My Dining Room Plans & How I’m Refreshing The Space
We've lived in our house for four years and I've already revamped the dining room twice. This is actual redecoration, btw. This doesn't include moving around, changing furniture, repurposing areas and swapping lighting over which takes place at least once a month. This isn't purely because I'm a hugely transient person who can't sit still for five minutes (although this is also true, unless I'm watching a Netflix box set with a glass of Vina Sol. Or I'm asleep). The main reason is because it's a difficult room to get right.
Why is this? The dining room is an extension to the main house. Our house is Georgian, and for reasons unknown (but that I'm not going to complain about), there was an extra wing added to the side back in the 1930's. It's not in keeping with the rest of the house at all - it's basically a solid flat roofed block, art deco in style. How they managed to get planning permission through for this addition I have no idea, I can only presume that the Chief Planning Officer was either a) under the influence, b) blind or c) on holiday. Or maybe they didn't even need planning permission then, who knows? However, I actually really like it. I like the juxtoposition of the different house shapes and the fact that it is so completely different to the main building. Despite the fact that when we moved in, my mum asked when we would be able to afford to add the extra roof on.
Anyway, the extension stretches from the front to the back of the house and is about 27ft long. It's triple aspect, with front and side windows and French doors at the rear and was used by the previous owners as a games room, with built in bar in the corner (backing on to a boiler room) and plug sockets half way up the wall for pinball machines and a jukebox. Nice. The cocktail bar made it a natural choice as a dining room and my first decorating move was to paint it Downpipe. I soon realised that dark interiors were not for me - no one used the room, it was too dark for daytime use and the kids would only sit at the kitchen table to do homework, avoiding the dining space. Although tbh, this was probably due more to the proximity of the Pringles than the colour of the walls.
My next move was to paint it white. As anyone who has ever painted over a dark wall know, it's a job sent from hell. When I see people who have painted their ceiling and all woodwork dark, I have a little cry for their future selves who may have second thoughts about decor choice. It took absolutely AGES. But it immediately turned the room from smouldering darkness to heart lifting brightness and made me much, much happier. I copped out of painting two of the walls by putting up Bamboo wallpaper from Farrow & Ball. Job done.
However, the bar area hasn't been giving me the feels recently, not one bit. As our gin obsession ramps up, the bottles just get prettier and prettier and I'm feeling the need to make it a less busy area, making the bottles more of the star of the show. Let's just say an alcohol based focal point can't be a bad thing. So the whole room will be having a revamp. Yes, another one. A third, in fact. What am I intending to do?
Strip The Walls
Let's start with the walls. It won't come as a shock to you to discover that I will be whitewashing the entire room. I'll be using Valspar Blanc De Blanc, which is what I've used in the adjoining sitting room and hallway. It's a soft white that works really well in my house. I'm going to strip the walls (including the gallery wall) and remove the picture ledges from above the sideboard.
I'm taking down the art deco mirror collection and having a total rethink of the wall space. I am ridiculously excited about this prospect, I must admit.
Transform The Bar
I've been Pinteresting (is this a word?) for England and I've decided that I'm going to tile the bar area. I'm thinking white walls and olive green bar front - much as I love the look of a patterned tile, I have a very bad feeling that I will get bored of it very quickly so I'm sticking to my mantra which is neutral base. I'm going to attempt to do this myself - I've never tiled before, but I think it's worth a bash.
I'll reuse the picture ledges and add an extra layer too so that I can display all those lovely gin bottles. I'm going to reinstate the optics too - no bar is complete without optics. I'll go for gold bar accessories to add texture.
Swap Around The Rugs
My love of Persian rugs is never ending and I'm swapping the one in from the sitting room (my £20 charity shop bargain) to put underneath the table and moving the grey cow hide across to the bar area. Both of these rugs are old favourites - the cow hide is an eBay buy from over ten years ago. I'm a massive fan of reusing and repurposing what you already have. The floor in here is dark wood so I won't be making any changes there.
Repurpose What I Already Have
I'm going to move in my IKEA hacked shelving unit. Originally black with glass shelves, I spray painted the frame in gold which instantly updated it. This will go in the corner of the room and will hold the record player and speakers.
The G Plan E Gomme sideboard that I recently picked up at the charity shop for £60 will remain, as will the olive green Chesterfield currently in the bar area.
Wave Goodbye To The Rads
Like the rest of my house, the original radiators in this room are shocking. I would go as far as to say totally un Instaworthy. There are two of them, one to either side of the entrance door. I'm going to replace them with traditional column radiators from Soak.com, possibly in dark grey as a contrast. This one move alone will transform the room, I think.
Add A Piece De Resistance
So this one piece of furniture has been the inspiration for the room - I'm working with West Elm and the centrepiece will be a concrete topped beauty that will really make an impact. There will be six mid century styled leather chairs to go around it, making Joe VERY happy (he likes a comfy dining chair).
I've already free cycled the IKEA table and it's gone to a good home; the chairs I've swapped in with the kitchen ones and put the remaining four into the garage for when we have extra guests.
Light It Up
No room of mine is complete without a bit of neon, so I'm going to work with Light Up North to do something cool above the French doors. I've already got a spider chandelier which I love above the table so that will be staying - it's quite an industrial style so will go well with the concrete texture and the gold shelving.
I'm as yet undecided about the bar pendant light - currently, there's the Vitra feather lamp but I think I might go for something a little more structured. Will be investigating options. I'll add four table lamps into the space, one in each corner of the room.
Deck The Walls
I'll be keeping my favourite Slim Aarons piece and positioning it above the sideboard for impact and I'll be on the look out for a mirror to hang above the radiator on the opposite wall. No room is complete without a gallery wall, so I'll be redoing the space above the olive sofa with a refreshed curation of my favourites.
My Dad's Les Paul guitar will remain in position, adding an extra pop of colour.
Bring The Outside In
The room leads directly on to our covered pergola area, so I'm going to tie the two spaces together with lots of greenery. Basically, as big as possible so that I'm less likely to kill them off. Despite the fact that people say that spider plants and ivy's are the perfect houseplant, they don't hang on for more than five minutes in my house and I find that the bigger the plant, the more chance it has for survival. Fingers crossed.
So that's the plan and I'm looking forward to making a start on it. It's not going to be quick. There's a fair amount of wallpaper stripping and decorating involved but I'm hoping to start this (third) revamp within the next two weeks. And let's not forget that I'm going to have to watch A LOT of YouTube videos to work out what I'm doing from a tiling point of view. I'll document it on my Stories so prepare yourself for some very non professional DIY and a lot of very professional swearing. Wish me luck!