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Dining Area Updates ~ A Painted Railing & New Seat Covers

Okay, who needs a little home improvement project to stimulate your Tuesday?  I spent a few blissful hours DIYing around my home this weekend and the solitude ~ along with the accomplishment ~ was good for my soul.  In the not-so-recent past, I often tried to “squeeze” decorating or creative endeavors into my life….often feeling indulgent and even guilty for doing so… but over time I realized that creativity could no longer be an aside in my life.  Something within me, within my very design, longed to be expressed and released.  For me to suppress or dismiss that longing was to minimize its significance to my own well-being and purpose, and perhaps even to rob others of whatever small offering I had.  It truly was a turning point in my life. ( If this is a struggle you share as well, I highly recommend the book A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. I assure you, Emily’s words will speak to both your heart and soul as she walks you through discovering the art each of us is born to create.  Wonderful read!)

With that said, let’s look at what “art” I created over the weekend.

There is a railing in our home that separates the dining area from our stairs (see photo below). The wood tone of this railing was used throughout our home in the flooring, kitchen & office cabinets, stairs, and railings.  Over the years, I’ve been gradually lightening things up in our spaces (I will be posting updated pics on rehabilitated spaces soon) but over the weekend I focused on this stairway railing.  And yes, the daunting task of hand-painting these numerous spindles has mocked and spited me for a long time now.  However, something about being in a house all alone on a Friday evening (this NEVER happens) catapulted me into Courage City and, quite frankly, there was no turning back.

Within a few hours, we went from this:

To this:

I REALLY, REALLY like how it lightens up the whole space.  This railing area has been a tricky place to decorate because I always wanted to put a cream-colored buffet or console table in front of the railing to lighten up the dark wood, but now that it’s painted, it looks beautiful on its own, doesn’t it?  And please understand, I am NOT against wood-tone at all!  But for my own style, and also given Alaska’s long, dark winters, I’ve found a lighter, brighter home does wonders for our mood and energy.  Plus, I simply love the contrast of creamy white with dark wood; I use this combination often in my decorating.

A couple years ago, I similarly painted the risers on the stairs themselves (you can see a glimpse of the railing and our in-process kitchen in this photo as well).  I loved the risers so much I wish I had done it when we first moved in.  On both the stairs and the railing, I used Sherwin Williams Creamy in a semi-gloss finish.

I also took some time to finally recover my dining room chairs in a striped muslin fabric.  Several years back I  covered the chairs in a gray/blue floral, a print I loved at the time but knew shortly afterward it wasn’t the best choice for the look I was going for.  But you know how it goes:  Time goes by and priorities play out, those upholstered dining chair seats see hundreds of meals, birthday parties, life groups, business meetings, and shoe puttings-on until one day, finally, you step back and say: Today is the day that fabric needs to go.  Saturday was that day for me.

You probably noticed my table base is also painted, and yes, that happened about two years ago.  Here is what the set looked like Before: unpainted, no rug, and with the floral fabric:

And After, much lighter and brighter and more reflective of my style:

Will I eventually paint the chairs, too?  Hard to say.  Some days I think I’m about the take the plunge, and other days it doesn’t seem worth the time.  This set has served our family well for over 12 years. I still love the pedestal legs of the table, and the chairs are every bit as comfortable now as they were new.  The dark wood probably wouldn’t be my first choice today, but I still like the set enough to keep it around and continue making it work for my family.  And I guess as long as we have this cherry flooring in our kitchen/dining area, there’s no practical reason to change things up.  But you never know…. 🙂






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