This post has been in my drafts for mooooooonths. That means a long time! For some reason, I just kept feeling like it wasn’t enough. I needed to put together a cohesive and completed design before this would be ready to post and that’s just not the case! These Decorating Dilemma posts aren’t about me working as an interior designer for a client, but rather giving a reader some opinions and ideas about their space. When I frame it in those terms, I don’t have to have any answers, but just a few suggestions. And I certainly have that for this dining room; at least enough to get this post out of draft purgatory.
So, here we go…
“This is my boring dining room. I love my custom farmhouse table and Ethan Allen buffet but the room is blah. There is not much natural light (windows have plastic on outside right now due to painters outside). I just don’t know where else to go with this room. I live in a front porch community in Texas and it is a lovely neighborhood. Any suggestions are sure welcome!”
This room really stood out for me for a couple of reasons… No. 1 – I think this is a very typical dining room situation. Put a table and a buffet in there and then…Well, what more can you do? No. 2 – This dining room has those high windows, which are such a cool architectural element but are not as easy to decorate around as traditional windows. No. 3 – This dining room has great bones! It just needs some oomph.
What I love about this space…
As I said, it has great bones. The trim is fantastic, I love the transom window, and I think the table is beautiful! I also like the putty-colored trim with the off-white walls. I think it’s soft and pretty.
Because I think this room could go a few different directions, I’m going to make a couple of different suggestions for adding a wow-factor.
Before that, let’s talk about editing. The elements that feel “off” to my eye are the curtains, the style of the chandelier, and the scale of the buffet/accessories.
I would suggest just removing the curtains. They are not needed for privacy or light control and I think they detract from the casings around the windows. I’m guessing Toni put them there to add some color, texture, and pattern, but we’ll talk about some more impactful ways to add those elements.
I would reconsider the chandelier. I say “reconsider” because Toni might l-o-v-e that chandelier. If she loves it, that’s enough. Keep it. From a strict design perspective, it looks a bit modern compared to the style of the house. Now, that can be a fun juxtaposition, but since everything else has a traditional feel, I think it stands out. So, I’ll offer a few suggestions on that. (I heard from Toni on this and she does NOT like the chandelier.)
I think the buffet is a beautiful piece, but the scale of it feels a little off because of the height of the ceilings and the large expanse of wall. I don’t think we need to move that piece out but look at some ways we can make the scale work better.
Oomph Idea No. 1 | Beef up the buffet with architectural elements
I think the buffet is sized right when it comes to the footprint of the piece, but as I mentioned above, the scale looks a little off. I had this same issue in my master bedroom. Space was limited due to a traffic path and the placement of an air return vent, so I used a smaller piece with open legs but beefed up its presence by adding an architectural element (the shutters) expanded even more by the plates flanking it. It’s about presence, not about size.
Oomph Idea No. 2 | hang wallpaper to add pattern & depth
I love the idea of adding some pattern to these walls. It can be as subtle as tone-on-tone stripes or dramatic as a landscape mural. It will help visually fill the space without crowding the room with furniture.
Oomph Idea No. 3 | Add built-ins under the windows
While the windows are a cool architectural element, they are a little awkward to decorate around. They take up the space where you would typically hang art. This is one reason I think wallpaper would work nicely, but I can also see shallow built-ins underneath the windows to display dishes, stack folded napkins, etc.
As far as the chandelier, I would suggest replacing it with something more traditional. Of course, I am a fan of brass and crystal chandeliers. I have six of them in my house! (The style I collect is called a “pineapple chandelier.”) But, I can also see a simple colonial-style brass chandelier in the space as well. I would stay away from anything too modern and cool finishes like satin nickel and pure white. I would lean towards traditional fixtures in warm finishes, like brass and bronze.
Toni, I’m sorry this took so long, but I hope you gathered a few ideas from this post that would inject some character into your lovely dining room.
Does anyone have any other ideas to add? I always love your suggestions, too!