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Right off the bat today I have to admit that I didn’t quite get things right with my first attempt at designing the dining room in our new house. This is actually our very first “formal” dining room, and I think I was a little like a fish out of water. Our new home, as you may know, is much more traditional than our last one, which means we have things like chair rails, a creamy trim paint color, and crown moulding to work around. There’s also a choppier layout with smaller rooms to contend with, and not quite as much natural light as our old house had. Point being, this dining room space gave me a big ole run for my money.
At first, I tried to recreate the design scheme that worked so well at our old house (ultra modern furniture, dark blue/green paint, lots of plants, and a bold multicolored rug). It looked cool, for sure, but all of the elements combined felt like they were competing in a bad way. The window in this room faces north, so we tend to get pretty gray natural light. You might be able to see what I mean in the photo just above. Can you tell where the light on the rug is super blue off to the right? The colors and elements I had chosen just weren’t working well together with the existing natural light and layout of the space. It was too much.
So, after taking a big deep breath, I decided to start fresh. I moved the rug out, opting to let the original 1960s hardwood floors sing, and I relocated my beloved vintage floral art prints to the basement lounge where they could be as visually loud as they wanted to be without overpowering our dining room—a space that we use every single day to eat dinner in as a family, by the way! As soon as I had those bolder competing elements out of the way, it felt better. Turns out that small spaces need some breathing room, and I was able to gain that back by taking up the rug and creating an entirely new art scheme that actually complemented the blue/green paint color below the chair rail (I had no intention of changing that).
The new prints all came from Artfully Walls, one of my favorite online retailers for fine curated art. I have worked with them for years and years, and have never once been disappointed by the quality of their lovely pieces. I had partnered with other online art stores early on in my career whose art prints looked super pixelated and flimsy compared to Artfully Walls. Since then, I stick to AW art because I know it’s the type I’ll have for decades—even a lifetime!
Since we live just a stone’s throw away from the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Waynesboro, it was a no-brainer to go with a mountain theme for our new dining room art collection. I love how the earthy colors of these landscapes coexist so nicely together in one space, and they genuinely feel like a breath of fresh air amidst the chaos that often makes up our lives. I chose many of our mountain paintings because they look like the scenery all around us here in Virginia, but also one desert-esque piece because it specifically called to mind my sister and her adventures out west. Each piece in the collection is a wonderful reminder of all the cool outdoor trails and hikes we’ve been to near us, but also those that we could go to further away.
Ultimately, these pieces of art make me feel something, and that’s, I think, what I was searching for without knowing it as I struggled to land on a good design for our dining room. Yes, the colors in the prints all look good with our vintage furniture (which now seems to work so well with the new scheme!) and paint colors, but the most important thing about them is that they make me feel a sense of spaciousness and wanderlust. Art is so much more than art, you know what I mean? Thanks to Artfully Walls for finally helping to bring this formal dining room to life. It finally feels like home.
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