Budget Friendly Living-Dining Room Combo

Dear Laurel,

We need a budget friendly living-dining room combo.

I loved Sunday’s post with all of the cool furniture you found from Etsy, Ebay and other online sources. I thought it would be cool if you could elaborate on that board you did with the sofa for $1,500.

The style of that room really speaks to me, but I live in a smallish home-built in the 30’s and because the previous owners expanded the kitchen, the living and dining room are one room.

We have $10,000 – 15,000 max with shipping/handling and tax to do both areas.

Oh, I forgot to tell you something a little bit important.

I need to have it all together by mid-June.

Together and relaxed.

My mother-in-law is coming for a week.

Ima Nuttzshob




To be clear, in case you guys don’t know… Ima Nuttzshob lol is a fictitious character but one who definitely exists. In fact, hmmm… she could have been me some years ago.

But I created her so that I could build on what was started last Sunday.

Here’s the board again with some of the furnishings.


Cool Vintage Furniture from One Kings Lane, Etsy, Ebay and Chairish - budget friendly living-dining room


Let’s begin at the bottom with our area rug. And let’s do the most attractive one there is for the least amount of $$$.

Sea grass.

All right. We’ve discussed sea grass before at length. It’s a wonderful product. The rug I’m going to present, I have to say in all honesty, I would not sell to a client. Why is that? It’s the binding. You can see the stitching and the corners aren’t mitered. :/

If that doesn’t bother you and your mother in-laws eyes aren’t that sharp, then this is a fine rug, I’m sure.

And blimey. It’s only 250 bucks for a 9 x 12!

natural area rugs 9 x 12 seagrass amazon 252

Sea grass rug from Natural Area Rugs


chairish Thomasville vintage sofa 1,500

Let’s do the beautiful vintage Thomasville sofa from Chairish.

motif pillow - chiang mai dragon from etsy

And how about a couple iconic Chiang Mai Dragon pillows. Love the colors! This one is from Motif Pillows. You MUST check it out over on Etsy. It is one of my favorites and they have so many gorgeous pillow covers– very reasonably priced.

pair baker furniture french style pecan end tables - ebay


east enterprises blue and white chinoiserie table lamp Blue and White Chinoiserie table lamp for $252.00

dream kitchen eating area floor to ceiling cabninet crystal chandelier

You can see them here in the kitchen we did a couple of years ago. They are very pretty!

This is a vintage Baker cocktail table found at One King’s Lane. So unusual and it’s a little expensive for the budget at $1,295.00. But maybe we can make it up elsewhere.


baker hand painted chinoiserie parquet top coffee table bucks county antiques on etsy 795

This is also a cool vintage Baker Chinoiserie cocktail table with a parquet top found at Bucks County Estate Traders on Etsy. This might very well be my favorite source on Etsy for vintage and nearly antique furniture. They have a beautiful and large collection.

These faux bamboo chairs are cool and depending on the floor plan could use them alone and/or add the ones below, or use them alone.
Erin Lane Estates pair of velvet tufted club chairs - etsy -1200 dollars

Yet another fabulous source on Etsy. Erin Lane Estates. I know I keep saying that, but this is another must see shop. These two beauties look to be in great condition. Their upholstery is neutral enough and at $600/each they are a very good buy.

etsy The Collector Loft neo - classic stools by Baker

I’m loving our vintage neo-classical stools if there’s room in the budget.

bucks county on etsy regency style occasional arm chair 1960s

Sometimes we just need one occasional chair.

How much would you pay for this lovely Regency style chair for the 1960s? $700? $800?

How about $325.00? That works!


Deja Vu Decor etsy vintage henredon wing chairs

Only $699.00 at DejaVu Decor on Etsy


I know… The upholstery is pretty awful— well, exceedingly dated but in a funky kind of Anthropologie way. So, it could work, except I have a feeling the fabric looks a little ratty in person.

Therefore, either a reupholstery or a slip cover would be awesome too.

One other option if money is super tight is to paint the upholstery. YES! You can paint fabric!

