tlang330

Where did I go wrong?

T L
January 20, 2013
My newly updated dining room missed the mark. I was going for updated traditional. I don't like serious or fussy but ended up with Grandma's dining room. Ugh! ( no offense to Grandma :-) ) I like the table, three gold mirrors and shelve. Future plans will be to install Brazilian cherry floors but in the meantime, I'd like to enjoy the look of the room. The room size is 12 x 11 and gets very little natural light. I'm not sure what to hang on empty wall. I'm open to all ideas and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Comments (75)

  • Lauren Early
    I actually think the chandelier could work-maybe add black or natural fiber shades, and as long as you remove the cabinet, clock and small shelf under the mirrors- all of those items together creates a dated look. Try to use the pieces in other areas of the home. Also, I agree with arranging the chairs as an 'x' to give it a more modern look. If you like blue and white, how about a large blue/white ikat fabric on the chairs (easy and inexpensive to recover) and maybe a stripe or smaller scale geometric that does not fight with the chair pattern...
  • abbshel
    I would remove the rocking chair! It only adds to the grandma vibe. If its special to you, find another place for it to sit.
    Also, remove the two peacock arrangements and do something low and rectangular. Possibly ceramic planters in a pretty color with succulent plants. Today's fake succulents from Michaels or Hobby Lobby look pretty realistic if you don't like upkeep.
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    I would say that all the designers on here gave me excellent advice and I sense that I would not have gone wrong with any of the designs recommended for me. I am staying with the reversed rooms for now (as I said, I seldom watch TV), but who knows, maybe in a year from now, I will go for the sofa against the window.I now have a few options for the future that do not involve buying all new furniture, but merely moving around furniture. So before I started this thread, I had no idea that you could move furniture in all the layouts and I had 3 designers at my house (initial designer, first in store designer, second store designer) and none of them came up with any designs that did not have the sofa against the wall. On this thread, I was recommended with various alternative sofa arrangements and that turned out to be the major piece to be placed. Yes, I did seek advice or perhaps you can say approval from too many people around here in Alberta. I guess everyone wanted to come over and see how I was doing but in the process and, everyone wanted to suggest different things. Not sure what it is about me, but I guess I have to say "you can come over for a glass of wine, but don't try to advice me on set out as I have that worked out". The last person who came over was a friend of a friend at work, and she really wanted to see everything so I said "OK". But, yes, I feel I could have shown here my place, without allowing her to revert to designs that I eliminated earlier in this thread. But, even from that, what I learned once and for all, is a) trust my own instinct; and b) trust a real designer, as on this thread, even though some had minor differences in opinions, they agreed on the major items. I think I need assertiveness training. I am going to practice that starting this morning. If I am asked do I want a muffin with my coffee, I will say " no and do not try to upsell me any baked goods!". Just joking. I bring my own coffee to work. Now, if I hired a new designer I would just interview many and stick with only one (I will not do so now, but maybe if I ever moved and started again). Or I would tell my friends to stick with one designer and allow that designer to complete his or her vision.
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  • Lorretta
    I would suggest removing the items you talked about and changing the chair positions as discussed. I would add a shallow depth buffet on the wall with the three mirrors. Replace the mirrors with one large mirror. Keep the drapes but hem and add a wide strip of black to both on the inside edge. Change out the shades to a darker shade. If you can't replace the light add black or fun fabric shades. I love the large vase on the floor and would keep it and incorporate if possible. Replace the vases that have the feathers with rectangular contains with low growing plants or decorative rocks with low candles. Keep the fabric on the chairs till you have the other elements before deciding to change or not, it is nice looking. If you keep the red add red accents on the buffet. I also agree that the center piece misses the mark.
  • Lorretta
    I would suggest removing the items you talked about and changing the chair positions as discussed. I would add a shallow depth buffet on the wall with the three mirrors. Replace the mirrors with one large mirror. Keep the drapes but hem and add a wide strip of black to both on the inside edge. Change out the shades to a darker shade. If you can't replace the light add black or fun fabric shades. I love the large vase on the floor and would keep it and incorporate if possible. Replace the vases that have the feathers with rectangular contains with low growing plants or decorative rocks with low candles. Keep the fabric on the chairs till you have the other elements before deciding to change or not, it is nice looking. If you keep the red add red accents on the buffet. I also agree that the center piece misses the mark.
