Category Archives: DINING

Dining Room Update!

Just to refresh our memory, here is my original sketch for the dining room:


And finally the paint has ben laid and the chandelier has been hung!


Now for the fun part! As you can see we used the dark blue (Newburyport Blue) for the bottom half and kept the white molding throughout to give the room strong contrast. The top of the walls are painted with a slightly warmer white (Monterey White) that still adds enough definition between the stark white molding and the wall itself.

Now that I have been seriously thinking about this room, and by seriously I mean with a tape measure and budget, I have decided that a rectangular table will not work. The room is only 10′ X 10′ so the best option is to go with a round table that can be expanded when more room is needed at the table. This will allow for much more breathing room the rest of the time, which is most of the time, when the table is not expanded.

Here are my latest two sketches for the room now.

OPTION_3 DSC07509 copy

Now let’s see how close we come to this! Step one is to find the right table. Since the table is the center of the room, literally, it’s best to build the rest of the room around it. The table that I used for these sketches is available at Restoration Hardware, but is much more than I want to spend at $1,095, AND, it is not expandable. However, I will use this table as a jumping off point to find a similar look and style at a lower price, hopefully!

Everything else is more or less a stand in for now until we get the right dining table. But at least we have a sense of direction to start building!


The dining room renovation is still in the planning stage, but I just picked up this great chandelier from Joss & Main for $157, actually a bit more once you add tax and shipping!


It is a 10-light version that measures 14″ X 17″, perfect for a small room like mine. They also have a larger 12 light version for $220 and a smaller 6 light version for $330. I am not sure why the smallest version is the most expensive though? I’ll keep you posted when it arrives and finally gets hung up.

If you REALLY like the sputnik style they also have a floor lamp ($253), desk lamp ($167), and wall sconce ($54) available as well. But to me, the chandelier is really where it’s at!


If you’re interested in these deals you better act quick, the sale ends in about 22 hours!

Dining Room Do’s and Doo-doo’s!!!

Take a look at the dining room shot below. There’s a lot of dining room doo-doo going on here!


Where to start? The dark wood hutch and buffet cabinet and dark wood chairs and table (hidden under an oddly placed flower print table-cloth) make this room feel claustrophobic, or at least it makes me feel claustrophobic when IN this room. The burgundy/merlot colored curtains block out all the light while the frosted glass chandelier blares in your face. The two-tone taupe (say that real fast five times) colored walls only help to mute out the light even more.

The two bright spots in this room are the hard-wood floor and the chair rail molding along the bottom half of the walls. The wood flooring provides a nice warm color to the room while the white molding at least gives us SOME contrast.

Sadly, this is my dining room. All these mistakes took some time to coordinate. An inherited china cabinet and dining set mixed in with a chandelier that was in this home before we moved in, combined with curtains that seemed like a good idea at the time and a table cloth that looked great in the store, all came together to make this room look like doo-doo! But not for long!

Here’s a sketch of a few ideas I have so far. Obviously not all these things will be making the final cut, but it’s a start. I like to use these kind of sketches as a frame work for the design of a room. I like the two porcelain heads on the wall, but if I can’t find them, I can find something similar in size and shape which will work just as well, and the same for everything else.


The most obvious change is the brightness in the room. It doesn’t get a great deal of sunlight, but you can create light using small amounts of contrast. A dark paint color on the bottom half against a brighter creamy color on the top half suddenly opens this space right up. I’ve already wrote about the buffet cabinet in a previous post (To Display or Buffet…) so let’s talk about the chandelier.


This would probably be considered a Sputnik style chandelier, popular in the 60’s when the whole space craze took flight (cough-cough). They have since become a part of the mid-centruy modern movement and you find them in all different sizes and shapes. Usually they are fairly round and have several extensions coming out from the center like a star, or satellite, or UFO! They range in size from 18″ or so up to several feet for the big $$$ buyer.

The model above is called the Zuo 50028 Pulsar and I found it on Quill for $249. Many other websites cary this same chandelier so shop around for the best price. Amazon carries it, through a 3rd party seller, for $75 more. Even Staples carries this light, but they’re out of stock right now. If you don’t like this particular chandelier but like the Sputnik style there are a lot of options out there, and many of them are very affordable.

To Display or Buffet, that is the Question

I am about to start redecorating my dining room soon. Currently we have a hand-me-down dining set with matching table, chairs, and china cabinet with hutch on top. The whole set has certainly seen better days, but has very much served it’s purpose. Recently I was at JC Penney and walked through their newly designed home section. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so. Very modern and stylish, yet still very affordable, a big plus in my eyes! You wouldn’t think that a store like JC Penney, that sells $6 sweaters and $12 jeans, would  have such a cool home section, but they do. Jonathan Adler, Michael Graves, Conran, and Martha Stewart (among other designer names) have even signed on for exclusive lines with Penny’s.

So the question is, do I stick with a hutch style cabinet, or do I go with just a buffet cabinet with no hutch/display shelves on top? The dining room isn’t very large, only about 10 X 12’ish. The problem with EVERY cabinet/hutch that I’ve ever seen is that they are way too large. Usually they come in two pieces and weigh about 3 tons each. It takes a team of oxen to carry the furniture in to the house. They require an entire wall dedicated to propping them up with barely any room on either side. For these reasons, and the fact that my dining room is so small, I think the buffet style cabinet alone is enough. It will open up a whole wall essentially and still give me about the same amount of storage as I would have had with the giant hutch. Granted, I will have to find other places to display some items that are currently living in my hutch, but you can always rotate them in and out of whatever ‘display’ space you end up using, weather it’s on the table or buffet top, or in another room altogether.

So, back to JC Penny. A new dining room set can cost you thousands, or hundreds depending on the quality. I say thousands before hundreds because when it comes to wood built cabinets and tables you truly do get what you pay for. Yes, I could get a complete dining room set, table chairs, cabinet, hutch for as little as $900 at some discount furniture store (I mean you Value City, more on them later). But it will be made out of pressed board with laminated wood grain, and maybe it will last for a couple years before the shelves begin to sag and the ‘wood’ begins to turn color. But if you spend your money on quality constructed items made from REAL wood and made by REAL manufacturers who know what they are doing, that set will last a lifetime, quite literally!

Here’s the buffet cabinet I am thinking of at Penney’s. It’s designed by Conran and is currently $1,275. Of course there are always coupons and credit offers that can knock this price down a few hundred bucks, not to mention the perpetual sale JC Penney’s always seems to have going on. I like the lighter oak wood veneer finish with the geometric squares along the front. This will add a great contrast to the walls behind it which will probably be painted a dark royal blue with white walls and trim above.


Design by Conran Icarus Grid Sideboard

I’ll keep you posted on the progress as we begin to start redesigning the whole dining room. Next up, table and chairs!