Our sun porch, a modestly sized room on the back of our house, has seen a lot of change since we moved into our home nine years ago. Upon our arrival the room boasted hideous tile floors, was the site of the structural damage disaster, and it's seen three different paint colors just since we took ownership. But in spite of elevating the decor substantially in the space, I was ready for a change. Well, truth be told, I think I really f&@#ed it up.

Does anyone remember our list of New Year Resolutions that we put out there for all to see (and hold us to)? One of the items on this list for 2012 is "redecorate the sun porch to remove the tired floral window treatments, and to better incorporate the wine fridge into the furniture layout." I'm happy to report that I've made a lot of changes, but not happy when I say that I hate the space more now than when I started.

Let's start with how it looked in the beginning. Here's a look at the 8'x10' space when we first bought our house. The tile was ugly and cracked, the walls were a dingy grayish white, and the room had zero personality. 

Approximately a year after we moved in, we had done a bit to spruce it up, but not a significant amount. We were focused on other parts of the house at the time, so we applied a coat of soft yellow paint to match the kitchen, threw some existing odds and ends in the space to furnish the room, and called it "good enough."

Following the discovery of massive leak/termite/structural damage in this room (more on that disastrous experience here), we took out the offending wall, opened up the doorway between the kitchen and sun porch, installed a new beam to support the floor above, and finally had a more open flow between the two rooms. In addition to the removal of the doorway, the next phase of the room featured new custom window treatments and floor paint to hide the ugly brown tile. We were still using furniture odds and ends that were childhood pieces or outdoor furniture from our apartment. The look was greatly improved, but we still had progress to make.  

The next stage of improving this space didn't require a lot of time or money, but seemed to make the biggest impact. With the addition of a sisal rug on clearance from Home Goods, bringing in a larger lamp that we already owned, and adding a few IKEA purchases (the new wicker planter and storage cubes that Mel is lounging on in this photo), we were really happy with the space. 

We lived with it like this for many years, and it served our purposes well. This room has been great as an extension of entertaining space between the kitchen and back yard. We use the room as our bar area during our annual Halloween party, a quaint place to eat breakfast in the morning sun, and it's often a room that's perfect for guests to relax in and talk to the person cooking. The problem here is that wear and tear took its toll over the years, and the introduction of canine crew members and new wine storage have had a pretty negative impact. 

So here's a look at what the room looked like at the start of 2012. It doesn't look terrible in this picture, but you can't really get a feel for how tight the space feels with the new wine fridge jammed in the corner by the table, nor can you see the pet stains that we couldn't scrub out of the sisal rug, nor the damage Oliver caused to the wicker love seat when he decided he would try it out as a chew toy. I had also grown tired of the floral window treatments, and a not so nice (but completely honest and justified) comment on our Apartment Therapy home tour kicked my desire to replace them into overdrive.

Because our ultimate renovation plans involve flip flopping the location of the kitchen and family room, the current sun porch makeover is a temporary fix for the next few years until we get to that point. So what I'd like to do is make a big change for not a lot of money and moderate effort. 

So what improvements have I made this time around? For starters, after looking for over a year for a new rug, I purchased an 8'x10' wool looped rug from Home Goods. It was a great price (on clearance!) and I was tired of my search looking for "the one." So I loaded this bad boy into our new Volvo SUV -- it was my first trip I was really glad I didn't have the old Mustang -- and brought it home. 

Next up, we repainted the baseboards and areas of painted tile floor that might be visible around the edges of the rug. They were scuffed and nasty, and in dire need of a fresh coat of paint.

We pulled down the curtains, opting to replace them with an inexpensive set of bamboo blinds from The Home Depot. Here they are, mid-installation (and right after I nearly ripped off my thumbnail in a DIY mishap).

We also decided to replace the IKEA storage blocks that we were using as an end table because Oliver had chewed those up as well. So using the second brass platter we purchased at a local estate sale and a new base purchased during my first Black Friday adventure last November, we put together a one-of-a-kind furniture piece. 

Hmmm. I'm not sure that the table is working. Actually, the room itself isn't working right now. What I've done is taken it from a little tired to a comatose state. Here's the current, despicable (in my opinion) look.

My initial plan was to create a relaxing lounge area on the left and wine area on the right. I had intended to purchase a leather storage bench where we'll keep all of the shoes and pet supplies neatly hidden away, accent pillows for the back of it, and use the new "end table" next to the bench  by the window. Sadly, I think the table will be much too tall to use as a companion to a storage bench.

