In this post: How to refine your existing space into one of the most elegant dining rooms, without buying all new furniture.
Have you ever been done decorating your house?
Yeah, me neither.
This is a phenomenon my husband doesn’t understand. He looks around, sees furniture, and thinks, ‘yep, it’s done.’ But me… not so much.
No sooner am I putting the finishing touches on one room, than my eyes begin to stray into the adjoining room and I start thinking about extending the new look into that room, as well.
This is exactly what happened with my old dining room, above. You may remember the pink and green florals that have defined the room since we moved into our house. I pretty much took everything from our old home and added it right back into our new dining space. It was the first room I revealed way back in this post when we first started decorating our new townhouse, because it was easy to use everything I had before. It was even comforting.
But after living in our house for a little over a year, my style began to become fine tuned and once we renovated our kitchen in a modern French style, I knew exactly how I wanted all my rooms to look.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I knew there was no way I could explain to hubby why we needed all new furniture because I was refining my taste.
So I continued to walk past the dining room dreaming about how I would change it if I could.
But sometimes that dream is all it takes. It’s where inspiration resides. And inspiration begets workable solutions.
First you think about the ideal. Then you start to isolate the key offending pieces. Then you realize that with one epiphany, you can make some bold changes for a very reasonable amount of money. And that’s when the real plan begins to take shape.
In this case, while I still think the florals are pretty and I just love pink and green, I’ve been wanting to update for some time and infuse my home with a more modern French style. For me that means more whites and less pattern, with an increased emphasis on antiques and aged patina.
I should also underscore this is a work in progress. This is only the first step and some of stage two is already on order. The final pieces will have to wait for a while.
So let’s take a look at the details and the process.
Since I wasn’t planning to buy much in the way of furniture, my focus turned to accessorizing. The first thing I removed was the faux florals. I haven’t gotten rid of them and I’m not against using faux. There was just a bit too much color for the look I was going after. I determined to stay true to the 6 defining style elements I use in every room (if you’d like to see what they are, that post is linked to at the bottom of this post). That meant looking for crystal, gilding, patina and white linen.
But the most significant change came when I realized I could simply recover my parsons chairs with an inexpensive slipcover in a quilted white fabric. That epiphany was my game changer!
But first I was motivated by a few key accessories. I started with the crystal candelabra and then the tall chippy candlesticks. When the boxes arrived, I started to get excited. This is when I moved around some things I already had. The big French wall crown moved to the top of the painted cabinet. I hope to be painting the cabinet some time soon.
I brought the big dough bowl in from the breakfast area and I realized a white linen runner was needed for definition. The candelabra went on the sideboard, balance by my garden statue in front of the French trumeau mirror. I also have sconces on order that will replace the plate racks and another exciting surprise that will be the most impactful element in the room.
I thought about painting the walls, but now that I see all the whites and creams, I think I’m going to leave the blush pink. I do want to lighten that pantry closet which will likely be my first big painting project. I must admit I’m a bit intimidated.
Honestly, this all started with this little candelabra. This one piece gave me the inspiration for the entire room. It became my muse and the rest followed.
When I step back and look at the room as a whole, I’m amazed at the difference the white slipcovers made. I’ve decided, as well, that the drapery panels need to go. Not forever, but for now. A wispy linen panel is what I have in mind.
And for down the road, the biggest change will be a crystal chandelier. I’m hoping vintage and it may not be for a while. But it’s coming for sure. And then finally, I’m thinking about some kind of rug. If you have ideas or suggestions, be sure to leave them in the comments. I’ll post the next round of changes in another month or so!
Elegant Dining Rooms Source List – Click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. (This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
- Vintage candelabra
- Garden statue
- French trumeau mirror
- Antique dough bowl
- Linen table runner
- Distressed candlesticks
- French crown wall decor
- Dining table
- Skirted parsons chairs
- Parsons chair slipcovers
- Painted sideboard
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