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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need mirror and lighting suggestions

jmorgretFebruary 13, 2013
Any suggestions for a mirror or mirror grouping on the far wall of my dining room? I also need a suggestion on a light fixture above the table. The far wall is 11' 10" long and 3'51/2" from the ceiling to the top of the paneling.

Any other decorating ideas for the space are welcome as well. The dining set is new but the buffet does not have to stay.

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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
The high wainscoting makes the ceiling appear lower than it is. I would remove it entirely. If you are really attached to it, then just remove the top section. But I think you'd be far better off without it. Then, you could replace the buffet with a more appropriate one and place a nice tall vertical mirror above it with two tall lamps flanking the mirror, creating a much higher look for the ceiling. Your chandelier would depend on what is in the other nearby areas of your home.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:36PM
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the essentials inside
Hi jmorgret! Beautiful room! Have a few questions first if you don't mind --

Can you also upload a picture from the opposite side of the room?

What color are the seat cushions - black?

Are you thinking about a pendant light or a full chandelier or are you open to all ideas?

Do you have other items already that you are going to put on the walls?

Ok, that's it for now. Will be back w/some ideas. :)

1 Like    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:41PM
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Sara Bederman Design
This looks like quite a large room so I am not sure mirror is the best option. It would also be hung quite high and would reflect primarily the fixture. C sider a nice wallpaper to add interest above the panelling and select a more substantial light fixture that is more contemporary in style to contrast the lovely traditional panelling.
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I envision a mirror and buffet with lamps similar to this.
Presidio Heights traditional · More Info
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:59PM
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Judy M
Dining room restored · More Info

My Houzz: Traditional Home With Cottage Flair · More Info
13 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:59PM
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Good work Judy, it is much more appealing with white woodwork and a strong contrasting color.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:24PM
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We will be keeping the paneling and not painting it. It is 80 years old and I would feel bad about changing it. The last owners retextured all the ceilings and walls and painted the whole interior and if we had done all that then maybe we would have removed it at that time but at this point we are just going to keep it.

Again, the buffet is not something I am attached to. So if no mirror above the paneling what about a leaner mirror on a buffet/console?

Lyvonne- We really are starting with a clean slate, except for the dining set we don't have anything that we are really attached to. The chairs seats are black. I have no preference for the type of light fixture I just want something that suits the space. I had been looking at some craftsman style fixtures but I'm not set on that. The room is large and I have attached another photo.

Sorry for the poor photo. It is night so it isn't the best.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:27PM
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I am surprised that the room is lacking either a tray ceiling or crown molding. it is very odd for that vintage of room to have such nice paneling and no treatment at the ceiling. I would put molding back at the celing or find out if perhaps that is a newer dropped ceiling and if the original celing might be above it.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:05PM
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I guess I should clarify that the paneling is old but the house is not. The paneling has been in the house since it was built in the 70's but the paneling was moved from another structure.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:10PM
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The wainscoting is beautiful but too high. Can it be lowered? The credenza doesn't look right. Too small? Install crown molding. Center a new mirror over the credenza. Credenza would be nice with candles or lamps. Right wall needs a picture or some kind of wall feature. Install a chrome light fixture with a little bling and to tie in with the new mirror.
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Ok, I still think it might balance the room to add a crown in matching wood at the ceiling.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:25PM
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How about a scrumptious chandelier?
7 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:44PM
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CMR Interiors & Design Consultations Inc.
I'd make it MODERN TUDOR.

I'd stain all that paneling dark brown. Not that medium color. Then do a silver leaf and sheer grasscloth on the walls above it : http://www.wolf-gordon.com/product_library/category/wallcovering/ProductName/grasscloth

and then a great chandelier from restoration hardware: http://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod2111649&categoryId=cat1701013

If you leave the wood because it has a heaviness with it that can only be softened with a beautiful very large rug-and not in old law firm colors or red-that would look horrific with all these orange tones. A vintage looking oushak with paled out blues, silvers, cantelope tones. Then you have this Queen Anne table. That style of table doesn't work with these hard square lines at all. Two conflicting styles that don't work together. You will need a different table that is far more scale (larger) to fit with the room, and fully upholstered chairs because the room needs softness .
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Here's a modern Tudor where they used a medium brown but kept the walls above a bright light color. They countered the wood with light fabric on the chairs and a light rug, and modernized with a chandelier. Most of the wood paneled dining rooms on Houzz (and there aren't many as 90% are painted wood) have wood floors and some sort of coffered ceiling.

