If I had had the opportunity to invite you to dinner at our home about a year and a half ago, we probably would’ve enjoyed a classic peanut-butter-and-jelly while perched atop five-gallon drums of paint or sheetrock mud in our unfinished living room.
If you still wanted to be friends after that experience and you came over to eat now, I would (partially) redeem myself by serving a real dinner on an actual table and actual chairs in an actual dining room, like a real grown-up! (Not saying the food would be worth raving about, but at least we’d be sitting at a real table now.)
Why would we have avoided the dining room in the beginning? Because it looked like this. Gleaming brass chandelier, wallpaper remnants clinging to the walls, unsanitary carpet underfoot, and glorious popcorn ceilings:
Removing that wallpaper was every bit as DELIGHTFUL as you’d think! (*GROANNNNN.*) Here, most of the wallpaper was gone, carpeting had been ripped up and we’d scraped off the popcorn ceilings. (Removing popcorn ceilings is MUCH more satisfying than wallpaper! Here’s the tutorial for that.)
The next step was to install the picture molding around the bottom of the room and upgrade the crown molding at the ceiling. (Here’s how to install crown molding like the pros.) Then everyone put the pressure on me to choose a paint color.
We already know I suffer from a debilitating inability to make any decisions when it comes to paint, so I don’t know why my husband or family expected the dining room to look any different than it does in the picture above: a virtual patchwork quilt of paint samples, as I’ve made it my personal goal to keep the local paint stores in business.
The dining room had about eight different paint colors for a few months, I think, until I finally settled on “Deep Caviar,” a dark, mysterious color that no one can define. (Some people swear its purple, others say blue or black, but I think it’s a very dark brown. You be the judge.)
Meanwhile, we installed our hardwood flooring…
… replaced the windows, and added new window treatments and a chandelier.
Time out while we talk about this chandelier. It’s another example of internet stalking: I saw it online, LOVED it, tried hard not to love it and find an acceptable replacement, failed, and bought it. I got a fantastic deal, but honestly? I’m taking this baby with me if/when I move. I don’t know what it is about it, but I hear angels sing when I look at it.
So here’s the dining room, with everything complete!
I like a dark, cozy dining room, and this room could handle the dark paint because it gets lots of light from its two windows. I also like a dining room where you can sit for hours chatting long after the food is cold and dessert is gone, without squirming in uncomfy chairs. I snagged these chairs at HomeGoods.
The rug came from there, too, and this is a great example of my decision-making process, when it comes to things for the house.
Most things I’ve chosen for the house have gone through these…
Seven stages of decorating grief:
- Shock and Denial. (What was I thinking?!)
- Pain and Guilt. (I can’t believe I spent good money on that. I should return it.)
- Anger and Bargaining. (Usually a period when I try to return the item, or decide that it’s too late to return it.)
- Depression, Reflection, Loneliness. (I isolate myself and retreat to dark, quiet place for months at a time, emerging only to go stare at the item and seethe.)
- The Upward Turn. (Who cares. It’s just a stupid rug/couch/paint color/house. And it does the job.)
- Reconstruction, and working through. (…and it might not be the WORST thing ever.)
- Acceptance and Hope. (I can’t return it anyway. Plus, I think it might actually look good!)
Actually, the list of purchases I’ve made that HAVEN’T gone through various stages of regret is VERY short. The powder room vanity. The dining room chandelier. The kitchen backsplash. I think that’s it. Everything else I buy, I somehow hate at first. It’s exhausting.
But back to the dining room:
(That’s my easy Thanksgiving banner which I still haven’t taken down!)
I still want to add a buffet and something sparkly to the wall where the two pieces of art are now, and some more art on the other wall, and I’m still playing with the idea of painting the ceiling, but it’s definitely usable and now available for that dinner party we were planning, if you’ll forgive me for that hypothetical PB&J dinner I might’ve invited you to.
P.S. If you like this post, make sure you check out our gallery of budget-friendly room reveals, like the $157 laundry room makeover, and the baby girl nursery we did for only $500 including the furniture!
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