There are few things that feel as good as saying a project is complete. 

Our dining room has taken quite a journey and has seen some major change over the years. When we bought the house in 2003 the previous owner had been using it as a pass through siting area.

Back in 2004 we had it set up as a weird hybrid dining room/living room extension with massive television and speakers. Looking back on it we have very fond memories of these days, but it was far from functional (or attractive, for that matter).

And after our initial renovation efforts we settled on a room that served as a formal dining room, and we absolutely loved it for many years.

But back at the end of October we shared our first steps in making over our row house's red dining room. I really wanted the red walls, chandelier, and faded toile curtains to go! In the span of a few days we'd replaced all of it with a few fresh coats of Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige, some new lightweight subtly pattered curtains, and a big geometric chandelier from Arhaus. 

While the new wall color and chandelier certainly breathed new life into this dining room, we were not yet done with our efforts to refresh the space.

Though our old rug had served us well for over 13 years, I have been ready for a new look for a little while. The room color change may have been the catalyst of this actual makeover, but I had been searching for the right rug for this room for months. Every trip to HomeGoods I was always keeping my eye open for just the right thing, but I finally found the look I was really hoping for while looking through Pottery Barn's website.

I wanted something muted, gray, and wool for the room. I'm a big fan of wool rugs due to their ability to clean pretty easily and the fact that it's a natural material (versus those made with polypropylene, for example). We needed an 8' x 10' and the one I found just happened to be on sale. (Okay, let's be honest, I would only buy it if it were on sale since I love a deal.) So we rolled up the old rug and put down the new.

In a matter of just a few minutes the room transformed again, almost as substantially as it had with the wall color change.

Even Lulu was getting in on the action, wearing her favorite squirrel sweater to match the new color theme of the room.

Another step to our little makeover was to re-cover the dining room chairs. The red plaid had served us very well since I originally applied the covering back in August 2004. My hair was big, my skin was young, my legs were white, and I was wielding an electric staple gun. Watch out world!

But like the red walls and rug, these chair covers had run their course and it was time for them to go. I had found a gorgeous gray and cream herringbone fabric I loved and I felt would be perfect for these chairs. 

Lulu felt she needed to give the new chair fabric a test drive as I was cutting it up for the chairs.

This time around we used an air stapler, which turned out to be far more effective than that old electric gun. Apparently when you buy a tool that's meant to do a specific job (like stapling fabric for furniture), it tends to work better than one that's not. Who knew?

We were very careful to line the pattern up the same on each chair. Before we knew it we had ourselves a complete set of re-covered chairs. I really love the way they look compared to the old coverings.

I also picked up a couple new accessories for the buffet. I found a gourd shaped lamp with gold lined shade and two brass and glass candle holders at HomeGoods, and a friend gave us the beautiful white orchid after Mel passed away. (I'm trying my darnedest to keep this orchid alive.) These few new touches also helped change the room to a fresher look.

With that, the room's relatively quick refresh is complete. With a lot of searching for the right items, and a bit of effort in our overhaul, we had what felt like an entirely new room that feels bigger and brighter.

We still plan to eventually replace some (or much, if you ask Alex) of the mid-century dining set we have in the room with some antique pieces that fit better with the scale of our house. But that's going to be a search that will probably take a while. Until we find those perfect pieces, we'll certainly be using this room to the fullest.  

We even threw a little dinner party to christen this new room. It was a Scottish Whiskey tasting Christmas party, so we picked up new tartan napkins and a matching table cloth that would work perfectly with our new color scheme.

The party, the room, the food, and the whiskey were all a huge hit. Our guests loved how we'd changed the room and kept commenting on how much larger it looked with the lighter color. It was satisfying to hear that our hard work had paid off, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the end results.

I find myself staring at the dining room while sitting in the nearby family room, and I keep telling Alex just how much I love our new room. I'm really looking forward to making some changes to the living room and foyer to continue the lighter, more neutral look I'm after. But that will have to wait until after the original windows are restored. Knowing our speed, I might have to wait until 2022.

Comments 9


12/12/2017 at 8:57 AM

Looks great!! Congrats!

12/12/2017 at 10:40 AM

I loved the drama of the red room, but this is so beautiful. I really love how the new fabric on the chairs completely updates the whole dining set. Good job!

12/12/2017 at 11:12 AM

a beautiful transformation as usual.

Have you ever had problems with the under-rug mats damaging your floors? We put one under a runner and it etched our floorsAlt frowning

12/12/2017 at 4:07 PM

Looks fabulous and fresh! Great transformation. The rug 'pad' you use didn't work so well for my 1941 floors, so I changed to the heavy felt rubber padding instead. Merry Christmas to you both.

12/12/2017 at 5:08 PM

Once upon a time I had this new pillow... Your new re-do is just the happily ever after (maybe.) franki

12/14/2017 at 5:55 PM

Great job. It does look lighter and larger and very well put together. I'm not so convinced by the chandelier. Seems too modern for the house and furnishings, but I'll withhold final judgement for when you change out the dining set.

12/14/2017 at 8:35 PM

Big improvement; we've recently removed wall-paper, stenciled a feature wall and installed crown moulding, wainscoting and painted in colours similar to the work you've done. So I patted myself on the back and said, "Look how much we're like Alex and Wendy, yay us!" So it seems you two are a benchmark, so there! Please keep blogging. (As avid cat people, I did shed a tear for Mel. Sorry for your loss.)

12/16/2017 at 4:05 PM

Lordy, I love the new look! It does look so much brighter and larger with the new pallette. What color is on the den room walls? It seems to blend well.

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