On the right, we moved the wine fridge to the middle of the room because we have plans to build a custom top for it, pull stools up under it, and use it as a fun little wine tasting area/breakfast nook, but that's going to take some time and effort to build.

With all of these plans you'd think I'd be more enthused with where this room is heading, but I'm just not in love with any of the changes we've made so far. The bamboo blinds feel too stark and masculine, I'm not sure about the design of the rug, and the darker color actually seems to show dirt and leaves tracked inside way more than the sisal rug used to. 

I thought I'd be able to make the existing paint color work, but clearly that idea falls into the category of cutting corners. 

At this point, I feel paralyzed by indecision. I've already invested substantially in the new rug and window treatments, so I don't want to just scrap them. But on the other hand, if they're really not working, there's no sense in keeping something that will forever mar the space. 

So I need your help here. Am I being one of the clients that HGTV designers complain about, who decide they don't like the improvements mid-project because they don't have "the vision"? Or have my changes gone horribly awry? What I'm asking is "do I need to start over and come up with a better plan?"

If only I had learned to stay in love with those darn yellow curtains we wouldn't be in this pickle.

Comments 59


5/14/2012 at 12:30 PM
If it were me, I would pull the light blue color out of the carpet, and use that on the walls. That would be my first step, and then assess after that. If that didn't fix it, then changing the blinds to white would change the entire room
Thanks Mandy! I was hoping to avoid painting the room, but it's becoming obvious that I'm trying to take the easy way out. Might need to get my grubby overalls out and put on a fresh coat. :-)
Jill PP
5/14/2012 at 1:26 PM
I agree that the new blinds may be a little too dark for the room. What about crafting some roman shades from a lighter fabric?? I know there are lots of tutorials out there (though I've never tried them).

I LOVE the table you guys made! But, it is a little tall for its current position in the room. Could you set it beside the wine fridge with a couple of small chairs/stools as a temporary winetasting area until you get around to the custom work you have planned?

I think you may be able to get by with the current paint color, but a light gray to match the rug would change a lot in the room. But that could be my gray obsession talking.

I actually really like the rug! :) Good luck with whatever you guys decide!

PS - those blinds look very similar to the ones we have in our house! I'm sure you could sell them for a decent price on Craigslist if you decide you don't want them.
Thanks for your advice, Jill. To be honest, I'm totally intimidated by the thought of making my own roman shades. I love that look though!

I never thought of Craig's List. Hmmm. You've given me a lot to think about. Thanks!
6/7/2012 at 11:25 AM
You have a great start, don't get discouraged. The rug is gorgeous, and on clearance!?!? That is amazing, I can never find anything that nice on clearance! :)

I'm thinking: Repaint the walls something more airy and neutral or blue...
Then, hang two long white curtain panels on both corners of the room flanking the windows. Maybe even use curtain rods that extend the length of the walls? I think it would really soften the space and add lightness and comfort. I also think it would make the blinds pop. And if you go with Ikea, it shouldn't be too costly.There's my 2 cents. :)
5/14/2012 at 1:56 PM
I have to admit that I second (third?) the notion that changing up the blinds to something lighter might help. I've made no-sew roman shades for our bathroom and kitchen, and they were VERY easy and look pretty decent.
No sew you say? Hmmm. Might be worth a try! :-) I can do some basic stitching by hand, but sewing machines are something I've yet to master.
5/14/2012 at 1:57 PM
I think you're on the right track. I would keep the bamboo blinds and add long, light colored translucent drapes. Additionally, it might help to paint the walls a light color that compliments the rug (very light taupe or sage--something that keeps the room feeling light and bright, but provides contrast to the dark rug and dark bamboo blinds). If you really love yellow sun rooms, maybe lighten up the yellow a few shades (though I think the yellow might be part of the problem)? It might also help to add white trim around the windows at some point.
I was actually thinking the exact same thing with adding some light draperies. On the other hand (and I don't know why), it never occurred to me to add molding around the windows. I bet that would really make a difference. Thanks Veronica!
5/14/2012 at 2:07 PM
I think you're being very hard on yourself, Wendy! The room is mid-renovation, and building that custom wine tasting bar will really help bring the room together! If you stick with the dark shades, maybe you could make the custom bar lighter to even out the colors in the room (i.e. painted glossy white wood with a lighter stone top of some sort).

