Dining Room Makeover
From Red to Black, White, and Apple Green
There's a joke about the color of newspapers (they're black and white and "read" all over). But nothing jump-starts the circulation like black, white, and apple green, a vibrant combination that packs visual punch.
These crisp, classic colors became a major factor in the success of our dining room makeover. Before, the room (left) was sparsely furnished with hand-me-down furniture, and it suffered from a spotty red paint job.
Balancing worthwhile splurges and budget-friendly extras, we transformed the space with bold Asian flair and green accents for less than $2,000. Here's how.
1. Go for the bold.
There's no denying that the toile wallpaper and fabric are the showstoppers here. That's why they're well worth the splurge. (These materials took the majority of our $2,000 budget.) Because the dining room is small, we avoided busy small-patterned wallpapers and opted for a large, standout print instead. The dynamic design and bright color rejuvenate the once-dull space and drive the choice of furnishings and accessories. We ordered enough of the matching fabric to use on chair seats, a table skirt, and window panels for a pulled-together look. Because the wallpaper and fabric are such focal points in the room, we kept the other accessories and furniture more understated.
- What it cost: $47 per roll for the wallpaper (we used six double rolls at $94 each), $60 per yard for fabric (we used about 11 yards), and $50 for drapery hardware
2. Furnish frugally.
Missing from this space were two essential ingredients: a table and chairs. We put together a stylish ensemble for about $300.
We built the table using a standard 48-inch round top and inexpensive lumber, and then we painted it black. The crossed leg design mimics the chair backs. The chairs were ordered from a discount retailer for a steal at just $30 each. We covered the seats with batting and more toile fabric, using nails to hold the material in place.
Left: Rows of pagodas on the wallpaper and fabric make a big impression in this dining room. Simple panels edged in black fabric dress up the windows.
- What it cost: $145 for table materials and $30 per chair
3. Use what you have.
The few furnishings already in the room remained. The ebony-colored étagère with its open display shelves fits the room perfectly; its shape mimics a frame of the wallpaper pattern.
A slender desk was the right size to serve as a buffet. We used no-sew hem tape to create panels and then attached them to the sides and front of the desk with self-fastening strips such as Velcro. This is a great way to use fabric leftovers from other projects. Black ribbon, attached with hem tape, makes attractive ties on each end of the table. We cut a piece of black fabric to fit the desktop and then topped the fabric with glass purchased from a custom glass shop.
- What it cost: $30 for glass top and $20 for hem tape, self-fastening strips, and ribbon
4. Accessorize for less.
The room's largest accessory, an inexpensive sea grass rug, adds textural interest and casual contrast to the formality of the toile-patterned fabric and wallpaper. Simple accessories, such as white dishware and potted greenery, on the buffet and glass shelves balance the vivid color on the walls and window treatments. They also stay true to our budget because the rug, lamps, and tableware were purchased at large discount retailers.
- What it cost: less than $325
5. Paint it black.
Nothing gives tired pieces an instant lift like glossy black paint. This room's chandelier offers proof. Black spray paint reinvented the 1980s brass fixture. It was a relatively easy process. We removed the chandelier from the ceiling and taped off the areas we didn't want painted. After priming the fixture, we sprayed on two coats of black paint. Inexpensive shades wrapped in apple green ribbon complete the lighting makeover.
- What it cost: less than $30
6. Find a new use for old junk.
This phonograph cabinet needed only a few changes to become an unusual bar. We added a metal box in the top to hold ice and drinks. The shelves are lined with leftover wallpaper. Black paint and glass knobs update the exterior.
- What it cost: less than $60 for the metal box and paint and less than $15 for glass knobs
Oriental Toile wallpaper and fabric by Thibaut, www.thibautdesign.com; sea grass rug, clock, and table accessories from World Market, www.worldmarket.com; chairs are Granas by Ikea, www.ikea.com.