Dining rooms go nice and neutral

It’s a modern problem – how do you give your dining area a bit of lift when it’s part of an open-plan living space? It used to be that you could be a bit theatrical with dining rooms when they were a separate room, splashing about a bit of bold Resene colour. But now that our lives have become more casual and the dining table’s out in the open, often parked in front of the kitchen, it’s a bit trickier to add character via colour.

One way to highlight the area is to use a feature wall beside the table that acts as a colourful frame to the table and chairs. Treat it to a bold colour or at a pop of pattern with an eye-catching wallpaper.  Or, you could add a dado rail and paint the lower and upper walls in different colours.

Leave the walls to do their thing in a nice and neutral way, and turn your colour talents to the furniture. Paint a set of old dining chairs in the same colour, or for more fun, paint them in different colours that have a theme, ie saturated pastels, bold brights, shades of grey, gelato colours.

The table can also be given a paint job – paint it all one colour, or add a stencil in a herringbone pattern, or maybe a lacy-look fleur-de-lis border. Give it the French Provincial look with black painted legs and frame, leaving the table top in timber. Remember to protect it from wear and tear with two coats of Resene AquaClear.

Top tip: Use Resene Enamacryl when painting furniture for a tough, gloss finish.

Accessories are key to adding sparkle to an otherwise neutral dining space – use candlesticks, flowers or a big bowl of fruit to dress the table. Hang a statement pendant light low over the table, and place a rug underneath to visually anchor the furniture.

Now all you need is some dinnerware to match, and you have a delicious spot to dine. 

Published: 08 Aug 2015

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Make a feature of the table itself. This one was transformed with a herringbone stencil using Resene Colorwood Whitewash, by paint effects expert Greer Clayton.

A delicious dining setting with a contemporary French country twist. The walls are Resene White Pointer, and the space is designed by Bridget Foley.

A rug to anchor the table and an exuberant bunch of hydrangeas gives focus to this table and the turquoise accents work well against the restful Resene Half Milk White walls.

We featured this home in habitat issue 21.

When Jessica and John Judge bought their house, all the walls were painted in Resene Thorndon Cream. They have no objection to the colour but found its sole use rather bland.

The large dining room looked empty no matter how much furniture they added, so Jessica decided to break up the expansive walls by adding a dado rail and painting the walls beneath it Resene Bokara Grey. Says Jessica: “It really anchors the room while giving it some life.”

A sophisticated look for a 1929 character apartment has walls in Resene Iron and mouldings and trims in Resene Half Alabaster.  It’s designed by James Peter. 

Liz Kite’s dining room is rich with French provincial touches from the bookcase and baskets to the wrought iron mirror. It’s all held together with walls in the muted warm neutral of Resene Quarter Tea.

Get the black-legged table look by using Resene Enamacryl tinted to Resene Nero.

Here’s one way of doing it – use a bold wallpaper on one wall as a feature. This one is from the Oxford collection from Resene.

A subtle washed-blue ombre effect is a restful backdrop for this dining space. It’s actually wallpaper (Bloom 340097) from Resene and not timber panelling. 

the look

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