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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Big Dining Room Makeover

After the fun I had giving my daughters Bathroom a makeover, I thought I would start doing my own decorating and giving the rest of the rooms in my house a makeover.

We moved in two years ago and the people selling it clearly got someone cheap in to paint the entire house, woodwork and all, in cream matt paint and not very well either.  This is fine as it lets you see the rooms as a blank canvas and let us live in them until we could see what they needed to brighten them up and make them our own.

So I started with our formal dining room.  In an old house we painted the entire dining room in a dark red/claret colour which we loved and really gave the room some depth.  We wanted to incorporate this colour into our current dining room but I felt that the room needed some lightness to it as well.
This is where someone elses mistake actualy helped me choose my scheme.  We had a decorator give the kitchen and family room a coat of paint as we wanted it done quickly as we use these two rooms the most.  We chose the colour Valspar 3001-10B Milk Toast but the decorator got his quantities wrong and we were left with a ton of paint.  As it is quite expensive I wanted to incorporate some of it into my dining room scheme.

So lets see what we started with.  The actual walls were in pretty bad shape with a number of cracks and areas where wallpaper had been removed and just painted over without refinishing the wall.  So I took my time and went over and over the walls until I was 100% satisfied that my "canvas" was as perfect as I was ever going to get it.

Some black and white pictures that we hung, albeit very badly, as I knew I wanted them in this room and was waiting for the full makeover to frame them and hang them properly.

This is a view from the window end of the room.  We love the table as it is so big and it has a further extension so can fit about 10 people comfortably.
This is the view from the door into the room.  As you can see all cream and rather bland and no depth to the room.
The cocktail cabinet belonged to my Mother and her Mother before her.  I am sure it is worth something but as I would never sell it I have never investigated that.  I think it it a lovely piece for a dining room and holds most of our formal crystal glasses and a gorgeous tea set that was given to my Grandmother on her wedding.

What the room did have was this detail on the bottom half under the dado rail.  Some paneling that I knew could be made to pop out and really give the room some depth.
So this is the full room before I started.

The top half of the walls I completed in milk toast, as mentioned above, and I then found the colour Sun Dried Tomato which I thought perfectly complimented the Milk Toast.  On getting the paint this is where I proved to myself how important primer is.  I started to paint the panels in the Sun Dried tomato but only realised when I started that I had just got Latex Enamel paint without  built in primer.  Not a problem I thought as the walls were already finished and painted but the paint was very thin and went on horribly.  I thought I would need to paint it all back to cream and start again but I persevered and four coats later!, the colour and finish was as I wanted it.

Here it is all taped off to give the woodwork detailing a final coat of white gloss to make it all clean and to make the detail pop out.
So here is the finished room which is a lot warmer and has more depth than when we started

I reframed some of the black and white photos and then hung them using Command Picture Hanging strips  as I did not want to make holes in the walls and I needed the flexibility of being able to move them around as I add other photos to the wall.

This project drove home a number of lessons. 

1) Primer is very important and I will always buy Valspar brand paint and primer mix instead of the Olympic Latex paint on it's own.

2) I hate taping off edges but it is so important for a clean finish.  Putting the blue edging tape around the panel detail took over twice as long as the actual painting but it is worth it.

3) The preparation being 90% of the project is so true.  The painting is just the finishing and it is so important to spend a lot of time getting your surfaces perfect to make a better end result.

4) Who needs a gym, just get your workout while improving your house.

5) It is great fun and the feeling of achievement at the end is worth the work while saving all that money on hiring in decorators.

I hope you like it and look forward to hosting a number of people to dinner in our new and improved Dining Room.


  1. Well done you! Lovely when you can get the colours you want in your home. Now the question of the drapes (or as we say here, the curtains!) Any? None, sheers? what? Come on, we need to know!!
    Mrs Mac x

  2. Looks lovely!! Great job!

  3. MrsMac, I hate curtains and window coverings in general so I am struggling with the choice. I was thinking some simple light filtering blinds, purely because the sun streams into this room and everything will fade quickly. Also, because the air con control is in there and it can get very hot in the summer while the rest of the house is too cold.

  4. Looks great. I remember the room in your old house. Well done on picking fab colours again xx