Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pimp my dining room. Seriously.

Calling all design-types!

This is my dining room.

The room looks light and bright in these pictures. This is due to the flash. It's not this bright, trust me.

As you can see it's red. Very red. And on the small side. Sit in it for awhile and I guarantee you will feel like I do when I sit in it for any amount of time - like sticking your thumb in your mouth while breathing amniotic fluid. But without the floaty feeling.

We did not pick the color that is currently on the walls, it came that way when we bought the place. Friends and family come over and they first thing they say is, Wow! Love the color! And I'm all, Oh yeah? It doesn't make you feel like you're about to slide through someone's vagina?

And then they make this weird face. I can't imagine why.

Anyways, because of the red it gets really dark in there. On days when there's bright sunshine it's light enough but it doesn't get any direct sunlight due to the wrap-around farmer's porch directly outside. The farmer's porch I dreamed of owning before realizing I would need to buy special lamps to keep myself from jumping from the second story in a fit S.A.D.

So during gloomy, rainy days, like today, for instance, it's not so much womb-like. Replace the w in womb with a t and it's exactly like that.

The furniture was purchased before we owned this house and it's very nice and quite special to me (built in my hometown before the last of the factories closed up. *Pours some out for the diminishing trade industry in the north east*) but it's also red in hue. And the curtains, or "swags", as I believe they're called... Don't get me started on those. Let's just say they seemed like a good idea at the time. You know, while going through postpartum psychosis.

Another view, including the wall color of the rest of the first floor through the doorway and a picture of some crazed pig-bunny creature my kid drew.
Also, in the right bottom corner, a tiny child-sized rocking chair that was mine when I was a baby, purchased new, also built in my hometown. I believe it's technically an antique. I believe I can technically begin drinking now.

I need to do something to this room immediately. I've been looking at it for two years now and it's time. I can't stand it any more. The only thing my style is the furniture. Everything else is too... colonial? Traditional? Early American? I don't know what to call it. The wall color needs to be changed. That damn light fixture needs to go too but I don't know if that's going to happen since I don't want to spend a lot of money right now. I'd love to get rid of the rug (too small, too red) but only if I can find a decent one for cheap.

One more picture because I am in love with my dining room furniture. Also observe, if you can see them, more window swags in my kitchen. I blame Bed, Bath and Beyond.
There's another light fixture in the kitchen that needs to go sooner than the one in the dining room because it hurts my eyes to look at it but that's another post.

As for the furniture, I know it's a little big for the room but it's not going anywhere. Which is what I told my husband when we bought it. You can divorce me or kill me, but I'll still figure out a way to go to my grave with that hutch and sideboard. I'm not kidding, that was our actual conversation after buying it. I do love it so. This is not Pottery Barn, particle board furniture. This furniture is art. I'm not kidding.

But don't get me wrong. I like Pottery Barn.

(Great, now I'm the Pottery Barn snob.)

So what do you think I should I do with this room? I'm thinking of painting the walls blue but I don't want a beachy blue or another colonial/traditional blue. However, I'm up for any other color suggestions. And I'm not too keen on painting the wainscoting and trim. The rest of my home is pretty traditional but I lean toward the more homey, Anthropolgie feel. I don't like super modern but I do want to update things a bit.

Looking at these pictures I can't get over how stuffy the room feels. It's just so serious. Have you met me? Not serious. We celebrate holidays and special occasions in that room - it needs some life, dang it!

I need your help, internets. I can't spend another Thanksgiving imagining I'm sharing a uterus with my in-laws. Help me pimp my dining room.


Forgotten said...

The color of that furniture is just begging for something to make it the centerpiece of the room. I'm thinking blue also but maybe a very pale blue on the upper half of the walls to bring the light in the room upwards and then a deep blue, not navy but something crisp, for the lower half of the room. Leave the windows and ledges white and the door frame white and the piece that divides the top and bottom portions of the wall white (not sure what that thing's called). Also, what color is the ceiling? A super bright white with lighten the room when applied to the ceiling. Just some suggestions. You definitely want to go light on those upper walls though.

Also, about the rug, I agree with getting rid of it once you have painted the walls a new color. I'd like to suggest something oval shaped though. Your chairs have a gentle curve to them that would play off of an oval rug so wonderfully. A rectangular rug makes your room look so boxy and you like free and flowing so I thing giving something a more round appearance would be more pleasing to the eye. Just make sure it comes about a foot out from the sides of the table when the chairs are pushed in. The window treatments need to be something in between the two colors of the wall in a see-thru material that flows and possilby will float somewhat in a light breeze. (Again condusive to the open airy feeling you are going for.)

