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January 20, 2013 in Design Dilemma
My newly updated dining room missed the mark. I was going for updated traditional. I don't like serious or fussy but ended up with Grandma's dining room. Ugh! ( no offense to Grandma :-) ) I like the table, three gold mirrors and shelve. Future plans will be to install Brazilian cherry floors but in the meantime, I'd like to enjoy the look of the room. The room size is 12 x 11 and gets very little natural light. I'm not sure what to hang on empty wall. I'm open to all ideas and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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It lacks pizazz. First I would update the light fixture. Maybe with a drum chandelier. Next I would take out the rocking chair, curio cabinet and cuckoo clock if you are looking for a younger fresh look.
January 20, 2013 at 8:02am     
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Put in a more modern chandelier (try y lighting); remove the small shelf below pictures; put in larger framed pieces instead of those 3 smaller ones and lose the peacock feathers. Could add larger more interesting pieces in each spot - maybe larger blue/white items similar to what is on your shelf?
January 20, 2013 at 8:03am     
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Not an expert but I feel you used to many "antique" elements. The chandelier is nostalgic and nice but with the paisley chairs, the china cabinet and a few other things, it becomes more "grandmothery."
January 20, 2013 at 8:04am     
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I think what dates it is the armoire and the chandelier. That should be an easy fix.
January 20, 2013 at 8:05am   
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I agree with all the above comments. Additionally the fabric on the chairs could be changed. I would go with something lighter and less patterned. If you like blue and white, that could really brighten up the room, look for something sophisticated and simple but striking, a stripe maybe.
January 20, 2013 at 8:14am     
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Thanks for suggestions. I really don't like the heavy gold/beige silk drapes so any ideas on what to replace them with? Also, what would take the place of curio and rocking chair?
January 20, 2013 at 8:16am   
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I agree, updating the light fixture to something more contemporary and maybe sparkly will
make a big change. I'd also consider a large contemporary rug to ground your table, a lg piece of art on that wall vs. the three small ones. Changing the chair seat fabric is always a winner for an updated look, something w a big pattern and contrast. And maybe lose at least one of the peacock feather arrangements or combine all the feathers in one larger more contemporary vase?
Good luck. Daphnee, Daphnee Weaver Design
January 20, 2013 at 8:22am     
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Hi, What colors make you feel good?
January 20, 2013 at 8:23am   
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Great comments above. I am of the "less is more camp", so the less little things, the better. Love the round table, but how about roatating your chairs so they line up as an "x" rather than a "t" in the picture?
streamlined "nonpuddling" panels that compliment chairs and artwork colors would be great.
January 20, 2013 at 8:24am     
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The vases on the bookcases detract, just remove. The dining room should invite you in. The vases interupt that.
January 20, 2013 at 8:26am     
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Oh and you could paint a slightly darker color under your chair rail to add more color and interest. Lots of easy fun fixes.
January 20, 2013 at 8:27am   
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Nancy Hehmann
Roman shades instead of the current blinds would be a great improvement. Also, I would at newer homes and put in columns that are more current looking and remove the bookcases.
January 20, 2013 at 8:33am   
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Here's an update for the chandy in two price ranges. I think you need to lose the curio cabinet, clock, shelf and mirrors. Mirrors should reflect something beautiful or interesting and the other wall is not either of these. Once you have a "blingy" chandy, you might have something beautiful that is worth reflecting, but your room is too small for three mirrors. One nice large mirror would be better. Don't feel compelled to fill the walls. The eye needs a place to rest, especially in a dining room when there will be so much to see on the table when you're dining. Don't forget that the "see-through" walls allow a view of all that is happening in the other room too. Keep the dining room calm, simple and pretty. The shelf is too small, too dark and too useless. If you need a buffet, try a floating one. It will keep your floor space clear to give the impression of more space but will be useful for decor and as a server. Try something lower, wide and airy for an arrangement in the two openings. You can search floral arrangements in the box above, take a favorite pic to a Michael's or Hobby Lobby or a florist who has better quality silks and have it duplicated. Or check out the how-to here and reproduce it yourself.
Organza Shade & Crystal Chandelier - Round
John-Richard Collection
West Chelsea Loft
Piedmont Perfect
A.P. House
Zuniga Interiors
January 20, 2013 at 8:39am     
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Hi. I think you're off to a really great start. I agree with the above comment concerning the clock, curio cabinet, rocking chair, light fixture, etc. I would also change out the cut glass center piece for something with a more more contemporary feel.....like some sort of statuary (even something with a classical nod...Greek, Roman, etc.) or other more sleek candle arrangement. (I don't think with the furniture that you want to go TOO contempo though.) I absolutely love cut glass, but something about it always does seem to scream 'Grandma'. More importantly though, I would keep the curtains you have as they work well and add nice texture (and I like the tone on tone stripe), BUT if it were me, I'd change out the rod for something much more substantial....meaning a rod that's much thicker/heavier/darker/larger in diameter than the one there now. You may have to hang the rod a bit higher than the one shown, OR re-hem the curtains so they don't drag or 'break' at the bottom as they do now...IMHO the curtain length should either be sleeker by just touching/skimming the floor, OR should be longer so they truly puddle. As they are now they do look a little flouncy and help add to the 'Grandma' look. Another idea is to (and you can find directions to build one yourself if on a tight budget) have a cornice over the curtain rod/hardware...you could have it dark wood to match the table/chairs OR have it upholstered or covered in the same fabric as the chair cushions...that would bring the table/chair style/color elements to the window area. That may be a little too 'macthie-matchie' though especially if you're going for a slightly more contemporary feel. Of course if you have the $$ and the inclination, you can always entirely ditch the curtains and go for Plantation shutters...which are (I just happily discovered after having them hung in my family room) considered more of an architectural element/detail. (who knew?) Anyway, good luck and enjoy, and thanks for letting me share my thoughts!
January 20, 2013 at 8:50am     
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I found *some elements* (i.e., NOT the swag) of this photo inspirational for your room.

