Painting the Dining Room and Living Room: A Photo Timeline Two-For

As part of my continuing effort to bring the blog up to speed on all our home projects, I present to you a photo timeline two-for:  the dining room and living room.  I'm combining these two rooms into one post for a few reasons.  I want to get caught up with all our projects sooner rather than later (wouldn't it be nice to read about a project a couple of days after it's done instead of a couple of weeks or even months?), both the dining room and the living room are the only two rooms in the place that already have a chair rail installed and, therefore, are getting similar paint treatments; paint color above the chair rail, and decorative treatment below the chair rail, both room's paint jobs are similarly inspired with a base coat of flat paint and a stencil treatment of high gloss paint in the same color, and last but not least I didn't take a lot of pictures of the painting process in these rooms.

The second room I painted in the house was the dining room.  A while back, Dennis and I put a bid in on a house that we were sure we were going to close on.  We were so certain we were going to get that house that we started planning what colors to paint that place and how we wanted to decorate.  Obviously we didn't end up with that property.  But I liked our idea for that other dining room so much that I decided it would work just as well in this house.  The original inspiration started with a picture on Pinterest.

from Pinterest, originally from Sawdust and Embryos

I absolutely love the look of high gloss paint on top of flat paint.  I've been seeing that combo a lot on some of the nail polish blogs I read and I've even done a few of my own manicures in that style, so it's a natural leap to painting other things using the same technique.  As for the color, I'm surprised at myself for going with a similar teal blue as in this inspiration picture.  Red is my favorite color, and I normally don't go for anything even bordering on the blue spectrum, but there's something about this shade that I just love.  I was also swayed by John and Sherry of Young House Love's use of an awesome teal in their guest bedroom.  In fact, after comparing several shades of teal at Home Depot, we ended up going with the exact shade as John and Sherry, Plumage by Martha Stewart.  I guess great minds think alike!  We had it color matched to Behr Interior Eggshell Enamel No VOC paint (can't have any fumes around Baby Reyna).  And for the ceiling, we had our HD color match a gallon of ceiling paint to Aged Parchment.  It's a really nice warm white.  Again, I was disappointed with the coverage of both paint colors.  I used almost the entire gallon of ceiling paint, leaving me with just enough for any touch-ups, and although I was only painting above the chair rail, I used almost the entire gallon of wall paint.  I only had to apply one coat of wall paint, so I certainly shouldn't have gone through the whole gallon.  At least it covered in one coat, unlike the master bedroom.

Aged Parchment ceiling paint (the darker color)
cutting in
cutting in
getting close

Okay, done isn't exactly a true statement for the dining room.  I'm done painting the ceiling, and done painting the base color above the chair rail, but I still have to paint the high gloss design and all the trim, along with figuring out what treatment I want to do below the chair rail.  I can do all of that after we've moved.  Instead of painting swirls in high gloss (like in the inspiration pic), we're going to do palm fronds.  We're going with a tiki theme for the dining room, and we think giant palm fronds are just the thing to set the tiki tone in here.  I'm pretty sure I want to use bamboo somehow below the chair rail, but I've got plenty of time to decide what's actually going to be installed.  The original beige isn't too horrible now that there's some color in the room, so it'll have to do for now.  It's a work in progress, just like everything else in the place!

On to the living room.  As you know, Mom came to the rescue a few weeks ago and helped me get most of the living room painted.  Dennis and I also came across the inspiration for our living room color scheme on Pinterest.

