I have a red dining room. With orange chairs. And a sleazy velvet painting of a tiger. And a zebra rug. It might be – maybe — a little much. Now I love me some drama, but I don’t want my house to look like a psychotic palm beach housewife took acid and decided to spruce things up a bit. So, dear readers, I am enlisting your help today. I am offering up my dining room like a wee sacrificial lamb for your entertainment. You know how it’s really easy to go to a friend’s house and rearrange furniture and pick paint colors and choose a new couch (all within the span of an hour), but sometimes it’s nigh IMPOSSIBLE to make decisions at your own home? Well, sometimes is now. Yes, I’m asking for advice, and I know that several of you are interior designers, so come out, come out, wherever you are.
Your mission — if you choose to accept it — is the first room I decorated in our first house. So it’s feeling a bit 2007:
Now don’t wuss out on me, ok? Before you start formulating strategies, let me say that I know the plant stand needs to get painted black and the pot is fugly, so just pretend I already fixed those things. That’s what I usually do.
Here are main the issues at hand: Should I keep the red and get a new rug? I’m considering this relatively inexpensive hemp and white leather flat weave rug from Overstock (it’s reversible! Yaaaaaay!):
Or should I paint the walls navy blue instead? Somehow, I feel like I could keep the rug if I painted the walls navy, even though zebra is officially double dead. Sadly, the rug, at $350 buckaroos, is far and away the most expensive thing in that room. What have I learned from this experience? I will never buy a patterned rug again. Also, I will never buy an expensive white rug again, because my cat LOVES to puke on rugs. (In case you’re wondering, Folex is the best carpet cleaner ever.)
The suspect in question:
Hina Hina thinks she’s modeling for Cat Fancy magazine. She’s so vain that I had to turn on the vacuum cleaner to get her off the table and out of my photo shoot. But I digress (surprising, right?). Other possible points of contention include the always popular orange chairs with red walls combo. Yep. And an orange tiger painting to boot (but he’s such a handsome fellow).
Obviously blue and orange would look better together… but maybe I shouldn’t have the tulip chairs with that table, anyway? I actually have 6 of the Danish ropecord chairs, but 3 of them need repairs. Two are currently in the living room, to be used when we pull the leaves out of the table. Also, I used to have the tulip table in the dining room, but it was too small for company, so it’s now my office desk. That’s pretty much the catalog of available furniture, and I’m definitely not buying any more. (Have you checked the Dow today? Wowsers).
And what do you think about the lamps? I’m kind of on the hunt for new shades at the very least, but I only buy secondhand stuff, so that has limited my options severely (that, and my $50 budget).
One last teensy consideration:
My humble kitchen, as viewed from the laundry room. (Don’t worry — it doesn’t actually look like a cubist painting in real life. It’s just the camera lens.) The kitchen shares a wall (along the right side) as well as a clear line of sight with the dining area, so it has to be the same color as the dining room, and I think the kitchen is really cute in red. We’re planning to knock all the upper cabinets out and install shelves (can you see from the upper right hand corner that the cabinets float over our bar? It’s WEIRD. There’s like, 8 million of them, too. We have 75 gargantuan square feet of countertops, all with cabinets hovering overhead. They must have cut down an entire forest to make those stupid cabinets. But, alas, this tragic story is way too big to be contained within this little post). Anyway, the point is that navy would have to look good in here, too.
So, I’m not sold on the navy, but I’m definitely considering it. I have a lot of black furniture, and most people surveyed say that blue and black together looks bruised, but I’m thinking the right color of blue would be ok. Kind of like the color on this crazy rocking chair that doesn’t go anywhere in my house
And here are some navy rooms to help you further visualize the possibilities. I spotted several of them at Alicia B Designs, where she did this fantastic post on dark rooms… Worth a look.
This one is from Todd Alexander Romano Designs, and honestly, I’m not even sure if this color is navy. Or purple. Or charcoal. But it’s pretty, and my couch in the living room (visible from the kitchen and dining room) is the same color leather as those chairs.
These are from Domino, and I like the one on the right, but lefty is a little too blue for my purposes… I think?
Navy grasscloth from Drake Design Associates. That desk is Ohmigod gorgeous. Drool. Drool. Drool.
Somehow navy and zebra is a popular combination… I guess it’s slightly less obvious than red and zebra. Courtesy of Kristi Lei Interiors, this is a trifle froof and poof for my taste, but the paint color is nice.
I am a little worried that navy will feel stuffy and too… federal. We don’t have an eat in kitchen, so I’d like to keep my dining room fun and convivial. Not like these rooms:
I think if I do navy, I will definitely have to do some punchy accents, sort of like this vignette from Domino:
Ok, friends, I’m ready. What do you think? tell me what to do. Don’t be shy. Do your worst best. If I like you advice I might even take it…