  • Lorretta
    Sorry. That was a server error. I did not mean to post twice.
  • nkentiv71356
    I agree with most of the comments above. It is difficult to suggest colors without a vision of the rooms joining this one. My first thought is to find a large painting with soft neutral tones to replace the mirrors something that does not overpower the room,: however, you can still use the mirrors on one of the other walls maybe in a triangular design. I would consider rubbing them with a black paint leaving only slight hints of the gold. A darker shade in the stone color on your wall would allow more texture to be used in your room. If you don't like the drapes why not jut remove them for now unless there is a privacy issue to deal with. Finish it off with a beautiful clear/crystal vase filled with your favorite flowers for the table or keep it green either way it will be beautiful. Happy dining!
  • spartucus
    i love the lite fixtures suggested by decoenthusiast. you really have to ditch that chandleier. get a dimmer switch too. Dont toss the curtains until you switch the lite. Are they silk? Lined? also I agree they need a substantial rod and hang higher but they do need to puddle on floor a little. a leopard fabric might be cool on the chairs, and yes a sideboard with one big piece of art or mirror and not those little ones and shelf goo. lose peacock feathers asap. lose curio etc. also put real books into the bookcases that face into the room. its the first thing my eye went to. Also I am seeing some blue stuff in the shelves which is also throwing it off. also lose big red vase in corner. your rooms need to visually flow into each other, so pick a palette and stay with it.
  • Virginia Harrington
    I am guessing what i will suggest has already been said but haven't gone throught the posts but I would - remove the display stand on the right, remove the ornaments on the floor and on the ledges, move the mirrors to the other wall which is smaller and they will have more of a punch. Buy a fab large picture for the wall on the left - something simple but with a stong colour element. Put a slimline sideboard for under the picture - make sure it is the same width or bigger then the width of the picture remove. Change the fabric on the chairs to a plain colour .Put a large rug under the table to tie in with the colour on the chairs . I would take off the blinds on the window and put in roman blinds - and change the curtains to a heavier fabric or interlined and a richer colour - However this cutains look new ! so maybe some nice tie backs and if you can get them ineterlined they will fall very well. If you arenot changing the curatins the roman blinds should be in a richer colour to give a bit more "oomph"- I would embrace the fact that the room does not get much light and put a darker colour on the walls -.The colour will b eentirely dependant on wherth you change the curatins or not. You will need lamps on the sideboard - something simple on each end - if you want on ornament on it something like a v stylish bowl but thats all. I also would be tempted to put in two very narrow simple book cases on each side of the window - it would be in the same wood/finish as the side board but not from the same line - you dont want it too matchy - you dont have to put in books into them - in fact they may make things too fussy. - Some simple ornaments, some photos. The chandlier does not have to be changed if you get some cool shades for it - if you get a modern streamlined sideboard and book case I woudl change the chandlier - but really there is no reason why you couldn't do the above with a more classic look and then the chandliers just need the shades. enjoy.. sorry about what are probably many
    typos
  • sacapuntaslapioz
    my first reaction on outdated grandma stuff:
    1.- the curio cabinet on the corner. lose it. there is no saving that thing unless you paint it white or red and put it in the bathroom with towels and necessities.
    2.- chandelier. you want some character in there.
    3.- wall color screams old. instant update: paint bottom white or black. tone down the beige with an off white, or go all out on a dark color, you do not have a lot of light anyway. a lovely dark green like emerald, a polished black in glossy paint, a royal blue or even a purple. also a demure silver or even a metallic.
    4.- lose the clock.it yells grandma.
    5.- shelf is too narrow and too short. it would need to span the length of the 3 mirrors, which are nice
    6.- rocking chair: find a different spot it is a great shape, just put of place there.
    7.- I would do a zebra print on the chairs.
    Good luck you are off to a good start and have great bones in the table shape and moldings.
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  • sacapuntaslapioz
    more images
  • altriaedens
    I too have to say that a upgraded chandelier would help and also a different pattern for your seat covers and more contemporary light fixtures.
  • PRO
    GARY FINLEY, ASID
    BRAVE to ask......first remove all the items that are accessories from the floor. remove the rooking chair...relocate the mirrors and clock......lose the shelf....and the glass vase on the table

