Help me decorate my dining room
February 13, 2009 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Help me decorate my 1920s craftsman bungalow dining room. I have my grandmothers kinda beat up table, hutch and buffet from the 1940s. They are veneer medium wood and either need to go or need paint. I donated the chairs because they were rickety and not comfy.

I would like to have a dining room that is casual and comfortable and looks like the pieces were collected over time. I am open to painting some of the pieces or getting rid of them and starting over. The hutch is in good condition and has inlaid wood detail. But I am not attached to it. I would only keep it if it helps me get the "collected over time" look in the room. It is hard for me to picture how I can mix and match. The walls in the dining room are a blue green or teal but I can easily change that if need be. Black looks really good up next to the walls however, so I have thought of painting the buffet black.. I am into contemporary abstract art so I could see a mix of that type art with old and new furniture. I live in a small town and so shopping for furniture is limited. We have a Pier One, Target, Costco and some rather tacky furniture stores. But I will leave no retail stone unturned. I can do this shopping online. The room gets used for kids homework as well as dinner parties and family holiday dinners. It is in the center of our house so it is well used and not a "roped off room" in the house. I wonder about anything painted black getting easily scratched with use. My budget is probably $3000 or less. Any help is GREATLY appreciated!
posted by seekingsimplicity to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
It might really help to see photos of what you're talking about. Failing that, i can offer you The White Attic, a shop in Chicago that specializes in painted vintage furniture that may help you visualize your set painted. Also, popular decorating blog Apartment Therapy regularly posts photo tours of houses and projects that deal with exactly the kind of vintage/modern eclectic mix you're describing. Design Sponge is another blog in a similar vein. Check out their "before and after" section especially.
posted by theantikitty at 5:07 PM on February 13, 2009

Response by poster: photo here
posted by seekingsimplicity at 5:19 PM on February 13, 2009

Since you brought up the black paint idea, have you thought of painting parts of the furniture black, and say, leaving the top of the buffet woodgrain? Not necessarily a craftsman look, but it would add some interest. ( my mom did this a few years ago with a bunch of mismatched pieces and made a nice bedroom set out of them.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:24 PM on February 13, 2009

Response by poster: thank you for your responses. I am trying to figure out how to post a picture.
posted by seekingsimplicity at 5:28 PM on February 13, 2009

Oh, yeah, black does look good with that color....Maybe a black rug (not solid black, but with some pattern to it....) to 'tie the room together'?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:40 PM on February 13, 2009

Do you know what the wood is made of?

Don't paint it, the veneer on the buffer looks very nice, try waxing all the stuff first. Too bad ya got rid of the chairs, they could have been re-glued for rigidity.

Plus do you really think black furniture would go well with the white painted trim on the walls?
posted by Max Power at 6:01 PM on February 13, 2009

Please, for the love of god, do not paint the buffet. That book-matched diagonal grain stuff is *gorgeous*.

There's a bunch of antique places in ST. Louis (cherokee Street) that has stuff like that. If you wanted to match it, go antique-ing. Buddy of mine got a bedroom set (full-size frame, foot-trunk, and dresser) for about $900.
posted by notsnot at 6:04 PM on February 13, 2009

You have a lovely house! I, too, like the furniture as is. Painting is great for old crappy stuff you buy at the flea market, but this stuff still looks nice the way it is. I would change out the handles on the buffet to make it look a bit more updated. Go shopping for a nice set of vintage chairs to match the table and recover the seats with a great, modern looking fabric. It's as simple as unscrewing the seat cover, cutting the fabric, wrapping it around the base, and using a staple gun. Get some contemporary framed art/interesting art pieces/plants and you'll have a pretty darn great dining room.
posted by theantikitty at 7:05 PM on February 13, 2009

The furniture is late period art deco. Probably not expensive when first purchased, not particularly valuable now. Do not paint it. Sell it at a local auction house. Then start your collection. Have fun with your search.
posted by Gungho at 5:20 AM on February 14, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments so far. The photo makes the veneer look a lot better than it is. My antique dealer friend said it is would not sell very well.

She said I could prob get $50 for buffet and $75 for table.

She is a friend and antique dealer and did not even want it if I gave it to her for free.
posted by seekingsimplicity at 9:47 AM on February 14, 2009

Wash each piece really well with soap and minimal water. Make sure you rinse very well. Then put several coats of gloss or high glass water based poly on each. Each coat should take only a few hours to dry. Then let dry as long as possible before using. A month, ideally.

The pieces are veneer and I agree they are probably not worth much.

Be sure you don't soak the pieces either with the water or poly or you'll lift the veneer.
posted by andreap at 4:14 PM on February 14, 2009

seekingsimplicity, it sounds like you're really just not into that furniture. $3000 is plenty of money to fill out your dining room with furniture. Take the plunge and drive into the nearest mid-sized town. They'll deliver, or you can rent a small truck for the day. You can either a. seek out a reputable antiques dealer and buy some lower priced pieces in good condition, b. get a full set of mid-level dining room furniture from a local furniture store, or c. some combination of the two. I'm very confident that you can buy a dining room table, chairs, and buffet for under $1000 new. I did. It's not gorgeous quality, but it's simple, modern, and looks nice. You can even get black furniture that would mimic the black painted style you were considering, and you won't have to fret about your kids doing homework on it. Spend half your budget on furniture, then buy a gorgeous new light, some art, a rug, a couple plants and pots for your beautiful window sill, and a few lovely pieces to set out on your new furniture. Stick the old stuff in the basement or give it away to someone else that needs it. You'll be happier!
posted by theantikitty at 4:52 PM on February 14, 2009

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