Dining Room – before: too dark, too sterile, too cluttered = not inviting

One of my biggest issues with this room is how dark it is. There is no power for an overhead light and the windows look out to a large verandah under many trees so they do not let in much light. In addition, the room is used predominantly for dinner and, in this northern climate, it is often dark outside at that time. The funny thing is, when I host Christmas dinner I love how so many candles and fairy lights can be used to brighten the room. However, for the average dinner, I tend to only light the four candles on the table – the rest is too much effort. I think that we need to change the main light source so that we get the desired effect every time.

I don’t recall this room ever being empty. Because it is next to the front door, even when we first moved in it was a catch-all for all of our moving boxes. The room’s best feature is the fireplace. It doesn’t work at the moment but maybe I should place some real wood in the hearth or nearby to make it feel more real. When we had our other fireplace cleaned, we asked how much it would cost to convert this to be wood-burning and it was not nearly as expensive as expected. I should look into that again.

When I look at the photos I took, I notice that I really do not like how the light reflects off the floor – we really need a carpet to soften the look. The artwork also feels sterile. I had forgotten how much I love the painting over the fireplace. I need to clear the mantle and let it shine. I just noticed that it it an outdoor scene painted in blues and oranges. Funny how things come together! Storage and display space is needed somewhere for the candles and vases that are currently on the floor and the travel mementos that are hanging about. I think I will need to repeat this Style Cure with some other rooms when this one is done.

When we have dinner I usually sit with my back to the windows. As a result I often close the blinds because it feels like people from the street are watching me. Today I sat in different places at the table. It was actually kind of nice to sit and look out the window and watch the world go by. It was like sitting in a sidewalk cafe and people-watching. Since this is something I like to do, I wonder if we can place the table so that we can both look out of the window when having dinner. Luckily the view of the apartment building across the street is obscured by plants and the wall between our windows. Even though the room can be dark, being able to look out the window makes it feel better. Maybe angling the table so that the views include to outside, the fireplace and the stained glass in the hallway (green and orange!) is the answer…

The current large pieces of furniture aren’t horrible.

  • I still like the table
  • The crazy Chinese bar from my mother (to the right and not visible in photograph) is practical and a definite conversation-starter – maybe the other travel mementos can be placed nearby
  • I like the Ikea sideboard but the style doesn’t really fit. I wonder if a change in the colour or hardware would help? Or maybe just tidying the surface or placement!

I’d like to make the look softer and more comfortable.

  • Maybe covering the chairs in a neutral fabric would make them feel more inviting until the chairs can be replaced – maybe with something wicker
  • The addition of a carpet would soften the look
  • I wonder if I can find any plants that could survive in the dark here. Something living would be really nice.
  • Making the fireplace a more inviting feature is definitely in order – maybe just by adding some wood somewhere