Even though it doesn't have wood paneling, the second photo shows another way to block the visual heaviness of the wood by slipcovering the chairs in a light neutral similar to the wall color to help break up the paneling and modernize the room.


Lorraine Vale · More Info
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:08PM
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I really like this room. With careful planning it could be something special. I'm thinking soft furnishing like velvet. Maybe the furniture in a more Edwardian style.
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:17PM
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How bout lantern style chandeliers, maybe two to even the space out?
Designers using Lorts Dining Table, Dining Arm Chairs, Dining Side Chairs, Sideb · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:30PM
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The Creative Man
Hi, I love the wood paneling. It takes on a Mission Style to the room. Try a new lighting fixture that expresses that. A colorful rug under the table would add some life to the room. Not sure if a mirror is the way to go. A grouping of decorative plates or pictures would add more color.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:23AM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Well, now that we know more about the wainscoting, I see your reason for keeping it. So I would add the rug, a larger buffet and mirror, wallpaper, chandelier and draperies, the things of which sumptuous dining rooms are made. I would hire a local interior designer to coordinate it.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:43AM
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Liza Jane Interiors
I would add drapery panels, remove the buffet, it is too small. I would find a buffet in a glass or different material to break up all of the wood. Perhaps an area rug under the table to add color and texture/interest. Wallpaper above the wainscoting, as others have suggested, would be cool. New lighting fixture.
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:32AM
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Having an English Tudor home, I can appreciate the wainscoting. The carpenter stopped short, however. The ceiling should be dressed up as well for balance. Options include wooden beams, crown moulding, or a coffered ceiling. I would be tempted to crown out the room and paint the ceiling a dramatic accent color in the red family. Paint or paper wall. Add a tall piece of furniture as your focal point. Add window panels that go up to the crown to bring your eye up. Add a medallion to your substantial chandelier. Area rug to anchor. Plates, grouping of art or old photos would look lovely on walls. Accessorize table and china cabinet. Add ferns on pedestals to either side window
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:52AM
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I like the wainscoting. I would like to see some color, a tall china cabinet where the buffet is now, and softer chairs.
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Kamal Runner, Orange · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:52AM
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I bet painting the wall and the ceiling a richer color might help the space feel more elegant and finished.

Be sure to follow chandelier sizing and placement advice too http://interiordec.about.com/od/chandelier1/qt/Dining-Room-Chandelier-How-To-Find-The-Right-Size-Dining-Room-Chandelier.htm

Possible chandelier choice (somewhat traditional but works with the cleaner 1970s lines of the house). http://www.lampsplus.com/products/valmont-collection-six-light-chandelier__67177.html
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:01AM
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LOVE the character of this room...

For the light, I would suggest a longer fixture to mirror the length of the table or two as loroca posted above. I think that just one fixture does not fit the scale of the room well.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Also, highly suggest an area rug and adding some color by painting the wall above the paneling. I think with all the wood and the neutral carpet, that the neutral wall paint you have now is pretty boring and a small amt of painting would help brighten the room up.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Need help finding bathroom mirrors for powder room and master bathroom
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Since your buffet is existing, and you have many other things to spend your money on, take the hardware off, paint it with chalk paint, distress it lightly then wax in an accent tone you use in your whole house palette - maybe a classic sage green or chinese orange-red to help highlight the gorgeous woodtones behind it. Since its scale is smaller, turn it onto the shorter wall, maybe add a stone top cut to it. Put bronze chunky hardware back on it and it will add to your look and free up pennies for more important elements. You can always add another piece in time.

Painting wall above and adding a great rug will make a huge difference - i second the suggestion about a longitudinal fixture or double chandies for the room.

Can you tell me what colors you use in the living spaces of your home now? Colors you gravitate towards? That would help us suggest tones to tie it all together.
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
For help with your mirror needs, we will need photos of the rooms in which they will go.
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Wow. Great suggestions from everyone. To everyone who asked about what colors I like or have in my house: We moved in last summer and really don't have anything or any sort of style/palette. The walls were all painted very nicely but they are all neutral beige and tans. So I am open to most colors. I'm not really opposed to any colors some just need to be in smaller quantities than others :)

Susanna-Your suggestions are great. I really love the rug and drapes.
groveraxle-I like the idea of a painted/distressed piece to add color.
sjkingston - I love the fabric on those chairs with the hint of orange at the bottom.

