We lived in London for 8 years. During these 8 years, we never had a dining room or dining room table; lap trays are a Londoners best option when space is at such a premium. Imagine my excitement with moving back to Bristol and the prospect of sitting at an actual table to eat meals as a family; it would be like living in a Bisto Ad!
Much like the office, this was a room I was beside myself to crack on and decorate; a space that I’d never had the joy of inhabiting before! In terms of a decorative direction, as with pretty nearly every room I didn’t (and still don’t) have one. I knew that I wanted the table to be to focal point in the room and that I wanted posters and artwork to reflect our lives and that was it. I let the rest gradually come together, and as with all of the rooms in our house it still is coming together as I build an eye for what works in the room and how we use it.
The dining room overlooks our south facing garden so is absolutely flooded with light; great for a bright space, tricky for paint choice. The colours in this room change dramtically in the day, when we are not in the room compared to the evening when we use the space. Also, as you can see from the floorplan, the dining room is “Jack and Jill” room (I don’t know if you can apply that term to dining room, but I’m going with it!) so with the colour choice in here I really had to consider how it would flow decoratively from the lounge into the kitchen.
Originally I had sample pots in blues on the wall, but as much as I loved the colour, it was too strong compared to the more muted tones I knew I wanted in the kitchen and was too “loud” as a view from the lounge. The room colour had to play second fiddle to the more regularly used areas of the house and I needed to find something that would give the dramatic look I wanted without taking away from the other rooms.
I decided to go with a two colour tones in mink grey; one very dark verging on slate, one a much lighter, dustier mink. I painted the colours on alternate walls so that the two dark colours faced each other as did the two light ones. This worked in the room in two ways:
- The room becomes almost like a “shadow” from kitchen to dining room, so it doesn’t draw your eye away from the area you are in
- The room played to the changing light; so that rather than becoming a hindrance, the light conditions become a feature.
Having such a “neutral” (but not soulless) colour scheme has given me a lot of flexibility with how I vary accessories in the room; which is ideal as we have such mismatched crockery and eclectic taste in our artwork.
I was keen to have lots of different light sources. I am a huge fan of the Ikea picture rails so they feature in quite a few rooms around the house. I love how easy they make changing the artwork around each room; something I do regularly as I find moving around your pictures like giving your home a quick mini makeover. In the dining room I added LED light strips to the inside lip of the picture rail. They have three different settings so can really change the mood of the room. By having glass bottles on the shelves, the light shines through them and creates more atmosphere; perfect for entertaining.
The overhead light was a Next Home purchase that we had in our London flat, which seemed super indulgent at the time! It works brilliantly in our dining room and is testament to buying something because you love it, not because its “trending” because I love it as much now as I did then.
The switch is from Dowsing and Reynolds and is such a great finishing touch! Changing up the light switches in each room is a strong recommendation for any new build home owner. Lets be honest, the white plastic switches we are given are not the prettiest and replacing these is a great way to add character without looking like you’re pretending to live in a period property. There is such a fantastic choice of hardware at Dowsing and Reynolds; any of which would make a unique feature in your room. BE WARNED! The Dowsing and Reynolds website is amazing! In writing this post I went down a rabbit warren and nearly bought new kitchen handles!
We have a few other industrial touches in room that add character. There are two mini tables one of which holds a spider plant (BTW – a must have plant for anyone like me who only has to glance at a plant and its dead) and a second one with a lamp on. The tables are actually bar stools from The Range. They are a dark wood seat with bicycle chain and bicycle pedals for feet rests. We bought them because we loved them but they didn’t quite work in our kitchen. They are perfect as tables in our dining room however.
The lamp is an Amazon purchase and I totally adore this light fitting! It has an old fashioned twist switch and a filament light bulb giving the most gorgeous warm light in the room. I love the industrial piping structure and cage shade; its looks brilliant in our dining room
The Dining Table
Our dining room table is an item I consider to be a total find and absolute bargain. It’s an extendable table made out of reclaimed railway sleepers from a company I found on Etsy called RCC Furniture. RCC Furniture specialise in handmade custom furniture using steel and timber to create industrial chic style that bring’s new and old together. All of their furniture is made from scratch so they tailor it to suit your needs in size, colour and style.
RCC Furniture made the table bespoke to our measurements; we were able to chose everything from the height, to the depth, to the steel colour and the wood stain. We received a completely bespoke item and an amazing service for a little over £500; which was about half the cost of anything we’d seen in high street showrooms but infinitely more unique. Like with the Office Desk, I really wanted an investment piece of furniture that would see us through our changing family dynamic. It does break my heart that no doubt in a couple of years time it will need to be covered with some hideous wipe clean table cloth to protect it from little sticky hands!
The “bar” was a bookcase that my father in law was going to throw out and I couldn’t bear the thought of solid oak furniture going to waste.
As you can see from the before shot it was originally treated in a stain popular in the 90s that didn’t fit with the direction the room was going.
I painted it using chalk paint and am thrilled with the result; it makes the bar much more “moody” and actually shows off the quality much better. I used a chalk paint by Rust-olium in the shade Graphite. I found this chalk paint very easy to use, plus its a reasonable price so I recommend this to anyone taking a stab at upcycling. I was going to decoupage the panels behind the shelves, but decided the colour alone looked fab. I do like the idea of adding more LED light strips to the back panel underneath each shelf, but it may become too much of a good thing!
What I enjoy the most in the dining room is all the artwork on display. I use the term “artwork” loosely; while there are a lot of pictures, I haven’t spent that much on them. Many are postcards from redbubble.com which work out at around 90p each that I’ve put in frames from the range that cost no more that £3.
I am also a huge fan of finding cool wrapping paper and using that as art and there are a couple of those in here. The are posters from places we have visited; our “Wank” poster in particular is always a conversation starter! There also posters and maps that are a reference to places we have lived; the Greenwhich poster and a map of Blackheath are particular favourites.
The “Jouets” poster that sits at the end of the table often has people asking where they’ve seen it before as it feels familiar; in instant giveaway for to establish folks from the “Friends” generation! You can find a similar one here.
You will also find poster artwork for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris attractions. I really enjoy the character these add to the room; they are a great subtly way of displaying my joy for all things Disney, without being vulgar or cutesy. Speaking of Walt Disney World Artwork, the Chinese scroll was actually purchased in the China pavilion in Epcot, Florida. Was a total bargain at $5 too!
This one wall pictured above does still need a little love, but that’s part of the joy with not only this room but every room in the house; it’s never finished and comes together slowly as we find things we like!
So while we may not quite be a Bisto Ad, having a room where we can decompress from the days stresses and have a technology free moment as a couple is every bit as awesome as I’d hoped. I have no doubt as our family expands that the function of this room may evolve (playroom anyone?), but the statement furniture we have added will be timeless in any space. And isn’t that the point of your home? It’s character and function evolves with your family (and blog of course!)
Disclaimer: I have not been paid or sponsored by any brand in this Dining Room Tour. These are my recommendations and any links are not affiliate links, just an effort to support small and high quality businesses.