By the way. The way I did it, is not advisable. It’s okay because I diluted the paint hugely. But it’s best to use paint that’s meant to go on fabric.


I do love these little faux bamboo chests that could flank a fireplace if the wall isn’t too large or go in front of a window or flanking a wide door. I would not have more than about a foot of wall on either side, at the most.

Over these if not in front of a window, I would put two mirrors or two pieces of art.


The Madeleine Mirror from Anthropologie is beautiful and just the right size for the chests.

And they are only $298.00/ea.

Lovely detailing, I think.

I know that we had a little controversy about ready-made drapes. First of all, we need to use rings and a rod. For my sources for custom rods click here.  These are from Anthropologie and what I’m going to make up is that there are three windows— two in the living area and one in the dining area. These are actually $268.00 each. I don’t think that’s for a pair but not 100% sure.

But here’s what I’m thinking. Let’s do the one panel with a hold back like shown. And then add a cool bamboo shade underneath.

photo: Paul Caddell via Lonny

Something like this.

Sorry jumping around a bit. Instead of the chests in either the living or dining area, we could do these wonderful bookcases, below.


1940s Hepplewhite style bookcases from Bucks County Estate Traders -the pair for $1,195.00

I would probably paint these if the walls are pale.

They measure – H: 47″ x W: 36.5″ x D: 10″ So, if doing a mirror over this it needs to be wider and maybe not so tall. Round mirrors look terrific.


A little Pizazz Mirror from Wisteria for $280.00


Wisteria has a fabulous collection of mirrors and at reasonable prices too.

heritage henredon serpentine chests ebay

Heritage Henredon in Ebay for $950.00!

Okay. Yes, the two-tone thing is a little odd– but I’d get me some Annie Sloan chalk paint and turn these handsome beauties into two treasures. These could go in the living room– or if there’s a center doorway, (to the kitchen in this case) possibly in the dining room. They have a pull-out shelf and the storage is terrific for linens, etc.

Above and below, a little inspo from Darryl Carter.

I meant to have this picture Sunday when we were talking about the Federal mirror.

Yes, please. Can I have this?

Now, for the Dining Area.


We’re going to need a table and nice tables can be very expensive!


EJ Victor Mahogany dining table 600 bucks! ebay

An EJ Victor Double Pedestal Banded Mahogany Dining Table on Ebay for $600.00



Sure, the finish is a little light. But maybe get some of that Restore A Finish in a darker color to deepen it a little. I said MAYBE, because I’ve never done that and don’t know if it’ll work. But my guess is that it will. And how can you go wrong?

Of course, there are tons of dining tables on both Ebay, Chairish and Etsy and of course other places.

(those links will take you right to the vintage dining tables on those sites.)


But let’s look at dining chairs.


etsy Henredon six mid-centurylenoir dining chairs

We could do these chairs from Sunday’s post which are a steal and well within Ima’s budget.


Or, we could go more classic/formal



These classic Chippendale (not Chinese Chippendale) – Mahogany – almost black dining chairs for $2,400 for the set are well-worth the money.  They are beautifully scaled too. I would put a little slip-cover skirt on them.

Something like this, only the skirt goes around the back too! And it could be box pleated like this or just corner pleats. (source unknown)


Or we could do these lovely Hepplewhite style chairs from Bucks County Estate Traders.   They are only $1,575.00 for the set of eight. wow! I might paint these chairs.  The original Hepplewhite chairs were often painted.  They could also have a slip cover or new upholstery.


1st dibs painted hepplewhite dining chair

An original Hepplewhite chair on 1st Dibs. What a beauty that is!

If you don’t have enough chairs, sometimes you can mix styles.


Or, if you prefer an upholstered chair… Well, there’s always the Ikea Henriksdal chairs. And then you could do a cool slip cover from Bemz. (you can find this in Laurel’s Rolodex on page 29) They have dozens of fabrics to choose from.  However, I would prefer to have this skirt about 5 inches shorter. They also make a long version and then one that just covers the seat which is also nice.


