Before & After: A Blank Dining Room Plus Rich, Bold Color

Before & After: A Blank Dining Room Plus Rich, Bold Color

Landis Carey
Aug 26, 2011

Moving into a blank space that has bare walls and is mostly neutrals can make the decision of which color palette to choose an even more difficult one. But in today's Color Cure Before & After Gigi shares with us her inspiration and just how she came upon it. And what's more, this play-it-safe kind of girl went bold...just how bold? Read on to find out!

The Color Cure: How long have you lived in your home?
Gigi: Since mid February 2011 (six months)

The Color Cure: When did you overhaul the space?
Gigi: Immediately!

The Color Cure: How long did it take?
Gigi: It is always a work in progress, I find goodies in thrift stores or on craigslist, but it took two days to paint the room (we can only paint while the baby is asleep or napping) and another two weeks to paint the table and chairs.

The Color Cure: Where did you find your color and design inspiration?
Gigi: I usually do keyword searches on Google Images and Apartment Therapy. I believe my search was for "dark blue dining room." This picture from the Elements of Style was my starting place. I loved the jute rug and the dark blue. It looked classic but included natural elements, too. Then, Young House Love painted the inside of their dining room cabinets a dark color which showcased their white ceramics and I was sold. We have built-ins on the other walls where I did this as well.

The Color Cure: How much planning did you put into the project?
Gigi: I've had a vision since we first saw the house...I decided on the geometric blue and white curtains (which were impossible to find for any affordable price) and the blue walls first. The paint was the easiest thing to do so we did that first. After hunting for the right fabric, I finally made my own on Spoonflower and we truly love them.

I originally had planned on distressed wood floating shelves along the back wall, but this midcentury piece appeared on craigslist and we like it there for now (though who knows what the future brings). We love this piece because it is our "office." It hides our cell phone charging station, our wireless stereo speakers and our wireless printer. The dining room has housed many different pieces of furniture over the 6 months we've lived here. A huge armoire, file cabinets, the piano, a chair, but we realized it needs to stay fairly sparse. In the future I'm hoping for a huge green houseplant for one of the corners and hopefully that will liven it up a bit—but we haven't found the perfect one yet.

The Color Cure: What was the most challenging part of the project?
Gigi: Coming to terms with the dark color! I've always been a play-it-safe kinda girl. I loved texture, but my last house was all neutrals and mostly shades of white and brown. I knew we were in for a change with this house. The dining room was the first room we worked on (and the one closest to "completion" at this point), but its inspired lots of color and shape throughout the house. Finding the right balance of color was critical so our house doesn't feel like a circus—it still needs to be where we unwind. But its fun and reflects our crazy little family of three perfectly.

The Color Cure: Did you learn a new skill during your home improvement project?
Gigi: This was the first painting project I did without taping first. I feel like it was fairly successful and it saved many hours. The real lesson I learned here was that quality paint matters, zero VOC paint is FANTASTIC, and a good brush takes you a long way. The money we spent on quality products saved us a ton of time and headache (literally on the headache—the zero VOC paint has no small at all)!

The Color Cure: Are you happy with the outcome?
Gigi: We love this room. I don't feel like it's completed yet, but we're close. It looks nice when the sun is streaming in, but even better at night with some candles lit, the chandelier on a low light, a glass of wine and friends over for dinner.

Our building has two identical flats and my mom bought the one upstairs, so it is really fun when people come over and get the tour of her place and ours. The differences are striking. Her place has white walls and is mostly yellows, reds, and oranges with oriental rugs—but each place is perfect for our personalities.

The Color Cure: What, if anything, would you do differently next time around?
Gigi: The process for painting our table was horrible. I knew I should have sanded, but we didn't—so we spent WEEKS painting and waiting for them to dry. They still aren't done (we need one more coat and a coat of a low VOC poly cover), but we HATED the process, so we're sort of just waiting until we're really bored to do it again.

The Color Cure: If you had one piece of advice for Apartment Therapy readers, what would it be?
Gigi: Go for it and trust your gut!

Thanks for sharing, Gigi!

Do you have a Before & After or a Color Inspiration Story to share with The Color Cure? Go ahead and get your entries in soon—The Color Cure ends next week. We can't wait to hear from you!

The Color Cure, Week 1: Color Families
Week 1 Video: Color Families
Color Hunting: Inspiring Color Families
Color Research: Find Colors You Love All Around
Before & After: Monica's Color-Filled Living Room
Color Quiz: Which Color Family Are You?

The Color Cure, Week 2: Warm and Cool Colors
Week 2 Video: Warm and Cool Colors
Add Color to Your Kitchen Even if Your Backsplash is Tiled
Before & After: A Kitchen Overhaul Complete with Painted Cabinets
Color Quiz! Are You Warm or Cool Colored?
Before & After: Two Living Rooms Transformed with Color

The Color Cure, Week 3: The 80/20 Rule
Week 3 Video: The 80/20 Rule
Color Tip: Accent Your Entertainment Space with Colorful Dining Chairs
Color Prescription: What Color Would You Choose?
Before & After: Finishing Touches in an 80/20 Living Room
Color Quiz! Would You Add Color to Your Ceiling?

The Color Cure, Week 4: Easily Changeable Color
Week 4 Video: Easily Changeable Color
Great Homes with Color: West Coast
Color Story: What Do You Think Inspired This Space?
Great Homes with Color: The Midwest
Great Homes with Color: The East Coast
Before & After: A Bathroom Color Makeover for the Ages
Color Tip! Add Color With These Accents
Before & After: 200 Square Foot Paris Flat Brought to Life

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