Dining room needs serious updates

I need ideas to brighten up our dining room...paint the furniture, etc etc.
Our dining room is not used that often and has over the years gone through some color changes, different chairs, etc. the chair in the corner used to be dark brown, and I used Annie Sloan paint on it, distressed it, and it looks brighter (there were 4 of them). I am tired of the china cabinet and table, I feel that they are drab. I thought about painting the cabinet, but I am not sure it would turn out ok. The Parsons Chairs are comfy, but I would like to update them. Any ideas that are relatively inexpensive and easy?
q dining room update, dining room ideas, home decor, home decor dilemma, painted furniture, painting wood furniture, reupholstoring, reupholster
  32 answers
  • Linda Linda on Jan 19, 2016
    Here is another photo.
  • AdreAnna Rounds AdreAnna Rounds on Jan 20, 2016
    The China Cabinet is beautiful! If it were me, I'd paint it and distress it. I love the glass work in it.
  • Victoria Victoria on Jan 20, 2016
    Hi I would put framed mirrors on the wall to open up the space. Keep the table it beautiful. Keep the chairs but change the color. And maybe a lighter rug. Your floors are beautiful. I hope this helps
  • Dalene Dalene on Jan 20, 2016
    I would see about some print(s) either on the chair cushions or wall art for a spark of color.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 20, 2016
    Im not so sure you should use chalk paint on the china cabinet. Your room appears to be more of a formal look.I would update in a different way by changing out the drapes,wall treatments,carpet and chair fabric.
  • Linda Linda on Jan 20, 2016
    I would love to 'I formalize' the room. Getting a new carpet is not in the budget right now ... It looked a lot lighter in the showroom! I have considered recovering the chairs ... Exposing the legs, which would have to be stripped of fabric and stained. I am open to any and all suggestions!
    • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 20, 2016
      @Linda Understanding the carpet is not in your budget then I would start with the chairs first. Once your decision on the fabric is chosen you can at that point decide on what else to change out in the room.
  • Linda Linda on Jan 20, 2016
    Thank you Janet, I will post a photo of the Parson's chairs later today, also a photo of some wooden chairs I painted and distressed. The room is just a mish mash :(
    • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 20, 2016
      @Linda I here that as I am still trying to get my house back together from xmas.Good Luck on your decision.
  • Nadine Nadine on Jan 20, 2016
    I am in agreement about painting the china cabinet. This is your opportunity to make a bold statement as well as brightened up the room.
  • Linda Linda on Jan 20, 2016
    I have attached a photo of the chairs - the one now painted Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue and distressed with the dark wax, was originally very very dark. I had thought about painting the china cabinet the duck egg blue, or maybe two - tone? The other is the Parson's chair in it's original state.
  • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Jan 20, 2016
    I think painting the walls would do the trick....the color now is so neutral it does not allow furniture to POP.
  • Dottie Mooney Dottie Mooney on Jan 20, 2016
    I would pick up a VERY light tone from your rug and paint the walls, both above and below chair rail. Look at Ben Moore Lily White which is a tiny bit blue. Then I would arrange the slipcovered chairs with one at each end and one on each side and purchase some bright lumbar shaped pillows and put one pillow in each chair. Then I would unpack most of china closet. Paint the inside back of china closet and replace only half of what is in there, arranging crystal, glass, perhaps books. Keep it uncluttered. Remove, have polished and lacquered all of the hardware on china cabinet and even install a light in the top of it. Remove table cloth and simplify what is on side table. Remove a plant. Replace bird prints with some coordinating bright abstracts on canvas. Replace white chandelier shades with leopard, and you are done!
