I am at a complete loss as to what to do with this dining room! HELP!

This room gets no sunlight and I'm on a budget, so I am just painting but can't decide on colors and how to paint the wood floor and cheap wainscoting. I also have this ugly black lacquer cabinet that needs a redo. Any suggestions???
q i am at a complete loss as to what to do with this dining room help , dining room ideas, paint colors, painted furniture, painting, painting wood furniture, This is part of the room
This is part of the room
q i am at a complete loss as to what to do with this dining room help , dining room ideas, paint colors, painted furniture, painting, painting wood furniture, Ugly black lacquer cabinet
Ugly black lacquer cabinet
q i am at a complete loss as to what to do with this dining room help , dining room ideas, paint colors, painted furniture, painting, painting wood furniture, Hard wood floors in really bad shape
Hard wood floors in really bad shape
q i am at a complete loss as to what to do with this dining room help , dining room ideas, paint colors, painted furniture, painting, painting wood furniture, Entry to kitchen
Entry to kitchen
q i am at a complete loss as to what to do with this dining room help , dining room ideas, paint colors, painted furniture, painting, painting wood furniture, Another view of this small room
Another view of this small room
  30 answers
  • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Jul 25, 2016
    I like blue/aqua/ and/or mint green to brighten up a room, Can the doors to the kitchen be painted? And the laquer cabinet?Can you find or make a floor cloth or tapestry to use on the floor, maybe from a dropcloth?I've seen some nice ones here that were just tiedyed or stenciled dropcloths.

  • B J  Alexis B J Alexis on Jul 25, 2016
    I would start with a pale blue/aqua on the walls as suggested by "Polly". The folding doors I would paint an off white and then see if the wainscoting and floor still NEED to be painted. For the "cheap cabinet" most cabinets like that can be sanded, primer and then painted, maybe the same off white as the doors--keep the work to a minimum and see how it looks when each project is finished before work on the floors is started.

  • CK CK on Jul 25, 2016
    Of course with no windows it'll be dark....so your use of artificial light is crucial. However....do you use that room as your main eating area or do you use it only for special occasions? Sometimes that question is pertinent to how you'll decorate and what colors to use. OK...about painting the floor. I can assure you it'll look fabulous! We painted our master bedroom floor and love it! We used white. But that color may not work for the look you're going for. You can also clean, prime and paint that cabinet if you need it for furniture in that room or elsewhere. As to color scheme..... I always ask my customers "How do you want the room to feel?" Some say they want it to be light and airy, some say warm and cozy, more like a cave-feeling. Paint choice can help a lot with whatever you decide. If you post more "I like/I dislike" options for us on HT, we'll be able to point you in the right direction for more help :-)

    • Christina Christina on Jul 25, 2016
      The room does have 2 small windows but one is under our covered back porch and the other is blocked by my neighbors trees. The doors I'm hoping to convince a certain someone to remove them, no luck so far! I'm looking for a rustic homey feel, I will be building a small farmhouse table.

  • Liz Liz on Jul 25, 2016
    Just a thought, but would you want to remove the doors? That would allow sunlight from the other room to come in. The other people have given excellent suggestions! Paint can do amazing things to a room and can completely change the "mood" to make a room a bright, happy place. Inexpensive prints of bright, outdoor scenes can be bought on ebay and framed with garage sale frames. It's a way of bringing the outside into a room. Good luck, and let us see what you do. Think of this as an "adventure"!

  • Pam Walker Pam Walker on Jul 25, 2016
    Depends on how feminine you are & your tastes. What I'd do for the cabinet is to buy some cheap doilies, tape them on 1 at a time & dab some white paint over it. When you lift the doilie, it will leave a pretty pattern on the cabinet. Since it's black, it'd go with either white or off-white for the accent. That will brighten it up & not too time-consuming. It will only take a small can of paint or use spray paint sprayed directly onto the brush & then dab the doilies. As for the walls, maybe painting them a solid color with some stenciling in a nice vibrant color. LIGHTING: You could use a big lamp or two on each side of the room to use when needed. Tack the cords down running along the baseboards & painted the same color as the wall, will be less noticeable. Hope this helps. :)

  • Christina Christina on Jul 25, 2016
    Thank you everyone for your ideas and input!! I'll let ya know how it turns out!!