    Solution: use items that are stronger... and larger.....find a large piece of art for the left wall. and a live plant to the dining table...if you can paint the walls, but first pull the blinds up or remove them...and finding a light fixture that carries more wieght will be a good start
  • Connie Carbary
    I think Gary said it really well!!! I would just add a long modern library type table for a buffet might be a good addition... Great for a bar.
  • bubbs5
    Lose everything in the room but the table. Re-cover seats and paint walls a dark grey. Find more dramatic window treatments and a mod light fixture as a wow piece. That's it!!!!
  • marlene57
    I recently updated the fabric on my four dining room chairs with a large rectangular tablecloth from Target. The fabric is 100 % cotton and very durable. I used a geometric pattern and it looks great.
  • PRO
    GARY FINLEY, ASID
    bubbs5, wow .....I thought I was direct
  • spartucus
    i like what gary suggested. Bigger and more dramatic, and its ok to paint walls in a dining room a sexy dark color, like eggplant on bottom or something. PP seem to like dining in a cozy room. You dont use for breakfast, right? also like the ceramic low planters with succulents very good. Bamboo shades you can pull about 3/4 of the way up or a quarter up always good. I do think the new light in there will be the game changer here. that pix marked new construction in someones photo looks good. Are drum shades done? I still like them....
  • anitajoyce
    I agree with you on your comment about the room. First remove the peacock feathers that lead into the room ( they are too distracting). next remove everything from the dining room except the cabinet and the table and chairs. Place the curio cabinet on the other side of the door where it is now (its too crowded where it is now with the curtains and window there. The curtains are very nice(I like them). Add a rug with colors that are in the chair cushion in a solid or block pattern. Add a nice table runner and a vase of flowers and a group of 2-3 candles or a small plant and candles to the table. Place two of the mirrors on either side of the window. Remove the third from the room. Add a big picture of abstract art or a big flower picture. Or a group of 2 to 3 similar pictures where the mirrors were. Add a snake plant on either side of the window below the mirrors.
  • PRO
    Montgomery Communications
    i have learned to go look at a person's Ideabook to see what TNEY like, first.
    Lookee what I found
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    ha

    just do this!!

    other input -- everytning is too small for the space. to help, i ADORE a skirted dining room table, it will have to look oppulent, but won' t have to cost a mint. you could use chambray, just don' skimp on the fullness.
    a 'cheat' that desiners use is lots and lots and lots of tuile under the skirt. just like in real life, a full and bodied skirt needs a serious foundation.

    slipcover the chairs, with skirts 2/3 the way down.

    airy linen like curatains

    larger imirrors, or at least maybe spaced furhter appart.

    and that curio cabinet, well,......... er..... it is not enhancing the space, nor is the rocker.

    agree with other comments that a buffet or console might be just the ticket.

    have fun!!
  • alwaysdesigning
    Also, Layer on a rug with color that will be large enough for the chairs to scoot away from the table and not fall off the rug. Agree, take everything out of your space to start with. You need some jolts of color and sparkle. A buffet if there is room along the wall or a floating console. Add sconces on either side of the window, or large table lamps with colors on the buffet/console, mirror, and declutter. Large artwork on the other wall to balance the console and bring in your colors. A new chandelier with drama. The chair rail is asking for some help; add some moldings below the rail for some texture, or a wallpaper can work too. Textiles on the chair seats (recover) to bring in more color. Your paint colors are very neutral; you need some punch. Keep the look new and fresh. Good luck.
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  • sacapuntaslapioz
    get grommets in the curtains. the fabric is nice, but if you decide to go with a different wall color you might need to change them. Lose the peacock feathers and knick knacks on the lower shelves. lower shelves only look good with books. Good luck. post pictures
  • janishill
    You have been told all the basics; remove this and that, do the other, but no one has mentioned the posts that divide the space. Cut them off then cap them. Easy update