Flip through several pages of these search results (link below) to get ideas of how to handle your walls in this room. Notice the size of artwork/decor pieces and how windows similar to yours are treated: http://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional/dining/art-
January 20, 2013 at 9:23am     
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Change the light fixture to a more updated one. Remove the curio and rocking chair; that's what makes it feels like Grandma's dining room. Paint the walls under the chair rails a slightly darker color to add interest, change out the curtains to something with more color (to compliment the fabric on the chairs), and add some colorful artwork. The bones of the room are very good, just add some accent pieces!
January 20, 2013 at 9:36am     
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I would use drapes with a pop of color; maybe something with a little red-the same tone as the fabric of the chairs. It doesn't have to be too busy, maybe a stripe, or something with a striped edge; especially if you are cautious about color. White would keep it boring. My house is off white with cream furniture, but I have pops of color with my artwork and accessories.
January 20, 2013 at 9:46am   
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Simple fixes that have been mentioned by the above posters. Can you post new photos with your changes so far?
January 20, 2013 at 9:49am     
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I love your draperies! Keep them like the other poster said and just have them hemmed up to give a more contemporary feel. The fabric on the chairs screams grandma so I would start there. If a new chandelier isn't in the budget consider painting it white or a knock out color that's in the new fabric. Also agree with other poster about getting rid of blinds and putting roman shades or woven woods to keep it updated. And removing the other items as suggested.
January 20, 2013 at 9:49am   
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Instead of black/white, what about something with red/green, red/blue (if you keep the chair fabric the same, choose something with red) or chocolate brown. Don't decide before you look. Take a stroll through Home Goods, JCPenney, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, or any department stores in your area. Go with what catches your eye! Now is a good time, because they may be on sale!
January 20, 2013 at 9:55am     
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In addition to the excellent advice, I would consider removing the chair rail , I think that"s another element not needed in the room.
January 20, 2013 at 9:57am   
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Blinds Direct Canada
A silhouette type blind would really soften up the look and make it look alot more formal for the dining room.
January 20, 2013 at 10:40am     
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Instead of changing out a perfectly good chandelier for a trendy one (I confess I don't like drum shades), find some darling shades for that existing chandelier. Make them crazy cute. Also, notice that you have the strong impulse to go symmetrical. This is the first thing I notices with the placement of vases on your bookcases. Go asymmetrical for a lively and modern look. The X recommended above for the chairs, while symmetrical, works to break up the symmetry you already have going. The clock, rocking chair and curio cabinet filled with fussy stuff (I can't see it but the arrangement looks fussy, not modern) all scream grandma. What would anyone do rocking in the corner while people eat. It makes me think of a scary movie. LOL. Please, I am not criticizing you. Why have a shelf above a chair rail with three symmetrical mirrors above. Placement is the strongest signal in this room. Leave the chair rail alone. You like traditional and it is traditional. Study Asian flower arrangements in pictures and try to internalize that perspective. I used to have a picture resting on my fireplace mantel off center. My cleaning person would always center it when she dusted. I never said anything, just moved it back after she centered it.

