powered by
Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Dining room and what? A conversation area?

karensuroJanuary 3, 2013
Ok; y'all are amazing, so I'm going to see if I can get some help. After 5 years in this house, I finally came up with a plan for this weird floor plan. Now I need help accessorizing. I know one part if the room is a formal dining room. The other part is too small to be a living room; I guess it's a reading corner, so that's what I made it. I just ordered a circular table (diameter 31") and a tall (36") lamp for between the chairs. I'm looking for all kinds of ideas ... Art, paint, lighting, tablescapes, inundate me with your brilliant ideas!
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I'd place the secretary-desk in another spot. Perhaps catty corner to the left of the large mirror. Try to modernize & brighten this piece by keeping doors open, staging shelves with interesting light colored objects and adding a chair. If there is not room for the open doors at least add a large tassel. (photos)
Kathleen Burke Design · More Info
My dining room · More Info
Kathy Bloodworth · More Info

Room suffers from too much brown furniture syndrome. I cannot see large hutch very well, but I might be inclined to paint it. Have professionally painted or at least cut foam board for back of shelves & paint same as wall. On top of hutch, a few wicket baskets & pottery. Photos
Huestis Tucker Architects, LLC · More Info
Rustic Dining Room · More Info

I don't think I'd add more wall art etc. Less is more.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
the essentials inside
Hi karensuro! Happy New Year!

I have a few questions --

I think you have the table placed where it is b/c of chandelier - am I right? Not considering the chandelier placement, is there room to change the position of the table and move the china hutch into the dining room space?

Do you need that space for "living" areas or can you make the whole space into a dining room by buying a bigger table?

Is that your front door in the picture?

What is to the left of the dining room - is that the kitchen? It looks like there is no wall there, just columns. Is that right? Can you take a picture of that?

Can you also take a picture with your back to the brown (front?) door looking straight in?

Hope you don't mind all the questions. :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nancy Hehmann
I love, love your house. You have done a great job with it. Just noticed your secretary. I have similar one!

Depending on your budget you might check out the Park West website for art. They have a presence on most of the cruise lines too with art shows - so you can have a fun time. If you purchase a limited edition print or originial of a famous artist it may go up in value.

For less expensive art, look on Etsy.com. There are artisans and craftsman from all over the US, Canada and world really. Just input what you would like into the search engine such as photography and a theme or painting. They have other unique home decor items too and you can discuss your purchase with each virtual shop owner. I have a photography shop, nancyhehmann on Etsy.

You might also want to look in antique shops for items for decor such as silver candlestick holders. There are also now a lot of online antique auctions -just google. Usually if you are careful, an antique may go up in value or you can sell it sometimes for what you paid or it might become an heirloom. You may not want a whole house full but sometimes a few are nice.

If you need a colorful vase, go to Blenko's website. They hand blow glass and it is probable one of the few in the US if any others exist. I have something from the 70's. It too could be come a heirloom.

Have fun! And a Happy New Year! So much better to buy objects that are not mass produced and are uniquely right for your wonderful home.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olldj22 has addressed perfectly the issue with your tall pieces and the monochromatic look.


Your lighting is a little contemporary for your furniture. Also, both are hung too high.

If you are putting a lamp in the alcove, do you want a chandy hanging directly above it?

I like x stools, but not there.

Hang mirror horizontally not vertically.

Sixth dining chair?

Remove table runner.

Different centerpiece.

Look at the Montana table setting.

I am guessing from the picture that your chairs are brown. Match the dark brown and paint above the chair rail, maybe BM Van Buren and your trim a clean white, BM Simply White. You have all that nice woodwork and the plantation shutters and neither gets a chance to shine.

