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Dining Room Makeover

When we bought our San Francisco flat last year it was my first time ever having a dining room. I immediately started dreaming of the dinner parties I was going to throw that I never could because of the tiny apartments we always lived in. The bedrooms and kitchen took priority but this spring we started working on the dining room. Click through below to see the before and after.  

Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day

The first decision was should we paint the beautiful wood moulding? This was a tough decision for me because I’m prone to paint every room white because of how it reflects all the light. But the dark wood was so beautiful! My least favorite part of owning an old home is this self-imposed pressure and burden to try to maintain and preserve the original look. A few months ago  I realized that we were not using the room. It was dark like a cave and no one ever wanted to spend time in there. Meanwhile the guest bedroom (also at the back of the house) got amazing light and we would end up lounging or watching movies in there just because the light was so good. That realization made the decision a lot easier and finally we took the plunge.

We considered doing it ourselves but since I wanted the paint job perfect we hired some painters (who we LOVED!-email me if you are in San Francisco and need a good painter) they spent five days just on this one room, sanding and painting and sanding and painting. For the paint we used Valspar’s new Reserve Paint in Swiss Coffee from Lowe’s. The wood was a semigloss finish and the wall was an eggshell finish. The painter commented on the quality of the paint! When we saw the finished room for the first time it was a completely different space. We LOVED it. It is crazy how much time we spend in that room now. Paint makes such a difference! (Before picture is below.)

Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day

Once the paint was in it was time to decorate. I feel like the space is still a work in progress but here is a peek of where we are at. Here are some of the inspiration photos I was inspired by (both from Domino Magazine.)Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day

When I was thinking about how we would use this room I realized we eat most of our day-to-day meals in the kitchen. It would be a shame to only use the room for dining so I wanted to make it dual purpose. Like a dining and project room. My friend Erik suggested I have a custom window seat built with storage. I love that idea. The kids can do art projects or homework on the big giant table. We have a really great view from the back of the house so a window seat will be perfect. I bought a simple wooden bench as a placeholder until we have a woodworker in to make one. I find I usually take a long time to decorate my house. I like to find the perfect pieces and I feel like there is no way to do that (even if you have unlimited funds) unless you take your time. So I tend to use the “placeholder” technique a lot. For example I first bought a vintage French table off Craigslist but it looked small in the room. Then I spent forever looking for the perfect large oval table like the one pictured above but couldn’t find one I was happy with. Meanwhile we needed a dining room table, so I bought this IKEA one off Craigslist as a placeholder until I find what I really want. (I can sell it used for the same price I bought it.)

For the chairs I’ve started collecting some vintage Bertoia’s (I love the industrial look of them) but we’re using the Eames chairs from Paul’s studio until I have enough for the whole table.

The art wall was inspired by the photo above. I bought a few pieces but most of them I already owned and I just reframed them. We bought a Mat Cutting Kit a few years back and use it like crazy. It’s paid for itself ten times over. I highly recommend one if you are doing a big gallery wall like this.

The rug is a Moroccan rug. I like that it is neutral with little touches of color. I know it’s not ideal to put a rug under the dining table. I would prefer not to have a rug at all but we are obligated to have a certain part of our floors covered in rugs for our neighbor’s sake. Since we will use this room as a project space more than a day-to-day eating space I’m not too worried about the rug.

Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day Dining Room Makeover | Oh Happy Day

This post is Sponsored by Lowe’s. All opinions are my own.

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photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

  1. Allessia

    July 23, 2014

    Looks so beautiful! I’m about to plunge into a decorating frenzy because I got the keys to my new place today! First time home owner!! 😀

    This is awesome inspiration! Great work

  2. Kate

    July 23, 2014

    The white walls with the green tile around the fireplace is just stunning. It’s a lovely space!

  3. Les

    July 23, 2014

    i love the white!
    it looks so crisp and new and stunning!

    im currently in the process of switching rooms and after having a yellow wall for a while im ready for change.
    this is just what i needed.

    and that rug….. B E A U T I F U L !!!!!
    i love the colors in the white.

    simply stunning room! (:

  4. Carrie

    July 23, 2014

    Gorgeous! I completely understand the pressure to keep something because it is original, but knowing that it doesn’t really gel with your aesthetic. That’s such a tough call, but I absolutely love that you followed your heart. It looks beautiful!

