Dining room makeover

I really wasn’t sure about showing you how this room looked before – it was truly cringeworthy, but in the interest of a good Before and After, I think you have to see what I had to live with for over a year before I was able to get around to making some changes to this room. This is how the room looked shortly after we moved in, sans the dining table and chairs.

Dining room before
Before: horrendously, life-suckingly beige.

How many shades of beige can you count? There are FIVE: carpet, panelling, wall above panelling, cornicing, and even the ceiling (which happens to be covered in textured paper… are you cringing yet??) – all different shades of beige. And those eyesore bookcases… yuck yuck yuck. I found this sea of beige hell to live with. I’m so happy to not have to look at this ugliness anymore… on to the makeover!

I hate the carpet but unfortunately it has to stay until we renovate our house properly in a few years. I got to work banishing all the other beige as soon as the cause of the damp on the chimney wall was rectified and the wall was dry. It was important to make this a light, bright, inviting space because this room is next to the kids’ play area so we spend a lot of time here.

I went with Little Greene Fescue 231 (a gorgeous pale warm grey) for the panelling and Loft White 222 (a fantastically bright white) for the wall above. I’m delighted with how much difference these paint choices have made to the feeling of light in this room.

I was so glad to see the back of those bookcases and commission a joiner to create built-in shelves and cupboards in the alcoves. They smartened up the room no end. I love the look of a dark backdrop to shelves so I painted this area in Lamp Black 228.

Built-in alcove shelves and cupboards
Built-in alcove shelves and cupboards, made from MDF, nearly complete.

The final finish on the alcove cupboards is the same grey as the panelling, and the shelves are the same white as the walls.

Dining room makeover -alcove joinery - by Arty Home.jpg
Built-in alcove shelves and cupboards: what a difference!

The pièce de résistance which I couldn’t wait to hang since I bought it in a sale several months ago was the beautiful octagonal mirror from West Elm.

Dining room makeover - mantel mirror - by Arty Home

Here’s how the room looks now:

Dining room makeover - AFTER - by Arty Home.jpg

Our farmhouse table and chairs were a bargain find from a local auction house about 6 years ago. They were in a bit of a state so shortly after purchasing them, I sanded them back, then stained and varnished the table, and painted the chairs in a pale stone coloured eggshell.

Dining room makeover AFTER - Arty Home

This is the wall opposite:

Art and shelves

There are still a few more changes to come, like figuring out how to fill the remaining blank wall and possibly repainting the dining chairs in a dark colour. For now though, I’m chuffed with how much difference the paint and alcove joinery have made to this room. 🙂

If you take away anything from this post, let it be this – beige is never the answer!


  1. 16 June 2016 / 9:30 pm

    Meera, you’ve worked magic in this room. I especially love the black back panel in your alcoves which really highlights all the lovely items on your shelves. And I could agree more – banish beige. x

    • Meera
      17 June 2016 / 10:03 am

      Thank you very much Fiona! I’m pretty happy with the black on the back of the shelves. 🙂 Paint can completely transform a room. It astonishes me how many people still turn to magnolia and beige as ‘safe’ options. Nothing safe about them, they suck the life out of a room! x

  2. 16 June 2016 / 9:52 pm

    I love this! Such a fantastic transformation (although us interior folk are never finished are we!) you have serious shelfie style lady!!! I love how you have styled the whole room, but those shelves in particular are just wonderful! Can’t wait to see more of your transformations X

    • Meera
      17 June 2016 / 10:05 am

      So kind, thanks so much, Jade! I think it’ll take a few shelfie iterations before I’m totally happy with them, or perhaps the faffing never really ends? 😉 x

  3. 16 September 2016 / 8:43 pm

    Wow – such a stunning room. And even more so when you see the befores. I LOVE the built ins, and the paneling…and the rest of it too!

    • Meera
      17 September 2016 / 8:31 pm

      That’s so lovely of you to say, Lizzie! Thank you so much!! xx

  4. 2 November 2016 / 2:16 pm

    What a fab transformation! The gold against the black is so chic!

    • Meera
      3 November 2016 / 11:35 am

      Thank you very much Rachel! Really glad I decided to paint the back of the shelves black 🙂 xx

  5. 9 December 2016 / 4:31 pm

    This came out so beautiful! Your so talented!

    • Meera
      10 December 2016 / 2:33 pm

      Aww thanks so much, that’s lovely of you to say! 🙂 xx

  6. Vicki
    13 May 2017 / 4:38 pm

    Where did you get those lovely handles? Really stylish.

  7. 10 August 2017 / 8:42 pm

    wow its beautiful, what a fab transformation. Love these sorts of built in shelving and cupboards. #homeetc x

    • Meera
      12 August 2017 / 10:53 am

      Thank you very much lovely! The built ins really made all the difference! xx

  8. 10 August 2017 / 10:17 pm

    Wow, what a transformation! We also had fitted alcoves and cupboards a couple of years ago in my living room and they made a huge difference. Love that mirror too #HomeEtc

    • Meera
      12 August 2017 / 10:55 am

      Thank you so much Elena! Yes, built ins make a huge difference don’t they? The mirror makes me very happy 🙂 xx

  9. 12 August 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Waaahhh Meera it looks incredible! I’m so jealous as our own dining room is in such a state being that it’s where Boo & Maddie live! The grey on the panneling in particular is beautiful. Thank you for linking up with #HomeEtc X

    • Meera
      17 August 2017 / 10:52 am

      Thank you so much Lins! You’ve seen from the Before photo just how terrible our dining room was and what I had to live with, surely yours can’t be that bad! 🙂 xx

  10. 16 August 2017 / 7:24 am

    You have done an incredible job and so simply too. I love the dark backdrop to the shelves and an now wondering where I can implement that in our house!

    • Meera
      17 August 2017 / 10:57 am

      Thank you very much Fionnuala! The built ins and paint made all the difference! I’ve always loved shelves with a dark backdrop as they make everything pop, glad I opted for that here 🙂 xx

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