Ready to Update Your Dining Room?

I would bet good money that most of you don’t use your dining room very often. It’s one of those rooms that takes up precious space in our homes, but doesn’t get the family time it deserves. When my {Miller’s Bridge} clients called me to update their dining room, they were definitely an exception to this rule. Every Sunday night they gather around the dining table with friends for Bible study and were ready to spruce things up.

The extra large dining table had to stay, as well as the rug and once we talked budget, we decided to keep the chairs but with new fabric seats. My client also had an antique chest that I wanted to use, but in a different spot. Oh, and the chandelier was staying. Here is what the room looked like during my initial consultation:

Jennifer Taylor Design - BEFORE
Jennifer Taylor Design - BEFORE
Jennifer Taylor Design - BEFORE

I see a lot of dining rooms with these common problems, including the one on {Miller’s Bridge}:

  • Painting a dark color above a chair rail. I’m not a fan of using two colors with a chair rail. Ideally, I would have added panels underneath, but to keep things simple we just painted the top area to match the bottom. We did find a neutral grasscloth wallpaper we loved, but since this room had rounded, sheetrock corners at the openings we couldn’t use it. BOO!

  • Furniture that is out of scale. This dining room is large, so the rug and table worked, but the sideboard was way too small. We needed something that fit better in the room. Also, all the small art felt lost. You know the old saying “less is more”? For wall decor, that is very true. Find larger pieces that make a statement and only use a few.

  • Not using a rug that is large enough. This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves! You only have to Google “dining room rug size” to get an easy answer, but so many people miss the mark on this. You need at least 24” of rug to be able to pull out the chairs on ALL sides of your table, including the ends. You never want your guests to pull out their chair out and the back legs are off the rug! If you can’t find a ready-made rug in the size you need, then consider a custom rug. You can take any carpet and make a rug to the exact size you need and it’s not that expensive.

  • Chandeliers that are hung too high above the table. Again, Google can be your friend when deciding where to hang your chandelier. I use 32” to start, but adjust up or down a little based on the room and light fixture. This is 32” from the bottom of the chandelier to the top of your table.

Ok, that’s enough complaining. Let’s see the finished room…

Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida - Traditional Dining Room
Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida - Traditional Dining Room
Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida - Traditional Dining Room
Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida - Traditional Dining Room, Plates Hung on the Wall

I’ll quickly break down what we did to give this dining room a simple (but dramatic) update:

  • By replacing the small sideboard with a large china cabinet, it really anchored the room. I decided that instead of doing another stained piece of furniture, we would do a painted one to give a lighter look. Not only did we get something beautiful, but so much more storage.

  • I also selected a group of prints to hang on the second largest wall. A grouping is a great way to fill a wall without having it to be one large piece of art. A designer tip is to only leave 2” to 3” between the frames.

  • I then took the client’s existing chest and moved it to the other side of the room. I added a beautiful mirror and antique plates. I love installing plates in a dining room. These I found in an antique shop and was so happy to find a matching set.

  • Finally, we made some great changes to the chairs. All the existing ones got new fabric on the seats and we added two upholstered chairs at each end. These are often called “host chairs” and are an easy way to break up all the wood in a dining room. Also, check out the photo below to see how many layers of fabric we found on the chair seats before we changed them. These guys had many lives!

Jennifer Taylor Design - BEFORE

In addition to the dining room, we also updated their formal living room. I’ll share that very soon. This is the third project I’ve done for these clients. The biggest compliment a designer can get is when a past client calls you to do more work. Seven years ago it was the playroom, five years ago it was their family room and now this year it was the dining and living rooms.

If you have any questions about updating your dining room, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for Reading,