The chairs we have will stay (we already made the investment in them) but I had intentions of eventually adding two upholstered chairs on the ends of the table so that should soften it up some. The table extends even further than is shown in the picture.

I am going to look at what I can do with the ceiling to make it more interesting.
    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:41PM
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Your intentions of upholstered chairs on the ends was helpful knowledge, especially to the others looking for chairs. ( You had mentioned that the dining set was not changeable which led to the belief that additions or subtractions was not an option).

Just out of curiosity, why wait till now to share that? It makes a difference in the recommendations you receive. I'm glad you liked some of my choices but, frankly, the option of upholstered chairs on the ends changes everything I was thinking.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Susanna, I posted the upholstered chairs because in addiiton to ideas for lighting and mirrors, the owner solicited "any other ideas." The room needed something to break up the expanse of wood paneling and the picture of the chairs made me think it might work rather than advance knowledge that the owner already was thinking of them. The room is big enough that two of the side chairs can be placed on either side of a buffet until needed. It was nice to hear that it might be an option and it triggered jmorgret to the mention a prior idea of adding extra chairs down the road. The fact he/she didn't earlier was not a disservice to Houzz readers. The best posts are like brainstorming. One idea triggers another and someone else then builds on it.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:11AM
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Hi SJKingston,
I love the chairs in your photo actually, but if you go back to the posts, CMR mentioned it very early on. Just trying to point out that information and intentions are helpful. I too, realize that she/ he was looking for "any other ideas" which is why I posted an entire Pinterest pin board. Yikes! :-) too much probably!

I spend much of my career in brainstorming sessions so I understand. No hard feelings here, just deleted selections that are no longer relevant due to the upholstered chair info. I'm sure you and the others have this well in hand and will come up with great ideas. I'm sincere in wishing all good things for this room.

See you on other posts hopefully, Susanna
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:35AM
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Susanna-I'm very sorry. I did not mean to waste anyone's time. I really liked your ideas. I guess I should have been more clear at the beginning.

If there are any things that need more clarification that will prevent others from wasting time please let me know.

