Misused Room Goes From Storage to Family Dining Center

Andrea and Greg’s dining room got a new ceiling with recessed

Andrea, Greg and their two daughters live in a multi-level
suburban home. They are part of a large, extended family that
enjoys getting together for big, scrumptious dinner parties. Sadly,
Andrea and Greg have never played host to one of these eating
extravaganzas. Their dining room, in which they rarely dined, had
instead become a handy-dandy dumping zone for sewing machines,
storage boxes and all manner of odds and ends.
Andrea, Greg and their two daughters live in a multi-level suburban home. They are part of a large, extended family that enjoys getting together for big, scrumptious dinner parties. Sadly, Andrea and Greg have never played host to one of these eating extravaganzas. Their dining room, in which they rarely dined, had instead become a handy-dandy dumping zone for sewing machines, storage boxes and all manner of odds and ends.

So I donned my chef’s hat and paid the family a visit to invent a delicious new recipe for a traditional and elegant dining room that could suit both a family of four and a generational gathering of 20.

I certainly had my work cut out for me. The space was rife with outdated ideas – from the old stucco ceiling to the pink 80’s-style carpet. Aside from three pieces the couple wanted to keep – a dining room table, an antique hutch and an embroidery made by Andrea’s grandmother – this room would receive a tip-to-toe makeover that was sure to be absolutely yummy.

I started at the top with the unsightly stucco ceiling, which was awkward, angled and low on both lighting and drama. I got rid of the bumps and installed cool, angled recessed lighting, which was patched with sheets of bead board paneling and batten board trim for a traditional touch, turning the finish from lumpy to lovely.

Next came some romantic, low-level lighting, consisting of a pair of sconces on either side of the hutch and a beautiful chandelier that serves as a focal point in the room.

I then attended to the walls, which went from an uninviting yellow to a relaxing Robin’s egg blue tone. And, speaking of color, the couple’s ghastly pink carpet was next on my hit list! In its place I put in a hardwood floor/carpet combo that adds luxury and dimension to the room. I used dark-stained, oak, hardwood flooring as a border for the room and plunked a new embossed leaf area rug in the middle.

A lot of the “traditional elegance” the couple was going for in this room came from the fabrics. The window got a shot of pizzazz with side panels of a blue and brown floral pattern, brown linen bands and beaded trim. I selected simple linen sheers for light control and, for an extra something special, I added a blind consisting of seagrass, woven with a little bit of silk.

The fireplace also needed an injection of drama, so I painted the old pink brick in a bright white shade to change it from eyesore to eye-catching. For extra effect, I bought a small store-bought shelf to use as a mantle and then put a charming mirror above.

Lastly, I reworked the furniture. The room had previously been filled with heavy furnishings and oddly mismatched chairs. I got rid of some pieces, added a few new items, created a little nook area with a screen and bookcase (perfect for reading – or napping – after dinner), and added some new chairs in mix and match floral, striped and solid fabrics.

I then hung a large blue- and brown-colored floral painting on the wall and strategically placed various accents – candlesticks, baskets, books, pictures – around the room, and, voila, a room fit for even the most demanding dinner guests.

Using elegant finishes and fixtures, dramatic lighting and fabrics, and a serene palette of soft blues and chocolate browns, I created a mouth-watering space that can play host to Andrea and Greg’s first full-scale family banquet. What a divine way to dine!

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