Your chair fabric is fine. I wouldn't change that first. In fact, I wouldn't change anything installed until I had removed all the symmetrical stuff in the room.

I was looking for a diamond design, but found these shades instead. Zebra is trendy, but you like black and white. Get some shades your grandma would have screamed 'no' to.

In fact, use that standard for anything you chose although your grandma might have been very avant garde for all I know.


Also, how about a sideboard in a wonderful color? Get an inexpensive one off Craigslist and paint it a wonderful color. That screams modern and up to date. Grandma would never have done that.
January 20, 2013 at 10:47am     
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I now realized I used the dining room as my " catch all" room. I really like your idea about painting a sideboard a fab color! And thanks for pointing out I have things symmetrical. I recently redid my family room fireplace and really liked the final product. As you can tell, I live in a typical 1970"s house. I whitewashed the orange brick and have black accent pieces on the white mantel. I ended up with the exact look I was going for. I'm still not sure about the existing drapes.
January 20, 2013 at 1:12pm   
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I think you can make the drapes work once you have fixed other issues. You may not choose to keep them, but that is an expense you don't need to address right away. As someone else said, maybe updated shades under the drapes would do more than new drapes and a new, more interesting rod. Sounds like you had the right idea in your family room and just got overwhelmed when you moved to the next room which is completely easy to do. Post pictures of the area that came out the way you liked. This will give others a better idea of your taste than this room.
January 20, 2013 at 1:30pm   
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Lauren Early
I actually think the chandelier could work-maybe add black or natural fiber shades, and as long as you remove the cabinet, clock and small shelf under the mirrors- all of those items together creates a dated look. Try to use the pieces in other areas of the home. Also, I agree with arranging the chairs as an 'x' to give it a more modern look. If you like blue and white, how about a large blue/white ikat fabric on the chairs (easy and inexpensive to recover) and maybe a stripe or smaller scale geometric that does not fight with the chair pattern...
January 20, 2013 at 1:39pm   
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I would remove the rocking chair! It only adds to the grandma vibe. If its special to you, find another place for it to sit.
Also, remove the two peacock arrangements and do something low and rectangular. Possibly ceramic planters in a pretty color with succulent plants. Today's fake succulents from Michaels or Hobby Lobby look pretty realistic if you don't like upkeep.
January 20, 2013 at 1:48pm   
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I would suggest removing the items you talked about and changing the chair positions as discussed. I would add a shallow depth buffet on the wall with the three mirrors. Replace the mirrors with one large mirror. Keep the drapes but hem and add a wide strip of black to both on the inside edge. Change out the shades to a darker shade. If you can't replace the light add black or fun fabric shades. I love the large vase on the floor and would keep it and incorporate if possible. Replace the vases that have the feathers with rectangular contains with low growing plants or decorative rocks with low candles. Keep the fabric on the chairs till you have the other elements before deciding to change or not, it is nice looking. If you keep the red add red accents on the buffet. I also agree that the center piece misses the mark.
January 20, 2013 at 2:15pm   
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I would suggest removing the items you talked about and changing the chair positions as discussed. I would add a shallow depth buffet on the wall with the three mirrors. Replace the mirrors with one large mirror. Keep the drapes but hem and add a wide strip of black to both on the inside edge. Change out the shades to a darker shade. If you can't replace the light add black or fun fabric shades. I love the large vase on the floor and would keep it and incorporate if possible. Replace the vases that have the feathers with rectangular contains with low growing plants or decorative rocks with low candles. Keep the fabric on the chairs till you have the other elements before deciding to change or not, it is nice looking. If you keep the red add red accents on the buffet. I also agree that the center piece misses the mark.
January 20, 2013 at 2:16pm     
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Sorry. That was a server error. I did not mean to post twice.
January 20, 2013 at 2:17pm   