All of that said, your have a great area with which to work. :>)
Favorite Dining Room · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olldj22, Thanks for your comments. I mentioned that I waited 5 years to do something with this area. That means it's all new furniture. My husband would have my head if I suggested painting the china cabinet. I do love the idea of painting the foam board and putting it on the inside wall of the cabinet. Thanks for sharing. I think I need something to the left of the china cabinet and a piece of art over the china cabinet . . . attaching better pictures. Ugh! I'm having trouble attaching pictures - not sure if this will work
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 5:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hmm . . . looks like it did work. Here are the other two pictures:
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 5:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I would try the china cabinet where the mirror is now. I would move the secretary out of the room. It doesn't go with the window. It is a nice space to work with.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Oh, olldj22, if I move the antique secretary, what would I do with the space then? And, by the way, I also have a small chair on order to place next to the secretary. And I don't want Brown Furniture Syndrome; I'm trying to throw some red in there to brighten it a bit. Here's the last picture (for some reason, I can only attach one picture at a time tonight).
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Looks to me like your oval table is dying to tuck into the bay so you can get on with making a living area out of the dining space. Switch out the chandys and lower the one over the table to about 36" or less.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
the essentials inside
Hi Karen! You really do have a beautiful space & the furniture is lovely. As you can tell by how many design dilemmas there are, getting the furniture placement just right can be very challenging. Also -- thanks for the additional pictures. That gives me, at least, a better sense of the room.

I have a few more questions/ideas:

Is the lighting new too or can you change that out?

If you can move/change the lighting, I'd try to fill the space up more w/the dining table. Do you have a leaf that you could leave in?

You might think about moving the china cabinet to the left, closer to the small window.

Can you also try putting the chairs in the nook directly facing each other?

Are you interested in add'l window treatments for the nook area?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Judyg, Thanks for your comments. I hate that lighting! I definitely want to replace that lighting. As for the chairs - I was walking through a store one day, and I just HAD to have chairs with that fabric. I loved the fabric and ordered the chairs on a whim - never thinking about how I was going to work around that fabric. The chairs are BLACK with gold pattern. That's why I went with the gold chairs in the alcove. When those chairs were delivered, I realize how dark the room is, and try to counter that with the splashes of red. For now, I will be on the lookout for new lighting (any suggestions?) and art for over the china cabinet. I found a large piece 31" wide X 36" tall that I am thinking about getting and placing on top of the china cabinet and leaning against the wall. My husband thought we would need to remove the light fixture in the alcove once the lamp gets delivered. The sixth dining chair has been replaced (oops!) Thanks for the advice and the picture; I like that paint color. Let me know your thoughts about the light fixture for over the dining table.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I thought it took you 5 years oi arrange the "reading" nook. I can't see hutch very well & did not know it was new. My apologies. It looks like a lovely piece. If you moved the secretary desk, you could have 3 vertical arts on that wall or 3 plates. photo
Tahoe Ridge House · More Info

Mirrors cut to fit behind the hutch shelves might brighten.
Transitional Dining Room · More Info

I have plantation shutters, too, & although I like them very much...sometimes they look a bit up-tight & stiff. So I often open a few. photos
Vinings Residence- Living Room Alternate Angle Two · More Info
Tyler Karu Ready · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ha! No offense taken! When we bought this house (5 years ago), I had no idea how hard it would be to furnish that area. The house always seems dark, so the shutters are open all the time (but these pictures were taken at night). But I never open them the way they are opened in that Vinings Residence picture you posted - I love that, and I will be doing that for sure! All the furniture (except the secretary) is new. I do see your point about painted foam board or mirrors on the back wall of the hutch. I can definitely try that without fear of hubby thinking I have lost my mind! I very much appreciate your thoughts and ideas. Thanks!!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
If you do keep the reading area there is there space to get a round rug in the bay? I can't tell from the photos but that would be a way to get colour in there.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Anthip: Yes, I can get a rug - the store advised that I put a large rectangular rug there . . . in BLACK! Then I wondered . . . do I also put a rug under the dining room table? Would it "have to" be the same rug/pattern that I put in under those chairs? My head is spinning!
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lyvonne, I am attaching a panoramic picture - does this help you get a better sense of the layout? i am definitely NOT attached to the lighting. I feel like they contribute to the dark feeling, and I must replace them. The entry way is to the left of the dining room (where the columns are. The double doors lead to the kitchen. I can't buy a bigger table because this one is new, and I keep the two leaves in it. I don't think I want additional window treatments, but I can try moving the chairs to see what that looks like. Keep in mind, though, that I have a round table and a lamp on order to put between those chairs. What are your thoughts about a rug for under those chairs? What color would you suggest?
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I wouldn't put a black rug there personally. I think it would suck all the light out of that corner. I know you've gone with red as an accent but would you consider swapping to a softer blue, green or a teal or something? I just think red can also suck quite a lot of light out of a space.

