Our house is not a very formal house, but we do have a formal dining room. I think we have used our dining room only a handful of times in the past two years. Sadly, the holidays are the only time anyone sits in there. It seems so secluded, like your stuck in a room. We love the layout of the house, how the kitchen, and breakfast area, is open all the way through to the living room, it feels so big and open.
But you can't just neglect the dining room. So we had to do something to it.
I wanted to give it a bit of a heavier feel than the rest of the house. Since it is so separated from everything, it works. In a big open room, I wouldn't do a finish quite this busy or heavy.
This room became kind-of an eclectic mix of things I found, and loved, but I think it all works well together.
We found the table, teal chairs, and bench at World Market. The chairs weren't the color I was really going for, but I figured the room was getting its own personality anyways.
The mirror was originally attached to a dresser in our master, I moved it in here, and gave it a foil treatment (which I'll show you soon). The cabinet was a piece from my grandmother, that I was given when she passed. I gave it a pretty involved, and layered finish, ending up in a navy tone. The botanical curtains, I found at Target. I loved the charcoal, and all the bits of color in them.
I decorated both sides of the buffet, since it doesn't get much use.
The table decorations have been the death of me. I first had it all stacked with books, but it made it hard to have a nice dinner at the table. I found this strange greenery piece at Micheal's, and it seemed to go with the flow. Though, it seemed like it should fit inside of something, but it is finished all the way around. It was just the right amount of texture and greenery.
Some of the books eneded up on the buffet. I folded the pages on a few, to give them more character. The used book store, always has a good selection of nostalgic books on clearance.
In the corner, I added a little vignette to the floor. A large lantern from Ikea, seemed to big for any space I could find. But filled with old book pages, and set on the floor, it was a good space filler for the corner.
An old wooden step ladder, was the perfect spot to stack more books. Obviously I was going with a whole book theme here.
I added a couple of shells, to carry the beach theme through.
The light for this room, I found in Round Top last year, and I LOVE it! It is an industrial shade, like from a warehouse, mixed with an antique chandelier inside. It had a chain, but no base to mount it with. I found a large jar lid, and my husband mounted it to that.
The wall treatment was a time consuming one, but I love the old world feel of it.
The how-to is below.
The base is book pages, and a crackled plaster is on top.
I also painted the crown molding in a driftwood finish, similar to the dining room table.
When I decided I wanted to do this finish on the wall, I just grabbed some books I had in a box. I knew you wouldn't be able to see much of the words.....But it turns out, my friends like to read parts of the walls, and possibly my kids in time out. So I guess using a book about pregnancy, and Ernest Hemingway's letters (who is a major potty mouth by the way) was not a good idea.
Lesson learned.....Choose your books carefully!
Old World Book Finish
So here is what the room looked like before.
White crown molding, and a chair rail, boring tan, and no character. I wasn't worried about the wall being ruined when I removed the chair rail, since a plaster finish was going on top. I knew it would cover any imperfections.
To start I took a razor blade to the biding of the book, to separate the pages.
Then using wallpaper paste, and a wide brush, I brushed paste on the wall, put the page on the wall, and brushed more paste on top of the page.
I overlapped pages here and there, and tried to get them somewhat level. It isn't super important since the plaster will cover most of it. If your not doing a finish over the pages, be sure it's all straight, and pleasing to the eye. If you are using several books, mix up the pages, above you can see how each area looks different in the color and sizes of the pages. Again, if you are covering it up, it's not as important.
Don't worry to much about wrinkles. You can take your time, and smooth them out as you go, but the paper will seize up like this, not matter what. Smoothing the page with your hand, to get any air bubbles out, after applying will help.
Once the paper dried overnight, I applied a crackle to the pages. I used a weather crackle by Valspar, but any kind will do. It may change the color of some of the pages, older books will yellow more.
The heavier you apply the crackle, the more the plaster will pull and crackle.
You could brush it on only in certain areas, to have less crackle.
I used a small roller, so it didn't apply a very thick coat to the wall, but so it was even, throughout.
Next I used a tub of smooth texture paint, which is like a thinned plaster. Most home improvement stores have their own version of this. It comes in a two gallon container, and sometimes can be tinted. Make sure NOT to use the sand version of this.
On a wall with such an aged look to the plaster, I went with the cheapest plaster. I would't use my good faux finish plasters here.
Make sure to mix it really well, the heavy stuff sticks to the bottom.
Using a trowel I applied it to the wall. Starting at the top, and pulling it straight down.
If you applied crackle on the wall, it will start to make the plaster sag and crack. So once it's applied, don't touch it, otherwise it will start to pull the plaster back off the wall. You can always add more in areas later, if you need to fill it in.
From there, I added a glaze to the whole wall. Most paint stores carry some kind of clear glaze. I added some tint to change the color, to a light white/grey tone.
You can usually buy the tint form a specialty paint store by the ounce. You don't need alot of color here, just enough to blend the plaster to the pages. The plaster must be completely dry to do this step, or it will smear.
I brushed it on using a 4" chip brush. I use a cheap chip brush ($1-$4) since the plaster is a bit rough, and may chew up the brush, so don't use the expensive kind. Brush in small areas at a time, to control the amount of color. After I brushed it on, I wiped it down with a rag. The longer you leave it on the wall, and the wetter your rag is, the more likely the plaster is to smear. So work quickly.
Once the glaze was finished, I added some water to a bit of lime slag. It is like a super white, chalky material. I soaked a brush, and pushed it, just under the crown molding. This dripped it down the wall in lines. You could omit this step, to make it less busy, or aged looking.
If you can't find lime slag. Use white tint, and add water to it, enough to make it run down the wall.
Make sure to prep your area well, both of these methods are messy, and both are equally hard to clean up.
Also I splattered a bit of blue paint to give it a bit of color. If you water it down a bit, stick it on a chip brush and flick it over your fingers, it creates an even splatter.
There you have it, my dining room makeover, pieced together for an old world, collected feel.