Here’s an example by Suzanne Kasler of chairs that look great together. Oh, and a gorgeous slip-cover over the chair in the middle.

This chandelier on Etsy from 5th Ave Kitsch is a little over-budget at $1,100. But sometimes it really pays to splurge on one fabulous piece that’s going to make the room.

Well, I think we did it in terms of staying within the budget. And I think quite a stylish room that Mom will find impressive! Well, let’s hope so! But of course, the most important thing is that you and your family love it!




39 Responses

  1. Laurel I loved this post so much. I bought the two chinoiserie lamps you’ve pictured above and they are FABULOUS. They are more square than they appear, so if anyone is looking at these make sure your buffet is deep enough to accommodate the square shades.

    You make designing so easy with your Rolodex and paint color collection. I just do what you’re doing and recommending and I am so happy with it. I hope your readers realize what a valuable thing you are doing here! You’ve saved me HOURS of combing through websites looking for things like the above lamps And you’ve trained my eye through hours of studying your blog posts.

    1. Oh Karen,

      That is so sweet of you to say all of that! It does my heart good! I adore those lamps and wish I had a spot for them. And I think that they look more expensive in person than they are. Thanks for making my day!

      1. They look VERY expensive in person! And the shades are this nubby linen– NOT what you get with most well-priced lamps!

  2. Love this room, and your genius in pulling together a beautiful, unique and cozy room, that does not cost an arm and a leg as my mother would say. I am amazed at all your talent and generosity. Thank you.

  3. Speaking of budget… can I get your opinion on this company, Laurel? Is this cheap Chinese knockoffs? Hard to tell from the photos. Sometimes this stuff looks super tacky in person but nice in photos. Prices are even cheaper on ebay from the same company. Know anything about them? They are in Norwalk, CT.

  4. Love the theme of this post and your “finds” to solve the problem.

    Skinner is an auction house with a location in Boston and a location nearby. Bid online or go in person. Here’s an example of a just sold ($750) lot of 2 Louis XV-style bergeres. They look(ed) like mohair upholstery. I know someone who bid -unsuccessfully.
    Looking forward to the bonus paint palette for your virtual haul!

  5. Oh Laurel,
    I am not sure why I feel the need to confess…When I read your blog this AM and saw the seagrass rug I looked into the next room and was horrified to find stitches and un-mitered corners. As I scrolled I saw where it was from…Yup, that’s the same as mine. Went into the LR/DR. I bought those rugs in a more upscale store in Atlanta and paid more…Same as the keeping room rug. I guess I am telling you this for your readers who don’t want to spend a lot. I am very happy with these rugs. They have held up beautifully. My tip of the day is if your Dog or Kitty yaks on them, let it dry and scrape it right up with a knife. Great post as usual!

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Oh, don’t be silly. It’s a small detail and it’s only because I’ve been selling these things for a while that I know this stuff. Actually I learned about the mitered corners from my “apprenticeship” in the ’90s.

      Seagrass is a wonderful product and that is a great price for a rug that will wear well and be pet-friendly too.

    1. Hi Judith,

      It is a terrific discovery for me too. I’ve loved Etsy for several years for small stuff but didn’t realize that they have so much more!

  6. Oh how I wish you lived in the DC area Laurel!! I would have hired you “yesterday” to help finish decorating our 1890 brownstone.

    Thank you once again for the very informative post!! Our house is somewhat challenging in that not all the room are exactly proportional and not all furniture
    can be moved to the third floor due to the winding staircase, corners, and doorways that need to be negotiated. I’m currently in a holding pattern since I’m too afraid to commit to purchasing any furniture for our third floor den/library since I don’t know if it will fit up the stairs:(

    1. Hi DG,

      I am in the place I’m in partially because I had moved and my phone was not ringing at all. That was four years ago. And now I can’t get it to stop but I’m not taking on any new clients.

      I actually took the day off– but even so, as you can see, there’s never even one full day off.

      There is such a thing as a service that breaks down larger pieces of furniture– even sofas and then puts them back together again once it’s in it’s rightful place.