    Sorry to start off with the annoying source questions but I really really really love those candle holders on the table. If they are from somewhere I could order them on the internet I’d be forever grateful for a source! 🙂

      • jordan
      • July 23, 2014

      I forgot to list the source. They are from Crate and Barrel!

  5. Stephanie

    July 23, 2014

    Source for the gorgeous candelabras?

      • jordan
      • July 23, 2014

      They are from Crate and Barrel!

  6. Janis

    July 23, 2014

    Absolutely gorgeous, Jordan! Your house posts are my favorite!!

  7. Grace Mattei

    July 23, 2014

    What an incredible transformation! It never ceases to amaze me what a little paint can do. The space was so dark before…now it’s bright & beautiful! My husband and I just moved into a new apartment on Saturday so I’m going through my own little personal decorating craze. 😉 Where is the rug from?

    xo, grace (

  8. Cintya

    July 23, 2014

    Wow, it looks amazing! I love how much lighting comes through.

  9. Carolyn

    July 23, 2014

    I love this! I’m in the same conundrum as you – LOTS of stained wood in my 100+ year old house that I really just want to paint. This looks incredible. And love that you painted the chandelier too.

  10. Amy N

    July 23, 2014

    Can you clarify what you meant by “we are obligated to have a certain part of our floors covered for our neighbor’s sake?” A Shaggy rug like that is dangerous under a table IMHO…but the space looks beautiful.

      • jordan
      • July 23, 2014

      We are required to have 75% of our floors covered in rugs for neighbor noise. It’s in our building contract. We’ve lived with it for several weeks and definitely use it more for a project room. If it becomes a problem I’ll switch it out to a flat weave. xo

  11. melissa

    July 23, 2014

    Wow. I would never have the guts to paint that gorgeous wood, but it is SO much more amazing in white! Such a brave choice. Totally blown.

  12. Brittney Morrow

    July 23, 2014

    I think those are the Gabriel Candleholders from Crate & Barrel!

    They are perfectly scrumptious in this dining room. And with the paint, you gave this space the new life it needed. Beautiful!

  13. Brooke

    July 23, 2014

    I probably never would have had the guts to paint it, but it looks so fantastic! The light seems to pour into the room in the “after” pictures! I’m feeling total envy right now ; )

  14. Sofia Ferreira

    July 23, 2014

    Gorgeous!! It’s amazing how turn everything white makes the room bigger!!

  15. Abbigail

    July 23, 2014

    The gallery wall looks fantastic. It is inspiring me to hang some artwork low on my walls.

  16. Maryann

    July 23, 2014

    Awesome room. Can you source where all the art and frames are from? We also live in SF, so would love the contact info for your painters. Thx

  17. MFree

    July 23, 2014

    Gorgeous transformation and really that light! so amazing. I’m wondering if the fireplace tiles are original? They look like they are from Heath Ceramics. I’m asking because we have a brick fireplace that I’d love to tile over but was worried about heat effects etc as we use ours regularly in the winter. Thanks!

      • jordan
      • July 23, 2014

      They are original. I love them. Not sure on the source.

  18. Molly

    July 23, 2014

    DEAR SWEET LORD. This is such a beautiful space. So classic and cozy. Love love love.

  19. Ashley

    July 23, 2014

    Looks great. Did you paint the light fixture also?

      • jordan
      • July 23, 2014

      Yes. It stuck out (not in a good way) after the walls were painted so I gave it a quick spray paint job.

  20. Heather

    July 23, 2014

    Gurl, this is one amazing room!!!! Good job!!!!!!!

  21. Jen (FleamarketFAB)

    July 23, 2014

    Absolutely amazing, your style & design are point on even though some of this is temporary. I find such inspiration in all your detail. And those moraccan rugs, my golly the pink one you just posted on Instagram. Holy heavens it’s stunning!!! Beautifully done … Spot on!

    Rock on,

  22. christina

    July 23, 2014

    You definitely captured your inspiration! Love it!

    – Christina

  23. Victoria

    July 23, 2014

    Adorable! Love, love, love. Thank you for sharing!

    P.S.: You should definitely add the “Pin it” button to your pictures!