Good luck. I love to decorate also I just never have the money to decorate with...*dreams big*. :)

Forgotten said...

BTW, sorry for all the typos. I was so excited to offer my help that I was thinking faster than my fingers could type. :)

Unknown said...

I'd go for a lighter blue that has a gray base to it, and go for a more modern light fixture. ratemyspace.com is great for ideas.

Gigi said...

I'm agreeing with the blue that's been suggested. As for the fixtures - if you aren't yet ready to spend money on them - take them down and spray paint them. It'll give you a whole new look for pennies.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

You guys are awesome! These are some great suggestions so far. I never considered spray painting the lightning fixture. And I love the idea of an oval rug. You're all so clever and your hair looks great too.

Tracy said...

I know you want blue, but have you considered a light yellow or a light tan/latte color? With the white trim and the color of that wood, I think it would really pop. Plus, I'd get rid of the rug altogether. IF you absolutely need a rug, I would get something with much lighter colors (duh.) As far as the light fixture, I know you don't want to spend a lot of money, but I'd get the light fixture (they really aren't that expensive) over the rug...we have hardwoods and white trip, and that color furniture, and it looks AWESOME.

As far as the valances, I'd probably get rid of them altogether if you can, but as you can tell, I'm fairly minimalistic. :) With that furniture, you can be, too.

AnnetteK said...

Navy blue. (seriously)

SciFi Dad said...

The person who envisions sharing a uterus with your inlaws is asking for paint colours?

If I say blue, you'll complain you're drowning at sea with them.

If I say green, you're in a mouldy piece of bread with them.

If I say taupe, you're buried in the sand with them.

If I say brown, well, let's just say you won't be bitching about chocolate.

Cate said...

I've had good luck with the Ralph Lauren paint colors.

what about a green? Sage?

I also like the look of a lightish turquoisey blue, almost robin's egg, with white woodwork.

Ericka said...

your furniture is GORGEOUS! and it would match my living room furniture very well... keep me in mind if you DO ever decide to part with it.

if you go with blue, be careful - depending on the red in your wood, the shade of the blue could be awful.

my living room is cream with white wood trim and it showcases my furniture (did i mention how nicely yours matched mine?) very well.

i agree with the oval rug. if i were doing this room over, i'd paint everything that's maroon to cream. then i'd haunt the auctions. (the deals you can get are amazing!) i know it's impractical, but i'd go light on the rug - mostly cream with maroon and dark green. filmy curtains - maybe in a pale green (nothing dusky like sage, go for pure colors), with dark green pullback ties. get rid of the boring art on the walls. i can't see what those two pictures are, but if you love the pictures and want to keep them, reframe them.

if you can't get rid of the light fixture, consider remodeling it. take it down, remove the fake candles and install glass cups instead - something like the partylite mosaic peglite votives (http://compare.ebay.com/like/350385806317?var=vipsrp&sort=BestMatch).

i have touches of black wrought iron and think it sets off the wood very well so i wouldn't paint the metal a different color. i'd add a touch or two more - like wrought iron frames for your wall art.

but i'm more warm/traditional than open/airy so what do i know... except craigs list can be as awesome as the auctions. you can do this w/o spending a ton of cash!

good luck! make sure to post pictures when you've finished!

Greens and Pinks said...

Here's what I'd do: buy a new rug and go from there.
Building 19 (seriously!) has great, cheap rugs. Then once
you know the furniture & rug, fixtures of the room you
can choose your paint. I'd recommend painting the
chair rail (lower portion of the room) a darker shade, maybe even a different red. Or a medium sagey green.
Then paint the top of the room a lighter tone or even cream/yellow. As far as the window dressings, I'm a less
is more girl. I bet a light colored roman shade
would look nice in there, mostly rolled up most
of the time.

kittenpie said...

Love the furniture. Definitely a lighter paint colour. I'm always partial to pale yellows, which are a bit brighter and more colourful than a heavy cream, though that would make a nice neutral, if you'r emore into neutrals. I do think a nice light blue would work well, too, though I think pale greens are a little done and can feel a little more country than I imagine you.

The light fixture could be painted a cream or a matte silver - you could then add some touches to it if you felt like it was too plain, but it would feel lighter and a bit vintagey in a cream. Some coloured glass would work well, for example, to add a hit of colour if you wanted, or some daisies in summer.

I think the window treatments need some updating, as well. Something simpler or else some lovely curtains, which can do a lot for a room in terms of picking up other colours and tying things together. I'm not a fan of valances, though, which tend to feel kind of fussy and dated, so I'd go with a good fabric and leave them simple.

have fun with this!

A Vapid Blonde said...

