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My Dining Room Repainting Reveal!

September 27, 2011

I’m very pleased today to show you my freshly painted dining room! If you’ve been following my process you’ll know that when I first moved into my townhouse in May 2010 I chose a cheerful bright yellow color for my dining room. I never got around to doing anything with the wall below the chair rail which previously had some very outdated wallpaper. The yellow never really struck me as a great color for the room, so I decided to tackle a repainting project. I’m often drawn to white rooms, but I’m also intrigued by very dark wall colors. I figured my dining room was an excellent opportunity to try both light and dark, separated by the chair rail. After some deliberation, I am beyond pleased with the results.

I don’t think all my friends and family really believed me when I told them that those yellow walls were seriously hindering the potential of my dining room. The  yellow bounced around the room and gave everything an almost sickly glow. The wood floor and dining set in particular both have yellow undertones which were brought out way too much. In addition, all of the trim including the window frame was an ugly old bisque color.

It took a whole lot of work to get all that trim bright Decorator’s White. The window frame in particular was a beast due to heavily chipping paint and damaged wood. After scraping, sanding, two coats of paint plus some touch-ups it finally looked clean.

The wall above the chair rail including the ceiling is Windswept Beach by Olympic, which is a very very light gray. I spent several wishy-washy moments staring up at the white ceiling trying to decide whether to paint it. Having it match the walls was definitely the right decision. It’s a subtle difference but it makes the room feel much more cohesive. The color below the chair rail is Napoleon by Olympic. In essence it is simply black, but it also has a slight purple/blue undertone which I’m quite fond of.

As you can see in this photo, the position of the blinds had little bearing on the quality of my “before” shots.  And you probably realized this, but those crazy lines on the walls are the shadows from my light fixture. If I ever replace that light, it will definitely be one that casts less shadows!

This was the first time I splurged for high-quality paint. While the colors I chose were by Olympic, the good folks at Lowe’s color-matched them to Valspar Signature. I had never worked with paint of this quality before and I didn’t really know what I was in for. It is so magnificently thick. The difference in the time, effort, and care it takes to use this paint compared to cheaper options is really shocking. Both colors did require two coats, but the second coat was very light and it was easy to quickly get the coverage I needed. I have about a fifth of the gray left, but the quart of black is almost exactly how much I needed. I knew I was pushing it only getting a quart but I ended up saving money by taking the risk.

The table cloth you see in these photos is vintage and hand-woven; I got it for $30 at an antiques shop. I quite like it, though it does not feel like the perfect fit for this room. But it’s the only table cloth I own and I’m not particularly fond of the color of my dining table so there you have it.

Paint truly is transformative. However, people who say it’s also easy clearly must hire professionals or have a friend or two to help them, because there is nothing easy about painting by yourself. It takes several days of several hours of bending and crouching and stretching (and taping, ugh). But the relationship between cost and impact on a room is undeniably huge.

I am very pleased with this improvement. The yellow had been bothering me for quite some time and it feels cathartic to have it gone. I am going to try and focus on the positive rather than the fact that I now need new window treatments and would love to replace the light fixture not to mention get some art on the walls.

Has anyone else recently painted a room? What do you guys think of my color choices? I imagine the stark contrast isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m pleased if for no reason other than I went out of my comfort zone and tried something new and unexpected. And as he often does, Milo immediately put his stamp of approval on the room by lounging on the table for a good hour.

P.S. I am certainly not paint royalty. But I like ridiculous poll answers.
P.P.S. Did you notice my new header image? Way fancier looking, eh? It may not stay forever, but I was tiring of the very generic look and decided to mix it up a bit. 🙂
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  • Reply Brian September 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Very nice work, I can see the attention to detail. I suspect though that the picture really don’t do justice to the room. I hope to see the contrast and high quality craftmanship in person one day.

    • Reply Christina Ebbers September 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Daddy. It’s probably true that the pictures don’t do it justice. As is the case with any photograph, colors can be distorted by the lighting and monitor settings. Not to mention it’s impossible to get a wide angle shot of this room which makes it hard to imagine what it’s really like. But thank you so much for the compliments and I’m sure you’ll get to see it in person soon!

  • Reply Mama September 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Absolutely lovely. And the Milo in the picture just tops it off perfectly. I too want to see it in person soon! Love, Mama

    • Reply Christina Ebbers September 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Mommy. 🙂 Milo certainly does up the cute factor in my photos. And I think he knows it.

  • Reply Mia September 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Wow, looks wonderful! 🙂 Huge change…! I’m normally not much into big contrasts, like totally black-white rooms, but in this case the choice is super. Love it! Great to have both the thrill of the dark wall and the brighter upper part. (All white wouldn’t have been half as good, for sure. And actually, all-blackish could have been too dark).

    Oh and I can imagine how nice it’ll look with dark paintings and things on the white part….maybe something (eg frames) that’s in the same beautiful dark wood as the floor. The room feels easily decorated, which if anything is a sign of good colour choices!

    I’ve painted quite many rooms all by myself and know it’s quite a job..! But very well worth it, in the end. Looking at the pics, I started thinking about a thing. I would probably have done exactly as you did here, but did you ever consider painting the skirtings (the baseboard next to the floor) in the same black colour? Instead of white? I have never done it myself, but my sister has gone Abigail Ahern-ish and now paints skirtings same colour as the wall and it actually looks really really nice. Just a thought, which I am intrigued about.

    • Reply Christina Ebbers September 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      Mia, I appreciate your compliments and thoughts so much! And what you said about having “both the thrill of the dark wall and the brighter upper part” is exactly what I was thinking with this choice. I wanted some drama but I was too afraid to go ALL Abigail Ahern-ish. Haha.

      It had never occurred to me to paint the baseboards black or in general to paint baseboards the same color as the wall. That is fascinating. Oo I just LOVE being introduced to new ideas like this. I find I am instantly drawn to the idea. It’s sort of similar to the concept of painting the ceiling the same as the wall, to create a unified and enveloping feel to the room. Not to mention to add more drama. In the case of my dining room I’m not sure if I’d also want to paint the chair rail black, but I certainly could.

      I’ve always loved some bright white trim, but this idea is officially tumbling around in my brain and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up influencing a future paint decision! Thank you as always for chiming in, Mia. <3

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