Thanks again for your suggestions.
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:53AM
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I just noticed when I posted the link disappeared with the photos. Here it is again. I guess if you delete one photo it deletes everything. :-(
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:37PM
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it may seem extravagant, but I would fill each of the higher wood panels with mirrors that would fit but could be easily stripped away if you do not want them any longer. Thus, you could add considerable light to the whole without changing the structure of the room. And the wall opposite the window would reflect the outside discreetly.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 5:28AM
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I wouldn't touch that wonderful old wainscotting..except to put it to good use! I noticed you have no storage in this room for china or linens. I would remove the wainscotting at the back of the room - just temporarily - and reuse them as cupboard doors on some simple shelving built behind them. A long counter above would be an excellent surface for serving buffets or for use as a bar. Be sure to install a couple of outlets for warming trays and/or buffet lamps. Above this I would install a bronzed mirror, not a silver backed one, to reflect the warmth of the panelling. When you bump out the end wall to accommodate the shelving you will 'lose' a section of panelling at the end of each side wall. Use these to make two more narrow cupboards and put them above the lower section, one at either end of your new counter. These will now be extra storage for those tall vases etc. or, with adjustable shelves they could be used for china or wine storage. Put your mirror between these two new upper cabinets. You could also run some glass shelving between the two upper cabinets, in front of the mirror, to display your china. Be sure to have a groove in the glass shelves so you can safely stand up plates and platters. Now your whole back wall is a custom china cabinet!
When you are putting in your new ceiling fixture see if the electrician can run a couple of pot lights above the mirror to shine down on your counter. If that would disrupt your whole ceiling then you should be able to do something by running wires for outlets and potlights from your panel, through the basement(?) and up the wall behind the new shelving and upper cupboards.
As for those who think the wainscotting makes your ceiling look too low I would suggest creating a large rectangle of molding above your table. Carrry the wall colour to the molding and then use another colour inside the rectangle. Perhaps the same colour or fabric that you use on your chair seats. I have seen rectangular chandeliers that would look great in that space above your table and would be reflected in your mirror.
Don't forget to remind the electrician to put dimmers on your switches for those romantic dinners!
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:13AM
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Durpetti Interiors
Hi! Color. Adding color and fabrics to the space will warm up the wood and add softness. Deep pigmented oranges or greens would stand up well to the wainscoting. A large area rug and artwork above the buffet(yes, a larger one is needed) would pull it together. Finally, a large chandelier, black iron. Best of luck!
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:30AM
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Redeemed Spaces
People have given you so many great ideas but I guess it all depends what you are after and how you want the room to feel, what your budget is, how much work you want to put in and what colors you love and hate. It all matters and the options are limitless. The room could look beautiful with many of the ideas given. Personally, I love to see people not spend more than they have to just to do something different.
The panelling is very heavy, but could offer some nice texture to the room if downplayed and juxtaposed with some pieces of a more contemporary style. I think the best way to capitalize on the wainscotting is to down play it. By doing a tone-on-tone look and painting the upper portion in a color from the brown family, the panelling is no longer the most noticeable feature of the room. A nice long buffet on that far wall with a very large complimentary mirror leaned and not hung would help modernize the space as well as remove your eye from going directly to the panelling. I think that making the space more casual will update the room a lot. Scale is also very important when there's such heavy features in the room. Large artwork and a large lighting fixture, again in a more casual style would transform this space. By using white metals, bright colours in art and textiles and a few well chosen objet d'art, the room can be lightened up. Using chrome finishes help bring sparkle, reflect brightness into the room and bring interest to all the browns in the room. As for the color of textiles, i.e. curtains and seat upholstery, with brown, almost the sky's the limit.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:17AM
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The Wainscoting is beautiful, I do not blame you for not wanting to remove or paint it. I would add crown molding and color to the room. I totally agree with redeemedspaces above. curtains, new cushions for the chairs, and something to bring in some sparkle
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:32AM
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HI, really love the wainscoting but it is high for the room so what I'd do is paint the wainscoting and the wall the same colour . You will still get the texture of the wainscoting and so it will add depth to the room.
To brighten any room you need to reflect natural light so I would put the mirror(s) across from the doors . You could so a collection of mirrors or one big but think the room would be enhanced by an eclectic mix of mirrors on the wall.
I would put the buffet where it is now and you could put artwork over it instead of mirrors . As for the chandelier I think I would go all out and go decadent. I would use either roman blinds or go for something sheer in a full curtain .
Have fun whatever you decided :)
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Architectural Elements
I see a large rectangular mirror on the far wall flanked with craftsman sconces. Over the table a craftsman inspired light fixture. The open or "square ring" shaped fixture body is an "in line" of the table below and is mounted directly to the ceiling. A series of 8 or so pendants are hung from the
fixture body with rectangular amber lenses that are visually linked to the wall sconces. All fixtures are illuminated with Edison style light bulbs.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:00PM
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I'd skip the mirror and do a grouping of antique looking plates on the wall.
It would keep with the style of the room and its a very cost effective project.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:56AM
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Your table seems long enough to use twin overhead light fixtures set 24" apart. Also what about sconces on each side of your door opening. And last of all how about installing a period window on the wall with the buffet. Good luck
    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 5:36PM
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I've been looking at light fixtures and I do like a craftsman or craftsman-esque look. Finding one that is large enough and reasonably priced has been an issue. I like the idea of two or three smaller fixtures but if I can get away with one it will be less hassle for DH to install :) But I haven't ruled out installing more than one. I guess three would be easier because we wouldn't have to patch the hole that is there.

Here are a couple of larger single fixtures I was looking at. One is a larger version of the light Susanna had suggested. Any thoughts?


    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:42PM
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Cheery Curtains
What about using some nice curtains to add accent? Mouse over the image for a better view.

For more curtain designs, welcome to my Houzz page or our website!

Cheery Curtains
Website: www.cheerycurtains.com
Email: sales@cheerycurtains.com
    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Cheery Curtains, Hi. Oh yes curtains a must. I think that era used lace curtains but not sure.
    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:59PM
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Cheery Curtains
Yes, curtains will add more colors and lace curtains are nice as well.

Or, if you would like some other advice for your window or door decoration, feel free to contact me. The consultation is 100% free.

Cheery Curtains
Website: www.cheerycurtains.com
Email: sales@cheerycurtains.com
    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:05AM
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