Before & After: Dining Room Built-in Open Shelving

before and after dining room open shelving

I have such a treat for you all today!  After a few months of building and painting, we finally have our dining room shelving and built-in cabinet space complete!  Although the project certainly didn’t warrant a few months of work, we broke it up into two parts, first the bottom cabinetry, and later the upper shelves.  We did this because we had a lot of room shifting around.  I was unsure if this room would really end up being the dining room (in which case, I’d want shelving) or if it would be the living room (in which case, I’d put the TV on the cabinet and build higher shelves or forgo the shelves all together.

The entire project started with just the lower cabinets, which were very quickly installed so that carpeting could be installed after the cabinets were complete.

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Then, we lived with just the lower cabinets for some time before pulling the trigger on the upper shelves.  I shared with you guys my shelving plans a couple of weeks ago. I created a drawn out plan for each shelf to be about 22″ apart, which is wider than typical.  I did this so that there would be enough room to accommodate for some of my larger serving pieces which are always without a home because they’re so big.  Case and point, I’ve had my 18″ x 24″ Thanksgiving ceramic platter hidden under the couch until this point!


After the shelves were built, I painted them with two coats of Behr cabinet and trim paint in Ultra White.  This is my favorite paint for wooden trim because it goes on super thick and is really high gloss – great for cleaning dirt & smudges off cabinets, doors, baseboards, etc.

I was so impatient for them to dry just so that I could get to work on styling them!


I had so much of my glassware, serving pieces, and platters stored away ever since we began this crazy series of renovations back in March.  Each time over the last five months that I’ve needed a platter or cake stand, I have to employ Matt to get into the deep depths of some storage area to retrieve it.

Getting all of my pieces out and having them at just arms reach makes me feel so settled.  In the lower cabinets, I stocked them with things that I bring out for entertaining – lanterns, chargers, speciality glassware and other small things like cocktail napkins (of which I have an absurd amount).

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I added some greenery in with my serving pieces to give the shelves a little color and character.  I love the new Nate Burkus vase and gold sculptural piece that I got from Target last week.


I LOVE the way they turned out and can’t wait to entertain in this room!  I know I’m being pretty cryptic and only showing partial pieces of the room, but not to worry!  We’ll have a full reveal soon enough.  I have one more (really fun) DIY to share next week, then we’ll be onto the full dining room Before & After!

In the meantime, Do you love how the shelves turned out?

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Want to see more of the progress on this room?

See the original inspiration

See the progress

See the lighting updates

See the DIY table runner

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