...because home doesn't happen overnight.

*WARNING: Crazy good before-and-afters ahead!*

A few weeks ago, Julia contacted me wanting a little advice concerning her dining room.

{Julia’s dining room BEFORE}

 {Julia’s dining room BEFORE}

She wanted to introduce some contrast with a navy and white color scheme.  Julia mentioned painting the ceiling. She asked that the dining table, bench seating, curtains and mirror stay. She was ‘iffy’ on the pendant light and dining chairs.  Julia felt the hand-me-down rug was too small for the space as well.

I suggested that Julia first declutter the room by removing the bookshelf, wall art and kid’s table. You know I like some high contrast, so I suggested Julia paint the walls above the chair rail navy and the walls below the chair rail white.  If she really wanted to paint the ceiling, I thought a nice light gray would look nice.  While the dark velvet curtains were of high quality, I asked Julia if she would be able to relocate them to another room in her home.  The visual weight of the dark curtains would have felt heavy against navy walls.  Instead, I suggested Julia hang lighter, subtly patterned panels to pop against the navy walls and give the room a touch of pattern.  I am fond of natural seagrass or sisal in dining spaces – especially when kids are involved – as they hold up nicely against crumbs and spills. I relayed this to Julia as well.  Julia was wanting new dining chairs to contrast with her warm wood table but I told her I didn’t think new chairs were necessary since the current ones had a nice simple shape to them. If anything, she could paint them white for more contrast if she so desired.  I recommended painting the wall mirror gloss white to pop against the navy walls.  Finally, I asked Julia to DIY a nature-inspired table centerpiece by gathering a bunch of leafy branches from outside and plopping them into a vase.

Julia did exactly what I love to see people do when I offer them advice.  She took all my suggestions, interpreted them to fit her time frame and budget, and RAN with them!

Check out Julia’s warm and inviting dining room now…

The navy walls are Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy which Julia chose herself and had color-matched in Olympic’s no VOC paint.  She painted the chair rail and walls below white to match the existing trim.  The white chair rail keeps the navy from feeling oppressive.  Julia decided against painting the ceiling gray once she saw the result of the navy walls and white chair rail together.  Julia also chose to remove the heavy velvet curtains to reveal white sheers beneath.

The chunky table and bench stayed and, to save time and money, Julia borrowed a larger 8’x10′ cream and gray rug from her living room. For now, Julia has chosen to keep her dining chairs as is. Personally, I hope they continue to grow on her.  I love ’em just the way they are, contrasting warmly with the white and navy.

Julia did a great job of decluttering and emptying the room of unnecessary furniture pieces.  She opted to keep a petite console beneath the wall mirror to ground the mirror.

The newly painted white mirror really pops against and brightens the moody navy walls.

And check out those amazing, blazing branches on display in the center of the table!  Julia clipped them from outside and brought them indoors, adding just the right amount of accent color to the room.  Gorgeous.

Even though the adjoining kitchen and sunroom are lighter in color, the new navy walls tie in nicely with Julia’s tiled kitchen backsplash and patterned throw on the back of the sofa in the sunroom. Making an effort to repeat colors – even in small doses – in each room of a home is a great way to keep things feeling cohesive.

And now for a side-by-side, before-and-after comparison because…well, because everyone likes a good before-and-after.

That’s one amazing transformation, isn’t it?!  The navy walls work well in Julia’s dining room because there are a lot of ‘breaks’ in the walls: doorways to adjoining rooms, a large window, a light-bouncing mirror and the white chair rail.

Who would have guessed that this jaw-dropping makeover only cost Julia the small price of paint and painting supplies for the navy walls?  {She used leftover white paint in her basement for the chair rail.} Yet another great example of how decluttering + a little paint can transform a ho-hum room.  Ah, the power of paint.  Not every great ‘after’ has to happen with demolition and renovation!

Thanks, Julia, for sharing your new dining room.  You did an awesome job!  I’m inspired.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

What’s your favorite part of Julia’s dining room makeover?  I’m totally diggin’ the deep navy walls and that Mother Nature-inspired centerpiece.

FYI – To read and see more about Julia’s dining room makeover, including a few in-progress shots, click over to her Happy Happy Home blog.

images:  all courtesy of Julia from Happy Happy Home

65 Comments

08.November.2011

That IS an amazing transformation! I love the dark color with the white accents. Looks great & I LOVE that table!

