Our dining room has just been sitting and patiently waiting for someone to give it a little attention. But it was low priority for me and I wasn’t sure what to do with it honestly. It is off of our kitchen and open to a living space that is also in a holding pattern (it is currently called the “Nugget Room” because our Nugget lives in there). It is also carpeted, which drives me insane. Eventually I’d like to expand our kitchen into the dining space and turn the front living space into a dining area, and pull up all the carpet for hardwoods. But for the time being I decided to finish the dining room so that it is functional and beautiful to look at until we get to a point of renovating. Really, it only took a couple of DIY projects and some paint.
This was our dining room space when we moved in: new carpet (but still, carpet. I hate carpet), dingy white contractor paint, fine but generic light fixture, ugly almond-colored outlet covers and light switches. Just looking at this room leaves me uninspired. When we moved into our home I had the whole thing painted, but I knew eventually I wanted to do something in this space so I left it like this for a solid 18 months (except for moving in a little furniture.) The one update I made early on was swapping out the nickel chandelier for an updated one that I’d loved for ages from Lamps Plus: the Lacey 28′ Wide Round Black Chandlier. In retrospect, I probably would have gotten something a little smaller, because when a room is empty it seems a lot bigger than it really is. But I still love the chandelier and get so many compliments on it.
Initially I planned to paint the bottom half under the chair rail white and wallpaper the top half. Then I had the bright idea to do a DIY faux wainscoting on the bottom half and my mom was up for the challenge of trying to help me. So we started there.
Then we painted the entire room, including the new wainscoting, Pure White from Sherwin Williams. It is a great bright white that doesn’t yellow in different light. We left the chair rail and baseboards the glossier white they already were for contrast. I love the way the room looks all bright white that I am reconsidering my plans to wallpaper the upper half of the room.
After painting, we updated the old almond-colored light switches and outlet covers for white ones. Rather than DIY’ing the electrical ourselves or paying an electrician to swap them out properly, we bought these, which you just put over the old outlet. Just remove the old plate cover and screw one of these in and you’ve got an instant update with no electrical work required.
We also swapped out the light switches with a similar product that covers old dated light switches and updates without doing electrical work. You can find those here. There are also double switch covers. Such a little thing that makes such a big impact when updating a space.
Because the room is carpeted I wanted to find a large area rug to break up the space and also change up the look of a carpeted dining room (which is an automatic eyesore to me personally). I also wanted to keep the rug within a reasonable budget. Rugs can get really pricey, especially when you’re looking at large sizes. I’d been stalking this one but it was always out of stock. I set up an alert for when it was restocked and snagged one on sale. It was perfect in the room and looks like a much more expensive rug than it really was! The colors are really lovely and works perfectly in the room.
Our dining table is an antique that used to belong to my mother-in-law and I found the vintage cane dining chairs on Craigslist. I wasn’t ready to invest in permanent dining furniture yet so those pieces will work until I am. But I did decide to update the dining chairs and table with some paint. I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Graphite because it will give you good coverage without sanding or priming.
First I removed the seats and taped off the caning. I wanted to keep the caning the natural color and just paint the frame and legs. I did one solid coat (if paint is too thick just add a little bit of water) and then touched up as needed. I love how the color turned out — a charcoal grey that matches the grey in the rug perfectly.
I am still searching for the perfect buffet or hutch to have in the room and still plan to wallpaper at least the main wall eventually, but for now I’m just enjoying looking at bright white walls and not drab contractor paint. I also plan to paint the legs of the table the same charcoal grey as the chairs and add a couple more chairs at some point. It is a work in progress, but it isn’t an eyesore anymore!
Soon I’ll have the full tutorial on that DIY faux wainscoting as well!
Sources (all linked above): Wainscoting supplies: Lowe’s | Wall Paint: Pure White from Sherwin Williams | Chandelier: c/o Lamps Plus | Chalk Paint: c/o Annie Sloan Chalk Paint | Rug: Target | Table, chairs, wall mirror: vintage