I’m so excited to share my Mom’s mid-century modern inspired dining room makeover reveal with you today! Since designing this space, the world turned upside down and so there were many delays completing this makeover and the design changed a little bit. We also ended up painting and hanging wallpaper on the HOTTEST days of the year – definitely not the plan, haha. But it was totally worth it because we both love how it turned out! This dining room makeover even spread into the adjacent living room as well, with fresh paint and some furniture/accessories, but I plan to do a proper makeover in there in the future. For now, at least it better complements the beautiful jewel of a dining room we created. I’m going to give you a tour and talk about some of my design decisions and then I’ll follow up next week with some DIY tutorials for everything from hanging the wallpaper to sewing the curtains – along with a weird little DIY you might spot.
I have been so excited to share these photos – although I will admit that it’s difficult photographing this apartment. It gets a lot of light, but it’s different than my own home, so there was a bit of a learning curve and I definitely haven’t fully captured how warm and cozy this space is now.
Here’s a reminder of the before (you can see a whole tour of the “before” in this post):
The before wasn’t bad, it was just rental bland: beige walls and beat up white trim, a plain light fixture and mismatched curtain rods left behind by previous tenants. My Mom lost her house a few years ago so I wanted to transform her rental apartment into a space that felt more like home.
I will fully admit that wallpaper is not the most practical choice for a rental apartment, but we went for it anyway! I’m probably going to regret having to strip this when Mom eventually moves (fingers crossed her landlord loves it so much it can stay, lol) but for now it really makes the dining room feel very elegant and luxe because Hygge & West wallpapers are screen printed by hand and look really high end in person. We chose Hygge & West’s Bloom in Taupe (c/o Hygge & West). When I shared the choice in my Instagram stories there was a lot of doubt – I think you were surprised I chose a neutral! But I chose this wallpaper with my Mom’s taste in mind. She has always loved this pattern, plus her style gravitates more toward soft neutrals (remember the grey and pink kitchen makeover we tackled, years ago?). Although it’s very subtle, I knew this wallpaper would be a beautiful backdrop for some slightly bolder choices, like the patterned rug, soft aqua ceiling and green silk curtains. I love the movement in the design (it has an organic quality I love), and the clean, crisp mid-century modern vibes. We loved it so much we ditched our plan for artwork in the dining room (for now) because we just wanted to showcase as much of this beautiful pattern as possible.
My Mom LOVED my own dining room Loloi rug so we chose a very similar rug for her space (c/o Loloi). The rug (from the Ziva collection: ZV-04 Denim) has the same hand tufted wool design, but in a slightly busier pattern and moodier color palette. The rug defined the color palette for the dining room and I pulled cool colors for the ceiling paint and curtain fabric. Like me, my Mom prefers the the calmness a cohesive and coordinated color palette lends a space. Interestingly, lately my Mom has embraced a cooler color palette – but while I love a brighter turquoise and teal, she prefers a softer grey blue or indigo. Although, to be honest, we’re sort of meeting in the middle because she’s been loving some jewel tones and I’ve been loving some really soft grey greens and grey blues so eventually we will start to have a problem because shopping together only works if we like different things, haha.
The Tabletop Accessories:
They’re eye catching so let’s get right to the accessories! FinnStyle generously provided some beautiful new sea blue Kastehelmi plates and bowls, along with that gorgeous Iittala Alto vase in the same captivating color – you saw them already in my Mother’s Day Lake Superior inspired tablescape. The sea blue hue really pops against the clear Iittala dishes and glassware my Mom already owned, that we have found thrifting and on eBay over the years. The brass flatware is something I also thrifted awhile ago (here’s a really pretty brass flatware option you can buy, with great reviews). Ultimately it’s Etsy shop-bound because my Mom has her own pretty flatware, but I loved it with the brass chandelier for these photos. The blue-grey napkins belonged to my maternal grandmother and I dyed them years ago – they just happened to work really well in this space too. I’m so excited that Mom has a beautiful new dining room because we both love setting a pretty table. We’ve thrifted a lot of treasures over the years and we love to enjoy them and use them.
I’m still avoiding going into stores, so I stopped on my road to pick the flowers and I love the sunny pop of yellow.
I am obsessed with the Pim Chandelier, c/o Kichler. I reached out to them because I spotted this light online and loved the brass finish and the shape of the glass shades – they remind me so much of my own triple bubble dining room light fixture, which my Mom has long coveted. So this was a way to bring that look into her dining room, in an even more sophisticated and glam style. I think the mid-century modern shape plays beautifully with the wallpaper and I love the warm gold finish against the cool blue grey ceiling.
