Workshop my dining room design
February 23, 2021 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Can you help review some ideas I have? Should I put a loveseat next to my table? What about paint - is cranberry a good idea or too nineties? Do you have any design blog or links to help? Victorian home with lovely bones and I like MCM, vintage and boho style.

This is a really exciting challenge for me. Love design and I’ve never had a real dining room before. This is the main “eating” area for the house and the room is a pass through, so I need a set up fairly easy to use & walk through.
I’d love any links to ideas. I had the idea for a deep red paint color, (a room to match my wine!) but I have not been able to find a great example of a dining room in that color. I do love color and a dark color is fine in this room. Another idea I have is a deep chocolate brown (to match my cake?) I would like a rug and curtains to complement the paint.
Then I had the idea to have some more comfortable seating options around the table. The way I’ve seen this work is with a wing back chair on each end of a table, with wood chairs on other sides. But is there a less formal kind of chair that could work? Today I thought of a love seat... there’s a Victorian style one on my local marketplace I’m considering. I would probably have to put a throw blanket over a seat like that - it’s very affordable but I don’t have the budget to reupholster it. I do have kids who will probably leave stains (hey so will I) and a fairly casual style - so a throw blanket would be fine for my style. But is this crazy?
I don’t want a backless bench. Other notes: I don’t especially love Joanna Gaines or all white farmhouse style. It’s a Victorian house but lots of our furniture is mid century and I do have an affinity for the 70s/80s rattan and wicker and plants of my youth, so I’m open to mixing many styles. Will probably buy any furniture second hand & fill this space over time.
posted by areaperson to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love deep reds, and a dining room is perfect. I would make sure the red had some gray in it so it's not too intense.
These are called Martha Washington chairs. Comfortable, easy to reupholster, tons of them at thrift shops, or even new. I have 3 in my basement; come to Maine and I'll send them home with you. Chairs that you eat in will get stains, so ease of cleaning or upholstery is a good idea. I have bank of England or courtroom chairs at my table and love them. Surplus of those, as well, basement is overfull. Really comfortable and sturdy. I quite like Navy-style aluminum chairs, the 2nd link look good painted, and mix-n-match painted chairs, can't find a good link; usually done in pastels, but rich purple, navy, deep green, deep teal would look really nice.
posted by theora55 at 2:52 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


My first rule of painting room colors is to paint it for yourself, not some hypothetical future resident or group of people who might visit. At sale time, your real estate agent is going to make sucking noises through their teeth and recommend repainting everything beige anyway.

One way to approach color is to look at something you know is going to be in the room and see if there are accent colors you can pick up from that object...like a vase you know is going to be in the center of the table, a painting you know is going to be on the wall, a tablecloth, or a rug you know will be on the floor. This is akin to someone whose nails or earrings or belt pick up a color from their main outfit. You don't have to match, of course, you can complement. Most paint brands have sites with color wheels you can study along with explanations of how colors work together.

I have not used this tool, but I think it is one of several similar ones offered by all the major paint brands: PPG Visualizer. It allows you to pick a paint color and point your phone at the room and see how it might look painted in that color. I suspect the results are highly dependent on what color the room is currently painted and how much stuff is in it, but is worth a try.

I like dark-colored dining rooms, they seem more intimate. My experience with dark colors is you'll want matte paint, glossy or semi-glossy dark colors just don't look right to my eye. I'd also say dark-painted rooms lend themselves to indirect lighting--such as a chandelier or side-lamps in warm tones rather than big overhead lights or bright cool-toned lights.

As for seating, I'd say go for what appeals, but a) make sure you can easily get in or out of the chair without having to inconvenience others by scooting across their laps or moving the table and b) make sure the chair is not too low or too reclined to comfortably eat out of.
posted by maxwelton at 2:54 PM on February 23 [4 favorites]


The important thing about dining chairs (etc) is that they function in relation to your table. By which I mean that the seat height works with the height of the table and that there is enough space around the table to place your chairs.

Otherwise, what you describe sounds great. Dark, dramatic spaces are quite fashionable right now (eg painting the ceiling black) but more moody blue / grey than deep red or chocolate. That needn't affect your colour choice but does limit what you're likely to find online as an inspiration piece.

For textiles or wallpaper, you might want to look at William Morris patterns to see if that's something you like. They work well with Victorian interiors naturally but also had a revival in the 1970s so to my eyes also work well with MCM and rattan and wicker. Morris is expensive but similar styles are available from other designers.

You might like elements of this dining room? Or this one or maybe this one.
posted by plonkee at 3:04 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


All your ideas sound great, including just spending time finding the right pieces secondhand. And I love red! Have you looked at Houzz for ideas? You are probably going to get other search results than me, but I find there is a huge variety.
My sister pointed out -- long ago -- that we don't move from the dining space to the sitting room as our parents did when they entertained. We just sit around the dining table with our wine till late at night, so she bought some comfortable chairs that are also good for hanging out in if you visit her for coffee, but still good for when eating with a knife and fork. I also find it stylish to have different chairs, which might be a good thing with children. My sister's chairs were a set of 12 bought from new and have stylish leather pads to sit on, I was inspired and bought a couple second-hand and they looked terrible, but I painted them red and have cushions made of old saris in them for a more cozy feel.
Windsor chairs might have some of the same qualities, and the same style comes as benches. I like a wooden chair, or wood with a straw seat, because they are light and easy to clean, compared to upholstered furniture. You can just wash or replace any cushions when they get stained, as they do.
posted by mumimor at 3:24 PM on February 23


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