When Nancy wrote in asking for help last year, her design dilemma was three-fold. Having recently moved in to a beautiful new-construction house she was looking to add her personal stamp. While the house is new and shiny, she wanted to tweak a few things in favor of a more custom look. In particular, there were three design elements where she was struggling with indecision. She wanted to switch out the lighting in her open-concept kitchen and dining area for fixtures that better suited her style but that also flowed throughout the house. To finish off her already beautiful kitchen she wanted to add a backsplash but couldn’t decide on a style/color of tile. Lastly, she had a big blank wall in her dining room and just couldn’t figure out what to hang there.
I was more than happy to help Nancy sort through her design thoughts! It’s always fun helping people move out of indecision and into action.
I recommended that she prioritize the design changes by selecting the new light fixtures first. Lighting immediately sets the tone for the design of a space. And once you’ve set the tone it’s much easier to make other design decisions.
Once the lighting was selected, it was much easier for her to narrow down tile options for her kitchen backsplash. She opted to go with subway tile, and I helped her decide on a color.
The light grey tile really finishes off Nancy’s already beautiful kitchen quite nicely. It complements the hood and the countertops perfectly!
Now to Address that Big, Blank Dining Room Wall
Large walls can be kind of intimidating. But with the lighting and backsplash now done, Nancy’s ready to tackle this big blank space. Sidetrack: (Now I’ve got Taylor Swift in my head. I still sing it as …….got a list of Starbucks lovers. 😉 ) Moving on now.
There’s not a lot of space between the table and the wall here, so bringing in a piece of furniture like a buffet table or even a console table might feel too cluttered and too tight. You need to be able to comfortably pull chairs out, so unless she’s able to source something really narrow or have something built to suit the space I think bringing in a traditional buffet is out of the question. Plus, with the dining area so open to the kitchen, a buffet in here would really just be for looks.
With the open-concept floor plan, Nancy wants the dining room to flow seamlessly yet have its own vibe. She’s not going for formal, but she would like for the dining space to have a somewhat more polished look.
The great thing about a big blank wall is that it’s basically a large open canvas with limitless possibilities! The bad thing is with so many options its hard to narrow down your ideas. With the design style Nancy seems to be going for I’ve come up with a few different options that I think would look great in her space.
1. A Mirror is Never a Bad Choice
When in doubt, a mirror is never a bad choice, especially in cases like this where you have a large wall to fill. Adding a large-scale mirror to a space is a lot like adding in another window as it really does lighten and brighten. A mirror on this wall will make the space feel and look larger, reflect light back into the room and make the chandelier pendant the main attraction in the room.
I say go big or go home when it comes to size. While I prefer the look of a paneled mirror in spaces where wall art is at a minimum, I think one big panel either square, rectangular or even round in shape (to play off the shape of the island pendants) would look great on this wall.
The other great thing about a mirror is they never go out of style so they’re always a worthy decor investment.
2. Moulding is Always a Win
I’m such a sucker for details, and I believe adding architectural elements to a space is never a bad idea. In this open-concept floor plan moulding on this wall would further define the dining area, bringing depth and dimension to the space. With so many DIY tutorials out there, even beginners could knock a project like this out of the park.
Whether you take the moulding all the way up the wall or stop 3/4 of the way. Or if you paint it to match your existing trim or select a darker shade of grey, I think it’s easy to see from these examples how much of an impact a moulding treatment on this wall would make in Nancy’s space.
I think the added benefit of going with a wall treatment like this is that there’s no real need to hang anything on the wall at that point. Unless of course you wanted to hang something. The moulding speaks for itself.
3. DIY Large Scale Art
Last but not least, a large scale piece of art would look great in this space. The bigger the better to really maximize the size of the room. This could be the least expensive and easiest way to tackle this big, blank wall. As a large scale piece could easily be diy’d.
This example involves a shower curtain and an easy to make wooden box frame. Is doesn’t get simpler than that, and the result is absolutely fabulous!
Since there are currently no textiles in the space, the sky’s the limit on color and pattern.
Framing wallpaper or fabric swatches could also be an inexpensive way to make a large statement.
Bringing It All Together
Of the above three options I’m personally in favor of option 2, adding moulding to this wall. While this is could be the most labor intensive or the most expensive, depending on whether the project is diy’d or hired out, I think it brings the most visual bang for the buck. It would further customize the house adding value and style that is both classic and timeless. It’s a design move that could pay dividends if/when she ever decides to sell.
The Design Plan
- I’d bring in plain white velvet curtain panels and hang them high and wide, adding height and texture to the space while also making the window appear larger. This one element will make an immediate, huge impact. Velvet as opposed to cotton or linen brings a bit of polish to a plain white panel.
- With the window panels hung wide, there will be less wall space between the window and door. I’d ditch the two small frames and center the oval mirror over the bench.
- Bringing in a tree will add more height drawing the eye up to the window.
- Using the rectangular style moulding treatment on the wall will play nicely both with the geometric drum shade and the subway tile backsplash. It will also make the room appear taller.
- There’s enough natural light in here to go dark on the moulding treatment, but if she wants to keep it light in here, a light grey like Sherwin Williams Amazing Grey would bring in enough contrast to be interesting without being so bold.
- When it’s all said and done once the moulding is done, I’d probably leave the wall blank as I truly do think the moulding alone would be a stunner.
A natural fiber area rug with a hint of pattern would add some texture and contrast between the wood floors and table/chairs. And then I’d replace the end cap dining chairs with something a little more sculptural like this rattan one pictured above. In spaces where pattern and color is minimal adding loads of texture and different wood tones helps to keep things interesting.
Truth be told though, there’s no wrong way to tackle a big, blank wall in your home. You have to just go with your gut and do what looks good to you! Which option above would you recommend for Nancy’s dining room wall? Or would recommend something entirely different?
Need Some Design Help?
If you have a design dilemma that’s got you stuck living on “indecision island” (y’all know that’s real place – I live there 2/3 of the year 😉 ) and you want some help sorting out your design thoughts, shoot me an email at Carmel@ourfifthhouse.com with Design Dilemma in the subject line! I’d love to help you brainstorm! I also offer e-design services. Shoot me a line if you’re looking for help! Let’s get you doing not just pinning. 😉