Bright Family Dining Room Consultation

Hey there!

I recently sent my client, Christy, the results of the Photo Consultation I did for her.

Move your cursor back and forth over the photo below to see her “Before” photo and the inspirational Photo Drawing I created for her…

One of the main dilemmas she was having was figuring out what to do with the huge expanse of drywall behind the sideboard. To help combat the overwhelming feeling a sea of sheetrock can often deliver, I suggested that she break it up a bit by adding beadboard wainscoting. Then, she would only have to accessorize the upper part of the wall and the fresh, white color of the wainscoting behind the rich, wood tone of the sideboard would really create a nice visual too.

If you think this solution might work in your home, but you’re intimidated by installing wood beadboard paneling, you could also use the textured beadboard wallpaper Rhoda blogged about a while back. Capped off with a wood chair rail, no one will ever know it’s not the real thing!

Here’s a link to one of her posts about it:

Southern Hospitality Beadboard Wallpaper Party

To help tie the upper half of the wall together with the lower half, I suggested she look for a large mirror. Then, for ambiance, she could suspend a couple of hanging lanterns from brackets mounted to the wall on each side of the mirror. Above the mirror, she could use a grouping of small shadowboxes, filled with wine corks or silverware, etc. She could even just three small plates.

The curtains I used in the inspiration drawing not only help to soften the vertical plane, but also help to keep the room from looking too chopped up. By creating a pleasing visual connection between the white of the wainscoting and the white of the ceiling, the room will have a very well-balanced feeling from top to bottom. (The curtains in the drawing are from Pottery Barn, but I also suggested that she check out Ikea or HomeGoods to see if she could find a less expensive, comparable version.)

An oil-rubbed bronze colored curtain rod mounted to the wall up above the window frame would contrast with the wall color, and would coordinate well with the finish on the chandelier.

On the windows themselves- textural, wood woven blinds that speak to the color of the sideboard would also help to draw the eye up. In addition, they would further the feeling of symmetry in the room because of how they relate, placement and color-wise, to the items on the sideboard wall.

Two tall, skinny, buffet-style lamps on the sideboard would look lovely and would be a nice way to tie the sideboard and the mirror together. (Remember, when looking for lamps- if you can’t find ones that have shades you like- you can always recover them if you’re absolutely crazy about the bases!)

Other accessories on the top of the sideboard might include:

- stacked plates

- a vase or container of real or faux flowers

- during Fall, pumpkin-topped pedestals, and some smaller neutral-colored pumpkins and/or gourds on the top of the sideboard would look so cool!

- varied height, white, ceramic or ironstone pitchers and/or sugar and creamer pieces

I’ve found that if you accessorize with items that you would normally only display when there is a special occasion, it will feel like EVERY day is a special occasion!

I love the oval-shaped backs of the chairs at the head and foot of the table. I was inspired by these that Heather Chadduck used in Sandy Henry’s home, featured in Cottage Living:

I was thinking that she may be able to fill the ovals in her chairs by using pieces of oval-shaped luan plywood. She could cover them in batting and wrap them in monogrammed, ticking striped fabric to achieve a similar look to Sandy Henry’s chairs. The front sides of the ovals, and the seats, could be re-covered in a neutral, solid-colored fabric and a nice, nailhead trim around the bottom of the seats would finish out the look.

For extra seating in a pinch, I suggested using two more Louis-style chairs in the corners of the room. But to create a little interest, these two oculd have wood frames and off-white upholstery, instead of off-white frames and tan upholstery like the ones at the head and foot of the table.

A large basket on the floor, on the most visible side of the sideboard, would help to soften the hard edge there. Here’s a link to the one in the photo drawing…

Beachcomber Basket

…but again, HomeGoods carries lots of items that would work here as well.

To fill up some of the space in the basket, I suggested she set something down in it first, and then place a potted plant on top of it. Then the greenery can naturally spill over the top of the basket.

Last but not least, I suggested that she ground the whole new look with a large, more monochromatic or earth-inspired area rug. I told her to think “sand, sea, earth, etc”- you can’t go wrong with that palette when you’re trying to create a casually elegant look.

I had a blast working on this consultation for Christy. I can’t wait to see what she and her husband do with the room!

Layla :-)

PS- In case the interactive drawing isn’t working for you, here is the “before” photo and the inspirational photo drawing I created…

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