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I agree with most of the comments above. It is difficult to suggest colors without a vision of the rooms joining this one. My first thought is to find a large painting with soft neutral tones to replace the mirrors something that does not overpower the room,: however, you can still use the mirrors on one of the other walls maybe in a triangular design. I would consider rubbing them with a black paint leaving only slight hints of the gold. A darker shade in the stone color on your wall would allow more texture to be used in your room. If you don't like the drapes why not jut remove them for now unless there is a privacy issue to deal with. Finish it off with a beautiful clear/crystal vase filled with your favorite flowers for the table or keep it green either way it will be beautiful. Happy dining!
January 20, 2013 at 2:25pm   
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i love the lite fixtures suggested by decoenthusiast. you really have to ditch that chandleier. get a dimmer switch too. Dont toss the curtains until you switch the lite. Are they silk? Lined? also I agree they need a substantial rod and hang higher but they do need to puddle on floor a little. a leopard fabric might be cool on the chairs, and yes a sideboard with one big piece of art or mirror and not those little ones and shelf goo. lose peacock feathers asap. lose curio etc. also put real books into the bookcases that face into the room. its the first thing my eye went to. Also I am seeing some blue stuff in the shelves which is also throwing it off. also lose big red vase in corner. your rooms need to visually flow into each other, so pick a palette and stay with it.
January 20, 2013 at 2:52pm   
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Virginia Harrington
I am guessing what i will suggest has already been said but haven't gone throught the posts but I would - remove the display stand on the right, remove the ornaments on the floor and on the ledges, move the mirrors to the other wall which is smaller and they will have more of a punch. Buy a fab large picture for the wall on the left - something simple but with a stong colour element. Put a slimline sideboard for under the picture - make sure it is the same width or bigger then the width of the picture remove. Change the fabric on the chairs to a plain colour .Put a large rug under the table to tie in with the colour on the chairs . I would take off the blinds on the window and put in roman blinds - and change the curtains to a heavier fabric or interlined and a richer colour - However this cutains look new ! so maybe some nice tie backs and if you can get them ineterlined they will fall very well. If you arenot changing the curatins the roman blinds should be in a richer colour to give a bit more "oomph"- I would embrace the fact that the room does not get much light and put a darker colour on the walls -.The colour will b eentirely dependant on wherth you change the curatins or not. You will need lamps on the sideboard - something simple on each end - if you want on ornament on it something like a v stylish bowl but thats all. I also would be tempted to put in two very narrow simple book cases on each side of the window - it would be in the same wood/finish as the side board but not from the same line - you dont want it too matchy - you dont have to put in books into them - in fact they may make things too fussy. - Some simple ornaments, some photos. The chandlier does not have to be changed if you get some cool shades for it - if you get a modern streamlined sideboard and book case I woudl change the chandlier - but really there is no reason why you couldn't do the above with a more classic look and then the chandliers just need the shades. enjoy.. sorry about what are probably many
January 20, 2013 at 3:09pm   
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my first reaction on outdated grandma stuff:
1.- the curio cabinet on the corner. lose it. there is no saving that thing unless you paint it white or red and put it in the bathroom with towels and necessities.
2.- chandelier. you want some character in there.
3.- wall color screams old. instant update: paint bottom white or black. tone down the beige with an off white, or go all out on a dark color, you do not have a lot of light anyway. a lovely dark green like emerald, a polished black in glossy paint, a royal blue or even a purple. also a demure silver or even a metallic.
4.- lose the clock.it yells grandma.
5.- shelf is too narrow and too short. it would need to span the length of the 3 mirrors, which are nice
6.- rocking chair: find a different spot it is a great shape, just put of place there.
7.- I would do a zebra print on the chairs.
Good luck you are off to a good start and have great bones in the table shape and moldings.
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January 20, 2013 at 3:21pm   
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more images
January 20, 2013 at 3:23pm   
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I too have to say that a upgraded chandelier would help and also a different pattern for your seat covers and more contemporary light fixtures.
January 20, 2013 at 3:27pm   
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BRAVE to ask......first remove all the items that are accessories from the floor. remove the rooking chair...relocate the mirrors and clock......lose the shelf....and the glass vase on the table