The yellow probably does need to go away, since it seems to be clashing with the rug (but that could just be my monitor!). I agree with previous posters that a light gray would work well. If you want something a little less "modern" than pure gray, I recommend Behr's Chocolate Froth - it's sort of a half gray / half brown color that works well with traditional homes (we have it in our Old Town townhouse).

Could you cut a couple of inches off of the end table base's legs to shorten the table a little? The table is really unique (in a good way!), so I'd hate to see it removed from the space.

Best of luck - it's going to look great when you're done!!
Thanks for your suggestions Lindsey. Chocolate Froth you say? I would buy it just for the name! :-) I think we're definitely going to have to look at painting the room and thanks for the paint recommendation.

I would be totally open to shortening the table a few inches, but Alex feels strongly about not hacking apart the base. We might need to talk about that again.

5/14/2012 at 2:08 PM
I think it looks gorgeous! The shades are a bit dark, but works well with the yellow walls and green plants. (BTW what color yellow is that? i love it) You could swap the blinds out for a lighter tan, or what I would do is just add some white cotton curtain scarves or sheer white panels. You could install the rods up on the ceiling and give the room dramatic height!

I think its just missing some softness, the fabric elements which are easy to add. For example, the wicker bench needs some kind of cushion with a cool pattern. Or maybe get white whicker? I would avoid a leather bench or leather anything. The rug and blinds are dark so I would go light on all the accents. Maybe add a pop of red somewhere (don't you have some red in your kitchen?) There's something quasi tropical/southern plantation about this, its just missing a fern and some pops of color, otherwise is looks perfect :)
5/14/2012 at 2:12 PM
Also I am a little bias to the yellow. Right now two-thirds of my house is some form of yellow/cream color and soon my downstairs will be some pale shade of yellow too. I think it works really well for this sun room, it will make it feel brighter, bigger, and airy especially with all those windows and natural light coming through. I'm team yellow 100%. I also think brown and yellow work well because of the contrast so I'm not seeing any clashing with the rug.
Thanks Kelly. The paint color is Benjamin Moore's Traditional Yellow. (Could the name be any more boring??) I really like your suggestion of adding ceiling height curtains.

I'm actually planning on getting rid of the wicker bench, but have to agree that a leather bench with the dark blinds will be just too much. Hmm. So many decisions, but I'm feeling inspired again. Thank you!
5/14/2012 at 2:21 PM
I see white plank walls to go with the brown rugs and brown shades. See redhenhome.blogspot.com/ and missmustardseed.com/2010/04/exposed-board-wall-tutorial/ for use of inexpensive masonite boards to fake out the planked walls look. Now I don't know if plank walls go with the victorian style of your beautiful home, but it could give it a nice breezy "cottage-y" feel if you like that sort of stuff.
Gorgeous! I love the cottage-y look of these rooms. Great idea...would never have thought of that!
5/14/2012 at 2:32 PM
For me, the yellow's really throwing me off. What I would do is paint the room white to brighten the space and make it more of a neutral palette. Then I'd add some sheers over the windows to soften the blinds. What about some giant fluffy throw pillows as extra seating? I'd also add more plants to really tie in the outdoors.
Great suggestions! I'm really thinking light, breezy curtains may be what I need to soften the blinds. Giant pillows and more plants. Heck yeah! :-)
Kelly C.
5/14/2012 at 3:11 PM
I'd have to be the first to admit that I'm not a good decorator, but I've seen people spray paint those types of blinds - Thrifty Decor Chick went darker, but this is cool also . . . www.apartmenttherapy.com/green-decor-handpainted-bamboo-88753
Neat idea. Thanks for sharing Kelly!
Kelly C.
5/14/2012 at 3:13 PM
I also kind of like the yellow ceiling/white walls. I'd go with a goldish yellow to tie it into the rug. But, again - I'm not good at this & I know whatever you decide to do will look fantastic!
5/14/2012 at 3:44 PM
I like where you're headed! I would paint either the lighter tan color or the light blue color in the rug. What about some cheap white sheers (even if it's just 4 panels, 2 in each corner) to lighten things up a bit. You're getting there! I think the table is totally working!
The light tan in the rug is very similar to our living room color in person. (And happens to be a color I really like.) Cheap white sheers also sound like a great idea. Thanks Nikki!
5/14/2012 at 4:39 PM
Wendy, I would be happy to come over and open one of those bottles of wine and help you thru your mid-renovation blues. I think using a lighter blue from the rug on the walls would help, then paint the shades the same color. Even if some of the darker color shows thru in spots, it will look good. I would also spray paint the rattan sofa, add a cushion and/or pillows in colors that tie to the rug but are light. I have many extra pieces around the house, so give me a call and we can try some things out.
Wine and assistance?? Yes please!

