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Easy DIY Dining Room Projects

Two easy DIY projects turn your dining room from dull to dazzling.

Give your dining room a new look in flash with these easy decorating projects. Step up the character of a dull dining room with do-it-yourself wainscoting. Add a zippy stripe finish to a plain table.

Step up the character of a dull dining room with do-it-yourself wainscoting.


  • Measuring tape and pencil
  • 1-inch medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
  • Table saw
  • Construction glue
  • Hammer and finish nails
  • Crown molding
  • Quarter-round (for hard-surface floors)
  • Router with 3/8-inch ogee bit, optional
  • Paintable caulk
  • Primer
  • Paint designed for trim


  1. Measure the room and mark equally spaced panels on each wall. Cut the MDF into appropriate lengths for the horizontal, vertical, and X strips.
  2. Remove the trim from door frames and window casings.
  3. Start on the longest wall, working from the bottom up. Attach the base piece first, using shims to level (these will be hidden by the base trim) and attaching with both glue and nails.
  4. Working from one corner to the other, add the vertical pieces with glue and nails. Add the horizontal pieces in between each vertical strip (ours are at chair-rail height, about 36 inches). Add the top piece along the ceiling. Crown molding will hide small gaps. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on all walls.
  5. Add crown molding. If needed, add quarter-round to the base.
  6. To make X's, cut four smaller pieces to fit inside the square; cut the ends at an angle. Attach the cut pieces with glue and nails. If desired, use a router with a 3/8-inch ogee bit to give the pieces a detailed edge.
  7. Fill holes with paintable caulk. Prime and then paint all surfaces.

Using painter's tape, it's easy to add a zippy stripe finish to a plain table.


  • Table or other wood piece
  • Several colors of paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Measuring tape
  • Hard-lead pencil
  • Level
  • Painter's tape
  • Decorator's glaze
  • Utility knife


  1. Paint the furniture piece one of the stripe colors; let dry.
  2. Measure and mark straight stripe lines lightly using a pencil and a level. Tape along lines with quick-release painter's tape.
  3. Brush decorator's glaze over the edge of the painter's tape; let dry. The glaze coats the edges of the tape and keeps paint from bleeding under the tape.
  4. Paint the next stripe color between the tape edges, slightly overlapping the tape; let dry.
  5. Remove the tape. If the paint starts to pull off in a jagged line, carefully score along the tape edge using a utility knife.
  6. If a line isn't straight, don't waste time trying to correct the problem by refining that edge. Save yourself the frustration and start that stripe over.

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