Solution: use items that are stronger... and larger.....find a large piece of art for the left wall. and a live plant to the dining table...if you can paint the walls, but first pull the blinds up or remove them...and finding a light fixture that carries more wieght will be a good start
January 20, 2013 at 3:50pm     
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I think Gary said it really well!!! I would just add a long modern library type table for a buffet might be a good addition... Great for a bar.
January 20, 2013 at 6:24pm   
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Lose everything in the room but the table. Re-cover seats and paint walls a dark grey. Find more dramatic window treatments and a mod light fixture as a wow piece. That's it!!!!
January 20, 2013 at 6:41pm   
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I recently updated the fabric on my four dining room chairs with a large rectangular tablecloth from Target. The fabric is 100 % cotton and very durable. I used a geometric pattern and it looks great.
January 20, 2013 at 6:46pm     
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bubbs5, wow .....I thought I was direct
January 20, 2013 at 7:19pm     
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i like what gary suggested. Bigger and more dramatic, and its ok to paint walls in a dining room a sexy dark color, like eggplant on bottom or something. PP seem to like dining in a cozy room. You dont use for breakfast, right? also like the ceramic low planters with succulents very good. Bamboo shades you can pull about 3/4 of the way up or a quarter up always good. I do think the new light in there will be the game changer here. that pix marked new construction in someones photo looks good. Are drum shades done? I still like them....
January 20, 2013 at 7:40pm   
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I agree with you on your comment about the room. First remove the peacock feathers that lead into the room ( they are too distracting). next remove everything from the dining room except the cabinet and the table and chairs. Place the curio cabinet on the other side of the door where it is now (its too crowded where it is now with the curtains and window there. The curtains are very nice(I like them). Add a rug with colors that are in the chair cushion in a solid or block pattern. Add a nice table runner and a vase of flowers and a group of 2-3 candles or a small plant and candles to the table. Place two of the mirrors on either side of the window. Remove the third from the room. Add a big picture of abstract art or a big flower picture. Or a group of 2 to 3 similar pictures where the mirrors were. Add a snake plant on either side of the window below the mirrors.
January 20, 2013 at 7:41pm     
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Montgomery Communications
i have learned to go look at a person's Ideabook to see what TNEY like, first.
Lookee what I found


just do this!!

other input -- everytning is too small for the space. to help, i ADORE a skirted dining room table, it will have to look oppulent, but won' t have to cost a mint. you could use chambray, just don' skimp on the fullness.
a 'cheat' that desiners use is lots and lots and lots of tuile under the skirt. just like in real life, a full and bodied skirt needs a serious foundation.

