Here’s Some Wine: A.K.A. Painting The Dining Room

So painting is a pretty quick and easy thing to do to completely transform a room! My Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Mike (the famous duo who painted the walls and ceiling in the stairwell!) came up to visit in April 2018 and asked if I needed help with any projects while they visited. Since they’d already proved their prepping and painting skills, I asked them to work on the Dining Room, which had only recently stopped functioning as the kitchen during the house renovations.

The Dining Room, when I bought Berrybrier, was one of the better looking spaces in the house. I loved that it connected to the Living Room with a wide cased opening, that — while definitely not original — was ideal for entertaining and making the two medium sized spaces feel much larger.

Since I planned to paint the Living Room a light mushroom tone with the same green trim I’d used in the rest of the house, I wanted the Dining Room to be a nice contrast: deep and moody. We all know I love a moody space!

But what color was right for this Dining Room? I didn’t want to do green since I’d already used that in the Main Bathroom and in my Master Bedroom, but what else would fit well and work with the green trim in the adjoining living room? I swatched ALL THE COLORS you guys!

Black? Charcoal? Wine? Green? No… not green again. Terracotta? I was stumped. I went back and forth. I loved them all, I hated them all, then finally I narrowed it down. Slowly but surely I crossed off swatch after swatch and ultimately decided on the lower right corner: Benjamin Moore’s HC-61 New London Burgundy. It was deep and moody and went super well with the green trim that would be in the adjoining space. (WOW look at that fireplace pre-greywashing! It’s so much better now!)

Plus I thought the wine tone would be a fun color to see through the window from the front porch. Since this is the only room you can see from the front door, it’s nice that the room is in the same color family as the exterior coral paint.

Ultimately, I want to wrap this entire room with bookshelves and make it a Library Dining Room. I talked about this a lot in my recent post on styling bookshelves, because it’s always been a dream of mine to have a library! I often see inspiration photos of Library Dining Rooms in magazines like this one that was featured in the December 2015 issue of House Beautiful and permanently imprinted on my brain. The richness of the color and the fun accents just make this room amazing, don’t you think?!

Design: Eliza Dyson, via

Alas, the Dining Room at Berrybrier is not getting built-ins any time soon. First I need to finish up a whole lot of other spaces in Berrybrier. So a Phase I refresh was needed. Much like the Phase I I planned for the Kitchen, the Dining Room Phase I would be functional and pretty enough, just not everything I dreamed. For the Dining Room, Phase I consists of the following tasks:

  • Painting the walls, trim, and ceiling
  • Adding additional bar storage or other furnishings.
  • Fixing the missing panel on the light fixture
  • Painting or staining the dining table or chairs or both
  • Finding more book storage (the Ikea option I talked about here or solid wood cases I could later convert into built-ins?)
  • Hanging Art

Well, I was able to cross off a few of these things in April 2018! First my Aunt Steph, Uncle Mike, and I spent an evening working on the prep work for the room: moving everything out, covering things with drop clothes, and wiping everything with TSP before lightly sanding.

Then they knocked it out of the park painting the entire room in one day while I was at work and even surprising me with a visit from my younger cousin William, their son! It looked so good when I got home and they were finishing up the final coat!

I was ecstatic to cross painting another room off my list and even more excited to finally fill the room with the things to make it functional and even a little pretty. It actually took a while to get things figured out in here. At first it was kind of a hodge podge of various furnishings, none of which really looked like they belonged in here.

It’s evolved a little bit since then, but the furniture still needs to be tweaked. For now, I’m just excited that the room is painted and looking refreshed! It’s such a pretty color at night, especially if I can light it with candles! At sunset, the light reflects off the windows and onto the right wall and it looks like lava moving on the wall. It’s fascinating!

I’ve slowly been collecting pieces for this space. The dresser above that was functioning as a bar has been replaced with this secretary which now holds all the bottles and some glassware. I’ve also stashed my letter writing supplies in there and filled two vintage boxes with magazines and placed those beneath.

This angle looks so much better now, remember how drab it was before?

When we have people over for a meal, I often bring open up the desk part of the secretary and use the surface as additional storage. It’s just large enough to fit a few platters. I love its cute finials on top, especially the eagle! The secretary has actually been a pleasantly surprising workhorse for this room, especially considering I originally bought it off Craigslist for $75 to use as a nightstand, only to discover it wouldn’t make it around the corners to get into my room! Dang! It landed in here instead and I’m constantly wondering if it should stay in here or go elsewhere. It’s a bit skinny for the space. Maybe a couple chairs on either side of it would help…

The other wall of the room looks very different from where it started too! This is why I love paint, such a quick and easy DIY and it’s completely transformative! The old light minty-white color is gone and replaced with the dark and moody wine tone, yet the room somehow feels brighter?

It’s packed with storage now, with these two bookcases both filled to the brim. These are the bookshelves I really want to replace soon. They’re too small and the mismatched look is really not working at all. Anyone have a great source for inexpensive bookcases?

Next to the right bookcase I tucked a chair I got from work for free (the leg was broken, but I’ve fixed it) into the corner. It sits below some art from Minted (that I also got for free from work when it arrived slightly damaged) and beside three stacked, vintage suitcases that came from my grandmother. They work nicely as a little side table, should anyone want to curl up here and read. I think it would be fun to add a little ottoman to prop your feet up on in this corner too. I love this cute Target one with the fringe, but I wish it was slightly wider and more coral in tone. I’m on the hunt for something similar though!

In the opposite corner, by the closet door, I tucked an old, vintage easel that I’ve popped some art on. It’s still easy enough to get into the closet and this adds a nice touch in the corner. I need some larger art for it though! A fun vertical black and white piece would work well.

The Master Bedroom is on the other side of this Dining Room wall. When I eventually line this whole room with bookcases, I’d love to center the door to the Master Bedroom on this wall where the secretary is, rather than having it awkwardly off the hallway into the kitchen. I think it would make a lot more sense and then the existing Dining Room closet could be switched to open up into the Master Bedroom as well. Dreams!

For now, though, I’m just pretty happy with the transformation and the livable function of the room. The final details and added style will have to come later when there’s more money to spend. But for a $50 can of paint, I think this room has come a long way!

Now I just need to get cracking on finishing up the rest of the house! It’s really just never ending, isn’t it?

What do you think of the new color? Any ideas for affordable book storage? Should I paint my table, chairs, or both black?! Let me know in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “Here’s Some Wine: A.K.A. Painting The Dining Room

  1. My dream is a library as well and like you, for now, I have settled on bookshelves in living room/dining room. Books make all rooms better. Congratulations on your finished room.

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