  • Kari Durand Kari Durand on Jan 20, 2016
    paint the parsons chairs a vibrant color like teal. You can paint cloth using chalk paint (I mixed my own with latex paint and calcium carbonate), dilute it with water, paint and sand between coats. Finish it at the end with wax and it looks like distressed leather. I just did my couch and love it
  • Kari Durand Kari Durand on Jan 20, 2016
    here is what I did
  • Sandra Bennetch Sandra Bennetch on Jan 20, 2016
    I really relate to your post. I, too, have very dark traditional furniture and wanted an updated look. Instead of painting the furniture, first consider replacing all the traditional extras in the room with something bright and modern--replace prints on the wall with, as someone else suggested, mirrors, or try some making bright DIY graphic art. Canvas comes in all sizes and is very inexpensive. There are some fun tutorials for artwork like drip colors or splatter, etc. A sisal rug lightens a room and is less expensive. OR consider taking the rug out totally and then adding a modern tablescape to the center of the table with metallics and candles or a white geographic tablecloth. These are just my thoughts, and believe me, I shift my things around constantly. I've found that removing end/side tables also helps to lighten the feel of the room.
  • Josephine Howland Josephine Howland on Jan 20, 2016
    I have almost the same table, if yours is sold mahogany please don't paint it. If the parsons chairs are slipcovered, try to dye them a brighter color, or make new covers for them. The walls definitely need more color. Remember get rid of the beige.
  • I think this is a beautiful room. The only changes I would make is the chair covers & white tablecloth on the side table. Also the light fixture. Something elegant and cast iron. No lampshades on the light fixtures. Love those bird pics framed on the wall. Beautiful elegant pieces of furniture you have. :)
  • Debbi Morrow-Carlson Debbi Morrow-Carlson on Jan 20, 2016
    I have to agree with the other posts in that adding color would make a great difference. Before you get rid of, or paint that beautiful furniture. Try replacing the rug with one with more color and it should be a little larger. Pick out two complementary colors, one for the chairs and one for the walls. I think you will find yourself with a wonderful new room!
  • Linda Linda on Jan 20, 2016
    I appreciate all of the comments and suggestions, you have all given me something to think about - to paint or not to paint ! This room has been many colors and gone through many different looks, but never one I really like. Since we are thinking of moving in a year or two, I really don't want to invest a lot of money, just have the "itch" to liven it up a little bit. We are in the process of giving our kitchen a mini-update (that blog is on the website also). I will certainly think about all of this and hopefully make a good decision and be happier with the outcome.
  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Jan 20, 2016
    don't touch the table. But change the slip covers and the rug. change the shades on the light. I'll go shopping with you to pick out some accessories.
  • Janice Grizzle Janice Grizzle on Jan 20, 2016
    I agree, this is a beautiful room I would change the chair covers , table cloth on the table everything else is real nice. Thanks for sharing.
  • Linda Linda on Jan 20, 2016
    Thanks for the suggestions .. What color would you suggest for the chair covers?
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 21, 2016
    Please don't paint the furnishings. To give the room a whole new look, I would pick one of the brighter colours from that lovely rug and paint the walls. I'd also uncover the dining chairs as white is, IMHO, just too stark. I'd also remove the white tablecloth from the little side table. If you want to protect the top, you could get a piece of glass cut to fit.
  • Mickey Baron Mickey Baron on Jan 21, 2016
    CHANDELIER UPDATE.... take the prisms off & spray paint it black.
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Jan 21, 2016
    You have created a very traditional, soothing, monochromatic room. It is lovely, but I can see where it might feel a bit "boring" after awhile. I am a huge proponent of painted furniture, but in this case, I don't see that as the answer. The table and hutch are beautiful and I would hate to see you paint them, only to decide later that you preferred them stained. For an easier update, I would paint or stencil the top half of the walls above the chair rail in a color-perhaps the blue from the painted chair-is there a color in the rug that matches it? Then change the curtain panels to something in that same color family, but a shade or two darker. Finally, taking the shades off the chandelier and recovering the parsons chairs will go a long way in freshening up the space without spending a lot of cash.
