Before and After: A Bare Dining Room Gets a Big Jolt of Energy Thanks to a Little Paint Project

published Apr 10, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Dining Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Dining room before renovation

One of the simplest ways to add personality to a blank space? Paint, of course! A can of your favorite color can help turn a blank canvas into anything you can imagine: somewhere that’s moody and dramatic, or bold and fun, or soothing and cozy. The right color can take you places.

You don’t have to commit to painting a whole room, or even a whole wall. With a strategically placed splash of color, you can remake the vibes of an entire area. This project from DIYer Lezeth Alfaro is a perfect example of using a little bit of paint to make a big statement.

Lezeth’s home wasn’t exactly a dream space when she moved in. The brand new, built-in-2023 home was, to sum it up, “dull and boring,” she says. “It had no personality and it did not feel cozy or welcoming.” That’s all thanks to the inoffensive but also uninspiring all-gray color scheme, which was a key feature of the dining space. The only bit of adornment was the very traditional chandelier in the center, which wasn’t really Lezeth’s style. That wasn’t going to do.

Lezeth’s first step was outfitting the room with furniture and replacing the light. She got her table and chairs through local vintage seller Aubrey Byfield (@tripsflipsandsips), who also reupholstered the pale yellow chair seats with a much bolder cow print. And for a new light, Lezeth shopped a local reseller app (Allhers), where someone was parting with a brand-new three-pendant light for the best offer. Lezeth pitched $75 and took it home.

Installing the light proved tricky, even with the help of Lezeth’s partner, Brian Hebert. “The fixture was really heavy so we had to stack containers up until they were holding up the lights,” Lezeth says, noting that the trick helped relieve the weight while they wired the fixture and before they installed the mounting plate to the ceiling.

The dining area needed a little something extra, though. Lezeth decided on a freeform mural for the corner to offer a little bit more personality. She chose a tropical orange (Behr’s Toucan) for the job. “I wanted something bright for this area,” Lezeth says. “It gets a lot of sun and I wanted a nice place that made me feel excited.”

Lezeth used a pencil to freehand a squiggly shape for the corner of the wall, then painted in the imperfect edges using a brush. That’s when she got nervous. “The color actually terrified me the minute I started painting,” Lezeth says, adding that she was worried it was way too intensely orange for the space. “I also just happened to be snacking on Cheetos Puffs and the color matched EXACTLY to a Cheeto,” she adds. “I almost stopped but then decided to trust the process and I am so happy I did. I love it.”

The dining space is still mostly white, but that splash of orange brings just the right amount of energy. Add in some plants, a rug, and a few more accessories, and it’s brimming with cozy vibes. Now, the once blank and boring dining space is full of charm and personality, and where it was once unwelcoming, it now begs visitors to sit and stay a while. Most importantly, “it makes me feel happy and creative,” Lezeth says.