By the time I had chosen the wallpaper and rug, I had already been shortlisting favorites on the Online Fabric Store website so we could sew some custom drapes. I remembered this gorgeous silk and was confident it would complement the Loloi rug perfectly – and it does! It’s so dreamy – I have some videos in my Instagram stories (saved as a highlight: ORC 2020) – and you can see the incredible sheen of the silk. I think the silk plays up a little bit of formality in this space, which suits the era of this building. Also, my Mom had never had a dining room – my childhood home only had an eat-in kitchen – so I wanted this dining room to feel really grand (even if it’s small). Online Fabric Store generously provided the silk and I’ll be sharing a tutorial soon. The creamy white curtain rod is one I had in my house before we enlarged the windows. They no longer fit, so I’m thrilled my Mom can use them.
The Vintage Table, Chairs and Credenza:
We scored with this vintage table and chairs – and matching credenza – on Kijiji (you can read more about them here)! Mom hated the MCM teak chairs I lent her because they were so uncomfortable. These chairs are much comfier but still have the clean and minimal MCM lines she loves. Plus the matching credenza was the perfect size for the wall right outside the dining room – what a happy coincidence, because there isn’t room inside the dining room for more furniture but having the credenza just beyond the doorway is still practical. I shared a post about how I quickly refinished the set and recovered the chairs in a pretty linen blend fabric in blues and greys.
A coordinating set wasn’t my original plan but the scale and style (and price!) of this set was too good to pass up – and I do like the cohesiveness it lends the spaces.
The Wall, Trims & Ceiling Paint from Sherwin-Williams:
I have always wanted to do a colorful ceiling! I’ve done colorful floors, colorful cabinets, colorful walls – this was the final frontier, haha and luckily Mom was game! Because the wallpaper was so neutral, this was the perfect space to try a softly colored ceiling. It’s pretty plaster too, and the ceiling height is actually nearly 9 feet, so it was worth highlighting (my own ceilings are not worth highlighting, which is why I’ve never done a colored ceiling at home)! The ceiling was painted SW-6491 Open Air (c/o Sherwin-Williams), and it’s the perfect pale aqua without looking like a nursery pastel – it has a sophisticated and muted quality. We loved it so much, we carried it to the ceiling in the living room as well, for a nice cohesiveness between the two somewhat open spaces. I am currently eyeing up a sample of this exact color for a project at home too.
For the trim in the dining room and the walls in the adjacent living room, we pulled a color from the background of the wallpaper: SW 7566 Westhighland White (also c/o Sherwin-Williams). It’s a soft, warm and clean white – and such an upgrade from the builder’s beige. This apartment is all different shades of beige and so we plan to carry this creamy white throughout.
The Extra Little Details:
My Mom owned the plant stand and I just repainted it a creamy white to freshen it up a little (on the left, in the photo below). I had hoped to thrift some other little odds and ends – like maybe a bar cart or tea cart? But I haven’t thrifted in months so we had to make do with what we had. I wish I could have updated the pocket door to the kitchen but I didn’t want to paint anything not already painted, and it fits so tight that the finish has rubbed off so I doubt a paint job would hold up anyway. The lamp on the credenza, along with the accessories and artwork, were pieces my Mom already owned. I had planned to thrift some treasures but for now we shopped her space but we might restyle down the road.
Mom and I LOVE how this mid-century modern inspired dining room makeover turned out! It’s a little bit elegant, but also a little bit fun; it has a vintage vibe and, with it’s watery color palette, it’s a little bit Lake Superior inspired too. It’s definitely got my “style stamp” on it, but it also showcases my Mom’s aesthetic too and her love of neutrals and the way she embraces pattern more than I do. I can’t wait to have family dinners in here (my Mom is an excellent cook)!
Here Are the Links to the DIY Projects We Tackled:
Mom’s Mid-Century Modern Inspired Dining Room Makeover Sources:
CEILING COLOR: Open Air (c/o Sherwin-Williams)
WALL & TRIM COLOR: SW 7566 Westhighland White (c/o Sherwin-Williams)
CURTAIN RODS: West Elm (discontinued, here’s a similar one)
DINING TABLE & CHAIRS: Vintage
CREDENZA TABLE LAMP: Vintage (here’s a similar style)
PLATES & GLASSWARE: Iittala (Vintage & c/o FinnStyle)
FLATWARE: Vintage (here’s a similar style)
The Fireplace Sneak Peek:
I mentioned that this makeover extended to the living room and the fireplace got a bold coat of paint too! Here’s a sneak peek but I’ll share a full before/after post soon.