Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dining Room Built-in: To Paint or Not to Paint?

Can you believe I'm even questioning it?  A fresh coat of paint isn't always the answer ;) But in this case it might be....which is why I'm asking for your input!

I've shared a few pics of our dining room here on the blog.  Like this one of our Dollar Store sourced kids art gallery.

And when we first scored this dining set on craigslist.

What I haven't showed you yet is our built-in.  You can see a glimpse of it here behind the hubs (you can also see the dark wood paneling of the family room in that other doorway). This was our first night after closing on the house. 

And here she is in all her beastly glory. 
I actually love having a such a large built-in piece of solid wood for extra storage and displaying our favorite things.  What?  You don't decorate with plastic orange Solo cups? 

 As much as I loved her, she was definitely dating her herself with those brassy handles, wavy trim and iron grates.  So with the help of my mom and Sully, the doors came down.

Of course there is some patch work to be done...

This is how she looked with doors removed.  Much better already!  I think we may also take off the glass doors, but for now I'm just being lazy about not wanting to have to dust whatever is behind them.

There's also this.  
 I mentioned before that the previous owner affixed linoleum tiles to every cupboard base and shelf in this house.  I wasn't joking about every one.  I just haven't worked up the courage or energy to tackle the job of removing them yet. 

Awhile back I also shared my color inspiration for the room.

It was all based off of Mia's polkadot teapot, my white ceramic dishes, and this green/pink floral fabric I found at Joann's. 

After we James peeled the wallpaper, we added a chair rail and yummy coat of chocolate brown paint.  I love the warm, deep color.  But with a dark wall color, a ginormous crystal chandelier we inherited with the house, and the traditional vintage dining set, the room had the potential to look very formal and stuffy.  Definitely not the vibe we're going for!  In order to keep it feeling comfortable and inviting, I planned to use Mia's teapot and some other sweet accessories to add a little whimsy to the space.

Well, it was a great plan but as we've experienced before, if you design a room that's open to other rooms (living spaces) without having a plan for the adjacent spaces, then that room will dictate what happens in the others.  The problem is we finished the other rooms first and ended up going with colors a little different than we originally planned.

So while I know we could create a beautiful, charming space with this pink/green/brown/white design, it just won't play well with the surrounding rooms, particularly that lime green.

The good news is that we have other rooms in the house with some of these colors, so we can reuse the accessories.  And I always like coming up with a new plan and getting inspired by something fresh all over again.

Our finished breakfast nook (and hopefully soon-to-be finished kitchen update) currently looks like this:

 It will have a few more natural elements when it's all done (butcher block counters, wood flooring, etc.).

And the other adjacent room that opens to the dining room is our living room:

The dining room, living room and kitchen are visible from each one.  So whatever we do in the dining room really needs to tie these two spaces together.  It will either be the key to cohesion or make them feel independent and chaotic. 

At least we have some similar colors going on in the kitchen and living room (blues and pinky reds).  However the kitchen has a grey backdrop and the living room a tan/brown.  Both neutrals.  Sooooo, since we are already working with a chocolate brown wall in the dining room, my next step is to create a neutral setting with various shades of brown, white and grey.  Then we'll add in one or two accent colors. 

A great example is the Nester's master bedroom palatte.  I am completely in love with the neutral shades of greys/browns/creams along with that pop of color from the pink pouf, pillow and accessories. 

I went to my trusty friend Pinterest and pulled a few color palettes with this overall vibe, keeping in mind shared colors of the living room and kitchen.





What's your vote?  Are you drawn towards the pinks, the blues or both?

And what about my friend here?

Should we carry that creamy white on the bottom half on the walls over to her?  Maybe add some color with paint or fabric to the back?  Or leave her as is with some updates through hardware and wavy trim removal?  We have wood flooring in a similar tone coming into this space eventually.  Hmmmmmmm.........

Pin It!


  1. Option #3 is so pretty!! I say paint the cupboard, but I'm sure whatever you do will turn out beautiful!

  2. I am kind of loving #4. I think the built-in would look lovely painted, though you could also stain it a different color I suppose.

  3. That is a fabulous piece! I like the idea of it being painted the creamy white to follow through/continue the wall paint, but either with a stencil or fabric as a backing design/color. It would be just enough to add something special, but not take over the whole piece. Whatever you do, I'm sure it will look great!! Can't wait to see the end result.

  4. I would carry the creamy white and add color or fabric to the back. :)

  5. I vote for option 3! Paint your friend white and fill with jade (or jade colored) dishes! Why am I getting so excited about someone else's dinning room? Anyway, can't wait to see the finished product!

  6. I vote 4 a d creamy white on the built in

  7. I love option 1 and 3. I think I like option 1 the best because it's more of a turquoise and option 3 is more of a greeny color. I pinned both of those on Pinterest too! :)

    I also think you should paint your friend that creamy white It will look nicer with the wall paint, possibly add an accent color, or fabric. Paint it first and then go from there.


  8. This is a tough one but, option #3 gets my vote with a creamy white on the built in. It's going to be so pretty! Can't wait to see it completed :)

  9. I say paint it white but paint the inside back in a dark shade so your white china can stand out against it.
    Am about to tackle a similar project myself on a dresser, won't do a dark shade at the back in our case though, perhaps a pale grey ... Ours is not built in. Love what you are doing with your house!

  10. Do you happen to remember the info about the green and pink fabric? I love it!!! It will go perfect in my bathroom. Any info would be great
    Thanks a bunch.

    1. It's a really fun fabric! I found it at Joann's in the home decor section near the outdoor fabrics. I'll see if I can hunt down the name :)


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