  • Kari Durand Kari Durand on Jan 21, 2016
    paint the lower sections of wall white to bring in a brightness. Lose the slipcovers and brighten up the drapes. That will make the dark wood pop and you will not have to paint it. Also, lose the shades on the light
  • Your room is lovely, but we all like change! If you go to one of the major paint co. websites, you can upload the photo of your dining room and just play with all the colors. You can select nearly anything in your room--up to five surfaces) with one of the four selector tools and see what it would look like in nearly any hue. It's been a huge help for us! See this link on Hometalk for more info: http://www.hometalk.com/10866501/did-you-know-you-can-paint-your-room-online
  • Linda Linda on Jan 21, 2016
    Thank you all again for your help. I certainly will check out the websites that enable one to change a room's color. I am also thinking that I will exchange out the Parson's chairs for the other ones that are painted ASCP Duck Egg Blue and I also have some blue curtains - that's a start. Since we may be moving in a couple of years, buying new carpet, etc. is not in the budget, but some new pictures might be. My style has changed now, but I can live with what I have for a while longer I guess. But I am going to tweak a few things and see how that makes a difference. Thanks again !
  • Linda Linda on Jan 21, 2016
    Well it is not completed as yet, but I will take the ideas, suggestions that were sent to me and incorporate them into my room. Thanks.
  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jan 25, 2016
    Since you asked for help, here is my 2 cents: First, you are fortunate to have such a lovely space to work with. I would remove the rug, the small tables, and the clock. I think they just add visual clutter to a great space. Either remove the white covers, or make new ones in a fabric you LOVE. This will then give you the color scheme for walls, windows, etc. You can also make the front of the chairs one fabric and the backs a different fabric-which adds a lot of interest. Get a roll of paintable wallpaper & line the back of your china cabinet (and sides if they are not glass) and paint it a shade from your chair fabric. Paint your walls another shade from your chair fabric. Remove the chandelier shades and crystals to simplify it. It can also be painted or left metal. Change your traditional prints out for more interesting wall art such as a collection of plates (maybe some from your china cabinet?), baskets, mirrors, anything that you personally have collected or like looking at.You could stencil your upper wall. You have a long table, so use and odd number of items down the middle as a center piece: pottery, chunky candlesticks, or choose an oversized bowl or flat basket filled with decorative or moss covered balls. Look around your house and in your cabinets and china cabinet--what do you have that you love, but is tucked away. Pull it out and use it in a different way.
    • See 1 previous
    • Debi53 Debi53 on Jan 26, 2016
      @Linda We all have constraints that we have to work around: budget, moving, etc. In a perfect world these things would not be an issue, but in the real world we do the best we can with what we have available. Best of luck. You already have a great space and even small changes can have a big impact.
  • Lisa House Lisa House on Jan 26, 2016
    Change out the artwork, change slipcovers on the chairs, paint table and china cabinet, change wall color to a light teal or pale blue (same color above and below chair rail) but paint trim and chair rail white. Change rug to something bold and geometric.
    • Linda Linda on Jan 26, 2016
      @Lisa House Please see my response to Debi53 above - ha, you said to paint the table and china cabinet - I would love to, but just not sure I could make it look as nice as some I have seen on some Hometalk blogs ! Can't change out the rug right now. When we move I do not plan to take the table, chairs, china cabinet with us. Thanks for your suggestions though.
  • Linda Linda on May 09, 2016
    After many
  • Linda Linda on May 09, 2016
    After many weeks (months of procrastinating over color, etc. etc. and taking into account all of the helpful comments left here, we have painted the dining room a Benjamin Moore Polar Frost - the carpet has many colors in it to choose from the we felt that this brightened up his room as it does not get too much direct light. We did put new chair rail in, but kept it simple. Unfortunately I could not find a new home for the china cabinet, so it is back, but with much less on display. Now I will need to re-paint the wooden chairs that are currently painted Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue - I was thinking of a rust color that is in the carpet. Also the question of the Parsons chairs - new covers, or remove the leg fabric, paint them dark (the wood is cheap stuff) and put a shorter length cover on and maybe embellish with some fabric to match the re-painted chairs? Also I would paint the interior of the cabinet. I just have not gotten up the courage to paint the china cabinet as yet. I am thinking of putting mirrors on either side of the china cabinet - not all of the previous pictures are back on the walls as yet. I had also posted our kitchen and that update will come later once finished. Bear in mind that I am not buying new furniture, as we are planning to maybe move in a couple of years and I would not want to take this with me, so prefer to try to use what I have. Thank you very much.
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