Very Formal Dining Room Design – Costly Mistake

We built a previous home in 2004 and lived there for 8 years. During that time, I was constantly decorating and redecorating, (much to my husband’s chagrin). This was a time I was struggling to find my style, which seemed to be changing all the time…as was our furniture.

When we moved in, our dining room was builder’s grade white. The lower half of the wall consisted of traditional chair rail and shadow boxing. At the time, I wanted a very formal look for the dining room. In a prior post, I talked about adding painted stripes on a wall, which turned out beautifully. Now, I wanted to try a different stripe technique in the dining room, creating the formal look I was after. We added painters tape every 10″.  We painted alternating between burgundy flat and burgundy semi-gloss paint, the semi-gloss paint gave the look of textured stripes and a darker appearance.

The stripes looked great. I purchased a custom burgundy rug, custom curtains and a black/gold chandelier. I was on a roll!

Here is very the costly part comes in. Now came the time to choose a dining set for my “very formal” dining room. We purchased a very expensive Kindel dining table and 10 Queen Anne chairs….which I liked for about a minute…at best and buyers remorse set in. Oh no, what do I do now? Can I really tell my husband, I don’t like the set that “I had to have”? I let some time go by, telling myself “it’s not that bad, I can live with it”. But I couldn’t live with it, and I finally got the courage to tell my husband I didn’t like the room and wanted to replace the dining set and completely redecorate the dining room…..well let’s say he wasn’t pleased about the idea!

This is a picture of the dining room with burgundy stripes and very traditional furniture…what was I thinking? Do you like my plastic ficus tree in the corner?

img_1714img_1727The table really was gorgeous and extra wide. We did enjoy many meals in this room, but my taste for the room was waning. The claw legs on this table were truly spectacular but for a very specific taste which I no longer had.


My wonderful husband agreed to transition the dining room to a more contemporary style. I was able to sell the table and chairs to recoup some of the cost. I did a complete 180 and went from a very formal traditional style to a very modern, transitional and rustic style, more of a modern farmhouse style. This is the point where I was beginning to find my style.

Repainting the burgundy stripes took several coats of paint and sanding. I was passionate about this so I was not deterred. I chose a beautiful dark stone color for the walls and a lighter greige for the ceiling paint. I also wanted 2 chandeliers over the table instead on one. This consisted of more mudding and sanding to get rid of the single outlet in the middle of the room and creating a smooth ceiling for painting. I chose 2 round iron chandeliers for the room with a bronze finish, having 2 chandeliers instead of one gave the appearance of a bigger room. For window treatments, I chose linen drapes with a jupe rope tie. My transitional dining room was almost done!


Here is a close up view of our new 12′ table with 12 linen chairs. The table is reclaimed 100 year old wood.

img_0783web_main-level-dining-room_1The dining room turned out beautifully and to this day I am happy to report we still own this table and chairs. It is timeless and classic. I learned a lot from this mishap, and vow to never make such a costly mistake again. Have you made any similar mistakes? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by.

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