Is Your Dining Room a Turkey?

Alas, no sooner does Halloween end that the holiday season is upon us. Malls have begun hanging their wreaths while retailers are advertising the greatest new gifts for your friend/mom/boss/neighbor/boyfriend/cat. We know, the holidays are supposed to be about giving, but what about doing something for yourself and your home?

When it comes to entertaining, the dining room is a not only for eating, it's also a place to gather, share, laugh and, at some family functions, debate! This season, as you welcome guests into your home, think about your dining room: does it reflect who you are, your taste, your experience, and how you live?

Now if you're fortunate enough-or some would say, crazy enough-to host a holiday celebration at your home, you may start to wonder, Just how many of those house projects can I squeeze in between work, exercise, the kids, shopping, cooking and holiday parties?

Don't worry! We've got a handful of simple projects that will liven up that drab dining room and not totally destroy all your weekend time. Whether you're faced with outdated fixtures, lights that are too bright, 60s, 70s or 80s décor, carpet stains from the last late-night party, (you never did figure out who spilled that glass of red wine, did you?) you can make your dining room presentable in very little time!

Mull over what you want to do and what you realistically have time for. You'll want to give yourself an afternoon (or two) to complete these projects, from shopping through completion. Here is a rundown of some simple upgrades that will make a big impact on your dining area:

  1. Do the walls create a space that reflects your personal taste, in both color and texture? Or are you living with what someone else thought was stylish? Before you start to rip open the walls, consider what kinds of styles you like. Is your home contemporary, shabby chic, rustic, traditional, or a mix? Maybe you have incorporated one style and want to try something else instead. Flip through magazines for dining room ideas that you can relate to, but are also warm and inviting. Does the wall color reflect the mood you want to project? Looking for a change? Our article The Color of Love can help you find the color that's right for you.
  2. Do you have a light fixture that fits the décor? Does it hang low enough (or is it too low?) Not only are unsightly fixtures slightly embarrassing, the brightness (or lack thereof) can make or break a room. Changing out a light fixture is incredibly easy and doesn't have to be expensive, so go for it!
  3. Once you have new lighting, consider adding a dimmer switch. We guarantee that once you install one, you will be addicted! Dimmed lighting adds ambiance to your dinner celebration, and will come in especially handy for those romantic dinners for two! This project can be completed in about 30 minutes.
  4. A staple of the 1960s and 1970s home, wood paneling can date your home and really darken a room. As hard as it is to believe, you don't need a professional to remove it. You fill those grooves in and paint over it in 2-5 hours, plus shopping time.
  5. Second to the lighting, color is everything. Maybe your dining room is adorned with metallic wallpaper, or a hideous mustard-yellow color. Adding new shade to your walls is pretty cheap and has the potential to make the greatest biggest impact. Look at your existing dining room furniture, how big the room is and how much light it gets. All of these should weigh in on what color or colors you decide. Try a faux technique or some stripes, to create movement. Remember, light colors make a room look bigger, while darker colors tend to shrink the size of it. Painting your dining room will run about 2-3 hours plus drying times and shopping.                                                                          
  6. If you are like most of us, your carpets have seen better days. If you have had them cleaned a couple of times and still look threadbare, consider getting rid of them. Self-adhesive carpet tiles can be installed in your dining room by you in less than a day! They come in a variety of colors and patterns, and can even be mixed up for a unique rug that it all your own.

Tackling a few projects before guests arrive is a great way to feel proud of your home and the environment you have created. The fact that you single-handedly installed the new light fixture makes for great dinner conversation. Who knows? You may even inspire a guest to take on a home improvement project of their own!

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