  • CK CK on Jul 25, 2016
    If you're husband won't remove the doors into the kitchen, painting them a light color will certainly help alleviate the dark mood :-)

  • Karen Williams Karen Williams on Jul 25, 2016
    First, I would remove the doors, paint or stain the floor (perhaps match wood from kitchen cabinets?), paint all trim & wainscoting a light color or off-white (rustic doesn't have to be dark or rough). Do you have a theme that can be brought in from the kitchen? A mirror would help bounce light around the room. Paint/ stencil wall above the wainscoting, The black lacquer cabinet can wait - unless it's in really bad shape - place below the mirror. Leave the windows bare - you need ANY light they can give.

    • Christina Christina on Jul 26, 2016
      I wish I had a theme from the kitchen, that is getting a redo as well! I have those standard oak contractors cabinets I plan on painting!

  • Linda Sca Linda Sca on Jul 25, 2016
    The lighter the colors, the brighter and bigger the room will appear. I like the lighter blue, and green shades. I, too, enjoy the brightness of a room. In my downstairs family room I purchased LED light bulbs in daylight brightness, they can do wonders for lighting. Do be aware that a lot of LED bulbs are soft white, and they will not make a lot of difference, so do make sure to read for daylight brightness, and ask if you are in question. You will spend more upfront for the bulbs, but it will light up your room for pennies a day. I like the Cree brand, but that is a choice you can make if you decide to go this route. Good Luck in what ever you do !!!!!!!!!! and Enjoy !!!!!!!!

  • Loretta Loretta on Jul 25, 2016
    Like the blues, greens suggested with white wainscoting. Go on Pinterest for ideas for the room & the piece of furniture. I have louvered folding doors which I hated until I painted them white. Made a huge difference.

  • Nancy Nancy on Jul 26, 2016
    Try painting the louvre red doors white. Invest in a paint sprayer.

  • Nancy Nancy on Jul 26, 2016
    A blue can brighten the room if the wainscoting is painted white.

  • Nancy Nancy on Jul 26, 2016
    A softer blue/green can be mixed with black or darker woods.

  • Biteofreality Biteofreality on Jul 26, 2016
    A soft yellow on the walls could give the feel of sunshine and light ,painting out the wood wainscoting and doors white , and the cabinet a light airy blue would continue to lighten, and brighten the whole room . The light bulbs you chose can also brighten the whole room.

  • Christina Christina on Jul 26, 2016
    Everyone's ideas and input has been greatly appreciated!!! I love color!! My living room is painted with 2 different shades of orange, my bathroom is red and done in pallet wood to make it look like an outhouse. So far I have painted the ceiling white and will be installing a ceiling fan. I was going to stain and white wash wainscoting and decided on blueish Grey color for the walls but that was yesterday and I find myself standing in this room scratching my head again! LOL!!

  • Jacalyn Jacalyn on Jul 26, 2016
    I love Biteofreality's ideas, above. Yellow is always cheery and makes me think of sun, even when there is none. I painted my tiny, windowless laundry room yellow (Behr Butter Cookie) and looks brighter and sunny. Good luck and remember to post after pictures for us!

  • D roach D roach on Jul 26, 2016
    I saw a lovely post on here about a dark hallway. They had put a false window at the end with light behind it. Would probably work in your room too.

  • Annie Doherty Annie Doherty on Jul 26, 2016
    My favourite colours at the moment are greige or a soft warm grey you could use this also on your Wainscoting. For your black cabinet, use a primer like Zinsser bullseye will prime anything, no need to sand just clean your cabinet when dry prime, then maybe a slightly deeper shade than the one chosen for your walls, in eggshell this is very hard wearing and will give a slight sheen. I can't actually see what it looks like from your photo, if it has knobs maybe change these or if suitable prime and paint to match. If your cabinet has drawers or cupboard, you could consider using wallpaper to line these out. Good luck with your project I would love to see your finished room.

  • Suzanne Suzanne on Jul 26, 2016
    Since you like color -- terra cotta on the walls, white on the Wainscoting, keep cabinet black and paint the louvered doors black as well.