      Perhaps a sectional would work better. Sectionals also come in more petite sizes. I would look at Lee Industries.

      the other thing you can do is hire a service to tell you the maximum sizes of pieces that will fit up the stairs. If you can’t find someone who does this, maybe try a moving company and ask if they do it or know someone who does.

  7. What an interesting post, Laurel. All great sources! I wanted to add-checking your local Craigslist is good too..for example we found there a very similar dining table for my MIL but for 250 I think.. sometimes you can find really, really good deals. I found one of my most favorite lights like that..it was a wonderful chandelier, and the sellers wanted just 70 dollars for it. Well little did I know..months after, I open 1stDibs just to look and admire from afar, and I see a version of my chandelier, same exact glass, and the description says it’s bohemian glass from thirties, and the vendor wants 9K for it. I almost fell off the chair.

    I love Etsy dearly(as I do eBay too, but eBay is less personal), the furniture might be problematic though if the store is not in your area..shipping.
    I did buy smaller things there like easy chairs and ottomans.

    PS I feel so blessed, being daughter in law of my MIL..she’s so sweet and never sees anything she doesn’t like. The last thing she would pay attention to is the binding of a rug. I’m different though. That’s why I bought just one rug by now..it’s three by five and I put it in the guest bathroom. It’s hand-knotted wool. Very sturdy. Survived a slab leak. looks like new. Of course now I don’t want any other rugs but hand-knotted wool..doesn’t leave much hope for fast rug purchasing lol.
    Ah, Anthropologie always has price listed for one panel. I know since I buy curtains almost exclusively there. I find it to be one of the best sources for quality ready made curtains. Not all curtains they sell are so expensive of course, but some are. I have another pair with birds going on..Mantadia. Love them. Was eyeing the ones you posted too. They’re beautiful.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Yes, Craig’s List is great too but I can’t post images from CL since there’s no central point.

      Shipping IS expensive whether the furniture is new, old or whatever. In fact, here’s the proof. I’ve had clients look at me like I’m ripping them off with the shipping charges when in fact, no, I’m actually eating part of them!

      And if it’s going across the country– insane. Four years ago, I paid $450 to have a medium sized mirror shipped from Cali.

  8. There is just nothing else guaranteed to turn a “challenging” day into one of giggles & admiration as much as a post by you. Not even my loving husband who,btw,is currently on a mission to create the ugliest Den ever seen. No,he has no interest in design or real comfort,he just wants the biggest TV & the deepest,cheapest,ugliest couch that’ll (almost) fit. Thanks for posting from the world of the sane.

  9. Great post! I have been a dealer on Chairish (as well as RubyLane, eBay, &The HighBoy) for four years and I have a couple suggestions.

    Make an offer – you can often get things for 10-25% less than ask, sometimes even less. Be aware the seller pays 20% of the accepted offer to Chairish so be reasonable, but try making an offer: nothing to lose and you might save a lot.

    Shipping White Glove is expensive. It depends on distance as well as the volume of the item(s), so look for sellers in your own region to save . Shipping prices have no relationship to the cost of the item (obvious, but easy to forget–so when the shipping is $200 on a $300 chair people freak, but if the chair is $1500 that $200 shipping seems okay.)

    Sometimes dealer-sellers on Chairish can get you a shipping price lower than the big national carriers that Chairish uses, so ask about that too. But if the piece you love is on the opposite coast, it is often still a good deal even with shipping. Shipping across country can take several weeks, so just be forewarned.

    Another cheap source is Apartment Therapy Marketplace, formerly Krrb.com Kind of a better Craigslist. Leans to modern, easy to filter for nearby locations.

    Also the new curated consignment stores have great deals if you have time to drop in and look. The best ones are selective, put together nice displays so you can see things, and can deliver. They do not have to pay for inventory and want to turn merchandise often, so prices are very competitive.

