With its generous proportions and handsome built-ins, soothing blue accents, and collection of painted European furniture, this dining room hardly needed a major makeover. But something wasn't quite working -- the space was too formal and a little crowded. But with an update to a chandelier, the dining room curtains, a cabinet, and a bare-bones bureau, the room was completely transformed.
Photography: James Merril1 of 9
The Result: An Almost Effortless Update
Updating the room didn't mean starting over. Instead, a bolder color on the walls, the removal of a few key pieces, and some modern touches made this room chic, warm, and welcoming.
Photography: James Merril2 of 9
Before: Overly Ornate
It was the perfect chandelier -- except that is was too ornate for the simplified look that the dining room required.
Removing the large teardrops along the top and bottom simplifies it, and the lampshades give it a nice tailored touch. They also diffuse the light, making it more flattering. The exterior of each inexpensive paper shade was painted blue (with latex paint), a quick trick that made it easy to get the exact desired color.
Photography: James Merril4 of 9
Before: A Disjointed Display
Poorly aligned shelves in glass cabinets shouldn't throw stones -- instead, they should be adjusted to match the lines of the cabinet's windows. Similarly, the plate stands in the cabinet are visible, which make the cabinet interiors look cluttered.
Robin's-egg-blue paint on the inside of the shelves makes the piece look artful and graphic. Now, the shelves line up with the mullions for a tidier look, and the plate stands are painted a matching blue.
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Photography: James Merril6 of 9
Before: Purely Functional
This pine sideboard does its job well -- it can be used as a bar or buffet -- but it feels out of place among white-painted pieces.
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A whitewash finish helps the piece blend into the settings. The wood-framed mirror makes the room feel bigger; blue shades on the candlestick lamps match those on the chandelier.
Photography: James Merril8 of 9
Before: Cumbersome Curtains
These silk-taffeta window treatments are beautiful but overwhelming (and huge dust-gatherers, as well!).
Photography: James Merril9 of 9
Before: A Hearty (and Heavy) Fireplace
The wide back enclosure and heavy screen emphasize the firebox rather than the attractive mantel (and the screen gets in the way!).