before and after

before & after: dining room turned library

by Kate Pruitt

The lesson I’ve learned from this Before & After is that if formal dining isn’t your thing, you can turn your dining room into an awesome home library — that’s a valuable lesson in my book. Jennifer enlisted the help of her friend, interior designer Autumn Clemons, to revamp this beige box and turn it into a dark, dramatic and ultra-modern space. Splurging on key pieces like the curtains and the sculptural light fixture was a wise decision; they really stand out and pull the entire look together. I’m sure this room will see far more use than it did prior to the redesign. Great job, Jennifer and Autumn! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about Jennifer’s dramatic converted library after the jump!

Time: one month

Cost: $5,000

Basic Steps: This project was tricky, in that it involved convincing my husband that painting the space black was not going to make the room feel too dark. I had a mood board of magazine tears taped to the walls for about two months before he was convinced. After that milestone, we ripped up the carpet, had the flooring installed and then painted. We assembled the shelving, applied the wallpaper to the inset ceiling and put up the chandelier. Then came furniture, drapes and finishing touches.

My advice is to consult with the pros. I collaborated on this room with my good friend and interior designer Autumn Clemons. I knew what I wanted, but she took my vision to the next level. Wallpapering the tray ceiling never occurred to me, and now it’s one of my favorite parts of the room. Having someone with the training and design eye in your corner can keep you from making costly mistakes and really make any project a show-stopper. I think there’s a misconception that hiring a designer is a huge expense. But these days, there are so many talented designers offering e-services, it’s really affordable for any budget. — Jennifer

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  • What a transformation! I love everything about it. I’m also looking for a library ladder. This one is so chic and minimal! Where did it come from?

  • Thanks, everyone!!
    For those asking about resources:
    Light is from Robert Abbey (available through Lumens or Shades of Light, among others)
    Shelves AND ladder are IKEA (my favorite part is the corner piece, and the tilted shelves)
    Curtains are Imperial Trellis fabric, custom made with brushed nickel grommets.

    For Molly, the room looks great at night–we have the chandelier on a dimmer, so we can change up how bright it is.

  • I’ve been trying to convince my husband that darker walls actually make the room bigger because they recede. Congrats! on the convincing part. Congrats! on a fabulous room!!!

  • That is absolutely the best re-design, such a beautiful & functional space! I love the grey walls, why are husbands usually the ones who resits the dramatic changes?
    I remember having to convince my husband that we could use 3 different colors in a poolside cabana, coral, periwinkle and lime! turned out great!! He loves it too!
    P.S. I have pinned this great makeover!

  • Absolutely love how Autumn managed to turn what looks like a builder’s basic room in a newer home into something refined and bespoke. Also, so cool to see IKEA basics used in such a gorgeous way–I assume they were laquered with a spray gun? If I had finished out the room with furnishings, however, I would have put a much larger table in the center of the space (perhaps this one has leaves for expansion?), and I would have added a pile of stackable industrial cafe chairs in a corner ready for the big family dinner…

    Yes, this room is a great advertisement for involving a design professional in an important project!

  • I’ve always talked about doing this if I ever had a formal living room or a dinning room (as long as it also had an eat in kitchen) in a house. My husband is a PhD so you can imagine the amount of books we own :)

  • Looks great! I’d love to be able to collect all my books in to one space like this instead of having them fragmented around the house. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by a wall of books!

  • I have always thought painting walls black had the tendency of making a space cave-like but in this case it does the complete opposite. Here the before looks small and cave-like and the after feels open and airy. Plus a library ladder has been on my “One Day” list since I was a kid.

    Great job!

  • This is an amazing transformation! The room looks bigger and brighter with the wood floors and black walls! I love the wallpapered ceiling as i didn’t even notice that detail before. Stunning! I am sharing this with my in-laws to show them how much more usable their dining room could be if they just got rid of the large table as the centerpiece!

  • how insane that the room looks 10 times larger with that dark of a color…very inspiring use of space…thanks SOOO much for sharing!

  • fantastic! dining area was so boring, I agree best ‘after’ I’ve seen in awhile. DH should be proud :)) bookcases/wall look so good, even look recessed. ♥

  • Kelly–map us from the Future Mapping Company–futuremaps.co.uk
    Kally–give us time! We’ll get more books. :)

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