  24. write in tights // Amanda Kenney

    July 23, 2014

    Oh my goodness, friend! This is an incredible makeover. What a world of difference lighter paint makes. So many people would walk into that dining room and sigh, but you transformed it. Well done! xo

  25. Erin

    July 23, 2014

    I love the rug and the white walls! It really makes the room feel so much brighter. The dark wood was nice but the room looks so much more livable now!

  26. D.Marie

    July 23, 2014

    I am obsessed with the rug! I just moved and it would look amazing in my office. Can you point me in the right direction for finding something similar? Thanks!

  27. Robin

    July 23, 2014

    Beautiful! Love it, Jordan.

  28. Kira Mead

    July 23, 2014

    Such a beautiful transformation! This is from one of my favorite stores, Schoolhouse Electric, and would look so cool above your table.

  29. Martha

    July 23, 2014

    SO FABULOUS. I always love your house tours.

  30. Julia

    July 23, 2014

    Looks incredible!!! What color paint? And the rug is awesome! Where didthe rug come from?
    Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Enjoy 🙂

  31. rodjsr

    July 24, 2014

    Beautiful. And the final room is much better than the inspirations.

  32. Lisa

    July 24, 2014

    Jordan you are my decorating idol. You’re spaces are so cozy and well thought out while being utterly chic. You are so good at this!

  33. Rachel

    July 24, 2014

    GORGEOUS!! I Love the white walls with the green fireplace.

  34. Kathryn

    July 24, 2014

    This makeover is gorgeous! The white walls paired the light wood tones of the table and floor make it very dreamlike. I love the gallery wall too!

  35. Melissa S.

    July 24, 2014

    When I first saw this room, with all of it’s gorgeous dark wood, I thought it would make a lovely master bedroom (“dark like a cave” and all!) Not conventional, certainly, and perhaps not practical (layout-wise), but with the built-in cabinetry – I could have made it work! But to see it now, completely transformed…it’s just incredible. It’s even more stunning in all of it’s bright, white glory! Thanks so much for giving us all another peek into your space – I’m inspired, as always!

  36. Maaike

    July 24, 2014

    O wow, it’s so light and airy! Absolutely love it! And my goodness, you must have been painting for ages… 😛

  37. Lani

    July 24, 2014

    What an incredible, awesome makeover! I was born and raised in a Victorian flat in the Mission district. Those homes are gorgeous! You did an amazing job. The built-ins now stand proudly flanking the gorgeous fireplace with the green tile that pops.|

  38. mon

    July 24, 2014

    What a stunning transformation! I am in the process of convincing my landlord to let us paint our place. All the rooms in our apartment have the same dark wood panelling as your dining room before the makeover. Question…did your painters sand or strip off the dark wood before starting to paint?

  39. Shreya

    July 26, 2014

    While completely transformed, I love how the room is still true to the bones of the house!
    Would it be possible for you to source your artwork?

  40. lexi @ glitter, inc.

    July 27, 2014

    These pictures are gorgeous! So in love with your dining room.

  41. Athena

    July 27, 2014

    Your dining room turned out beautifully! I know what you mean by wanting to preserve the wood and the look, but the paint made it so open, light and airy! I also love the collage wall.

  42. Paige Loczi

    July 28, 2014

    WOW, talk about a transformation! It’s been said already, but what a difference a coat of paint can make. It’s a tough call to cover such beautiful wood, but I think you’ve made the space timeless. Dining rooms especially should invoke joy, family and celebration- the white walls infuse the space with light. Congrats! It’s amazing to finally have a space to call your own.

  43. steph

    July 28, 2014

    I’m in love with this room. The rug is amazing! Where is it from?

  44. Jackie

    July 29, 2014

    This room looks fantastic!!! I love the rug. Mind sharing your source?

  45. Kara

    July 29, 2014

    Love love the white- good for you to not be afraid to paint that dark wood. It is stunning, bright, fresh and airy! Looking forward to seeing your dinner parties come to life!

    By the way, do you find the Eames chairs are a bit low for your table? We have a mix of different styles of chairs for our dining table and the Eames always feels a bit too low. I wondered if our table is just an odd height or if those chairs aren’t necessarily meant for dining tables. I’d like to get an entire set but don’t want people to feel too low to the table.

  46. carolime

    July 30, 2014

    I need to know where this rug is from!? It is just what I was looking for , for my bedroom. Please share! 😉

  47. Jessica

    July 31, 2014

    Where is the rug from? I LOVE IT!

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