slipcover the chairs, with skirts 2/3 the way down.

airy linen like curatains

larger imirrors, or at least maybe spaced furhter appart.

and that curio cabinet, well,......... er..... it is not enhancing the space, nor is the rocker.

agree with other comments that a buffet or console might be just the ticket.

have fun!!
January 20, 2013 at 7:45pm     
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Also, Layer on a rug with color that will be large enough for the chairs to scoot away from the table and not fall off the rug. Agree, take everything out of your space to start with. You need some jolts of color and sparkle. A buffet if there is room along the wall or a floating console. Add sconces on either side of the window, or large table lamps with colors on the buffet/console, mirror, and declutter. Large artwork on the other wall to balance the console and bring in your colors. A new chandelier with drama. The chair rail is asking for some help; add some moldings below the rail for some texture, or a wallpaper can work too. Textiles on the chair seats (recover) to bring in more color. Your paint colors are very neutral; you need some punch. Keep the look new and fresh. Good luck.
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January 21, 2013 at 6:38am   
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get grommets in the curtains. the fabric is nice, but if you decide to go with a different wall color you might need to change them. Lose the peacock feathers and knick knacks on the lower shelves. lower shelves only look good with books. Good luck. post pictures
January 21, 2013 at 7:29am     
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You have been told all the basics; remove this and that, do the other, but no one has mentioned the posts that divide the space. Cut them off then cap them. Easy update

The drapes are fine. Add roman shades under them to bring in more color: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/8147183/?catalogId=41&bnrid=3318529&cm_ven=Google_PLA&cm_cat=Rugs_Windows&cm_pla=By_Style&cm_ite=Cameron_Cordless_Roman_Shade_26_x_64%22_Cardinal_Red&adtype=pla
January 21, 2013 at 7:51am     
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JMittman Designs
In addition to the removal of the curio and clock, since you mentioned you don't like the draperies, I'd like to see a nice linen look panel banded on the lead edge with a fabric to coordinate with your chairs seats. The tone on tone, unstructured, puddled panels are too flouncy for this room. If you choose to keep them, I would have them hemmed to kiss the floor, which will allow them to dress a little better into folds instead of flares.
January 21, 2013 at 7:56am     
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I love your draperies, as you can see in my dining room below! My advice: remove clock, rocker, and cabinet. Find sconces for the rear wall (think candlelight). Add a stone planter/vase with greenery and color for your table. These are inexpensive quick fixes you can do today.
January 21, 2013 at 8:02am     
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Adding trim detail under the chair rail is a great way to add interest and depth to any room and is a relatively easy DIY project. Home Depot and Lowes have easy to install kits at reasonable prices or you can even choose your own trim and cut it on-site at Home Depot using their self-serve cutting area - I've done both with nothing more than online instructions and a few tools with fabulous results. Additionally, that type of detail will certainly give you the new traditional look you were shooting for and will remain fresh for a long time to come.

Along the same line, you'd be surprised how easy and inexpensive it would be to build up your existing columns with some 2x6's and some crown molding (all cut to size at the store). All you need is some paint, finishing nails, glue, caulk. Use google to find instructions.

I think new fabric on your chairs will also move you closer to your goal. Florals still work but in larger print and more background color visible. Or you can choose one of the many geometrics out there. Fabric.com is a good place to get designer-look fabric at an incredible price.

Once you've selected fabric, you'll know what to do with your drapes. As it stands they have a prominent position but do little to pop the room. As one poster suggested, you can add a strip of color or trim to the inside edges for an easy fix or you can get a coordinating fabric from Fabric.com (they have recommendations for must fabrics they sell) and make your own - you don't even need a sewing machine, just an iron, interfacing, and some iron-on hemming tape. Another option is bed bath and beyond. With their 20% coupons, you can get beautiful panels.

