Dining in the dark

Now that the bathroom is complete, it is on to the next project! No rest for the weary.

The original dining room and kitchen area were surrounded by a dark wainscoting that matched the adirondack feel of the house, but left us feeling like we were living in a den (like the bear kind). I am all for cozy but this was dangerously close to creepy. Throughout the entire first floor of the house there are large wood beams that give it that very rustic, cottage feel. Our plan is to leave these their natural wood color throughout the home, but just lighten up some of the decorative details in between.

Before dining room

Step one was to pick out a paint for the wainscoting and start the tedious task of painting it. This involved mini rollers, edging brushes and small brushes from a kids art set. There are a LOT of nooks and crannies so it took quite a while to complete.


About half way through I started to have an indecisive freak out about whether we were doing the right thing, as per usual. I couldn’t decide if we should just leave the paneling alone on the left wall since it was the back of the kitchen, or if we should just continue it all the way around. 20160714_165508

I was afraid that we would lose some of the character of the house. So after consulting several friends and family members, we opted to just bite the bullet and paint the whole dang thing. No going back now! Have I mentioned that we still haven’t closed on the house yet….


Step two was to pick out an awesome wallpaper or wall decal for the big open back wall of the dining room.  I have wanted to do this for years and finally have the guts to commit to something!I know what you are thinking… wallpaper?? But it isn’t the old school kind of wallpaper. It is peel and stick, “easy” to install and even easier to take down. So of course we checked our local Home Depot and found what we were looking for, the Grey and Yellow Suzani Peel and Stick Wallpaper.

dining room wallpaper


Alright so here we are, having spent $40 on this wall paper, having painstakingly matched up the graphics on the top and bottom two long pieces shown here, and we have a few inches left at the top that the wallpaper can’t cover. Ugh. We knew it would happen but I guess we were just too exhausted to care at the time? So the next predicament was what to do with this space. We got the idea to make a little knick knack shelf and hang it right at the point where the wallpaper ends. All we needed was a piece of wood, some paint which we had left over from the wainscoting, and some decorative way to hang it. We had just ordered a new dining room table (which wouldn’t be delivered for 2 weeks) that had some metal accents so we went with sleek stainless steel shelf brackets that you would normally use to hang a floating glass shelf. Throw on some cute knick knacks and voila, a solution to our problem.

shelf brackets

Next we pulled out a soft yellow color from the wallpaper to paint the small areas of blank wall space. Wouldn’t you know it, we got home and I put a few strokes of paint on the wall and discovered that it was literally one shade lighter than the paint that was already on the wall! Just our luck. I decided to go ahead and paint it anyway because it was a nice lighter shade and who doesn’t love a fresh coat of paint.

The last detail of our wallpaper wall was the lighting. As soon as we started the project I asked my husband to take down the super outdated lights that were currently adorning the wall. My son had asked on one of our first nights in the house, “Mom why does our house look like a restaurant?” I didn’t understand, and then he pointed to the wall sconces. 20160714_195333

They just had to go.

Seth and I searched high and low for wall sconces that we liked for the space. Ok, honestly, we were so exhausted by this point that when we didn’t see anything in the one aisle of home depot dedicated to wall sconces, we almost called it quits. But then magically we noticed the outdoor lighting section and found the perfect industrial looking lights for our space. Outdoor lights in the dining room? I know, weird. But they worked! AND they were called “cottage lanters” so I thought it was a sign. We do need to get some less bright Edison bulbs for them but honestly, that’s on the bottom of our list for now.

dining room lantern


The last decorative touch for the space involved the top left wall which is the back of the kitchen cabinets. It was a big blank space and it was just calling out to be turned into a gallery wall! Command strips and cute picture frames, here we come! I am pretty pleased with the result, although I guess I am a little biased.



And last but not least, our brand new dining room table, courtesy of Ashley Furniture. We need to replace the chairs still but for now, we are in LOVE with this gem.


So for now, I would say mission complete. It is safe to say that we are no longer dining in the dark… 🙂

P.s. note the built in wine rack in the counter… this guy thought of everything haha


Shelf: $76

Wallpaper: $40

Command strips: $12

Lights: $66

Paint: $56

TOTAL: $250

Okay okay, the table was $1400 so technically our total is $1650 but hooray for my FIRST REAL furniture purchase. #adulting



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