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Before & After: Our Dining Room is My New Favorite Room

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I love blue. Really. It is officially my favorite among all the wall colors we’ve ever used. In turn, our finished dining room is my new favorite room. That could be because we haven’t really finished any other spaces in this apartment, but I think it’s because it really just turned out great. And I have FLOR to thank for the inspiration.

The moment I saw their Sophistikat rug last year, I knew I had to have it — eventually, anyway. And I kept finding inspiration elsewhere in similar shades of blue: the gorgeous blue Ikat dinnerware from Viva Terra and sweet cloth napkins from West Elm. Slowly, in my mind, a dining room came together.

And then slowly, it came together in real life too.

We knew we had to find the perfect blue for the walls. Given our past experience picking paint colors on the Internet or in the store, only to bring them home and have them be far from what we expected, we bought 4 testers. One was too blue, one too green and another too black. In the end, we chose Glidden’s Rich Navy, color matched to Behr Premium Plus, paint with primer in it (low-VOC, of course). In the photo above, it is the sample on the far left. I thought it read too purple at first, but my husband convinced me that the other option shown was too green.  Now that it’s on the walls, I’m so happy I listened to him!

The piece that inspired the color scheme, the Sophistikat rug was a challenge to put together — not because of the tiles themselves (which are a breeze to assemble) but because of the pattern. While each tile is similar, they are not exactly the same. So it took a bit of sorting to find ones that would match up relatively closely. As a result, the pattern is a bit random where I switched from a tighter diamond pattern to a wider one. Still, I LOVE the look. It is perfect imperfection.

Now for the next piece of the puzzle. By the time I convinced my husband of my vision for the ikat dinnerware, the dessert plates were no longer in stock. So I had to improvise. I bought a set of 4 dinner plates and a set of 4 bowls (on clearance, of course). But we needed place settings for 6. So I grabbed some cobalt blue glass dinner and dessert plates and bowls from Ikea to complete the collection.

As you can see in the two detail photos above, I mixed and matched them for a look that is loose and eclectic, but still completely cohesive. And guess what? I love this imperfection too!

I grabbed some fabric napkins in blue and white from West Elm (also on clearance). I have to say though, I was really disappointed with the way they were shipped. One afternoon, my husband and I came home to a stack of 8 small boxes, all exactly the same size. I had to take a photo of the stack:

I couldn’t imagine what were in them, but once I saw that they were from West Elm, I jokingly said to my husband, “What did they do? Ship one napkin per box?”

Well, it turns out that’s exactly what they did.

All 8 napkins would’ve fit in a single box, but instead, I received 8. Not impressed with that kind of wastefulness at all. But I did love the napkins 🙂

And since we had such beautiful dinnerware, I really wanted to create a simple, but special, centerpiece. $7 worth of mums, $7 worth of organic lemons, a white porcelain bowl and a couple of blue and white porcelain balls, and my work was done.

In addition to the new stuff, we used a bunch of our existing, albeit mismatched, silverware and some wine glasses my husband and I have had since we got married. Oh yeah…and I can’t forget the orange juice. The extra pop of yellow really made the table come alive.

And once everything was assembled, the walls felt a little bare to me. I remembered some blue and white commemorative plates that my mother had given my husband and I a few years back. The two plates feature special locations in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, where my husband and I are both from. I never imagined I’d be a person who’d decorate with commemorative plates, but I actually really like how they look. And I get all nostalgic when I see the plate for Magen’s Bay, my favorite beach back home (which has also been named one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world — and oh, how I miss it), and Fort Christian, a location where I once filmed a music video with the steel band I played with in high school.

And here’s a final shot of the room from another angle. From this side, you can see that we painted the three walls in the dining nook, which really makes it feels like it’s own room rather than part of the larger living space. Isn’t that chunky crown molding fabulous?!!

And since it’s immediately to the right of the door when you walk through the short entry hall, you can see a reflection of that delicious blue paint in the magazine sunburst mirror that we hung in the entryway.

So what do you think? We love eating in our dining room now!

Giveaway winner

Now for the giveaway winner! I really thought more people would guess Sophistikat, but Haute Stuff was an obvious contender. But only four people guessed Sophistikat, and of those, Katie R. of Little Green Sewing Machine is the winner! So what did she win? Well, it’s not a FLOR rug, but I think it’s something equally as cool — an Organic Rouched Throw from West Elm!

I own two of these and I love them! They are incredibly soft and comfortable. And she can select which color she wants: Platinum (gray) or natural. PLUS, as a bonus, you can select the t-shirt of your choice from Differently Clothing, an organic t-shirt company I started with my husband! Katie, I’ll contact you via email about your prize!

Disclosure: FLOR provided me with the Sophistikat rug. All opinions are my own (as usual). The giveaway prize, however, is coming from my own pocket.

