Dining rooms tend to air on the side of elegance - and in essence, that’s exactly what our client was looking for. We conceived a design direction with an aesthetic rooted in tradition, but we focused on the details and layered in plenty of fancy embellishments, making the space feel not only opulent, but lively and suitable for lots of entertaining. The room’s original dark brown interior definitely didn’t suit our client’s spirited young family; so, we lightened up the room to ensure it complimented the family’s lifestyle. This project was all about the fine details and walking the line between sparkle and sophistication.
Pick a Starting Point
This room started with a rug we bought over a year and a half ago. It features spa-like blues and jade tones, which provided a great jumping off point for the rest of the design. Because this room is closed off from the rest of the house (and couldn’t impact other spaces), we opted to install some visually intriguing wallpaper that shared similar tones found in the rug, as well as dining chairs accented with coordinating fabrics, and metallic accents to tie it all together.
You don’t often see minty hued accents in dining rooms; these colours are more common contenders when designing a bathroom or a coastal space. However, this unique colour story makes the dining room look and feel fresh, creating a soft atmosphere at night when you consider how the mirror and crystals play off each other to cascade a twinkling light throughout the space.
Sometimes, the biggest design hurdle is convincing a client to trust the process. After we installed the wallpaper, our client had reservations about the overall pattern and wanted to rethink the treatment - and, to be fair, without furniture, art, drapes and other finishing elements, it did look very pattern heavy. But once everything was installed in the room, the paper blended in and read as texture instead of pattern. My advice: don't skip to conclusions when it comes to installing graphic or intricately patterned wallpaper. Be patient with pattern - you’ll be happy you did!
Shimmer and Shine
As far as I’m concerned, every room needs a little sparkle. This dining room sets the mood by featuring a fantastic chandelier with matching sconces. It’s the little finishing elements that make a space intimate and cozy - art, mirrors, accessories and flowers layer to create a pleasant effect.
Give 'em Something to Talk About
The large painting by Gabriella Collier is unexpected, which creates interest and tension while jazzing the room up a bit. Our clients are such a fun family so we needed to add something a little hip to this sophisticated space.
Embrace a Fabric Medley
Dining rooms typically limit the number of patterns you can feature. It’s different from a bedroom or living room, as fabrics and upholstery aren’t meant to take centre stage in this setting. We opted to layer in some extra texture by giving the end and side chairs their own treatments, featuring different yet complementary fabrics. All of the chairs initially started out as bare wood frames that we had painted cream with silver leaf detailing, and upholstered and finished with piping. The end chairs utilized one fabric for the seat, and a complementary one for the inner and outer back; the side chairs flipped this convention by featuring the complementary fabric on the outer back and a unified treatment for the inner back and seat.
Just Do It (Right)
The walls had originally been plastered to create a faux texture, which left us with an expensive decision. Prepping the wall for a papered treatment meant skimming and smoothing out the wall's irregularities, which can get costly. Our client opted to do it right the first time and got a gorgeous result for it!
Splurge and Save
I’m not going to lie, we did some splurging - especially with the addition of a silver leaf ceiling. We saved by reusing key elements such as the original chandelier, and updating the drapery by changing only the fabric band. The architecture prints are one of my favourite inexpensive tricks for filling space. It’s not so much about the subject matter as the way they subtly fill the room; line drawings tend to work well with any number of decor styles. At $100 a print plus framing, it’s a great go-to that pairs well with oil paintings and photography.
chandelier, client’s own | etched mirror, hutch, 507 Antiques | table, candle sticks, crystal vases, bowl, pair of bird mirrors, side table, barware & tray, pair of urns, tea urn, Ribbehege & Azevedo | drapery fabric (trim), ‘BF10533 715’ GP & J Baker at Lee Jofa | drapery rod, Designer Fabrics | doors, existing | painting by Gabriella Collier, Canvas Gallery | sconces, Residential Lighting | picture frames, Elgin Picture & Frame | architecture prints, D&E Lake Ltd. | chairs, Savoia Chair Frames Ltd. | chair upholstery and finishing, Eurocraft Restoration | side chair fabrics: inside back & seat - 'BF10434 725’ GP & Baker, outside back – ‘ED85035 120’ Threads, piping – ‘2012176 115’ at Lee Jofa | end chair fabrics: seat – ‘29431-11’ Kravet, inside & outside back – ‘11280-02’ Cowtan & Tout, piping – ‘27591-111’ Kravet | rug, Elte | wallpaper (discontinued), ‘PW78003 5’ GP & Baker | wallpaper installation and painting, Russell Painting 416-406-4848 | paint colour: trim - cc-40 Cloud White, Benjamin Moore | ceiling custom silver leaf finish, Horrocks & Co.