Skip to main content

Chevron Chic Dining Room on a College Budget

Chevron.  I love to love it.  And so does Tehrene of Love Twenty.  While trolling her blog, the above photo caught my eye as it had hers.  "I would love this to be my future dining room," she wrote, but then went on to say that "the rug, let alone anything else in the room, is completely over my budget." Turns out she got her chevron fix by picking up some super lovely pillows at Target.  But this dreamy dining room inspired me to create a look for less.

And voila!

My "look for less" version is tailored for unique need college students face when decorating an apartment, including budget restrictions and a shortage of space.  I've broken down my How-To for this space with products you can "buy" and projects you can "DIY." 

Buy: Ikea's MELLTORP Dining Table in white possesses the the same sleek lines as the parsons table in the inspiration room.  But measuring in at about 30 wide by 30 deep, it's a smaller scale version perfect for tight apartment spaces.  Plus, the top is melamine. (Say what? Melamine is scratch resistance, moisture proof, and easy to clean.)  Oh, and it costs just $49.99.  
DIY: If you're a real handy-gal in the garage (or have a dad who is), a parsons table can be built.  Otherwise, scavenge garage sales and thrift stores for a simple table that you can makeover with a few coats of white paint.)

Buy: While the butterfly chairs in the inspiration room are indeed gorgeous with their feminine curves, a pair of chairs from Ikea might give those butterflies a run for their money.  These URBAN Chairs come in that same great shade of robin's egg blue.  Lightweight and stackable, they are ideal for moving or just making space in the apartment.  And they get bonus points for being suitable for outdoor use as well.  It'll cost you $39.99 for one of the URBANs.
DIY:  The chairs in the inspiration room have a slightly retro feel.  Conduct a search.  Thrift stores, antique shops, garage sales, Craigslist... look high and low for a pair of retro chairs of your own.  Even if what you find isn't the right color, you can make it work with some paint or re-upholstery.  (See Frugal Home Designs make a retro chair feel modern.)

Buy: The inspiration room's windows are draped in classic white sheers.  What does that mean for us undergrads?  Easy peasy!  You can buy floor-length white sheers just about anywhere... but it's all about the thrill of the bargain hunt!  Sure, Wal-Mart and Target will give you a great deal on panels.  But take a look at places like Hobby Lobby, Lowes, and dollar stores where you might snatch these babies up for a mere $3 to $5 a panel.
DIY: Option 1, pick up some sheer white fabric from the local craft store and get sewing.  (If you're a seamstress like that.)  Option 2, put some old white twin bedsheets to good use.  Follow this simple tutorial to convert bedsheets into curtain panels.  I'm dying to try it!

Buy: Simple floating- and moulding-style shelves can be had nearly anywhere.  Start with Target and branch out from there.  Be sure not to neglect the hardware stores and craft/hobby stores.  Along with the super-cheap curtain panels, killer deals on shelving are also lurking.
DIY: Buy pieces of unfinished moulding that you can stain yourself.  (Young House Love built their own floating shelves.)

Buy: As college students, we likely don't have the option to swap out ugly apartment lights for gorgeous modern pendant lamps like the one in our inspiration room.  But in the off chance that you can (or choose to wholeheartedly surrender your security deposit), the CB2 pendant in my "look for less" room will set you back about $60.
DIY:  This totally depends on the type of lighting fixture in your place, but it may be possibe for you to attach a big, plain white lampshade to your ceiling or existing light just to get a similar look.  (Jesse from Just Flew the Coop attached a lantern over her ceiling lamp.)

Chevron Rug
Buy: Ooooh, that black and white chevron! It's the bold, sassy, yet refined pattern that really steals the show in the inspiration room.  First, search online.  Since it's a classic black and white, it won't be as difficult to track down as a more offbeat color combo.  I stumbled across this one for a mere $47 on 
DIY: Betcha didn't think I'd have a project for the rug.  Welp, here it is.  Yes, you can paint chevron onto a plain rug.  This is definitely on my to-do-it-yourself list.

Buy: Now to accessorize!  The inspiration keeps things simple and sweet.  Display the favorite magazines in all their glossy glory on the floating/moulding shelves.  Frame a small black and white photo in a thick-bordered frame.  Hit up the local antique shop or thrift store and you'll surely find a white vase (or ceramic pitcher like the inspiration room's) for under $10.  Fill it with pretty pink flowers---fresh if you can!---or some silk/fake ones from a local craft store.

We're all on tight college budgets.  And even though all of the things in this room can be had at a cheaper-than-the-inspiration price, chances are if you you buy it all you'll still be pushing your budget to the limit.  If you have money to spare, invest it in some of the larger pieces.  If you need to be more careful with your spending, find the balance between what you buy and what you DIY.  If you're living on ramen, you might have to get a little more creative and crafty.  But glamorous looks can be had for less!



Amazing post, amazing tips. I adore chevron!
Anonymous said…
THIS IS SO CUTE!!!! So glad you saw it on my blog, because now I know it actually IS affordable (and just as fabulous) thanks to you! :)
Anonymous said…
omg, ive been searching like a mad woman to figure out how to redo my dining area in my apartment without making it look too feminine since im married, haha. And, either it was authentic and out of my budget, or just not meeting my taste --- until i found your website --- this is my savior! I am so excited to work on a lot of this stuff, given that the hubby gives in a little bit, haha.


DIY Cat Barrier for Under $100 (See-Through, Climb-Proof, and Too-Tall-To-Jump)

ICYMI: I gave up Cotton after deciding that after trying so many things, my two adopted cats Dahlia and Cotton were just never going to get along. Long story short: I missed her. And Cotton's back. And Dahlia's not going anywhere. My heart is big enough to keep trying. And my apartment is big enough that if I need to keep them separated long term (or permanently), it can be done. I'm going to write-up a separate post about some of the solutions I've tried, how they worked, who they worked on, and what I'll be trying next. But in this post, I wanted to share the main 'piece de resistance' of having both cats in my apartment: an un-climbable, un-jumpable, see-through barrier to separate Cotton and Dahlia .

Penny's Apartment | Big Bang Theory

Aniela, a lovely reader from Germany, sent me an email requesting advice on recreating the style of Penny's apartment on Big Bang Theory. 

Blair's Room | Gossip Girl Decor

Manhattan's debutante Blair Waldorf happens to be my favorite Gossip Girl character.  Her behavior and feelings vary from snobbish to sensitive, but she always (except for a few rare occasions) looks and acts totally pulled together.  Her luxurious bedroom is fit for a queen---and is as pulled together as her preppy fashion ensembles.