The 'Blank Slate' Dining Room

Last week we fixed walls, prepped, primed, and painted the dining room and shared it all in a bunch of Instagram stories.  I didn't share an after photo though because I like to reserve the good stuff for the blog, ya know?  ;)  Sorry Insta, you'll always be second best.

But the truth is, the after was (and still very much is) very underwhelming.  I was so excited for this huge transformation that was taking shape with the power of paint right in front of my very eyes and then...well it was better than it was because paint always trumps bare drywall but even though it doesn't seem possible, it seemed to get more boring.

I told you...womp, womp.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that the walls are bare and the hutch is camouflaging it.  Well, that's going to have to change and I'll give you a few ideas how but first, let's do that thing we always do and take a little trot down memory lane.
When we closed on the house, this room was your quintessential, 80's dining room - (extra dingy) popcorn ceilings, traditional chair rail, (discolored) creamy beige trim, floral wallpaper - you get the picture.  Oh wait, I have one!

The wallpaper came off, for the most part, like a dream.  It peeled off in huge pieces and was completely gone in about a half hour.  So, when we moved in and for several months after, it looked like this:

Then last week came and went and...

Like I said, better but boring.  But, with a half full cup, a blank slate.

Let's do another few rounds of before and afters, shall we?  They're always so much fun.


It's hard to tell in pictures but also before, all of the windows along this side of the house were super clouded-over.  So clouded that, if you stood right outside the window, I wouldn't be able to tell who you were if I knew ya.  All of that was thanks to broken window seals in each of the double-paned windows that allowed dirt and this southern humidity to penetrate in between the panes of glass and get stuck there...for years.  Over Thanksgiving though, Anthony and his dad replaced all of these windows so now everything is crystal clear.  The minute they were finished was like the minute I could see without glasses after PRK surgery...almost that life-changing.

Anyway, here's a similar angle after:

(See the reading room's mini-makeover here.)  The curtains really help this corner of the room not feel as blah-zay.  (PS, I always get asked about these curtains - I made them with this fabric* except the price of it has soared since.  Keep your eyes peeled for discounted remnants in your local fabric stores and/or price drops on Amazon!)



(Oh yeah, trim and ceiling color is Pure White by Sherwin-Williams and wall color is China White by Ben Moore, both color-matched and mixed into Valspar paint.)

Also, you might have noticed something different in that last photo, that is, besides the painted walls and curtains...

These are gone:

If you're still not picking up what I'm throwing down...or should I say "taking down"...go back up and take a second look at the chandelier.  My friend Marina gave me the idea to take the bottom off of it (aka, unscrew it) to push it in a more modern direction (still far from it but closer) and I was thrilled at how much more I can stand it.  I have this chandelier* on an Amazon shopping list but I'm haven't bitten the bullet quite yet because I want to get a little more progress in here before I make final touch decisions.

And speaking of progress, it's come a long way and most of it is in the way of elbow grease.  We've scraped, sanded, and then painted ceilings, gotten that wallpaper down and walls prepped and painted and now what?  Well, the color is great but I'm even more convinced than before that there's going to be some stenciling or wallpapering (removable because I can't do what I just undid) or maybe some fun trim work or something happening in here in the future.  We need something a smidge more bold in here so it'll be fun to work out what exactly that's going to be.  Along with that, I think we're ready to say goodbye to this hutch we've had since our newlywed days.  It's been well-loved (and a labor of love) but it's never really been our style and we've been thinking a floating side board might be on our wish list.  Above that?  Maybe some over-sized art or a frame collage.  And on the floors will go wood-look tile hopefully within the year because carpet in a dining room where people eat?  No.  Carpet in a dining room where kids eat?  Heck no.  Also soonish, I think I'll paint the chandelier.  Either that or sand it down to a more champagne gold (if that's what happens when I sand it).  

You know I'll share.  Right now though, we're taking it as it is and moving onto the next project - finishing a dresser rehab.  

I can't wait to show you.  It's going to be so good.  :)  

Have a great weekend!

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  1. Yeahhhh!! ���� It looks so great!

    1. Thanks Marina! I'm still really liking the "new" chandelier! ;)

  2. Looking good! Didn't know that part of the chandi could be removed. Always hated that part. Good move!