    Finally, as Laurel’s imaginary room here shows, there are especially good bargains right now in high quality traditional reproduction furniture from the 20th c., especially for dining rooms. Reasons? Lots of people are downsizing, lots of people are skipping dining rooms, and there is a mass trend toward modern. So If you are doing fresh, stylish traditional decor like Laurel’s, there are great opportunities in vintage solid wood dining tables and chairs. I’m not suggesting wall-to-wall mahogany like my grandmother, but a chic mix of wood and painted like Laurel’s can be had for a very reasonable price, and possibly some elbow grease for the painting.

    There are also great deals in antiques these days, but that is another topic!

    1. Amazing comment, and yes, definitely so when it comes to older furniture..young crowd is not into it just yet, so the best time to grab it is now. Dining sets, beds, and especially-armoires. Armoires will get as popular as MCM did..after I discovered it for myself lol..mark my words.
      Ruby Lane is definitely wonderful source..huge, so I’m just starting to study what’s there.

  10. Love. I wiiiiish you could put this room together in real life so we could see!!!!!! Everything is gorgeous. That thomasville sofa holy DROOL!!
    I seriously can’t handle how gorgeous that sofa is. I may have to purchase and hide it somewhere til we have a room that would fit it.
    Also I’ve been stalking charish for a vintage dining table, didn’t even think about Etsy or eBay. I have 10 antique cane back all arm chairs painted cream upholsterered sand and don’t have a table to go with it because I cant decide. I don’t know what looks good with my chairs (and also need clearance under skirt for all armchairs).
    Anyway this is all so beautiful Laurel! Thank you!

    1. Hi Heidi,

      Thanks so much!

      That would be fun to do this in real life. But I forgot to mention that I’m planning on using these furnishings as the basis for this month’s bonus board for paint collection owners. I haven’t decided on the wall color yet though.

  11. Laurel, I wonder if you can help me. Several years ago I bought from Pierre Deux four dining seat cushions that were covered in a blue toile pattern named, I believe, La Declaration. I wish I had bought eight, since PD of course is out of business now. I’ve googled and searched eBay but to no avail. Do you have any idea where I could find them? By the way, I love your blog!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I’m sorry. I don’t know any place that might have that, but maybe try different search terms? And also sometimes it helps to put in a description of the fabric or whatever you’re looking for.

      1. Before I got full-throttle in thanking Laurel for another GREAT post…re Lisa’s query: There’s a place near me that still has a LOT of the Pierre Deux fabrics in stock: Leonard’s Upholstery on Main Street in Norwalk, CT. Don’t have their phone number offhand, but I’m you can google them. Might be worth a call. It’s a very haphazard place, but lots of stock – if they don’t know the fabric by name, perhaps a picture?

        Laurel: LOVED this post!! Nice to see those great old pieces getting refurbished. Can I ask a quickie? I’m currently hoping to paint four dining chairs that belonged to my grandmother, aiming for an off-white effect much like the chairs you show here in those great dining areas. You mentioned Annie Sloan chalk paint – is that what you’d recommend? Going the google route, I’m getting lots of conflicting advice re types of paint. Thanks for another inspirational post!!

        1. Hi Donna,

          First of all, thank you so much for the advice for Lisa! Hope it works out! That would be so cool if they have the fabric.

          As for Annie Sloan Chalk paint. I have never actually used it, but have read a lot about it and watched videos.

    1. Hi Betsy,

      Oh, this is terrific! I definitely will take a closer look and should add this to Laurel’s Rolodex.

      It’s a shopping guide I created with well over $500 terrific home decor sources in all price points. And I mean ALL from dirt cheap to if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. lol

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. What a great resource you have created! As a lover of home decor and good savings – this is right up my alley! It is also a pretty sustainable resource! I am hooked for sure 🙂

  12. Laurel,
    I had your paint palette book out at my Benjamin Moore store, trying to decide on just a few sample-sized colors to paint my house for resale. I was telling the man helping me about my book and another lady said, “Oh I read her blog all the time!” and when she saw the book she said, “If she recommends it, I believe it”. She told me, “She knows everything about color—-and don’t get me started on how hard she worked on those Farrow and Ball colors!”

    She didn’t have to convince me—-you’re amazing!


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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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