The Secret to This Dining Room Transformation Was a “Load of Old Junk”

published May 27, 2024
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If you’re lucky enough to have a formal dining room in your home, you might find that it doesn’t get used much (except for special occasions). But there’s no reason not to romanticize your life, and normalize sitting in your dining room for solo meals, simple meals, and even takeout meals! To do that, it’s worth making the design of that dining space comfortable and compatible with your vibe. 

Designer Suna Lock (@stripedesignservices) created a dining room that will suit her whole family and reflects their personalities, mostly thanks to a gallery wall full of collected items. “It’s homemaking,” she says of the transformation. “The items included collections from family travel, my past, items I hold dear, interspersed with visually interesting items of no particular attachment.”

The hardest part? “Getting everyone to leave the house for the afternoon so I could concentrate on the installation,” she jokes.  

Credit: Eric Ressler

The first step was brightening the room with white paint. 

Before, “the house boasted heavy cherry trim everywhere and butter yellow walls,” she says. Suna kicked off the project by painting everything her favorite shade of white paint (Sherwin Williams’ Pure White), which made everything feel airer and more spacious immediately. 

“We didn’t move any walls,” Suna says. “It was a facial.”

Credit: Eric Ressler

The furniture is eclectic. 

Suna selected a dining table from a local store that sells tons of European antiques, and the chairs from a wholesaler in Africa. The seat pillows and some of the vintage accessories are from Suna’s own brick-and-mortar store, Stripe

Credit: Eric Ressler

This designer has great gallery wall advice.

Of course, the main focus of the redesign was the eye-catching gallery wall, and Suna has great tips for completing a project like this. For starters, she says, mark the boundaries you’d like your gallery wall to have using masking tape.

For the actual pieces you’ll hang on the gallery wall, you’ll want to “collect about 30% more than you think you will need because choices and edits will happen along the way, and you need a selection to choose from,” Suna says. 

She also advises thinking outside of the box when it comes to objects in a gallery wall. (Hers includes a “load of old junk,” she describes, including a spring and a faucet found in a barn and a propeller found at the city dump. She even got the nails for the project from a yard sale.)

“Am I the only one who has left the dump with a net gain?” Suna asks, adding that you have to be unafraid to take risks to create something really eclectic. “I learned to trust myself … It’s enough for me that I love to look at it. It doesn’t matter what other people think about it,” she says.

Suna recommends picking pieces in a designated color scheme, and she loves the black and white vibe she created. “It’s almost like a photograph, and there’s something I really like about that,” she says. 

Mostly, she encourages giving a project like this a try. “Put on some music, kick everyone out of the house, and have fun,” she says. “Nails and glue gun required.”