DIY dining room makeover: the before + a giveaway

Dining room makeover, before photo

First, I know I still have three tutorials to go to finish off my office/guest/craft room makeover series. But they’re going to have to wait, for a couple reasons. I’m once again planning new camp crafts for a girls camp in mid-June. Rest assured that I’ll also blog about the crafts when I get back from camp.

Second, I’m pleased to announce my next room makeover! American Express has asked me to make over a social space using merchandise available through Membership Rewards points. I’ve been an AmEx cardholder for years, but I didn’t know that American Express launched Membership Rewards 20 years ago as a first of its kind program. Today it offers rewards from over 500 brands.

Best of all, Membership Rewards points don’t expire and you can redeem them for anything from gift cards to movie tickets to travel. Now I buy everything with my credit card (and pay it off monthly, of course) to take advantage of the rewards.

Dining room makeover, before photo

For this assignment, I chose to makeover my dining room. If you can call this small space a “dining room.” It’s more of an eat-in kitchen, but it’s all I’ve got, so we’ll go with it. I chose this space because what’s more social than food? (Well, aside from the supposed social lubricant known as alcohol.) When I entertain friends, we often end up congregating (if not sitting) at the dining table.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the makeover includes the space where the credenza and mirror are now. I’m treating the two separate spaces as one big entertaining area.


Dented and scratched dining table, before photo

Unfortunately, BCRM (Before Craft Room Makeover) this room saw more crafting than entertaining, and the wear and tear has taken its toll on my dining table. So, I’ll need to address the table problem. And the dated lighting problem. And the lack of space problem. And I wouldn’t call it a problem because I love the Memphis Belle painting that my father gave me, but I think it’s time to move the old war bird to a different room.

While I have definite plans for this space, some details are up in the air. So I’m asking for your thoughts. What do you think I should do with this space? I’ve got 150,000 points to spend at Take a look and give me your best suggestions. Keep reading to find out what’s in it for you!

Next week I’ll let you in on my plans and begin the transformation. Once again, my brother Troy and his handy skills will help make my designs a reality. After all, I have camp crafts to finish in the meantime! What would I do without him? Then, the following week will be the big reveal, and you’ll get a chance to win a $100 Home Depot gift card from American Express!

The giveaway

Better Homes & Gardens website, screenshot

Last week, Better Homes and Gardens invited me to attend a webcast preview of their newly redesigned website. As a long-time reader of the magazine, I agreed out of pure curiosity. BHG’s redesign didn’t disappoint. As a former designer for Real Simple, I love seeing how the uncluttered, fresh, Real Simple look continues to influence nearly all other women’s magazines. And it works. Heck, I’m unapologetically influenced by that look myself.

Being a home blogger, I naturally gravitate toward home-decor photos and DIY ideas, so BHG’s bigger photos, better slide shows, and the ability to save your favorite articles are all big plusses. I also love the new “plant quick find” and “recipe quick find” search boxes. You can search the latter for a recipe using ingredients you have on hand. Brilliant.

One more feature makes me jealous: Readers can upload their own photos. Considering the time it takes me to update my own reader gallery, this would be lovely on Crafty Nest.

Better Homes & Gardens magazine June 2011 cover, photo

Finally, just for attending their webinar, BHG gave me five 1-year subscription giveaways of Better Homes and Gardens magazine for my readers. So here’s how you win a subscription: Leave a comment on this post with your best idea(s) for making over my dining area. I’ll choose five winners at random to receive a BHG subscription. Plus you’ll be eligible to win the $100 Home Depot gift card in a couple weeks. So gimme your best shot. The deadline is in one week — Friday, May 27, 2011. Good luck!

UPDATE 5-31-2011: Thank you to all of you who commented. I chose five of you at random to win a BHG subscription. This time, my random number generator was my brother, Troy. He chose numbers 5, 13, 14, 26, and 30. So the winners are Diny, Jen R, Trinity, Valerie, and Ann Rishell. Congratulations! I’ve notified all the winners via email.

This post is sponsored by American Express. I received compensation for my participation, but my review and opinions are my own.

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