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Amazzzzzzzzing!

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08.November.2011

Beautiful!! Do you have any tips for using dark colors when there’s not a lot of natural light?

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replied on November 8th, 2011

Kristen – Honestly, I think you have to consider each room on an individual basis when talking paint colors. But typically, dark walls in an already dark room don’t go over too well. Sometimes you can pull ’em off by keeping everything else {flooring, trim, furniture, textiles, etc.} light and/or light reflective. I’d suggest scouring images of rooms that are similar light-wise to whatever room you’re contemplating and seeing how others make them work.

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08.November.2011

Results are dramatic and beautiful. Contrasting colors make for a remarkable transition from quiet to dynamic and expressive. The photos are really exceptional as well. Shows the room in dramatic light and with great play on the table from the sunlight and shadows.

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08.November.2011

Im in awe! Love the navy blue!

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08.November.2011

I love that Julia kept her dining set as is and painted the mirror white. The center piece is a nice touch. Congrats!

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08.November.2011

love it! i have really been diggin’ navy lately…so this was an awesome room to see!

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08.November.2011

Great job!! It looks awesome :)

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08.November.2011

Very nice! It’s the orange against the navy (complimentary colors) that works so nicely.
Good decor advice with little money, yay!

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08.November.2011

It looks so beautiful!!!

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08.November.2011

What a gorgeous dining room. The navy walls highlight Julia’s light pendant and her ceiling beautifully. The power of paint – it’s stunning!

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08.November.2011

What a little paint will do !!! LOVE it!!! (=

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08.November.2011

OMG….gorgeous!!! I love the navy and white. Now Julia’s table really shines in that room. :)

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08.November.2011

That is one great “before” and “after.” SO much better. If you (or anyone else) has a few minutes, I could use some help spiffing up my laundry room. It is definitely in the “before” stage right now.

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08.November.2011

Gorgeous! I need to paint!

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08.November.2011

So pretty and I’d LOVE to know where you got your dining table set. Exactly what I’ve been looking for.

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08.November.2011

It looks sooooo fantastic! WOW!
I really like the chairs too, but if she still wants white maybe something to this effect would be a good solution:
http://www.ebay.de/itm/6-hochwertige-italienische-Esstisch-Stuhle-Kunstleder-braun-/300618858950?pt=De_Haus_Garten_Inneneinrichtung_St%C3%BChle&hash=item45fe47c1c6
http://www.casavivendi.de/a-1392/?ReferrerID=10
– a kind of half slip cover only for the back rest (wish I could find the picture I have in my head…)
(non permanent, easy to DIY, washable, might even do it in a natural fabric or a pattern…)

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08.November.2011

This is a great before/after!! I love that the navy not only contrasts with the white – but the coolness also contrasts the warmth in the wood. It brings out the golden richness in her dining set and takes them from just ok to beautiful. Great advice Dana and great job Julia!

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08.November.2011

I love the makeover! I love how the navy paint actually makes the room look bigger because the great curve of the ceiling is highlighted. And I wasn’t really a fan of the pendant in the before but it looks amazing in the after. What a great room! I’m inspired to paint and declutter now :)

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08.November.2011

absolutely stunning!!!

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08.November.2011

LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Now I want a navy room :)

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08.November.2011

The navy totally brings out the warm wood tones in the table and chairs, and I love those chairs! You’re right about the wall space being broken-up by the doorways – otherwise it may have been a little overwhelming to have the navy in there….

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08.November.2011

Wow, that really is amazing. When I first saw it, I didn’t care all that much for the dining table. But, I absolutely love it in the after! That blue/white combo really does make it pop beautifully.

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08.November.2011

Wow! As I was reading this, I thought, “No, the navy should be under the chair rail,” but when I saw it I was stunned by the clean simplicity. Oh, help! How can I get my house to look so stunning (aside from the decluttering I need to do)?

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[…] so excited to share that my dining room is featured over on House*Tweaking today! Thanks Dana, it was an incredible experience working with you. I’ll remember this […]

08.November.2011

Wow, I’m impressed. You’ve convinced me I need to do a little painting of my own as that is such a great transformation. Well done to you and Julia.

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08.November.2011

L~O~V~E this! painting the mirror frame was brilliant! makes it really look like a window.
this room is jaw-dropping good : )

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08.November.2011

Beautiful work as always!! I have loved watching your moment by moment improvements to the underdog. So inspiring.