The wicker love seat is heading to greener pastures, so that gives us more options. Can't wait to discuss. :-)
5/14/2012 at 5:43 PM
Since you ask, paint it a light gray, let me ask about placement of furniture, what are you looking at when sitting on the sofa? It should go against the other wall,so you look out,the now gone table should go against the window so you can look out when drinking or eating, can you move the wine contraption to the other side?It would then be near the table and the party can begin. A trunk can be used to gather up gear and be used as a coffee table.A chevron print for pillows would snazz up the space. Curtains would help but are not as important as the function first. We don't have the view into the kitchen.I also saw a glimpse of a refrigerator, can the wine frig go over there? A cabinet from salvage could house the wine frig, and a bookcase above could hold glasses and such.dl
Thank you! Such great ideas!

We absolutely should put the seating on the other side. The wine fridge used to be up next to the 'real' refrigerator, until we recently centered it on that wall. Here's the view into the kitchen: www.flickr.com/photos/oldtownhome/5646010525/in/set-72157626594857340/

I love your idea of encasing it and making room for glasses above!
5/14/2012 at 5:49 PM
Before you ditch the rug and blinds, try switching up the wall paint. Paint is the best and cheapest way to update a room and I've heard designers say you should pick your rug first before you pick your wall color. You could also layer the blinds with some simple sheers to soften up that masculine feel and lighten things up a bit.
Couldn't agree with you more Elizabeth! Thanks!
5/14/2012 at 6:35 PM
Is it light blue in the rug or grey? It looks like the latter to me.

I'd paint the room a light bluish-aqua; to me that's a lot more dynamic choice than the grey is to go with the earthtones you have going on. Think of the color of an old-time Southern porch ceiling.

Use some 1x4s or 1x6s to beef up the trim around the windows, painted bright white. Trim down your shades to fit within the windows (we have done this with bamboo roll-up shades and it worked great -- can't remember if my husband used a circular saw or table saw). I believe these changes would improve the balance between dark shades and white trim, and make it all look more finished.

I really like the rug and your table with brass tray top!

Right now the furniture is all on outside walls. Obviously you need a pathway to your exterior door but how about an angled chair of kind in the right foreground, to break up the "furniture border" look?
5/14/2012 at 9:31 PM
I love your ideas!
The color in the rug is a blue-ish gray. Almost like a dusty periwinkle.

Trimming out the windows to allow for interior mounted blinds is a fabulous idea! And your furniture arranging tips are spot on. Thank you!
5/14/2012 at 7:44 PM
What a great bunch of ideas!! The room is great but I think you just need to find the right inspiration and follow that. I vote for painting the walls white and using it as a blank slate for whatever you want down the road You could also consider spray painting the sofa a very dark brown which might be a pain, but it feels a little dated at this point in the game! Then you could lighten things up and bring in more blues, grays, and yellow with pillows, accessories, etc. It's a tough one. I also think you need some art instead of the plates. I like that plate rack though so don't scrap it!!
Thanks Melissa. The wicker bench is beyond repair, thanks to Oliver, so we'll be replacing it with some other comfy seating. I agree with you on the plate rack. It's no longer right for the space, even though I still do like it. :-)
5/14/2012 at 9:28 PM
The room is nice but needs some pizzazz.
-How about changing out the ceiling fan with a dark one?
-Then take the bluish gray from the rug and either paint all of the walls or the solid wall with it (as an accent).
-Make rectangular fabric panels about 12" long to velcro onto the shade tops as a valance. Use an Ikat design that picks up the colors of the rug.
-Take a coordinating fabric to the shades and either cover seat on the bench or make two throw pillows for the bench.
Thanks so much for all the great ideas, Chris! Wow!
threadbndr (karla)
5/15/2012 at 9:55 AM
Wendy, dear, don't second guess yourself. It's looking as good as any project does halfway through.

Functionwise, I'd get an upholstered bench with storage under it (either a lift top bench or one that has the baskets on a shelf underneath to go to the right of the back door as you are facing it. That corner is empty and not functional right now. I'd go with a creamy white (or a white to match the back door) and fabric for the top that brings out that blue and brown in the rug. I like the idea of an ikat or geometric fabric that you could also use for pillows or valances.

