Monday, December 18, 2017

A Small Change in the Dining Room

In this house, small changes can take longer than a massive overhaul. Around Thanksgiving, I decided to work on the dining room. I removed heavy, green-gold draperies that had come with the house and replaced them with airy, store-bought blue-and-white curtains. The plan was to recover the chair cushions in 2018.
A quick recap.
In 2015, the dining room felt a little dated, but I couldn't find a comfortable solution. Replacing the table would present a quandary--our old table was impervious to messy men. If a trembly hand spilled a glass of eggnog or wine, no problem. 

By Christmas 2016, I'd experimented with mismatched chairs. I thought about painting the table and chairs (creamy white was an option, and so was chalky black). I didn't want to replace the draperies because it felt indulgent.

 Fast-forward to November 2017.
The dining room project had stalled for almost a year. Before I took the plunge and bought a new table or painted the old stuff, I took a wild risk (for me) and ordered drapery panels online. I loved the new look. 
The new plan included recovering the chair seats and looking for hostess chairs. For quick inspiration, I borrowed an upholstered chair from the breakfast room.

A few weeks later, I found discounted off-white fabric at Joann's. The next morning, I covered the chair seats. The project cost under $10. And I'm rethinking the hostess chairs. I'm not sure they're necessary.

After Christmas, the tree will come down, leaving an empty wall. So that's the project for 2018--figuring out what to do with the long wall. I have a few ideas:
1. Move the old sofa table and mirror. Add a shallow hutch. I'll have to think about this because the dining room has built-ins on two walls.
2. Leave the sofa table and mirror. Add art in the corner. 
3. Move the sofa table/mirror and hang a wide painting (which stood against the dining room wall until recently). In the tiny corner/wall area, add a small table. Above it: art, a mirror, or a sconce.

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  1. The blue and white takes my breath away with the addition of your jars and your gorgeous tree! What an amazing transformation in replacing your seat cushion fabric with the white, so fresh and bright. I love the mirror reflecting your blue and white dishes in your built ins.

  2. I love the table and chairs and the drapes too. Everything looks gorgeous.

  3. What a nice fresh update. It really changes the look from a more heavy formal look to a bright, fresh look. I like it a lot. You are right- sometimes those little changes are more work than big ones. Looks like you will have some fun playing come the first of the year after the tree comes down. xo Diana

  4. The blue and white is so light and airy. Love what you did with the seat cushion! Oh, and that gold mirror!

  5. Michael Lee, I'm totally enchanted! The blue and white is absolutely stunning, the drapes, the jars across the table, and then your blue and white dish collection reflected in that gorgeous mirror. The tree in the corner is magical. I once tried a tree in our dining room, but it was a fail. Just not enough room to make a statement, so I opted for one just outside the French doors in the sunroom. That worked, but the past two years I've moved the tree back into the living room so we can sit by it at night. Love the new fabric on the chairs. Honestly everything looks fabulous!

  6. What a breath of fresh air with the lovely blue drapes, and blue and white vases on the table. The table and chairs look really good. I like the sofa table and mirror. What about a tree in the corner? No what you decide I am sure it will look terrific.

    Merry Christmas.

  7. Looks great. Here's a thought: Simplify the mirror = current one is competing with the fabulous chandy. Paint the sofa table against the wall, how about blue for some fun? Matching the curtains? And when the tree comes down splurge on a fantastic tall-as-you-can-find/afford REAL indoor tree plant? A Nice huge ficus or something? Looks as if you get some nice light there and real plants are visually pleasing and good for one's health.

    Whatever you do I'd say you're nearly there. It's updated and fun and current and wonderful.

  8. I love the addition of the fresh green in the stems on the dining table. Perhaps a design idea for something more permanent? I'm such a sucker for blue and white, so I'm thrilled with your choices. Thanks for inviting us for a peek. Cherry Kay

  9. Your dining is simply stunning! I love the curtains.

  10. Wow Michael Lee, the blue and white drapes look perfect in your room, and they add such a brightness. Covering the chair seats was such an inexpensive way to transform them. Love your gorgeous mirror and your chandelier!

  11. Wow, that looks so good! Classic, blue & white, of which I have none. Enjoy your blue Christmas in the dining room - it's very inviting!

  12. It always takes time for rooms to come together in a new house, doesn't it, Michael? Looks great, you'll figure out that corner once the tree is gone! Maybe a nice fiddle leaf fig tree?

  13. Hi Michael, I really like the changes that you made to your dining room. The blue and white curtains really give the room an airy uplifted feel and to change out the covers of the chairs was the right move. It looks more modern and calm, just the right antidote to the antique furniture, and the off-white color fits perfectly with the blue and white theme.
    I feel relieved that you also take your time to make changes to your interior design. As much as I am admiring people who can put a room together in a blink of an eye, it is just not for me. I need to live with things, try them, make gradual changes until everything comes together. Finding the "right peace of furniture" for a space can take me forever. Right now I am looking for a new dining room table and chairs... Wish me luck!
    Happy Holidays!

  14. What a difference with the new drapes and chair seats ($10!). I love to read how you go about making all of these beautiful perfect decisions. Also, I'm enthralled with the idea of having a dining room big enough to have a gorgeous sparkling blue Christmas tree in the corner. Sigh...

  15. Micheal Lee,
    The new drapes add a lighter feeling to the room, but still go with the table and chairs. The Christmas tree and blue and white vases bring the whole room together. Looking forward to seeing what changes you make.

    Merry Christmas,


  16. So bright & joy-filled. When the X-Mas tree comes down why not replace it with a life green tree or even an artificial tree (some today are sooo life-like & guaranteed not to damage your wood floors). It would fill the same & add a touch of nature to your space?

  17. I love so much about what you've done here and the journey of decisions and trial and error til you have this much accomplished. I LOVE your dining table and chairs. One suggestion--if you're leaning more towards a French country feel, might that mirror's frame just be a bit more than the room needs? simpler framing in a different color perhaps? Just a thought. Mirrors relect wonderful light--so useful. jw

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  19. So so pretty...subtle changes that make all the difference! Can you please share where I may get a linen slipcover like the one at the head of the table? Thanks so much!!