Designing the dining room


My husband thinks I am a total wackadoo. Just when he thinks everything is safe, that we have finished The Last Big Project, I go and spring something else on him. He is amazingly patient with how much I love to rearrange and redo things.

A few weeks ago we were chatting about what we want to do in the dining room. For awhile now, we’ve been visualizing how we’d switch out the brown-background-floral wallpaper (GAG) in there for something more us (remember the wallpaper post? yeah, still workin’ on that project!). We both really liked a ton of the Jonathan Adler for JCPenney pieces, particularly the lacquered dining table (and gahhh that lacquered console!!). But, being the well-trained-wife-of-Simon that I am,  I’ve been sale stalking it like crazy because there was no way I was spending $2K on it, nor would I be able to convince the husband that it was okay to spend $2K on it. And then it finally dropped to $950, but that still made me twitchy.  Finally, last week I was taking a leisurely stroll through our JCP. I kid you not – the skies opened up and shone light down from heaven upon us, and there, my friends, was the sample sale I had been waiting for. BAM. 75% off.


Click through to see my plan of attack!


The table is totally the first step in re-envisioning the dining room. The wallpaper absolutely must go and I want the scheme overall to link our aqua living room with the navy accents we use through the rest of the house. The rug is from our first house via West Elm and we’ve had it in storage forever. Ideally I’d use it because it’s the exact same color as the walls of the adjacent living room, but I’m still not 100% sold on it. Maybe because it looks so crazy w/ the wallpaper? (Thoughts, anyone?)

Here’s what I have in mind —



Navy grasscloth wallpaper against the white wainscoting (DIVINE), preppy drapes (the same ones we have in the living room/kitchen), the aqua rug (couldn’t find the exact same image, but this is a similar version), brass hardware to match my vintage buffet, and lots of aqua accents to pull in the aqua of the living room.

As always, I’ve got a moodboard pulled together with my inspiration. My gripe with traditional formal dining rooms is this: frankly, we don’t live a super formal lifestyle that lends itself to china and Downton Abbey-style dinners every night. I want this room to be useable and not just “the fancy room” that we eat in for special occasions. So while I do want it to have a certain amount of preppy, dressed-up personality, I also want it to be a casual space that we can all enjoy.



I love how my grandmother’s buffet looks in here – it is so absolutely beautiful.The lamps don’t work right now despite having a great shape simply because the shades are waaaay too big for the bases. I could probably spray paint them to get the same look as the ones above from Robert Abbey. But then again, switching out for a more casual lamp might be the best way to give a nod to the more contemporary table.


I have zero chairs as of now for this table, but much like the post I did on our Saarinen replica tulip table, this is such a versatile piece that you can do almost any look with it.  Ideally I’d probably do these Eames lookalike chairs just like this inspiration photo from House Beautiful buuuut Simon’s not totally sold on that.


The weekend was a flurry of Craigslisting our old dining room table set as well as our old brown sofa and thankfully BOTH pieces are now gone! We even got my Dad’s old green velvet sofa back over to my parents’ house.   Our dining room is FINALLY somewhat functional now and no longer a furniture graveyard as it has been all summer long.

So. What do you think. What would you do with this room? Anything different? Got any fantastic ideas for me?

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