Once you get the wine bar/breakfast bar built and stools for it, you'll have a much better idea of how the room will work.

This is just a transitional space until you get the kitchen move done, so don't stress so much!
Thanks for the encouragement, Karla!
5/15/2012 at 10:29 AM
I love the rug. I would like to suggest painting the walls a pale yellow (or the yellow/cream/taupe from the rug) and the ceiling a pale blue/purple color (think southern porch) matched from the rug. I also agree that the windows need a vertical sheer treatment of some kind to draw the eyes up to take advantage of your ceiling height in that room. Before making a drastic decision on the blinds, try raising them to 1/4 of the window height instead of the 1/3 height that they are in the pictures. This will add light to the room, and decrease the heavy feeling that they are creating by being too low. Flipping the furniture (two chairs instead of a love seat with a coffee table/foot rest to share?) arrangement will create an inviting space that insists you slow down and take a rest, perhaps with a glass of wine!
Great idea about raising the blinds. That never occurred to me. Duh!

I like your furniture suggestions as well. Thanks Gretchen!
5/15/2012 at 11:38 AM
I think the porch has come a long way!

Have you considered painting the back door as a pop of color? Perhaps a coral?

You may be able to keep your wall color the same and just use brighter accents to pull the room together and provide a sense of cohesion.

Also - I LOVE the table.
Love the idea of painting the door. (What I'd really love to do is replace it, but that's not in the cards yet.) Thanks Laura!
5/15/2012 at 12:33 PM
Hi! I'm a relatively new reader and I gotta say I love your house and blog! I definitely don't think your sunroom has gone wrong at all, I think you're headed in the right direction!

A lot of people have suggested painting the walls the blue/gray color in the rug and I think that's a great option. I also think there's a bit of green in the rug too? That would coordinate nicely with the yellow in the kitchen.

To help the blinds out I would definitely add some white or off-white breezy curtains all the way up to the ceiling. I just hung very similar blinds in our master bedroom and used these curtains (www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10218089/#/40217253), I love the linen fabric. You would only need 1 panel in each corner, but it would make a HUGE difference. See YHL's first sunroom for inspiration (www.younghouselove.com/2010/08/our-sunroom-mini-makeover-phase-two/). It would also help if you have painting transition problems between the kitchen and sunroom (behind the fridge?), I would hang a curtain there! Another fun option would be to go with a horizontal stripe curtain, I see you have a couple pinned (pinterest.com/pin/275352964686841774/), you could probably DIY them with fabric paint. If you get stuck again just go to your Pinterest boards and start pinning sunrooms you like!

Good luck and I can't wait to see how you pull it together!
Welcome Meredith, and thanks for the amazing suggestions! I love your master bedroom curtains. They remind me a little of the curtains in our guest room.

You're totally right about YHL. The curtains they hung in their old sun porch totally softened the corners. And thanks for reminding me how much I love those horizontal striped curtains. (Isn't that room to die for?!)
5/15/2012 at 3:44 PM
like a lot of the above comments... but what about painting the ceiling? like a light blue, and the walls a gray? I'd also love to know what you are going to do with the bar. I see a granite countertop and custom made legs to support that weight that may be in your future. You could also something to punch up that wall with the plates... maybe a reclaimed mirror that has a wine glass shelf near/under it? Something that gets some functionalism going.
I do love a beautiful blue ceiling! (Master bedroom and guest room both have them, why not here?)

The plate rack definitely needs to go. I was thinking maybe a cool framed out chalkboard, with "wines of the day," party menus, or other fun scribbles. It could be cool to build in a wine glass shelf here too though. So many great ideas, so little time!
5/15/2012 at 3:45 PM
PS you couldn't mess it up, even if you tried. You are marvelous.
5/16/2012 at 5:04 PM
i think the majory hang up design-color wise is the blinds vs. the wall color. i love me a yellow sunroom and i dig th eone you got, so i'm with you on not scrapping it. But then you've got to change the blinds, and honestly, i think they're just too heavy for the space. you need light, breezy curtains or just valances (which i think you mentioned). so there's that.

as for furniture arrangement...maybe angle a couple of chairs toward each other with a table in the center where the bench currently is. then put some bar stools on the opposite side near your wine fridge (just to make yourself feel better, really) until you get the table made. i'd throw in a few more plants, including one on your table, that i would also be concerned with cutting down, but if you use it as a plant stand in the corner, maybe not such an issue?