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08.November.2011

Thanks everyone! It’s been an incredible journey and I’m so thankful Dana gave me the direction and confidence boost I needed to pick up the paint brush.

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08.November.2011

Great job! I’m loving the Navy now!!!

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08.November.2011

Great tips! And great execution of the plan! The room is so simple and elegant now. I love it!

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08.November.2011

Love the navy walls. It’s amazing how just a few small changes can have such a dramatic effect! Kudos for keeping the Nelson bubble pendant in the scheme – I think it’s a classic beauty.

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09.November.2011

What a beautiful transformation! I shy away from dark colors, but this is getting me thinking twice. Absolutely beautiful!

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09.November.2011

I was considering a dark color for my dinning room and seeing this has convinced me to do it. Love the room.

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09.November.2011

Wow! That looks fabulous!

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09.November.2011

Very warm now! I love the dark blue. It’s a very nice touch with the wood that’s already inside the room.

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09.November.2011

This is an amazing transformation! I also have dark/chunky dining room furniture… and struggle with creating that “light and airy” feel to my dining room. I love the moody navy color and that mirror painted white is PERFECT!!! Love it!!!

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09.November.2011

I love the room! It looks great! I love the table too. I have been looking for a new dining table for a while now. Do you know where it is from?

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09.November.2011

I love the navy!

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09.November.2011

I am in awe!!! What an amazing before/after! And for SO LITTLE money!

Ange over at The Blooming Hydrangea JUST painted her bedroom the same exact color, BM Hale Navy. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure about this whole navy thing, but now that I’ve seen these 2 rooms completely transformed, I’m sold! It is such a sophisticated look. (Check out that post here:)
http://www.thebloominghydrangea.com/2011/11/i-love-benjamin-moore-paint.html

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09.November.2011

Michelle- Thanks! We got the dining table locally at Nebraska Furniture Mart but the brand is Jofrn and the table, bench and chairs + tax were $845.29. Hope that helps! We bought it over a year ago so I am not positive they are still making this exact model but you should check them out. The chairs are INCREDIBLY heavy.

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09.November.2011

Wow! I am so inspired by this transformation! The fact that she was able to completely change this room by simply decluttering and painting is so amazing and gives me hope with my own home. I especially love the warm wood tones and the fall leaves against the cool navy walls. This room feels sophisticated and organic at the same time. Love it! This is where I want to eat my Thanksgiving dinner!

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This is so inspiring! I am lost and confused on my Dining Room, and have been debating for months on what to do. http://oneprojectatatime.blogspot.com/2011/09/dining-room-dreaming.html This might be the push that I need!

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09.November.2011

I love it! I have picture molding in my house and have always wondered what it would look like with wainscotting/chair rails…glad to know it isn’t too choppy. I think the color is awesome and I adore the table set!

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09.November.2011

This looks so great I am thinking about this color combo for a new room I just added on to my house.

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10.November.2011

Great job! Paint does such wonders! Thanks for sharing!

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10.November.2011

Great job Dana! I’ve just discovered your blog and have spent the last two days catching up. My husband and I are in the midst of a kitchen reno ourselves and were wondering where Julia bought her table? We are looking for something a bit longer but with that chunky, hardy wood feel.

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replied on November 13th, 2011

Johanna – Julia answered that question in the comments section. Scroll through to find out!

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11.November.2011

The refreshed dining room looks terrific. Enjoy your blog, thank you!

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14.November.2011

Love the color, looks great!
I did paint my bedroom in a dark grey shade.

Lovely greetings…

http://pudel-design.blogspot.com/

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15.November.2011

That is a seriously fantastic transformation. I love the dark upper walls – just opposite of what one usually sees, which is the dark below and light upper.

I have only one ‘ouch’ when I look at the after pictures. By the arch, there’s a collection of thermostats, doorbell chime box, etc, that tend to draw the eye. I have the same issue in my dining room.

I’m going to try to get my HVAC guy to relocate the thermostat, but absent that, any advice on how to minimize the ‘wall acne’?

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replied on November 15th, 2011

threadbndr – I’ve known some people who painted their wall uglies the same color as the wall. In our previous home, I created a family photo wall around our thermostat. It practically blended in. I’ve also seen people hang artwork/picture frames with deep backs over top of mechanical/electrical wall components. You just have to get creative!

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