    The drapes are fine. Add roman shades under them to bring in more color: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/8147183/?catalogId=41&bnrid=3318529&cm_ven=Google_PLA&cm_cat=Rugs_Windows&cm_pla=By_Style&cm_ite=Cameron_Cordless_Roman_Shade_26_x_64%22_Cardinal_Red&adtype=pla
  • PRO
    JMittman Designs
    In addition to the removal of the curio and clock, since you mentioned you don't like the draperies, I'd like to see a nice linen look panel banded on the lead edge with a fabric to coordinate with your chairs seats. The tone on tone, unstructured, puddled panels are too flouncy for this room. If you choose to keep them, I would have them hemmed to kiss the floor, which will allow them to dress a little better into folds instead of flares.
  • alli1968
    I love your draperies, as you can see in my dining room below! My advice: remove clock, rocker, and cabinet. Find sconces for the rear wall (think candlelight). Add a stone planter/vase with greenery and color for your table. These are inexpensive quick fixes you can do today.
  • peacockjeanette
    Adding trim detail under the chair rail is a great way to add interest and depth to any room and is a relatively easy DIY project. Home Depot and Lowes have easy to install kits at reasonable prices or you can even choose your own trim and cut it on-site at Home Depot using their self-serve cutting area - I've done both with nothing more than online instructions and a few tools with fabulous results. Additionally, that type of detail will certainly give you the new traditional look you were shooting for and will remain fresh for a long time to come.

    Along the same line, you'd be surprised how easy and inexpensive it would be to build up your existing columns with some 2x6's and some crown molding (all cut to size at the store). All you need is some paint, finishing nails, glue, caulk. Use google to find instructions.

    I think new fabric on your chairs will also move you closer to your goal. Florals still work but in larger print and more background color visible. Or you can choose one of the many geometrics out there. Fabric.com is a good place to get designer-look fabric at an incredible price.

    Once you've selected fabric, you'll know what to do with your drapes. As it stands they have a prominent position but do little to pop the room. As one poster suggested, you can add a strip of color or trim to the inside edges for an easy fix or you can get a coordinating fabric from Fabric.com (they have recommendations for must fabrics they sell) and make your own - you don't even need a sewing machine, just an iron, interfacing, and some iron-on hemming tape. Another option is bed bath and beyond. With their 20% coupons, you can get beautiful panels.

    In terms of the chancy, if you don't want to change it out, you could paint it and add small drum shades or, if you want to add a touch of glam, you can search online for magnetic or tie on light "jewelry" to add some bling - though, having done this myself, I think I would have spent less in the end by just buying a new fixture.

    Finally, your half-wall bookcases give you a lot of opportunity to tie your dining room to what appears to be your living room. Take a look at some Houzz photos for some ideas on how to make them work for you.
  • Janelle H
    I'm not a pro, but since I'm always on a tight budget I like to use what I have. If you are going to remove the chandelier anyway, you could try spray painting it a fun color (red? yellow? whatever makes you happy). It's an easy project. And then if you hate it you can just replace it as planned. I think it would add a splash of fun. Plus some fun wall art and either remove or maybe paint or replace the seat cushion on the rocking chair, and remove the curio cabinet, and clock.
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  • sacapuntaslapioz
    janishill, I bet those columns are structural, part of an old wall. tlang330 do not touch those without consulting a professional.
  • beverlynn
    I agree with the above. If they're structural, they're holding up your house! When I mentioned changing your curtains previously, I forgot to ask if they are silk. If so, don't change them as you won't find the quality unless you can afford to replace them with silk.
  • T L
    They are silk. Ex husband is a structural engineer so I know not to remove supports :-)
  • T L
    Okay. So after removing the items that EVERYONE agrees upon, lol here is my plan.

    1. Rotate table : already did that and it looks much better.
    2. Plan on painting upper half of wall a deep brown. Lower half a soft white.
    3. Find a square rug to ground table. I like the one from Ballard but does not come in the size I need. Examples welcome.
    4. Replace light with more weight and some sparkle.
    5. Keep drapes for now. I think they will pop with brown wall. Will remount rod higher.
    6. Recover seats but not sure with what. Examples welcome.
    7. large picture on long wall with shallow banquet console. I would LOVE to find something at antique mall and paint.
    8. Move gold mirrors on either side of window. Ditch third one.
    9. Dress bookcase with books.
    10 SIT BACK AND ENJOY>

    Boy, sometimes it takes a village. I will post pictures when I get the guts too!! THANKS to everyone.
    WHEW!!
  • sandylikeabeach
    My question to you would be, what do you love? Does your "eye" go to rooms that are light, feminine and airy, or dark, masculine with a heavier look,? Go through this site, start a dark idea book, and a light idea book. Put ONLY the rooms you really LOVE into your idea book. Pretty soon you will see your taste emerging. Then you will know whether to go w/ neutrals or colors, light or dark, graphic or floral in your artwork and fabrics. You will know if you love pattern upon pattern or subdued with textures instead. Things you LOVE will keep showing up in your idea book.