all in all, similar to what the rest of have said, but i'm team save the yellow. good luck!
Great ideas. Thanks so much!
Michele Jones
5/16/2012 at 5:57 PM
First you know that i LOVE your taste. Second I have been meaning to call you for ever so I will call you with my thoughts but just so I say it aloud. YOU GUYS ROCK no matter what you tackle!!!
Awww, thanks MJ. Miss you!
5/18/2012 at 11:50 AM
I kind of like the rug, but the plain boxy looking blinds are what's killing it for me. It kind of sucks that they're already bought, paid for, and installed, but you already know that. I'd actually think that maybe some plain white shears might look nice and relaxing (maybe a bit beach house looking), but definitely something else. OR maybe curtains that echo the colours from the rug? I honestly don't really know exactly what I'd do with the space myself.

I've actually been indecisive about what kind of curtains I want in the house since I started working on it. I temporarily have old tab curtains hanging on nails over the casings, but I was thinking of making custom Roman shades. But now I need to decide what kind of colour, pattern, etc that I want to use. And weather or not I want to do a stripe on the sides, or a 3 sided border, and so on and so forth.
5/20/2012 at 10:11 PM
I agree with a couple others - paint the walls to pull a color out of the rug. I think that will make a big difference with the bamboo shades. I like those. Maybe move the plant over in front of the window until you get everything else done. LOVE your chalkboard idea!!
Thanks Michelle! I think I'm heading to the paint store tonight and will take advantage of the memorial day holiday to get some work done in here. Leaning toward a bluish gray. We'll see how it goes!
6/19/2012 at 9:17 PM
Hi, I would add small french doors. That would make a big difference. Add some bistro curtains, and get big accessories, like a big egan mirror, paint the door in blue, and a small mantel, or shelf :)
Thanks Katia. I LOVE the idea of French Doors, but sadly they're not in the plans right now. When we completely overhaul the space and move the family room in here, we'll be looking at new French Doors and windows that actually open. Imagine that. :-) Thanks for the ideas!
7/10/2012 at 12:08 PM
I am going to first start with I am so jealous you have a sun room. I long for one but unless we take on a major addon that involves changing our already complicated roofline, it will never happen (sob).

I have to agree with a PP who said that the couch position needs to be switched. Why look at a wall when you can look out the windows? Not sure if what plants would survive your pets but I think it needs more greenery. Maybe on a table or tea cart under the window next to the door? It could help to soften things up a bit. Plus, what is a sun room without plants?

I think the blinds would look fine if you added the sheers to soften the straight edges. Maybe you could pull their darker color into the room somehow. I know this may be totally off the wall but could you stain the wicker couch to a color closer to the blinds? You could then add a cushion covered in a fabric pulling the yellow of the walls and the colors of the carpet together.

I can't wait to see how it all turns out.
Thanks K! I couldn't agree more with you on the curtains. I've been scouring stores/online but haven't found the right ones yet. I've also decided to donate the wicker love seat. It's hard to see in the pictures, but our last dog Oliver used to use it as a chew toy. I'm thinking about moving the Asian table to the middle, and putting an occasional chair on either side.

Thanks for your encouragement!
7/29/2012 at 6:36 PM
Love your up-to-date old town home...great ideas you both have and all the hard work is paying off to a beautiful looking home.. The porch had a period of cuteness to it at first which was really cute 8 years ago..but cuteness has been booted out to practical and solid useful spaces. I LOVE THE RUG in your most recent picture...the bamboo shades clash with the yellow...I'd keep the bamboo, paint neutral color, take out the wicker seat, plant and also the wine coolor (gives the room to much of a hard, commercial look). Looks like you have an outdoor space for dining which is a big plus...so what I would ask myself would be "what do you really NEED this space for?" do you need extra lounging/sitting space for small gatherings? Do you need another table for dinner guests? Do you need more storage space...this would be a great space for storage/mud room type lockers for storage with a wood bench. My take on the room: I see light weight sheery fabric with the bamboo blinds, neuteral painted walls and ceiling, square tall dining table with iron legs and eight chairs to match. The wall to the right to show off your "personal photos" placed offset on the wall. I'm like you...I LOVE decorating and do dream all day long what I can DIY. Just my thoughts here...with what you've accomplished so far, you'll do great with the final results in this room.
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