In terms of the chancy, if you don't want to change it out, you could paint it and add small drum shades or, if you want to add a touch of glam, you can search online for magnetic or tie on light "jewelry" to add some bling - though, having done this myself, I think I would have spent less in the end by just buying a new fixture.

Finally, your half-wall bookcases give you a lot of opportunity to tie your dining room to what appears to be your living room. Take a look at some Houzz photos for some ideas on how to make them work for you.
January 21, 2013 at 8:09am   
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Janelle H
I'm not a pro, but since I'm always on a tight budget I like to use what I have. If you are going to remove the chandelier anyway, you could try spray painting it a fun color (red? yellow? whatever makes you happy). It's an easy project. And then if you hate it you can just replace it as planned. I think it would add a splash of fun. Plus some fun wall art and either remove or maybe paint or replace the seat cushion on the rocking chair, and remove the curio cabinet, and clock.
January 21, 2013 at 8:37am   
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janishill, I bet those columns are structural, part of an old wall. tlang330 do not touch those without consulting a professional.
January 21, 2013 at 10:54am   
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I agree with the above. If they're structural, they're holding up your house! When I mentioned changing your curtains previously, I forgot to ask if they are silk. If so, don't change them as you won't find the quality unless you can afford to replace them with silk.
January 21, 2013 at 11:10am   
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They are silk. Ex husband is a structural engineer so I know not to remove supports :-)
January 21, 2013 at 12:25pm     
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Okay. So after removing the items that EVERYONE agrees upon, lol here is my plan.

1. Rotate table : already did that and it looks much better.
2. Plan on painting upper half of wall a deep brown. Lower half a soft white.
3. Find a square rug to ground table. I like the one from Ballard but does not come in the size I need. Examples welcome.
4. Replace light with more weight and some sparkle.
5. Keep drapes for now. I think they will pop with brown wall. Will remount rod higher.
6. Recover seats but not sure with what. Examples welcome.
7. large picture on long wall with shallow banquet console. I would LOVE to find something at antique mall and paint.
8. Move gold mirrors on either side of window. Ditch third one.
9. Dress bookcase with books.

Boy, sometimes it takes a village. I will post pictures when I get the guts too!! THANKS to everyone.
January 21, 2013 at 3:26pm     
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My question to you would be, what do you love? Does your "eye" go to rooms that are light, feminine and airy, or dark, masculine with a heavier look,? Go through this site, start a dark idea book, and a light idea book. Put ONLY the rooms you really LOVE into your idea book. Pretty soon you will see your taste emerging. Then you will know whether to go w/ neutrals or colors, light or dark, graphic or floral in your artwork and fabrics. You will know if you love pattern upon pattern or subdued with textures instead. Things you LOVE will keep showing up in your idea book.

Pay attention to the scale of things. I imagine you love clocks, as you hung one in the room. When you see the clocks you love, add them to your idea book. Then look at the ones you truly love. Are they larger than the one on your wall? Grandma may have loved it, but does it make a statement, or get lost on the wall. Try larger, more important looking, in pillows, lamps, artwork, vases, shelves. Scale can make or break a room.

Paint is the cheapest way to change a room and will have the most impact. If you choose something daring like dark walls, see it through to the end of the fourth wall. You can always paint again if you don't like it. Right now your carpet, walls and drapes are tones of the same color. Try choosing a color that contrasts and "pops" instead of blends. Your drapes are good, just lift them to the bottom edge of the crown molding. Hem them so they do not puddle.

You have a lovely traditional chandelier. Why not try putting a black drum shade over the whole thing for a masculine look, or a light linen or burlap drum shade over the whole thing for more feminine? This suggestion keeps coming up for you. It 's a good one.

Your bookcases are small boxes. If you could make 2-3 large shelves instead and build up the shelf to 2 x's the size of the board this would make whatever you put in there important looking. A collection would be nice, perhaps the blue and white but with quite larger pieces added in.

