Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Big ideas, little room

Don't be scared, but the pictures of my dining room are pretty terrifying.  You've been warned:

Fur Culprit named Joey - and why is there a plunger in my dining room?

How many chairs can one small room hold?

See?  I told you. Hope you covered the children's eyes.  This is what we're working with.  It's a tiny room, about 8 feet square with a decent window and an entrance both to our main door and to the galley joke-of-a-kitchen.  It also has a tall narrow closet that currently is the only place to house cleaning supplies.   There's a weird floral light fixture that's pretty tragic, but belongs to the landlord, and some haphazard shelves about the place.  It's got nice light colored floors and white-ish walls.  And what do we have in it currently?  Let's see, one dining room set, dark wood, which we despise.  One kitchen set of light colored wood and a bunch of chairs.  Lots and lots of junk.  Also, two cats who have completely covered all the chairs in hair/furballs/cat puke.  I warned you.

I've never really used a dining room for the purpose of dining.  It's pretty much been a room with a big table in it where I throw textbooks, keys, scarves, shoes, magazines, mail, and anything else that isn't food and/or plates.  "Dining" for a busy military couple with two cats, a dog, and a 10-month old usually consists of balancing plates of hot food on our laps or on TV trays as we try to cram in an episode of Modern Family from the DVR and keep the silverware away from Baby Move-a-lot with moderate success.

But, I have a dream.  I have a dream that one day this mess will become a room where a family can get together, talk about their day, and have all the other Campbell's Soup commercial moments that we so desperately deserve.  A room where a table is protected from hot plates, where messes get cleaned up right away, and where friends can join us for a glass of wine.  Hell, a room to hang up said wine, as well as other interesting things we find along our way.

Here's my thought: take advantage of the light colored wood kitchen set.  Although it's not the right size, it's better than that big honking dark wood set which needs to be completely tossed out.  Paint the top of the table a nice glossy white and leave the legs the light wood color.  Get white/yellow/natural wood frames and create a gallery wall on the main wall.  I like yellow as an accent color.  Look for some curtains or fabric with a great bold yellow in them.  Get new cushions for the chairs.  Move all the junk OUT.

Here's some inspiration photos:

Can it be done?  Only time will well, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, give out your thoughts on making this dining room something to enjoy!


  1. I think it would be beautiful in a range of whites, work with the white walls, layer the whites from bright white, to off white, to a color so soft it looks white etc, then go with pewters, silvers, and stainless accents, if the landlord likes his light, put it in storage, light fixtures can be switched out pretty easily, you can buy one you like put it up, and bonus, when you leave you can put the old one back up and take the new cute one with you! throw in some floor to ceiling curtains, widen up that window with an extra panel or two on each end and a longer rod, and you will be in business! Check this out:

  2. Vinnie, that room is GORGEOUS! And I love the layering of the whites. Fantastic idea! Good call on the silver accents too - my IKEA silver-colored wine racks (that everyone comments as "Hey, we bought these from IKEA, too!") will complement nicely.

  3. Also... cheap/inexpensive picture frames... a can of white spray paint, and some old calendars (for the pictures) or picture books from good will, can create a dynamic and inexpensive gallery wall that looks like you spent a lot of time and money when you didn't... and as you collect more great family pictures, you can switch them out :)