Now that the living-room makeover is complete, I’ve moved on to sprucing up our dining room – another space that’s in need of attention, having been decorated in a bit of a rush when we first moved into the house in 2014. I’ll be revealing the results soon, but first I want to share my plans and the inspiration behind the new scheme.
This is what the room has looked like for the past four years – there’s nothing much wrong with it, but I’ve always felt it could be better. The dining table is a little too dark for the space, the shelves are a bit too crowded, and the upholstered chairs are showing serious signs of wear after being the target of cats’ claws for several years.
The plan is to replace the above with a minimalist yet inviting space for relaxed meals with family and friends. The colour scheme is staying largely monochrome – the room faces south and catches the sun for most of the day, so it can handle it – but with slightly warmer shades in place of the cool blue undertones. The starting point was a charcoal and cream rug from Swedish company Nordic Knots, which is replacing the current grey and white patterned one. I’m also incorporating natural oak in the form a new table, and I’ll be carrying through a few soft grey accents from the living room to ensure this space feels connected to the rest of the house.
The vintage Bertoia chairs at either end of the table are staying, as they’re some of my favourite pieces in the whole house. I want to replace the other four chairs with understated black ones which won’t fight them for attention, so the hunt is on for the perfect design. Current contenders include &tradition’s ‘Pavilion’ chair, HAY’s ‘J77’ chair and Ferm Living’s ‘Herman’ chair, but I have to admit I’m struggling to make up my mind (and a recent Instagram poll didn’t help as there was a near-even split!).
Another feature that we’re keeping is a dimmable pendant light suspended low over the table, but we’re swapping the vintage-style metal one for something a little larger and more minimalist. The ‘Fluid’ light from Muuto will be ideal, and its soft, diffused glow should create the perfect mood for dinner parties and other gatherings. I also like the fact that it’s fully enclosed, so it won’t collect dust and spiders like the previous one!
I’d also like to add a floor lamp in the corner to give another source of ambient light. And of course lots of candles will be essential.
The finishing touches
I don’t want to clutter the room with too much stuff, but the built-in dresser in the alcove provides a great place to display a few well-chosen accessories. I’m planning to focus on black and chrome pieces to tie the various elements of the scheme together, but I want to soften things with a few natural textures such as sheepskins, stoneware and wood. I’ll also be using this room to show off a bespoke artwork created by one of my favourite ceramicists, Tracy Dixon, who pairs organic shapes and tactile surfaces with a beautiful minimalist aesthetic.
I’ll share photos of the finished room as soon as it’s ready, so watch this space…!
Nordic Knots, Tracy Dixon and Muuto are kindly gifting items for the makeover, but as always all words and opinions are my own.
Most photography by Abi Dare; mood-board images by Peter Kragballe, Michelle Halford, Paul Massey and Scandinavian Love Song