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22 comments… add one
  • Lynn July 15, 2011, 4:59 pm

    What a great job you did! I assume you’ll be color coordinating the food as well, LOL! And honestly, the plates are so perfect because they are so meaningful to you. Congratulations on finishing it. How about turning all those boxes into additional art?

    • jennae July 15, 2011, 8:55 pm

      Thank you Lynn! We are incredibly happy with it. As you well know, we are not afraid of color, so this is just another one under our belts 🙂 And yes — we will eat only food that is blue, white and yellow. Or maybe orange. But nothing else…lol.

  • Carol July 16, 2011, 2:45 am

    Beautiful job Jennae! Simple and elegant….and the colors speak to me. Love it! Good show!!

  • Kathleen W. July 16, 2011, 8:40 am

    It’s absolutely gorgeous! I’m a fan of ikat patterns and those deep blues. I’ve been wanting to make a dark blue bandanna tablecloth for a while now, but now I really want to get one of those rugs to go with it.

    I’m in love with your room!

    • jennae July 20, 2011, 1:13 pm

      Awww! Thank you! I’d love to see how your bandana tablecloth turns out if you try it!

      And trust me — West Elm was getting a serious side-eye from me when I saw all those boxes. Not cool.

  • Kathleen W. July 16, 2011, 8:41 am

    And that’s pretty incredible about shipping all those napkins separately, especially from West Elm. I would have thought they were more ecologically responsible.

  • Kim July 16, 2011, 2:30 pm

    It looks gorgeous! I love how it’s spare on non-functional decor and it looks so complete without being too matchy. How much light does the nook get from the adjacent room? I’d love to paint my eat in kitchen a similar dark blue but I’m afraid it would read as cave-like instead of cozy thanks to the northern exposure and a tall building behind my house.

    • jennae July 20, 2011, 1:16 pm

      Kim, the room is right next to the living room, which gets a LOT of light in the day time from a glass door that occupies the whole wall directly opposite the dining room. So it feels sophisticated and bright rather than dark and dank. And at night, with the overhead lights and the glow of the living room lamps, it feels like a cozy corner of a restaurant. I love it!

  • Stesha July 16, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Amazing! I love it so much I had to share on Pinterest:)

    Hugs and Mocha,

    • jennae July 20, 2011, 1:16 pm

      I saw that! Thanks Stesha! I feel like I just won a medal to have a room of mine on Pinterest…lol.

  • OwningSingle July 17, 2011, 12:22 am

    Love the blue paint and those dishes are fantastic!

  • Kisha July 20, 2011, 2:18 am

    You did a fantastic job! I am in love with the blue 🙂

  • Mich July 20, 2011, 10:46 am

    That is an amazing transformation from a pale dining room to a lively and beautiful one. You have great interior design talent! Painting the walls with blue is an excellent decision. Blue manifests tranquility and peace. It also gives a fresh, cool look on your dining room. I’m totally inspired to make my own transformations at home. It’s always good to have something new and better.

    • jennae July 20, 2011, 1:27 pm

      Thanks Mich! I really appreciate your kind words 🙂

  • Janelle King July 24, 2011, 5:52 pm

    This is beautiful Jennae. I have the same plates from my grandma in my china cabinet. You got skills girl. I see you on on HGTV Design .

  • Nancy July 28, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I really like your color combinations with the blue and the yellow of the lemons! It really gives the room character. It looks beautiful!

  • clang August 2, 2011, 7:52 am

    oh my god i just love it! especially the shade of blue that was used? what shade was it? this is totally amazing and i am truly inspired to have something like that too!

  • Matina August 9, 2011, 9:37 am

    I thought royal blue is just for boys room, but it’s really great on the dining area too. Very classy.

  • Regis August 11, 2011, 7:57 am

    That is a very very beautiful room, Jennae!! Very classy and modern. I never thought blue could be a desirable color in a room until I seen this.

  • Alice August 14, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Hey Jennae. This gives the song I’m blue by Eiffel 65 some context. 😀 I don’t know if it’s your style, but maybe you should get the song. It might add to the room.

  • MyBrownBaby August 27, 2011, 8:05 am

    Jennae—baby that dining room is absolutely STUNNING! I LOVE the blue—it’s so sophisticated and elegant, but funky! I love the way you dressed the the lovely wooden table, and I especially adore that you were thoughtful about the reflection of the blue beauty in the mirror. Just GORG!

    My guest room is the same color blue, accented with ivory and dark wood, just like your table, and hints of red. But now I’m inspired to funk it up a little bit. You. Rock.

  • Hi September 12, 2011, 4:35 am

    I must agree, the colours are amazing, esp the blue. But, I personally love the bench on one side of the table, and chairs all the way around the rest of it. I think it really opens the space up.

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