I like your mirrors very much. All artwork, mirrors should be hung at eye level of someone no more than 5' 5" tall. Your three small mirrors would be great on the shorter wall w/ the door. Center them from the edge of the door to the end of the wall. Do you have brass sconces to go with your chandelier? Could they be grouped with larger artwork? Your ceilings are high. Could you have a piece of art that is close to the chair rail maybe 11x 18 then stack a sconce above that with a small piece of art maybe 8 x 10? It would take your eye up. This should be used as a column of art on each side of a large piece of art, perhaps 4' x 3' hung horizontally. this would give you a wall of art with importance. A piece of furniture that would help is perhaps a side board. Here you would put a pair of tall candlestick lamps perhaps w/ black or linen shades.

The others are right that your bookcases should have much thicker columns built up to at least 2 x's the size. Your chairs could have faux leather seats, either black or a color you love. Wipe clean. I agree on removing the rocker, the curio, she vases and the clock.

These are just a few suggestions, however, be true to yourself, see what you truly love, and see what excites you. Everyone has an opinion, but yours is the only one that matters in the end. It's your space.
January 21, 2013 at 3:32pm     
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Comedor columnas
January 21, 2013 at 3:38pm   
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ash redmond
I think changing the fabrics on the dining chairs can bring you out of Granny's era instantly...and I agree, get an updated light fixture. And get rid of the fussy little curio cabinet. I think all the undersized elements, like the chandelier, the mirrors, the curio cabinet are defeating your plan do get out of a certain era. Go big. Your table and chairs, reupholstered are fine - make them carry the load and put a big piece of art or one big mirror on that side wall. Also, if you can, get rid of the blinds and just do some simple roll ups for a more modern look. Later you can do custom ones.
January 21, 2013 at 3:55pm   
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ash redmond
Sorry forgot to say that a great area rug could make a huge difference. And I agree that the built-in shelves should be reworked into larger ones.
January 21, 2013 at 3:58pm   
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Lighting fixtures I found on eBay all for under 400.00
January 21, 2013 at 6:28pm   
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those are gorgeous. also check http://www.lampsplusopenbox.com they have fixtures that have been returned so they are cheaper. it is my go to for great stuff. but I like the first one. with a crystal fixture you might have to cover the glass top, as it might be a bit too much glass ;-)
January 22, 2013 at 4:10am   
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some rugs (all from overstock here I have bought all my rugs)
January 22, 2013 at 4:12am   
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and some more
January 22, 2013 at 4:14am   
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my last one, I promise. I just love your dilemma
January 22, 2013 at 4:16am   
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I like the peacock feathers. They can be a inspiration to your dining room. I agree about the chairs they do need to be changed. I would go for more of a lighter color maybe like you curtains. And add more color by getting a big portrait to replace the small mirrors. Remember to keep the color of the peacock feathers in mind for the portrait.
January 26, 2013 at 9:34am   
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I think the proportions of the wall divider needs to be reconfigured. I would widen the entrance to the room so that the line of sight is broadened in order to encompass the whole room and not focus just the table in the middle. Also, I would make the columns wider so that they are not visually overwhelmed by the bookcases on either side. Finally, I would add glass doors to the bookcases. I think this would this would complement the formal style of the dining room.
January 26, 2013 at 12:09pm   
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Maybe beefing up the posts with trim might help. Brass looks outdated. Watch for sales on different chandeliers and can be affordable. Your dining room set looks pretty solid. They have many dining chair slip covers available. Match with an updated table cloth with organic centerpiece. I am a New Englander. Light colored walls that are semi-gloss to reflect light and easy to clean regarding fingerprints. Black iron accents always compliment a room. Hope this helps.
January 26, 2013 at 12:27pm   
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Show to Sell, LLC
Add a large sunburst mirror. Change the chandelier to a plain linen drum. If you have Lowe s stores near you they have incredible fixtures for $200. We have used them in new construction homes that sell for $1.5 million, great investment.
January 26, 2013 at 3:26pm   
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