Before and After: A $500 Dining Room Redo Inspired by Vintage Dishes and a Museum Painting
Dining rooms are often home to cool vintage or antique finds, from beautiful wood tables to Windsor chairs to heirloom buffets and more. Adding bold paint to the walls can help create the perfect backdrop for these special pieces — and be a great conversation starter at dinner. (Check out this bold black dining room or this hand-painted mural to see the power of paint in a dining space.)
The blue-walled room was located right off the entryway, so Natalie wanted to make sure it packed a design punch. Although the room felt lackluster, it did have some good bones to work with, like the antique pieces that could have a collected, vintage vibe with the right backdrop, and the capiz chandelier installed by the previous homeowners.
Natalie says she wanted to create a space “that felt special but not overly formal, a place where we actually want to sit and enjoy meals with people.”
Natalie started by adding picture frame moulding to the walls with the help of her husband, who showed her how to use the miter saw. Then, Natalie primed and painted over the blue with a light pink (Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster). She was inspired by the hints of pink in her mother’s wedding china that she inherited, so she pulled the paint color straight from there. “It’s a pink that feels interesting and neutral enough to not take center stage,” Natalie says. (Editor’s note: Is Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster the official vintage-inspired shade of summer? Check out this kitchen redo that uses the same shade!)
But the paint didn’t stop there: Natalie, who holds multiple degrees in art history, wanted to incorporate additional color in her space, and she was inspired by “A Pastoral Scene” by Asher Brown Durand, which she saw while browsing the National Gallery of Art’s online database. Natalie decided to paint her own version on the left side of the room, framed by the newly mounted moulding.
“I got some raised eyebrows when I told people I was painting the dining room pink and painting a mural on the wall,” Natalie says. But her advice when it comes to paint is to “just go for it.”
The new mural is her favorite part of her space. “I had the most fun painting it,” Natalie says. “It’s special because it celebrates a field of study I’m passionate about and is a truly one-of-a-kind piece… I love it and am happy that I made choices based on what I enjoy and not what felt safe.”
Another can’t-miss DIY in the space: the dining chairs, which Natalie reupholstered with her mom’s help. A Facebook Marketplace find, the secondhand chairs “were in excellent shape aside from the upholstery, which was torn and badly stained,” Natalie says. She and her mom removed the old seats, added new foam, and covered it with blue velvet fabric.
“This was a much easier DIY than I expected!” Natalie says. She completed the space with a new blue rug, and now she has a cohesive, vintage-inspired space with a fun hint of pink. And in total, her totally unique but also timeless room refresh cost about $500.
“I love how it feels feminine and delicate while still traditional,” Natalie says, and she looks forward to hosting guests in the new space.
Inspired? Submit your own project here.