Gina Sims Designs


Dramatic Dining: How to Interpret the Inspiration

Many of us have pin boards and folders filled with photos of gorgeous homes we want ours to look like. But taking that next step of translating a glossy magazine into our humble living room feels, well, daunting. For me, it feels like my job. And I LOVE it! When I have a new client, I have them do a lot of prep work before our initial meeting. I need to understand their habits and lifestyle as well as how they dream the end product will look and feel. I don't like to use words like "traditional" and "modern" to describe style because I find that those words mean 1000 different things to a 1000 different people. I have them show me images and ask them what in the photo appeals to them.

A client recently showed me her dining room board on Pinterest. There were several gorgeous rooms. This is my approach to interpreting inspiration photos.

1. The common denominator.There is often a common element between the photos. For my client, the majority of the pictures she chose were similar color palettes and all had high contrast and drama. The rest of the pictures, although lovely, were deleted or put in folders for other rooms. You can't do everything in one room….Edit!

2. Determine which of these elements could work in your home. My client's current dining room had a lot of heavy white trim which made the dark walls and high contrast of this photo work perfectly. She even had bamboo window treatments already. This became our primary inspiration image.

Dining Room Inspiration photo

Dining Room Inspiration photo

3. Make it happen, baby. Now that the direction has been decided upon, it is time to find the right paint, furniture and extra trimmings to make it come alive. She wanted a new table but, after talking it through, realized that by refinishing and tweaking her current farmhouse table, it would fit her needs and still accomplish the updated look she was going for.

Our inspiration photo has dark walls, white trim and warm natural elements in the rug, shades and furniture. The accessories are subtle, sophisticated geographical art and accessories with shine.

I decided on these pieces. Glossy dark charcoal walls will be a dramatic base for the rest of the room. A pair of vintage maps will be subtle, interesting art above a buffet, sconces on either side of a wide doorway that leads into the living room, a drum ceiling fixture with great detail, benches that will go on either side of my client's existing refurbished farm table and bookended by a pair of dramatic wing back chairs.

Dramatic dining plan

Dramatic dining plan

All that is left to add is the gorgeous accessories and they should be ready to host a dinner party before they know it!