Your dining room is very traditional. And did you know that red is the color of hunger? People get hungry in a red room. Also I can not help as my tastes are very influenced by the twentieth century french deco artist because of my husban. Which is not the traditional...although in many ways your dining room reminds me of my home that I grew up in. And you know how much older I am than you.

Best of luck in the reno!

A Vapid Blonde said...

I also REALLY wish I would spell check before postin.

Jen said...

Beachy blue walls and a new rug is exactly the thought I had when I looked at the first picture. I actually like the window swags, I think something in a tan/khaki would be nice.

Lara said...

I'd been picturing, like, a sage green or something like that, though I do think the blue could work too. Love the furniture!

Amy Sue Nathan said...

I have a red dining room and love it. That being said...blue isn't usually associated with dining, strangely. I'd go for a creamy, buttery yellow and a multicolored rug with tones of yellows and other colored picked up from the furniture. Lighten up the ditties in the hutch (if they're dark) and put some light things on the walls -- plates, light photos or paintings etc. Mixing styles is quite chic! Good luck an post pictures!!

Avalon said...

My bedroom----a light denim blue. Not like a baby blue, but a very relaxed and un-stuffy color. I adore it. It looks great with white molding. Clean and crisp. For curtains, I would go with a cottony-gauzy swag that just gently encases the windows without blocking light. Also a very relaxed and natural look. And, BTW, i love the dining room set and once the room is opened up with color, it won't look to big for the size.

Barbara said...

I'm not a big fan of the color blue, but I did paint a room a really light blue, that was "arctic" in color, and I did love it, and it really brightened things up.

My favorite dining room color is sage. I think it would match your swags and furniture quite well, but can be dark.

I would get a new rug if possible. Homegoods has some great sales, so keep your eyes peeled if they are in your neck of the woods.

My cheap fix to a fixture I don't like but can't replace is shades. You can go fun and funky, and when you get tired of them you can replace them. I have used imitation alligator and fabric with maribou trim. The options are endless.

Good luck!

Issa said...

I am horrible at this...but my experience (you know from watching too much TV) is that a small room like that shouldn't be red or any dark color because it shrinks it.

So maybe a faomy blue color? Or a pretty green? Something light but not too light. Maybe start with new paint and go from there?

Helpful aren't I? No need to answer that one.

ps. Love your furniture.

Lise said...

I'd paint it a beige-ish yellow, to coordinate with the beige on the bottom part of the wall seen through the doorway in the second picture.

And I'd get rid of the rug altogether. A dining room that small doesn't need a rug to anchor the table. Or if you really want a rug, maybe something with a modern geometric pattern in warm earth tones to pull your table and walls together.

Anonymous said...

Bye bye window valances. Add inexpensive clip shades to the fixture (home depot), and buy a matching floor lamp--should be betw $60 and $200. Clip shades are fun, inexpensive, and can be beaded or modern, which will help update this room so it doesn't look like grandma's house :) Keep the rug, and check it for workable accent colors for the walls. I think sage green, or latte, would modernize things for you. Keep the white trim & wainscoting, it's beautiful! Add a modern or fun centerpiece and you're done. Maybe a series of big metallic balls (w/ beaded or shiny clip shades?); or beautiful containers filled w/ something that sets the tone of the room. Lots of pottery barn catalog ideas (good for ideas!) are able to be replicated for pretty cheap!
Have fun!

ChrisinNY said...

My first thought was the same as Lise's- use the same or similar tan/ecru/butter that you can see in the hall. If you get rid of the rug a cream will bring out the red/golden of the furniture. (I do love light/arctic blue and it would be the easiest with the existing white wainscoting. Still have to get rid of the rug in time, though.)

Unknown said...

I would say with the color of the furniture that room needs a light color maybe a sage green or a light tan, will make the color on the furniture pop... Thats what i think would look best in this formal dinning area.

Laci said...

I am so very curious to find out what the outcome was, and what colors u chose! Sorry if there has been and update to this, as u just found ur blog last night, and think it's adorable and witty! Just for shats and gaggles Im still gonna throw in my two cents that I immediately thought after seeing ur pics. I think a nice and bright (Light shade!) teal/turqouise would look amazing with that furniture! Forget the boring neutrals everyone ALWAYS go for. A nice statement color is what will make people notice the room, in turn, notice that beautiful furniture!! With the top half nice and bright opening up the room, the bottom could be a nice darker tan, or even chocolate!!! Trim could be a tan also, but noticibly lighter than the wall paint. Having a dinning room with such a nice pop of color will make people notice and remember it once they leave! And u can do sooo much, in terms of decorations and accent color options, with a color combo like that! Hmmm I think I'm itching to get to decorating a room of my own :)

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