    Pay attention to the scale of things. I imagine you love clocks, as you hung one in the room. When you see the clocks you love, add them to your idea book. Then look at the ones you truly love. Are they larger than the one on your wall? Grandma may have loved it, but does it make a statement, or get lost on the wall. Try larger, more important looking, in pillows, lamps, artwork, vases, shelves. Scale can make or break a room.

    Paint is the cheapest way to change a room and will have the most impact. If you choose something daring like dark walls, see it through to the end of the fourth wall. You can always paint again if you don't like it. Right now your carpet, walls and drapes are tones of the same color. Try choosing a color that contrasts and "pops" instead of blends. Your drapes are good, just lift them to the bottom edge of the crown molding. Hem them so they do not puddle.

    You have a lovely traditional chandelier. Why not try putting a black drum shade over the whole thing for a masculine look, or a light linen or burlap drum shade over the whole thing for more feminine? This suggestion keeps coming up for you. It 's a good one.

    Your bookcases are small boxes. If you could make 2-3 large shelves instead and build up the shelf to 2 x's the size of the board this would make whatever you put in there important looking. A collection would be nice, perhaps the blue and white but with quite larger pieces added in.

    I like your mirrors very much. All artwork, mirrors should be hung at eye level of someone no more than 5' 5" tall. Your three small mirrors would be great on the shorter wall w/ the door. Center them from the edge of the door to the end of the wall. Do you have brass sconces to go with your chandelier? Could they be grouped with larger artwork? Your ceilings are high. Could you have a piece of art that is close to the chair rail maybe 11x 18 then stack a sconce above that with a small piece of art maybe 8 x 10? It would take your eye up. This should be used as a column of art on each side of a large piece of art, perhaps 4' x 3' hung horizontally. this would give you a wall of art with importance. A piece of furniture that would help is perhaps a side board. Here you would put a pair of tall candlestick lamps perhaps w/ black or linen shades.

    The others are right that your bookcases should have much thicker columns built up to at least 2 x's the size. Your chairs could have faux leather seats, either black or a color you love. Wipe clean. I agree on removing the rocker, the curio, she vases and the clock.

    These are just a few suggestions, however, be true to yourself, see what you truly love, and see what excites you. Everyone has an opinion, but yours is the only one that matters in the end. It's your space.
  • jasagasb
    Comedor columnas
  • ash redmond
    I think changing the fabrics on the dining chairs can bring you out of Granny's era instantly...and I agree, get an updated light fixture. And get rid of the fussy little curio cabinet. I think all the undersized elements, like the chandelier, the mirrors, the curio cabinet are defeating your plan do get out of a certain era. Go big. Your table and chairs, reupholstered are fine - make them carry the load and put a big piece of art or one big mirror on that side wall. Also, if you can, get rid of the blinds and just do some simple roll ups for a more modern look. Later you can do custom ones.
  • ash redmond
    Sorry forgot to say that a great area rug could make a huge difference. And I agree that the built-in shelves should be reworked into larger ones.
  • Connie Carbary
    Lighting fixtures I found on eBay all for under 400.00
  • sacapuntaslapioz
    those are gorgeous. also check http://www.lampsplusopenbox.com they have fixtures that have been returned so they are cheaper. it is my go to for great stuff. but I like the first one. with a crystal fixture you might have to cover the glass top, as it might be a bit too much glass ;-)
  • sacapuntaslapioz
    some rugs (all from overstock here I have bought all my rugs)
  • sacapuntaslapioz
    and some more
  • sacapuntaslapioz
    my last one, I promise. I just love your dilemma
  • kgonz1115
    I like the peacock feathers. They can be a inspiration to your dining room. I agree about the chairs they do need to be changed. I would go for more of a lighter color maybe like you curtains. And add more color by getting a big portrait to replace the small mirrors. Remember to keep the color of the peacock feathers in mind for the portrait.
  • paulmitchell9
    I think the proportions of the wall divider needs to be reconfigured. I would widen the entrance to the room so that the line of sight is broadened in order to encompass the whole room and not focus just the table in the middle. Also, I would make the columns wider so that they are not visually overwhelmed by the bookcases on either side. Finally, I would add glass doors to the bookcases. I think this would this would complement the formal style of the dining room.
  • marewalker7
    Maybe beefing up the posts with trim might help. Brass looks outdated. Watch for sales on different chandeliers and can be affordable. Your dining room set looks pretty solid. They have many dining chair slip covers available. Match with an updated table cloth with organic centerpiece. I am a New Englander. Light colored walls that are semi-gloss to reflect light and easy to clean regarding fingerprints. Black iron accents always compliment a room. Hope this helps.
  • PRO
    Show to Sell Homes
    Add a large sunburst mirror. Change the chandelier to a plain linen drum. If you have Lowe s stores near you they have incredible fixtures for $200. We have used them in new construction homes that sell for $1.5 million, great investment.
  • PRO
    KM&M Designs
    You have some nice things, I think you have just been too static in your use of them. We use different colors and items in a different way than our mothers and grandmothers. The first thing you need to change is the chandelier. You have a number of good suggestions from people, just make sure that the scale is large enough for your room. Add the length and width of the room in feet and whatever number you come up with in inches is what the diameter of the fixture should be (Bunny Williams said this and it is a great rule of thumb). So if your room is 12' x 11' the diameter of the chandelier should be 23".