Oakley Home Builders · More Info

Dark Olive Green Round Rug · More Info

Round Rugs · More Info
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
the essentials inside
Thanks Karen for the panaromic. It does give me a great sense of the space. LOVE the entry. Your house is just beautiful.

I'll photoshop some different lighting choices into the room. I'm going to try to call lessismoore into this thread. She could probably photoshop different rugs into the nook for you - she's really good at it.

I'll be back!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 11:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Wow! That would be great! Thanks so much!!!
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 11:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ok first your chairs are perfect they are dramatic and gorgeous. If you have the cash on hand change out lighting to more dramatic chandeliers with crystals and glass. Add track lighting from lowes over artwork.I would get rid on antique cabinet and maybe refinish it to a cream color or white. Its beautiful but if its over 100 years old then keep it in the family and dont touch it. But move it to another room. You want this dramatic room to be authentic chic. Add 1 large ornate oval mirror. Go to Zgallerie in your area and you will plenty of decor ideas. Have a heart monitor because when you walk in their showroom, you might have heart attack.Then to make your kids have a stroke get a 19" -32"flat screen tv with a ipad plugged into it. You can skype with any family members in another state or country while you sit at your beautiful new dining room table at thanksgiving, birthdays, christmas dinner,etc. Blow your teenagers away.
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 12:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi - I'm here now ;-) And thanks for the "call" Lyvonne! I'm so flattered. Any pix of rugs you'd like to to try and slide under there? Post here. Also if you have a pix of the lamp/table you've already purchased?

So, now that I'm looking ... It appears that your windows come down pretty low (making is daunting to put a piece of furniture in front of them). China cabinet is lovely. What about moving it to where the Mirror is now and moving the mirror over to where it was - with a "small" buffett beneath it? Or would it be too squished for seating?
I don't even understand why they would stick that nook there. Maybe a afternoon "tea" spot? Or the lounge for a drink before dinner? Thinking again of the alcove, a small bar cart or tea cart near there (like where the secretary was) might further define the space use.
You have wonderful shutters (wish they were mine), but in the alcove I would want them bracketed with some patterned drapes. Not sure about adding red to "lighten" up the space. The think with red, is if you wanted to do some tone on tone, you end up with pink. You might find more flexibility with a cooler accent tone. Right now, everything except your lighting is in a warm tone. Of course, with a night time photo under home lighting ... even a blue room might look warm!
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 1:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lessismoore, Thanks for looking at this! anthip suggested a blue that I actually like. Fortunately, I kept the price tags on my pottery, so I can take them back. If you'll look back five posts at the dark olive green round rug and the chairs in the picture next to it, I think those blue colors would be nice. I like the rug anthip selected . . . not sure if it should be round though; my store told me to find a black rectangular rug. here are pics of the lamp (7.5" w x 34.5" h x 7.5" d) and table (28" d x 29" h) - tell me that they're beautiful and will work perfectly in the space because they are on order, and I can't cancel the order.
The dining area is pretty squished. I can get someone out to move the hanging light (when I REPLACE it); that will give me a little more room, but not enough room to put the china cabinet there. Also, the cabinet would hide the chair rail (and there is no chair rail where the china cabinet is now). Great idea about the tea cart - I'll look into that one. You're right about the windows - I never realized that (I definitely do NOT have an eye for decorating). I'm going to see if I can find rugs to post. Thanks for your excellent ideas!
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 2:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Those pics didn't turn out right; here they are from the website:
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
And here are two sample rugs - one black and the other blue. Not even sure if the style is right . . .
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
the essentials inside
Yay! lessismoore, you made it! That's awesome, thank you!

