Dining Room Update: Box moulding, cheapie curtains, and more!

At long last, we have a functional dining room!


When we moved in, this was a formal living room that we knew we’d never use. I searched and searched and finally found a layout for a dining room / sitting room combo from the design team at Ballard (howtodecorate.com):


This ended up being the perfect solution for such a long room where we hoped to accommodate a lot of people.

It took a lot more effort than we originally thought, but we finally got the chandelier moved from the old dining room to the new. (We had to tap into an existing electrical box in the attic, run new romex to a new wall switch – not to mention cutting a hole in the ceiling in just the right place… no pressure!) But that made such a huge difference in the look of the room, with the added benefit of not having to eat by lamplight / candlelight anymore. (Let’s face it – it’s only romantic when it’s elective!) We also moved the couch into the seating area at the end of the room… it’s the perfect landing spot for Adam and his near-nightly food coma.


So you know how Better Homes and Gardens sends out about 50 emails a week with “quick and easy” decorating ideas? Well I actually found a usable idea… check out my super sweet stag / gold branch pillows! I almost feel guilty that they cost about $2.00 apiece. Those are clearance “holiday” placemats from Target – ripped open and stuffed with batting. I call this one my “Frankenstein” pillow…


…on account of it’s stitched back together pretty roughly… but we’ll keep that between us! The others went back together almost undetectably since they were stitched at the edge. This one had a double hem so I had to open it up inside the second stitch.


The old dining room is becoming a “keeping room” of sorts. It looks somewhat better now that the chandelier is gone and we have a regular ceiling light in there. Not exactly sure how we’re going to end up decorating it, but for now it’s a great entertaining space. The console table on the left is perfect for serving drinks, and the doors at the back of the room open up onto the back porch. Mostly, it’s where I drink my coffee and eat my cereal in the morning since we don’t yet have an eat-in area in the kitchen.


Last weekend I decided to start tackling the box moulding project in the dining room. I had already hung the chair rail and acquired the paint, base cap trim, and other supplies that I would need. I started by painting the bottom part of the room in semi-gloss white with a roller and trim brush. By far the easiest paint job, EVER. Slapping paint on with total disregard for the edges – yes please!! Since the chair rail, base boards, and window frames were all covered in the same semi-gloss paint, it mattered zero if I overpainted in those areas.


Here’s what the half wall looks like with a couple coats of white paint while it awaits the moulding detail:20140105-233827.jpg

Once I had the half wall painted, I started hanging the box /picture moulding. I don’t own a compound miter saw, but I do have a table saw that I got at Goodwill (score!). I was able to make the 45-degree cuts, but they still weren’t perfect because of the off-ish angle of the saw blade. Luckily, we have caulk for that! Here is a painfully close-up shot of one of the boxes:


And here’s what they look like from a normal distance to the naked eye. (Notice I still need to sand and paint around the new light switch.)


This wall was a little tricky because of the air vent intake… I looked online and found a bunch of ways to address this issue (you can alter the shape of the box by skirting around the vent) – but I consulted with my husband and he wanted me to just terminate the moulding into the sides of the vent. Now I just need to give it a coat of spray paint – it looked plenty white before, but with the superwhite semigloss latex next to it, the vent now looks a little gray.20140105-230151.jpg

Here is a closeup of how the moulding and vent live together…20140105-230923.jpg

And here is the wall behind the china cabinet, which we will hardly ever see, but for the record, turned out pretty great!


I’m loving this project because I can do a little at a time without it looking terrible. It took a couple hours to do the wall painting, then I’ve hung about 2 boxes a day and am about halfway done. (Granted, with the learning curve, I’m sure the second half will go MUCH faster.) But if you look to the left and right of the window (below), you can see that the unfinished side of the room (on the left) is not terribly noticeable.


Now, on to my easy, cheapie curtains! I had some “Goodwill specials” up there before, but they were not wide enough to fully cover the window, and they were also too long – in the kitty danger zone if you know what I mean. 😐 I got 2 table cloths (60×102) at Target on clearance for about $8.00 each. I cut them in half after trimming them to the right vertical length and hung them on my curtain rod with the clip rings I already had from the previous set of curtains.

20140105-230357.jpgNo sewing, no hem tape, NOTHING! I literally measured, cut, and clipped. The raw edge blends right in – no fraying so far!


I used the leftover fabric from the curtains (two strips of about 28″x60″) to make pillow covers for the couch to pull the room together. The placemats on the table are from the same batch that I used for the pillows. I also snagged cloth napkins in the red fabric pattern, but those are in the wash right now.  😀


Do you love my twig candelabra from World Market? Thanks Mom!

All told, it’s coming together a little at a time. Definitely a huge improvement since we first figured out the layout of the room a few months ago!




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