Freshing up our dining room has been a looong time coming. It’s not a room we use often because we tend to eat at the kitchen table but the room had become the one where we would place the extras that didn’t need to be stored right away. I’m embarrassed to admit that aside from the mudroom, often times I’d place the mail, bags of new purchases, a laptop, someone’s jacket, etc on the table or chairs in the dining room.
When we decided to refinish our floors I knew this room had to be tackled in a special way. I wanted the room to be pretty and functional again. The refresh would also include a slight change that I had been thinking about for years. The end result is exactly what I wanted, not too stuffy while incorporating my own style. And since the room faces east I wanted to take advantage of the sunlight that often floods the room and reflect all the brightness.
OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW
The first thing I wanted to do was to finally get rid of our built-in corner hutch. When we first built the house we asked the contractors to include a corner hutch in the dining room. Lord only knows what I was thinking! Over the years I began to hate the oak wood and played with the idea of painting it white, but I struggled with the thought of tackling the project.
It has since become an outdated piece and I just couldn’t wait to rip it out. I’m so glad we finally did. It immediately transformed the look and feel of the entire room. It also added to the overall dimensions and is now aesthetically even and more pleasing to the eye.
After refinishing the floors it was time to address the walls. First I patched up all the holes from previous wall art and then gave them a much needed fresh coat of paint. While going through Pinterest I came across images of dining rooms with ceilings painted in an accent color. It’s an area most of us never think of, let alone touch.
For whatever reason we’re convinced that ceilings should always be painted eggshell white. I’m seriously considering painting our dining room ceiling in a different hue, obviously within the blue tones, but I’ve yet to convince Him of that. Sherwin Williams has a fantastic collage of serene colors that are insanely perfect for any room and as an accent color for the ceiling!
ACCENT PEICES AND FURNITURE
As for my decor style it all revolves around my collection of ginger jars, my love of blue and white and my semi-eclectic furniture. I have a modest collection of jars that I strategically display around the house as accent pieces. Our Hitchcock dining table, chairs and hutch were bought when we first got married. The buffet table was acquired later from an antique shop. I currently store the table’s extra leaves (fully open the table can sit 10) along with my Hitchcock chairs in the basement and pull them out whenever we need extra seating.
The distressed claw & ball chairs were a flea market find from many years ago. I’ve never replaced the cushions and in all honesty they should be reupholstered but I really don’t mind the worn-out look. They are Chippendale reproductions and in decent shape although I think it’s a matter of time before I replace them. I’m REALLY loving these chairs and think they would look great in this room.
LINENS AND THINGS
Years ago I had the boy’s bathroom wallpapered in blue and white toile and I also had the first floor half bath in another blue and white toile that I found with my initials as the characters. I still have remnants of that paper for ‘just-in-case.’ Over time the boys grew out of the ‘girly’ themed walls and we decided to get rid of the paper and stick to paint. However, I love the classic French pattern and will continue to use it whenever possible.
When I came across these beautiful blue and white toile de jouy window panels I knew they would be perfect for the room. I’ve always had an affinity for this classic French Country design but it’s one that I feel must be used right, otherwise you’ll end up with too much of a country theme, a theme I don’t particularly care for. I prefer traditional lines and curves and smooth surfaces to the rustic and distressed textures that is often found in country decor.
STORAGE AND WALL ART
Aside from the hutch and buffet table to hold all of my silverware, extra crystal and fine china, I needed a new place to store the spirits. What better than the addition of the South Seas Bar Cart from Serena & Lily. I fell in love with it after I got the South Seas Coffee Table. To say I am obsessed with everything SL is an understatement! I absolutely love all the natural materials and elements in their designs. The fact SL embodies all things coastal is a plus. I like to incorporate bits of coastal decor throughout the house as I find it a fun way to mix things up a bit.
I found this exact large Westmoreland pedestal shell bowl. It is a rare vintage find of a koi-dragon fish holding up a shell. This one is unique in that it is huge and quite heavy, 13′ wide! It’s such a lovely piece and fits so well with my coastal flare. It’s part of a collection of milk glass that I’ve acquired over the years and happens to be one of my absolute favorite pieces. I take great care handling it and only use it sparingly to hold seasonal fruits. As you can see it’s perfect for holding lemons and limes for drinks. You can find the smaller version which is more readily available, here and here.
When putting the room together I decided to keep the artwork to a minimum, that is, until I find whatever else grabs my interest. The beach scene print over the bar cart is actually a photo I took last summer. I call it ‘A Mid Summer’s Walk.’ Because I take high definition images I was able to get it enlarged, printed and professionally framed. I just love how it looks in the dining room!
I have a similar photo in my bedroom that I had printed on canvas and yet another picture I took while on a sailboat in Newport. I had that one enlarged, printed and framed for the family room, here’s a sneak peek of it. If you happen to have a great eye for photography it only makes sense to use and display your own beautiful photos as part of the decor.
THE AREA RUG
I love choosing area rugs for different rooms in the house. Although this room can handle a huge rug I instead opted for a smaller size in order to leave plenty of bare floor around the perimeter. (why hide the new floors) And I LOVE color, and as such I wanted to find a bold rug in a classic Persian pattern. To me the use of too many neutrals can be a drag and make a room feel stale and lifeless. The beautiful colors in this rug is the one element in the room that pulls everything together and bring life!
I have always considered my decor style to be somewhat traditional and I always stayed away from anything trendy. My home is too busy and lived in for a formal approach. I don’t like stuffiness or clutter and I don’t like the all-white monochromatic spaces that have dominated our Instagram feeds in recent years.
Unbeknownst to me, my decorating style is what has recently been dubbed as ‘grandmillenial.’ An eclectic mix that includes period pieces married with fresh, modern decor in a comfortable and welcoming manner. Simply put, it is a fresh, sophisticated take on sweet memories and a fondness for Grandma’s hand-me-downs, hence the milk glass and Hitchcock furniture paired with the new bar cart.
ELEMENTS OF GRANDMILLENIAL DECOR
Pleated lampshades, ruffled linens, needlepoint pillows, blue and white ceramics, chinoiserie and chintz are just a few of the items you might find in grandmillenial spaces. Victorian furniture, floral wallpaper, eclectic area rugs, when put together these elements create harmonious layers and definition.
As a gen X woman I appreciate the nostalgia for mid-century designs that my mom, grandmother and mother in law grew up with. Over the years I acquired many lovely Victorian pieces that I would incorporate with some of my more modern designs. And now I’m thrilled that the grandmillenial style has finally erupted. Someone gets me! This style is very attainable, especially since Victorian and Neoclassical styles have not been part of trending design movements for a very long time. Finding antiques is a fun endeavor and are often a fantastic deal considering their build and quality.
If you want to adopt this look, consider the collections you already have or dream of accumulating. Search out furnishings that invite relaxation or togetherness and of course, you can always sift through social media for inspiration. What’s your decorating style?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of my latest room update. As I freshen things up around here make sure to follow along (subscribe here) for more ideas and inspirations. Thanks for visiting! 🤗