    I suggest you buy 2 more of your chairs or 2 that don't match so that you have extra seating. There are larger table tops that can be purchased to go over your present one for time when you want to have more people.

    Now the display cabinet in the corner is nice but it would be much better sprayed a color. You could use black but your table is black so go for an accent color or metallic finish.

    Mix books with the items on the shelves facing the living room to improve the look, right now it is too many disparate small objects and large boxes. This is after all the entry to the dining room and both need to connect.

    The clock is lost on the wall and the rocking chair doesn't belong in the dining room. I know you like the wall shelf, but it is too small. If possible buy a 1 more matching mirror, then move them lower on the wall find a buffet or long table to go beneath the mirrors, something that can be used as a serving piece. If you have the money, it would be preferable to have one large mirror and some nice art work, real or faux , and scaled to the walls.

    Remove the vase and white object from the floor, they are not adding anything to your room.

    Even if you are going to change the flooring, you can purchase a large rug to go under the table and chairs ahead of time. This should be nearly as large as the room, but at least large enough for the table and chairs - in the pulled out position. A good rug will give you many years of pleasure so I suggest you don't go for something trendy, go to a good rug store and try out a few in your room.

    p.s. no need to leave a faux table setting on the table that too is now old hat.
    T L thanked KM&M Designs
  • alicejean
    Replace drapes with shutters. Update lighting fixture. Remove peacock feathers and vases leaving a clean visual into this room. Think about a big piece of art on the wall rather than the three mirrors and shelf. Remove the rocker and china cabinet. I think you can leave the chairs as they are, but it is hard to say without seeing the other room. You might want a blue stripe as suggested as there are some pretty blue pieces in the adjacent room.
  • bubbs5
    I agree with everyone. Replace all light fixtures with more modern and dramatic. The wall color is very dull as are the drapes. Please take everything out except the table and chairs.
  • decoenthusiaste
    DEAD THREAD - Jan 26, 2013
  • PRO
    Lori Dennis, ASID, LEED AP
    Three easy things to fix. New Vibrant rug, kill the corner cabinet and replace the dead flowers in the vase with big green leafs.
  • sheilaskb

    I think the room is beautiful as it is, but that is my personal taste. I would suggest you take down the blinds and install sheer tiers that cover the bottom halves of the windows, leaving the top panes uncovered. If you want to change the draperies, I would suggest you go with white to bring more light into the room OR get red draperies that would match the red in the chair seats. I agree with another poster that blue would make a nice accent color to go with what you already have, and a blue area rug might look great. I recently saw a chandelier that featured black wrought iron with crystal and candelabra, and I believe it was available from wayfair-dot-com. This would give a traditional look, but the black wrought iron would stand out. Some wall scones of black wrought iron also might be great additions to the room.

  • Maureen

    January 2013 post

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