I only liked it marginally better than the unfortunate shade of olive green that it had been.
In fact, at some point David repainted the wall above the chair rail the same cream color as the living room, but it still felt dark with the deep blue underneath. I was craving something lighter and brighter. It’s in the middle of the house and the only windows are small with stained glass. Couple that with the fact that the front of our house is heavily shaded and our dining room just feels dark.
I decided to do the same color above and below the chair rail because I wanted to keep things light and simple. Uncertain, I was pleased to discover that a little googling suggested that doing different shades of the same color above and below the chair rail might even be a bit "dated" (hey, do enough googling and you'll find someone to agree with you). I don't really care about being super on-trend in my decorating, but I knew I didn't want a darker color under the rail, given that the light in this room is so limited, and ultimately, I'm happy with how it turned out.
The big challenge is that—with the exception of paint—I am really determined to re-do the room without buying anything new. I can thrift or buy consignment if I need something, but I’m mostly going to try to re-use or make things myself. The one exception may be the chandelier. I'm DYING to replace the one that's there--it's builder grade boring and hung way too high. I'm going to check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and I'm looking at Craigslist, but I've been overwhelmed by options.
|Oh, light fixture. You should be 30-36 inches above the table. You are at least a foot higher than that. You drive me crazy.|
|I love this light from lamps.com! But it's outside my price range.|
|This Pottery Barn light is so FANCY! It's also more than I want to spend (though Overstock has a similar option), but also, I don't think the style is exactly right for us.|
|The current light is non intrusive. Because it appears to be amputated.|
|Joanna Gaines used this PB light (or a very similar one) and I really like it. This style may be closer to what we end up with? It's also more affordable than the others.|
The other thing our dining room needed was more storage. The glass top table was fine for holding pretties, but it just wasn't super functional. As a solution, I brought up two white bookcases from our basement.
I don't think this is an IDEAL solution (ideal would be an amazing buffet with closed storage and also a hutch), and it's definitely not on-trend (UNTIL NOW--PIN THIS IMMEDIATELY), but it was FREE and it works for us. It has the benefit of bringing more of my books upstairs, and when I think about what I love in homes on Pinterest and in homes that I visit, visible books are a big part of it. They encourage perusing and conversation and they make me happy being in the center of our home instead of regulated to our basement.
(Plus I was reading Design Mom's book and one of the things she talks about is doing what works for your family instead of just doing what a room is "designated" to be. This makes sense to me, and the shelves definitely work harder for us than the table did.)
David was not on board at first, so I ignored him and set about filling up the shelves while he and Zuzu were at swimming lessons and the grocery store. When he came home, he kissed me and said, "I should have trusted you!" So that made me feel good. I mean, I will totally ignore his opinions when he disagrees with me, but it's nice to get approval.
I'm still considering re-painting the little black hutch that hangs out under our wine shelf (and stocking up on more wine!).
Maybe bringing in a blue since I still have leftover Annie Sloan paint from the dresser/changing table I painted for our room last summer (leftover = free), but it will have to wait until after I get through prepping for this semester.
Eventually, it will be time to update the table and chairs to something that's more reflective of our style and not just what we could afford when I was in graduate school. But for now, the table works for us and we have two little kids who are pretty hard on it. So I just want to update the chairs.
I like the idea of a dark table with white chairs, and my friend Monica suggested I could save money by just painting our chairs white, but I'm not quite ready to commit to that yet. I'm going to start by making white covers for the chairs.I’m going to look at a few tutorials and figure out what I want to do… I'll probably end up keeping them super simple and just covering the backs but not the seats.