Things to discuss today: Wish lists vs. reality, staying flexible with your plans, and a color exercise I hope will be helpful to y’all.
Photo by Emily Anderson.
Our dining room is just to the right of the entry hall when you come in to our house. The dining room connects to the kitchen and the stairs are at the back of the house. In terms of a floor plan, I really like the layout because it forces you at least walk through every room in your daily travels.
Dining rooms, for some reason, never really excite me. I mean, there are exciting dining rooms- I really loved ours in Austin, but they always seem more like showrooms than living rooms and they aren’t my favorites to do.
The dining room before was fine. The only tricky thing about it is that it is almost a perfect square, and has a lot of doorways and windows which made placing furniture tricky. The writing on the picture was my initial plan for the room. Only 2 of those 5 things ended up happening.
photo by Emily Anderson
Aww I love this room. It was just so “me” at the time.
Then in Austin…
photo by Paige Newton
Same buffet, dining table, and the newly recovered chairs. Here is the post I did on the room at the time with sources etc.
I really liked this dining room, and wasn’t thrilled about having to redo it.
The china cabinets obviously wouldn’t fit, even one of them on the wall where the monkey painting is now wouldn’t have really worked. We needed a round or square table because of the dimensions of the room, and that buffet is this random piece I used in college as my TV cabinet, but that has somehow weaseled its way into every dining room we have had since. The chandelier in Austin is incredible, but would have been way too huge for this new room. The curtains I figured we would leave in the house for resale, but I loved the chairs and knew we were sticking with those.
So now Houston again…The plan initially was “New green curtains, have china cabinet made, new ceiling fixture, new round dining table, new storage buffet”. And the only things we stuck to on that list was new dining table and ceiling fixture.
Our china cabinets from Austin wouldn’t fit as a pair, and one of them would have been too shrimpy and wouldn’t have given enough storage, so I was planning to have a big awesome pagoda style cabinet made for the wall where the monkey painting is now. We were going to do some crazy color for the cabinet, keep the walls white, and bring in new green curtains.
The monkey painting was going to go in the kitchen by the table- and was probably part of the decision to paint the kitchen dark green now that I think of it. But then we realized that where we were hanging it in the kitchen, it had a high probability of being damaged, and this was the only wall big enough in the rest of the house to accommodate it. Which changed the whole plan.
And here is a note on the color combo front. In Austin, and then with the beginning visions of this space I was drawing the colors out of the Cole & Sons fabric on the chairs. In Austin that meant the wall color was inspired by the light green/blue background. The yellow for the chairs and the pink for the inside of the china cabinets came from the birds. Then bringing in that giant paining- I figured we would have to completely change things up to make that work.
You can see here the pinks in the girls dress and in the bird are similar, they both have the same variation of greens, and actually really similar blues as well.
After. We ended up keeping that tenacious buffet. I couldn’t find anything with the right dimensions, and even though I am happy using the piece for now, I think it will eventually get replaced. The painting above the buffet was above the fireplace in Chicago and Austin. The dining table is a reproduction that I had made, and has two leafs.
photo by Emily Anderson
For the shoot I did the table up because the room just didn’t feel finished.
That is because it isn’t finished. While I don’t normally favor having a rug in dining rooms, this one feels really cold without it, and I want to cover up those floors where I can. I am still on the search for the right thing, I am thinking something graphic and contemporary to freshen up all the traditional we have going on in here. Maybe in a dark purple? That might be too much saturated color- but we shall see.
We also still need curtains. We ended up taking the curtains out of our austin house to use here, but I still need to have them hemmed.
When we realized the monkey painting would have to go on the only big wall, we had to figure out a new plan for some china cabinets. I found this pair on 1st dibs. They were the perfect size, and already had the light blue painted inside, and they work so well.
So. In review. Coming up with the color combinations, this might be a useful exercise I will demonstrate using our dining room as an example.
Take a colorful fabric you love and make of list of all of the colors in it, even if they are just tiny accents in the fabric.
Then, create a plan for the room with each place you need to make a color decision i.e. walls, rug, upholstery, curtains, painted furniture piece.Next, go through and plug in your list of colors from the fabric in each place you need to make a color decision for the room:
Using one of the colors in the fabric as the wall color (greens), another for the tufted chairs (lilac), the dining chairs (coral), and the china cabinet (sea foam). Then do it again trying the colors from the fabric in different applications.
The same four colors, just used on different pieces.
Once you have a few versions, you can choose your favorite and start playing with the shade and tones of each color. Making the wall color lighter/darker, imagining the dining chair fabric as a pattern or texture.
Whether or not this is how you actually design the room, if you are nervous about color combinations or uninspired, I think this can really open your eyes to different ways color can work together.
I know some of you are looking at that and thinking…”Tha eff? How am I supposed to draw lovely room elevations and photoshop in all that junk, I don’t have those skills!”
Truthfully, I have pretty janky photoshop/drawing skills and Maddie had to draw this up and change out the colors for me. This is all meant to provide an illustration of what happens in my head that might be helpful to you. You could do this as a collage with cutouts, or with fabric samples placing them in various positions and switching it up.
Helpful? Even after this post I am getting a lot of emails and comments asking me to give more tips on color combinations, and I thought this might be useful. Was it?
Talk to me.
Also…I would REALLY appreciate y’all voting for my sofa styling on Style Me Pretty.