Before and After: Dark Paint Makes a 1907 Dining Room’s Historic Features Sing

published Oct 14, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Historic Home
Project Type
Dining Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

When you’re a parent, your kids’ needs often factor into your home’s overall layout and decor every step of the way. For instance, you might have a media console that doubles as toy storage or a bathroom planned with tub time in mind. Yet as kiddos get older, they’ll inevitably outgrow things, opening up renovation opportunities better suited to the whole family.

When DIYer Laura Ferguson (@edwardian_property_parade) and her husband, Andrew, first moved into their 1907 home in 2018, the original dining room was repurposed as a playroom for their three young children.

However, after recently renovating their kitchen area, the Fergusons found that the kitchen could no longer fit a dining table. Now that their kids are older, they decided to restore the home’s original dining room in all its glory — and the whole project cost only £200 (roughly $243).

The room had great potential — the first step was clearing out the toys.

“It’s a north-facing room, so it always felt dark and dull, even on sunny days,” Laura says. “The room size and proportions are fab … so we took this opportunity to reclaim the dining room for its intended purpose.”

Because the Fergusons hadn’t done much to the room apart from moving in playroom furniture and toys, reverting it back to a blank slate was easy. Laura replaced her kids’ things with some IKEA LACK shelves for decor, put up a bold new wall hanging above the fireplace from Rockett St. George, and added a dining table and chairs from furniture123. But much of the room stayed the same, too. In fact, Laura says one way they saved money was by keeping much of the same furniture and artwork.

Paint adds drama. 

However, the pièce de résistance was the room’s bold new paint color: Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue, used on the fireplace wall, the wall next to the dining table, and on the ornate trim around the door frame. 

“After the first coat in the new, darker color, we had a moment where we thought, ‘What on Earth have we done?’ and had some serious doubts!” Laura recalls. “Thankfully, we stuck at it and trusted the process.”

As she points out, this “deep and moody” blue-gray color embraces the room’s lack of natural light to create a brand-new, more mature and more contemporary look for 2023 — plus it makes the gallery wall from before pop.

“We now have a formal dining room that the whole family uses and benefits from,” Laura says. “The room is so much more inviting now and has a real cozy feel to it. I’m proud that we were brave with our color choice despite some initial apprehensions. Something so simple as a paint color can easily transform the feel of a room and can be done in less than a day.”