Banish the dining room blahs

With some subtle paint techniques, soft lighting and lush

Ruth’s dining room boasted such wonderful architectural features
as crown moulding, wall panels, decorative niches and leaded glass
windows, but all its redeeming qualities were lost in what she
called

three shades of blah.

Ruth’s dining room boasted such wonderful architectural features as crown moulding, wall panels, decorative niches and leaded glass windows, but all its redeeming qualities were lost in what she called “three shades of blah.”

The room’s murky, putty-colored walls combined with skimpy drapes and low lighting to create a dim space. Ruth’s kids had taken over the room and set up their very own homework headquarters and dumping ground for skateboards, Frisbees and other teenage gear.

Ruth was determined to take back her dining room. She dreamed of hosting intimate dinner parties in a bright, colorful space that packed an elegant punch. So the kids were banished along with the blahs, and I came up with a plan to energize Ruth’s dining room with drama, elegance and lots of sparkle.

First we applied a rich, chocolate brown color to the walls. A dark bronze glaze was applied over the paint to give the walls metallic highlights, adding a subtle shimmer.

Next, we installed recessed lights to make key areas of the room really pop. We accented the decorative niches and other strong focal points with recessed lights and replaced the old lighting fixture with a chandelier that really enhances the room’s elegant new feeling.

I designed a fantastic new drapery treatment using fabrics that pick up the room’s bronze glow. The draperies give the illusion of two layers of fabric but are actually made from only one layer; they are finished with rich beaded trim and ruffled edging.

The niches were painted an ivory color and accented with recessed lights. I placed tall glass vases in each niche and filled them with fresh flowers.

One of my brightest ideas for this room was to decorate one wall with mirrored panels to reflect light and give the illusion of depth and space. We created a pattern with different-sized pieces of mirror and installed decorative rosettes to mark where the panels intersected. Instantly, the room got a big burst of brightness as the mirrors threw back the light from the chandelier, recessed lights and windows.

Ruth liked her dining room table and chairs, but she admitted that the old upholstery had to go. So I recovered each chair with three different fabrics that pick up the colors from the drapery treatment and the room’s soft bronze walls. I used one fabric on the seats, another on the backrests and yet another on the backside of the chairs. When you look at them from different angles, the unique fabrics work together to pull in all the colors from the room.

Now we needed just a few finishing touches. I tracked down a gorgeous new buffet and a Chinese cabinet that fit the bill as a bar. I flanked the liquor cabinet with two cinnamon colored chairs. Gilt-framed artwork stands out against the dark walls, with a large portrait “floating” in the middle of the mirrored wall. The floor is covered in an antiqued Persian carpet.

With some subtle paint techniques, soft lighting and lush draperies, we transformed Ruth’s dining room into a haven that adults are sure to find appetizing.

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