  • Jack Rogerson Jack Rogerson on Jul 26, 2016
    Christina, Maybe you could paint the walls a pale green colour, which is the most relaxing colour. You could even paint the floorboards too, with a complementary green colour. The cabinet would be best white, I think, or even a very pale green. If you buy one pot of green paint and one pot of white paint, you could mix and match as you wish. More light could be got by making an imitation window, on the wall, complete with curtains etc. It's called a Trompe D'Oeil....Google it... Put a flourescent tube across the top, behind the pelmet/frilly bit to get the extra light. Best of luck. Jack West London....UK

  • Christine Christine on Jul 26, 2016
    Some questions: Will the doors be open to the kitchen? Do you want the kitchen to match or complement the dining room? Is this a room that will be used often? Do you think you would refinish the floors in the future? Once painted, stain will not be a good option so think carefully before painting them. If you are still deciding on how to decorate, I recommend going neutral. Pick a moderately light color for walls that can be painted over more easily if you change your mind. Something with a soft butter cream yellow would bring light and warmth. Is the farmhouse look going to be distressed? Will the room be open to other rooms? If so, what are their color schemes? Do you want them to match, contrast, etc.? I agree with other suggestions that you should consider what you use this room for (everyday use, occasional?), what feeling do you want to convey, how you want it to "go" with rooms that open to it. A neutral wall color leaves you the option of changing up the chair covers, table cloth, pictures, etc., without a lot of cost. I use semi-gloss on all my walls and woodwork because it is so easy to clean. If you are not sure about the floor and stain in the future, I would go with a light tone stain for now. You can cover with a rug and it would be easier to darken light stain than lighten dark stain. For the dark cabinet, consider waiting until you have painted the walls and chosen a floor color choice. You may find having that one dark piece won't be so "dark." You can also consider distressing that piece by painting over the black with a light color. I also recommend checking out Pinterest for ideas as well as this site. Good luck!

    • Christina Christina on Jul 26, 2016
      The doors can be open or closed, the kitchen will be eventually redone in the near future, the floors need to be replaced so paint is my option for them, neutral colors are usually not my thing but I have an open mind, the farmhouse look is going to be distressed , the room is open to the kitchen, my other rooms are orange, red, yellow, green, I have a very eclectic style and I don't like fussy perfectly matching decor. If I see something I like I have no problem with it not matching my decor. People come over and are very comfy and at home feeling, I like that. Thank you so very much for your help, so far the ceiling is painted white, 3 coats and I pulled off base boards and have sanded the wainscoting.

  • Karen Williams Karen Williams on Jul 27, 2016
    If you're painting the wainscoting, you don't need to sand other than removing any damage or glossy finish. Think light or bright colors & limit dark pcs to a minimum. It's good that you're open to new ideas - it can help to try something not normal for you. I also love jewel tones & grays, but a professional painter told me I wouldn't regret his choice for my newly renovated dining room - a neutral, sandy beige w/ white trim. I HATED beige, as the refuge of color-shy folk! But he said he'd do it over, if I really didn't like it & it's still there - 7 years later! Someone once said "give your eyes a place to rest" & it's something to think about.

  • Christina Christina on Jul 31, 2016
    Good morning to my helpful home talk crew! It's been a crazy week with this room, sanding, then painting and sanding it off because I didn't like it!! I did manage to finish the ceiling and windows, put a coat of white paint on wainscoting, whether or not it stays is yet to be seen. I stained and painted the baseboards and have narrowed my wall color down to two!!

  • Charlene Charlene on Aug 01, 2016
    1- Chose a wall on the outside of the house and add faux windows with led lights behind them to give the effect of sunshine, add drapes to finish the effect. 2- LIGHT COLORS make a room appear larger, I prefer the green and grey tones together and some red for a pop of color. 3- White wash all but one dark piece of furniture, you can distress the piece to show some of the dark color but choosing one piece as a focal point will enhance the room. 4- Fresh flowers in a room adds a change of color weekly. Good luck.

  • Christina Christina on Aug 03, 2016
    With the help and awesome suggestions from the home talk community I have things rolling! Walls are painted a blue Grey, floor is sanded and stained and getting ready to white wash, the wainscoting is still a thorn in my side. I have painted, repainted 3 times and still have yet to decide. It's getting there and I will keep you posted. Thanks to all!!!

  • Jcraw Jcraw on Oct 26, 2016
    I agree with distressing the black cabinet.

  • Annie Doherty Annie Doherty on Oct 27, 2016
    Christina how about considering a slightly darker blue grey than the wall colour or a warm slate grey. It sounds as if you have done a great job to date, I would love to see the finished result.

  • Bonnie West Bonnie West on Oct 30, 2016
    would love to see the finished result!!!

  • Hb Hb on Feb 24, 2018
    guess the finished product wasnever shared. shame after all the efforts people put into trying to help this person