Monday, September 10, 2012

Guide me with your awesome-ness

The stuff.
The mountains and mountains of stuff that slightly resembles a house.
Oh, you guys, the stuff is piling up on top of me. On top of us, I should say. The stuff is piling up and it's making me feel like maybe just never doing anything ever again? That's cool, right? Right?
No. Of course it isn't cool. It's very uncool.
So, I'm going to start with something "small".
Like this giant dining room table.
But seriously. I've put it off long enough and with the holidays fast approaching and us finally having a proper table that comfortably seats more than four I should probably start making this room like...well, something.
Step one: table.
Some things have changed since we last spoke on the table topic. I no longer really want a mish-mash of all sorts of chairs. Instead, I've gone straight mainstream and decided that I would prefer something soft and comfy like these from World Market:
I've sat in them. They're fantastic. Waaaaaay out of my budget but hey, there's always Craigslist.
I've looked at oodles an oodles of pictures online of painted tables, tables with just the legs painted, with just the top painted, with stain. You name it, I've googled it but I just can't decide what to do. Painting would be easiest but with the black doors, what color would be best?
I want this room to feel like basically the opposite of what it is now which is empty, cold and very echo-y. Hence the upholstered chairs and some long, stiff curtains on the windows on the left there:
This picture from Lonny is the closest I could find to the colors our dining room currently has (black, gray and white) and the colors that I want it to have (brass, antique wood,linen). It has a black table (and black floors!) But a black dining room table? Too much?
You tell me. No, seriously. TELL ME!
Stain, paint, leave it the way it is? What do I do? It's the choose your own adventure room and whoever is listening out there on the interwebs, you're in charge! Guide me with your awesomeness.
Thanks in advance!


  1. Everything I ever learned from the "experts" on home improvement TV shows is authority. They can say "black is the perfect table color because..." and it sounds awesome. Or, "black is terrible," and, equally awesome. Or is it? Everything I learned everywhere else is, make your home your home. I'm sitting at a black table right now, courtesy of (the very tough) Rustoleum Hammered Black spray paint. And it is covered with stuff, which tones down the black. Maybe your table needs, um, accessories, to keep it from looking like a black hole. Or maybe you flaunt the black table in keeping with a minimalist palette. Or keep it natural for warmth. Do it with authority and it will be the right thing. Of course, as an artist, I always say that the art on the walls defines the personality of the room. There you go. Love reading about what you guys are doing.

    1. That is so true and I was just thinking as I was writing this, how if some home design show person came in here they would be like, "Floor to ceiling black with touches of green!" and it would be like, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" It's always my natural tendency to paint stuff black because I just like the way it looks but for some reason I just...can't...pull the trigger on this one. I think you're absolutely right about the art on the walls. I've got three of Conan's giant paintings propped up against the walls in there right now but they're kind of awkward to hang in a room with so many doors and windows and I can't separate them! Arrrrgghh! Decisions! Thanks for the advice, though! And thanks for reading! We're totally geeking out btw that THE Lee Shiney reads our blog : D

  2. Ohh, I would wait 'till last until painting that table black. It will be annoying to keep clean! For softening up the room, I would suggest putting a nice big rug under the dining room table. I did it in mine, and it completely grounds and transforms the room!

    1. I think you might be right about waiting until I have some other stuff in the room. I really would like a rug in there to make it less echo-y and empty feeling and that would make the entire room look different, including the table. Word. Thanks for the awesome advice. I knew you guys would come through for me.

  3. Black? Not too much per se, but with the doors already black, maybe a little much overall. Actually I like the color it is now. The picture from Lonny is so different from the style of the rest of your house that I think it'd really clash.

    Not that upholstered chairs and long curtains couldn't work, just not in that colonial glamour thing going on.

    Here's my suggestion: find some other stuff to fill the space. A buffet/side table or two, a rug, some stuff for the walls. Plants! Like big plants that take up big vertical space.

    1. Yeah, you're right about the "colonial glamour" thing but it's just SO DANG HARD to find a picture of a dining room that I like and that also is kind of, in any way similar to ours. It's like, "Internet, why can't you be more accomodating to me?!" Anywho, I've been looking for the perfect buffet for approximately forever and everything's just too expensive. Someday though, I'll find it. I've also considered doing one of those Ikea faux sideboards like The Brick House did and it would look contemporary enough that maybe I could get away with my country charm table here. Sorry, typing out loud. But serioulsy, as soon as I read "big plants" I was like, SOLD! I love that idea! The more plants the better and they're not that expensive. But what kinds...hmmmmm

    2. Greek revival glamour probably would've been more accurate. Dining rooms are hard, especially formal ones, since they tend to be used so little but be so big.

