received my Baxton Studio sofa I’m using against the wall of the dining room.  I love it so much.

I ended up getting it for less than $600 using my shopping trick.  You won’t want to miss this tip.  One of my friends called me a shopping savant.  A title I will proudly wear.

I’ll be back next week to share Where To Shop For The Good Stuff and of course, give you my shopping tip that could save you hundreds.  No, it does not involve any coupons or weird cash back programs.  Thanks for reading this super long post and if you are still reading…here’s a virtual hug from me.  You rock!

Don’t forget to click on over to Linda’s blog, Calling It Home to see what all the other guest participants have accomplished in the last week.  Plus, while you are there, check out the designer rooms.  Big budget and big results.



  1. Susie @The Chelsea Project

    April 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Oh my! Nice tips! Setting a budget is tough, but staying on budget is reality without creating a financial disaster. You have been very wise with your choices and gotten so much for the dollars spent. The look is really coming together. What a blessing to your family. I’m so proud of you. XO Susie from The Chelsea Project

  2. Linda

    April 12, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Nancy great tips! Especially writing down the pieces you want to purchase along with the price, it’s always an eye-opener. I myself had to change several items on my wish list once I wrote everything down.
    The dark bench against the light wall is such a nice contrast!

  3. Kristen

    April 12, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Very nice Nancy! I love how you walk us through your process and show all your numbers. We definitely had to stick to a strict budget for our makeover too. We are saving up for the big ticket items we can’t get right after buying a new house!

  4. Jaclyn

    April 12, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    That sofa is AMAZING! Thanks for the budget tips…the un-fun part of renovations!

  5. Kim

    April 13, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Love the shiplap wall! And what a sweet Dad to do that for you, those gifts are the best! It’s coming along beautifully. 🙂

  6. Leslie

    April 13, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Oh, I stink at the budget part of it! Good tips and things to think about. Looking good too!

  7. Debo

    April 13, 2017 at 7:30 am

    I agree so much with your budget plan.
    Last fall as I was making lists of what renovations my house needed before it went on the market, it was obvious
    I was going to have to cut some of the decorative touches I had hoped to do.
    But in the end my contractor made the house look wonderful and was able to come in under budget.
    Had I not made that list and priced the items….. I know I would have spent way more than I wanted.
    Looking forward to your shopping tips.

  8. CoCo

    April 13, 2017 at 8:39 am

    I love the way everything is coming together, Nancy! That gorgeous sofa next to that gorgeous wall with shiplap – swoon! This is going to be one of my favorite transformations. I can’t wait! Hugs, CoCo

  9. Beth

    April 14, 2017 at 5:07 am

    I’m catching up from last week, and I love your design plan (that shiplap with that sofa, which I have been eyeing for awhile!) Great post- the budget part of design is sooooo hard for me because I usually do EXACTLY what you said- pick out what I want and then set my budget, so this was so helpful! I can’t wait to learn your shopping trick 🙂

  10. Sue Purdy

    April 14, 2017 at 8:58 am

    That tufted sofa is beautiful. What is your secret? I’m also loving the contrast between the elegant sofa against the shiplap wall. Your space is definitely coming along and I’m excited to see the final reveal. Great work so far. Cheers. xoxo

  11. Lisa

    April 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Nancy this is an excellent post and advice I really need to take, to start with the budget, and whittle down the list until it is do-able. Your shiplap wall looks amazing, and I love your new sofa! Can’t wait to see more next week and read about your shopping trick!

  12. Betsy @ Happily Ever After, Etc.

    April 15, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    I love your budgeting advice! I am definitely still set in the first camp… except without any money lol! If I can’t afford the items I want I have to reinvent something, I can’t wait to see your budgeting tip next week!

  13. Ron Carrier

    April 17, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Love the updates.

  14. KariAnne Wood

    April 18, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I need that shopping tip. :))))
    Can’t wait to see the finished room and learn your tricks!
    Happy day friend!


    April 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Great advice, Nancy! We had to go through the “what we really need now” & “what can wait a bit” stage when we built our home as lumber had really gone up in price. Now, I would really like to redo my country kitchen cupboards and paint them white! However, my hubby doesn’t like the idea of painting our beautiful oak — plus we have our home up for sale! He says our next home — which will be a “condo” — can have white cabinets!
    Looking forward to seeing your Dining Room come together. It will be lovely once you are finished! So glad that you decided to go for this challenge! It will be well worth it!
    Love your posts, Nancy! They are always within reach!

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