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Our Latest Dining Room Refresh is Complete

There are few things that feel as good as saying a project is complete. 

Our dining room has taken quite a journey and has seen some major change over the years. When we bought the house in 2003 the previous owner had been using it as a pass through siting area.

Back in 2004 we had it set up as a weird hybrid dining room/living room extension with massive television and speakers. Looking back on it we have very fond memories of these days, but it was far from functional (or attractive, for that matter).

And after our initial renovation efforts we settled on a room that served as a formal dining room, and we absolutely loved it for many years.

But back at the end of October we shared our first steps in making over our row house’s red dining room. I really wanted the red walls, chandelier, and faded toile curtains to go! In the span of a few days we’d replaced all of it with a few fresh coats of Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige, some new lightweight subtly pattered curtains, and a big geometric chandelier from Arhaus. 

While the new wall color and chandelier certainly breathed new life into this dining room, we were not yet done with our efforts to refresh the space.

Though our old rug had served us well for over 13 years, I have been ready for a new look for a little while. The room color change may have been the catalyst of this actual makeover, but I had been searching for the right rug for this room for months. Every trip to HomeGoods I was always keeping my eye open for just the right thing, but I finally found the look I was really hoping for while looking through Pottery Barn’s website.

I wanted something muted, gray, and wool for the room. I’m a big fan of wool rugs due to their ability to clean pretty easily and the fact that it’s a natural material (versus those made with polypropylene, for example). We needed an 8′ x 10′ and the one I found just happened to be on sale. (Okay, let’s be honest, I would only buy it if it were on sale since I love a deal.) So we rolled up the old rug and put down the new.

In a matter of just a few minutes the room transformed again, almost as substantially as it had with the wall color change.

Even Lulu was getting in on the action, wearing her favorite squirrel sweater to match the new color theme of the room.

Another step to our little makeover was to re-cover the dining room chairs. The red plaid had served us very well since I originally applied the covering back in August 2004. My hair was big, my skin was young, my legs were white, and I was wielding an electric staple gun. Watch out world!

But like the red walls and rug, these chair covers had run their course and it was time for them to go. I had found a gorgeous gray and cream herringbone fabric I loved and I felt would be perfect for these chairs. 

Lulu felt she needed to give the new chair fabric a test drive as I was cutting it up for the chairs.

This time around we used an air stapler, which turned out to be far more effective than that old electric gun. Apparently when you buy a tool that’s meant to do a specific job (like stapling fabric for furniture), it tends to work better than one that’s not. Who knew?

We were very careful to line the pattern up the same on each chair. Before we knew it we had ourselves a complete set of re-covered chairs. I really love the way they look compared to the old coverings.

I also picked up a couple new accessories for the buffet. I found a gourd shaped lamp with gold lined shade and two brass and glass candle holders at HomeGoods, and a friend gave us the beautiful white orchid after Mel passed away. (I’m trying my darnedest to keep this orchid alive.) These few new touches also helped change the room to a fresher look.

With that, the room’s relatively quick refresh is complete. With a lot of searching for the right items, and a bit of effort in our overhaul, we had what felt like an entirely new room that feels bigger and brighter.

We still plan to eventually replace some (or much, if you ask Alex) of the mid-century dining set we have in the room with some antique pieces that fit better with the scale of our house. But that’s going to be a search that will probably take a while. Until we find those perfect pieces, we’ll certainly be using this room to the fullest.  

We even threw a little dinner party to christen this new room. It was a Scottish Whiskey tasting Christmas party, so we picked up new tartan napkins and a matching table cloth that would work perfectly with our new color scheme.

The party, the room, the food, and the whiskey were all a huge hit. Our guests loved how we’d changed the room and kept commenting on how much larger it looked with the lighter color. It was satisfying to hear that our hard work had paid off, and I’m absolutely thrilled with the end results.

I find myself staring at the dining room while sitting in the nearby family room, and I keep telling Alex just how much I love our new room. I’m really looking forward to making some changes to the living room and foyer to continue the lighter, more neutral look I’m after. But that will have to wait until after the original windows are restored. Knowing our speed, I might have to wait until 2022.

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About Ashraf Akkilah

Ashraf Akkilah
Architecture and design is my passion. I'm an architect who is interested in building design and decor trends. I'm also interested in sculpture design and landscaping. I'm "outdoor" architect who love to be involved in the project site and supervise finishing and final touches works. I had contributed to many construction and decor projects.

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