I'll be back later tonight. Gotta get dogs walked and dd to bed first. :)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 3:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi working on it now - hope to have something in a 1 hour or 2
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 3:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hi - Days later (I too had to walk the dogs) here is a something. Tried the blue rug first in the round. Added the drapes I talked about and a rough tea cart. If you do decide you want a tea/bar cart, I would lighten things up by getting something with metal and glass vs. wood. The lamp you chose is beautiful. I just don't know if I really have the "scale" on it and the table right - It seems like too much lamp for the table, especially if you would be serving anything there. I'll try one of the other rugs later or if you want a move around, just let me know. I like the drapes - they are are pale aqua with a bronze design. But a pale gold with a black pattern might look great too, especially as you love the chairs in the dinette.
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 7:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
the essentials inside
lessismoore - you are so amazing!! Love the tea cart idea. Someone else does too - I just came across this pic ...

Newcastle Dining Room · More Info

Karen - I did a little photoshopping for you too (pics attached) but I'm nowhere near as good as lessismoore. I'm also looking for a nice orb shaped chandelier - the shape looks good over your table too but haven't found a great one yet.

I can see the room going 2 ways. 1st - you move the dining table more to the middle of the room & move the china cabinet to where the mirror is. Obviously to do that you'd have to extend the chair rail on the wall but I think that's a good idea anyway if it fits in your budget. Then you can add the mirror and some great art to that wall. I'm going to try to play that scenario out in photoshop (though I may have to sweet talk lessismoore into helping me a little ;) ) Any chance you know the dimensions of your room and the table & china cabinet?

2nd - you turn the table sideways (if that's possible) and create 2 spaces in the room - 1 dining & 1 living. You could add a small couch opposite the chairs. Don't know if hubby would go for that though.

Hope some of this helps a little. I'll drop back by tomorrow.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I like the idea of a rug there. It will be really low traffic. You might be able to have something white-ish cut hexagonal (or whatever) shape and trimmed with a contrasting (or contrasting-ish) colour.
    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 9:17PM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Need help with this living room/dining room/ reading area
Any ideas of what I can do to finish these rooms and...
Wall colors?
Two adjoining rooms. Same dark mahogany floor. Room...
Cheryl Roach
Dining room to home office conversion DILEMMA!!!!
I am in the beginning stages of my home office conversion...
Jenni Lehman
Sconces for conversation area
We have an open room that is more of a walk way to...
Suggestions for creating "breakfast nook"/ cosy conversation area?
Would like to create a "breakfast nook" in year-round...
More Discussions
Help decorating small dining room
My dining room has a entranceway from the kitchen (on...
Bookshelf nightmare!
This built in was here when we bought the house years...
"Settling" on a table?
We recently downsized and so only have 1 eating area...
New piano!
I just bought a piano. Still trying to get this room...
Historic home kitchen remodel help
The original floor plan of this area was 3 separate...
Sponsored Products
Hand-tufted Modern Waves Grey Rug (5'0 x 7'6")
AFG Baby Leila Crib & Changer Set in Espresso
Beyond Stores
Bimbi Palio Linear Suspension by Oggetti Luce
$592.00 | Lumens
Expression Beige Wallpaper R1392, sample
Walls Republic
'Love You to the Moon' Wood Wall Sign
$7.99 | zulily
Regal Jailhouse 26 in. Swivel Metal Counter Stool with Upholstered Seat - 3509U-
$275.99 | Hayneedle
Canton Jar Table Lamp
Honeycomb Giclee Glow Bronze Club Floor Lamp
Lamps Plus
The content on this page is provided by Houzz and is subject to the Houzz terms of use, copyright and privacy policy.
Copyright claims: contact the Houzz designated agent.