before and after

before & after: dining room transformation

by Kate Pruitt

It’s only May, but lately I’ve been gravitating toward oceany colors in anticipation of the warm summer months when all I want to do is dive into water: pools, lakes, oceans, showers — anything cool and refreshing. I’ve never gone so far as to bedeck a whole room in blue hues, but I’m loving this dining room palette so much that I might have to consider going blue this summer. The painted walls make the darkness in the “after” room feel elegant and dramatic, not drab, as in the “before” image. I also love the jolt of energy provided by the bright aqua chairs and lime green doors. Chelsey made many wise decisions in this room besides the color palette: The built-in provides tons of beautiful storage, the chevron window seat is a great addition of pattern and the decorative molding provides added interest and sophistication to the walls. Nicely done, Chelsey! — 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 the full post after the jump . . .

Time: about 4 months (working approx. 5–10 hrs/week)

Cost: $5000 (for all custom woodwork throughout the house, including the bookshelf) and $300 (paint, wood, fabric, and floor work in dining room)

Basic Steps: The dining room involved patching, caulking, and painting the ceiling and walls. Then we installed the picture rail, added molding and wood to the lower portion of the walls, and caulked and painted them. The paint on the ceiling is Behr Skyline Steel; Behr Silver Hill for the walls. All furniture was thrifted except for kid chairs, which are from Ikea.

If I can do it, you can too! My advice is to not let yourself get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Just do a little bit whenever you get a chance, and eventually you’ll get ‘er done! — Chelsey

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  • This is such a genius mix of architectural details colors! Love how the scale of the bookcase and wall molding makes the room feel so much more grand. And the contrast of the green door and turquoise chair set against that deep blue wall? Crazy awesome. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • OH MY GOSH!!!! Utterly amazing and totally beautiful!!!!!! The colour scheme is to die for!!!!!!

  • this is amazing beyond words! you cant even tell that it’s the same room… completely and fantastically unrecognizable! i love the bold color choices and the addition of the book shelves was SPOT ON! such great choices!

  • Amazing! Love that they kept the light fixture. It was an eyesore in the old room but is an elegant compliment to the renovation.

  • I’m so glad to see that NO ONE liked the before better. Thank you for the nice compliments, everyone!

    And Amanda, I did originally have plans to change the light fixture, but after I painted the walls, the bronze finish on it looked so nice against the blue, I kept it.

  • Please tell me about the floors…. I adore! And want to do them in my kitchen? Did you do them yourself?

  • Wow, this is really fabulous and unique. And it goes to show how embracing a dark room by using darker, dramatic paint works so much better than trying to “brighten” it by using lighter colors, which just look washed out and awful. This went from a depressingly blah room to something striking and lovely with oodles of personality. Great job!

  • are the floors tile?????? if so what brand? i am OBSESSED with them! please tell me how to diy them! :)

  • LOVE IT! The colors, the built in shelves and window seat. It give me inspiration and motivation to keep working on my project! Thanks!

  • The floor is genius, and a terrific inspiration for anyone who wants something great that doesn’t break the bank!

  • wow, i think this is one of the first before/afters where everyone just loves it! and I’m included in that. the green doors are such a bold choice, but they totally work! nicely done!

  • Thanks everyone!
    @Amy & Aly — the floors are stock colors of vinyl tile from Lowes. Totally easy to DIY.
    @Carolyn — we actually got the Eames knock-off chairs for free from an old church. Some of them were already painted (and they are knock-offs), so I had no qualms about painting them :). I just painted the kids’ Ikea chairs the same color to match.

  • Stunning!! I love everything about this room! I especially love the bookshelves/window seat idea! The colors are so perfect. I want to see more rooms :) (you could make a tv show out of that!!) Well done.

  • OMG!It’s gorgeous!You are a genius at colours!The mix of colour is totally fantastic!The chairs is my favourite!What a great colour!

  • I’m sorry but I’m not feeling this at all. Best part for me is the storage shelving surrounding the picture window. The rest is not to my liking, Feels a little try-hard. Sorry.

  • personally, i think the room is a tiny bit dark for me, i think a more warm colour scheme would have been nicer :) but beautiful transformation, regardless!

  • Wow, this is the most utterly amazing room. I love the color contrast and molding. I love everything!

  • You did a wonderful job here (I especially like the shelves). But I am devoted to the before (minus the carpet). There are few things I love more than vintage wallpaper. And those door casings are SO GORGEOUS (I’m so glad you kept them!).

  • Beautiful transformation from old and tired to crisp and fresh. The lime doors are such a cool touch. And…….is it just me, or does leaving a negative comment seem a little off? Why bother? If I see something that’s not exactly my taste, I would never consider taking the time and effort to share that and maybe hurt someone’s feelings. I’m no Pollyanna, but if you can’t say something nice, zip it. It’s not as though most people are asking for advice, just sharing.

  • Do I know you Mrs. C ? ;) Misfit, I’m a fan of vintage wallpaper myself, and there was some really cool stuff in the house (especially upstairs), but none of it was salvageable anywhere. It was all in really bad shape :(.

    Also, someone alerted me to the fact that I forgot to list the door color. It’s Behr Japanese Fern.

    Thank you, everyone else!

  • Love this! Really gorgeous colors at work here, and the built-ins are brilliant. Well done!

  • Can you say what size this room was? The layout looks similar to a room in my home, and I’m wondering if the built-in bookcase would work there. Incredible transformation, I love every inch!!

  • Love the window seat and really like the look of the old fans in the cubbyholes above the window

  • The woodworking seems to be lacking in proportion to me. Wainscoting is too high, lightswitches akwardly placed on top of it. The built ins are 2 inches from the window on one side and farther from the window on the other side. And the top shelf of the built-in isn’t aligned with the upper wall trim. The quality of the wood on the wall “wainscoting” is a little rough, and the grain shows through the paint — it could have used a better treatment prior to finishing paint. The overall look is contemporary and put together, but these details are distractions for me.

  • I can’t believe it’s the same room – would love to be that brave with colour! Really gorgeous for DIY!

  • This is such beautiful inspiration for me, as I’m anticipating moving into a historic home… which have great bones but not always the best decorating decisions from previous owners! The molding, built-in with bench, and vinyl (not to mention the fabulous color scheme) are so creative. I love that the original light was kept, because I can’t see myself getting rid of those kind of historic items and it’s nice to see how someone used theirs. I love it all and am bookmarking this one for sure!

  • Talk about someone who had a vision and went for it! Love the moulding. As for the colors, I am always nervous of going bold but it works here.

  • I’m always just a little jealous of those with an eye (and courage) for this kind of thing. (And I’m an art major for crying out loud). Such an awesome re-do! And I vow to be more courageous with color/furniture pairings!

    AND I’m having kittens just knowing there is someone else out there who went for a picture-railing. I’ve always wanted those in my home!

    Thank you for sharing. And p.s. love the wedding pictures…that building looks familiar ;)

  • I’m glad they decided to keep the chandelier. It was the only part of the original room that I liked.