      So plants! What kind? Seemingly endless possibilities!! There's tall and slender kinds like varieties of sansevieria, cast iron plant, crotons, rubber trees, and all kinds of cacti, some of which aren't pokey. Tree-like that start smaller(ish) and can grow into, well, trees, like Daniel's soon-to-be epic fiddle leaf fig, or palms and Japanese maples. Or things like chinese evergreen and diffenbachia that get both tall and wide. The peace lily I had for 13 years that took up a quarter of my living room and that I finally had enough of and chopped up for compost earlier this year is another example. (Okay, not exactly a quarter of my living room, but that thing was like 3ft², and my living room is small.)

      And don't forget hanging plants that trail; lots of succulents and some cacti do that, and also ivy, pothos, philodendron, hoya, wandering jew, christmas/thanksgiving/easter cactus, etc etc etc. And tillandsias in hanging planters or globes are pretty cool too.

      Okay, plantnerd out.

  4. I agree with Christine and Jennifer, I think plants and a big (flatweave?) rug under the table would go a long way towards warming up the room. Also, maybe consider keeping the existing chairs and using the upholstered chairs as host and hostess chairs? Might help on the budget end. I'm not sure about the table, maybe a dark stain would be nice? Anyway, I'm sure whatever you decide to do will be awesome!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I LOVE the plants idea. I was just wishing the other day that I had a space for a really tall plant and Hell-o, it's my dining room! I really like the idea of keeping some mismatched chairs but saving money with just a couple of fancy ones! Genius!

  5. I'm definitely on board with the whole 'large plants to fill empty space' gang. And putting two fancy chairs at the head of your table would bring a nice sophistication to the room without killing your budget. But I do think your table needs a bit of love. If you can't bring yourself to paint it (and I don't really blame you since it would be so hard to *undo* if you hated it), what about a simple table cloth, and then some 'accessories' in the center? That way you could even experiment with black or white or red or whatever for the cost of a swath of fabric. You could even change them out with the seasons to keep things interesting. I think this would bring a nice softness to the room as well, and for much less than a rug. (As the mother of a 1 year old the idea of a nice rug under my table makes me cringe... heh. But perhaps it's ok if you don't have kids??)

    Looking forward to seeing what you decide!

  6. Paint the table black! It would be very striking in the room. And yes, you need some plants. And all the other things that make up a room, but go for it with the table.

  7. What about something like a deep eggplant colored table? The awesome part about paint is you can allllways re-paint it. I also think a medium grey could be really interesting, like a soft dark grey cat grey? Or jump on the chalkboard paint bandwagon and then you can draw placemats on trompe l'oeil?

    I also think a mocked up buffet could be really useful. Piece of painted plywood for the top, pipes for the legs (easily sawn to the perfect height, yay!) and then put a skirt of a fun fabric around the whole thing to cover up the legs? You could even staple the fabric on with a staple gun and cover up the staples with nailhead trim? These are like college-dorm room level tactics I realize, but it might help you add some stuff quick and dirty like to get you through the holidays.

  8. What about black legs only? Keep the warmth of a wood top.
    I agree that a rug would help, too
    And don't forget World Market has great sales--we got our dining room chairs from them, 2 at a time, all on sale & usually w/a coupon (we're up to 8). Sigh up for their "club" & you'll get discount coupons in your email....

  9. Maybe paint the legs black...or stain them a very dark color...and maybe keep the tabletop similar in color to what it is currently. Its a beautifil table and anchor for the room.
    Or paint the whole thing black. I'm of no help whatsoever I'm afraid. Haha
    Rug? Yes.
    There are so many directions you could go with this one... but the rest of your home is just beautiful so I am sure whatever you choose it will be fabulous.

    Our dining table options are pretty strait forward because ours is similar to the one in the 2nd to last photograph. We got it on craigs list for $126 and it needed refinished because its like 50 years old and the old varnish was crackled and crazed. I stripped it down this weekend. I'm just going to be boring and restain in early american walnut and go on my merry way. :)

  10. Stain, if anything. Then you can just sand if you want to change instead of strip. Also, stain seems to be more durable on a surface that gets lots of use (tabletop, legs that chairs hit). GL!

  11. I like the color your color selection on the dining table, black. That's make the chair and door looks great and overall change my image. But, I want to see if you change the windows color to black. They looks great!


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