from Pinterest, originally from aka design

The deep charcoal walls above the chair rail and crisp white below looks so classy yet edgy.  One look at this picture, and we were sold on the combo.  We never thought we'd have a black living room, and are in fact calling the color charcoal to make ourselves feel better.  Who are we kidding?  That's totally black.  We picked Deep Space and had it color matched to Behr Premium Plus flat paint (also no VOC).  After having such bad luck with the coverage of the paint in the master bedroom and in the dining room, we decided to go with the top of the line paint and primer for the living room, hoping we'd end up with better coverage.  I bought two gallons (even though mathematically one gallon should be enough to cover all the walls above the chair rail) so I wouldn't inevitably have to make a last minute run back to HD to get another gallon.  Dennis picked the best color for the ceilings, Silver Moon.  I also made sure to buy 2 gallons of ceiling paint since I'd already had such bad luck with ceiling coverage, too.  We also decided to do an accent wall so the living room wouldn't seem too dark with all that black charcoal color on the walls.  For that wall we picked Tin by Martha Stewart.  It lives up to its name; it's metallic silver and it's going on the wall with the fireplace.

cutting in

Mom likes to cut in and I like to roll, so when she visited, she did all the cutting in.  In the picture above I've already rolled the ceilings.  I was so excited to not have to do any cutting in that I went straight for the roller and forgot to get pics!  Oops.  When I painted the ceilings in here, less than one gallon of paint covered the entire ceiling, and the living room is twice as big as the master bedroom or the dining room, and both of those ceilings took almost an entire gallon of paint.  I have no idea why the paint covered so much better in here than in the other rooms.  The only thing I can figure is that I was using a better quality of paint roller.  Either way, I was frustrated that I bought way more paint than I actually needed.  If I hadn't bought two gallons, I know it wouldn't have covered as well and I would've needed to go back for more.  Murphy's Law, I guess.  I know I can always use the same color for the ceilings in another room since I love this color so much.

cutting in

You can't tell in these pictures, but the cut in and the first coat of this paint looked navy rather than charcoal. I was definitely getting worried that even a second coat of paint wouldn't diminish the dark blue sheen of this paint and that I'd have to pick a new color and paint the whole room again.  I am not a fan of blue!  Luckily, once I got the second coat of paint on, the walls went from a navy to a nice deep black charcoal.  Again, I was surprised at the coverage of this paint.  I only used one gallon for two coats of paint.  I was relieved/disappointed that I got such good coverage.  Again, I think it was the better quality paint rollers that allowed to paint to go farther.  Unfortunately, I can't return the extra gallon of paint, and I'm not sure where I could use it.  I guess it's good to have some extra on hand in case of a stenciling disaster!

second coat, done!
second coat, done!

I also managed to get the accent wall done that same day.  I'm really glad we decided to go for a silver wall. I think it really sets off the room.  We want to paint the fireplace a deep dramatic color, but we can't quite figure out which deep dramatic color.  The fireplace is brick, so we don't want to go with something too brick red and have it look like we tried to paint the bricks a brick like color.  Our couch and love seat are a burgundy purple and will sit on the other side of the room, so we're thinking of pulling a color from them to create a more well rounded color balance in the room.  Or we may go crazy and do something else completely off the wall.  The nice thing about paint is if you don't like it, it's easy to change.

the same stencil will continue along this wall

I also need to paint the entryway.  When Mom was helping, Dennis and I still hadn't decided if we were going to go with a third accent color for the entry or if we were going to use either the silver or the black charcoal.  After we got done with the silver accent wall and all the other walls, we all realized a third accent color would be too crazy, so we're going to continue the black charcoal along the entryway walls.  I did talk Dennis into letting me paint the entry ceiling a crazy fuchsia (I can't seem to find the paint color name).

I only needed a little paint for the ceiling


still needs painting

Below the chair rail, we want to install beadboard or wainscotting of some sort and paint it a high gloss white to really contrast with the dark walls.  It won't be as convenient to install that after we move, but I'm really ready to get started on getting settled in this house.  For now, black charcoal and tan walls will just have to do.  Neither the dining room nor the living room is 100% finished, but they are both at a point of being done enough for me to start thinking about moving furniture in.  Yay!


  1. A pink ceiling? That looks interesting! But I’m much more interested in your living room. I like how the upper dark blue part of the wall contrasts with the lower portion of the wall, creating a sort of clear division to the space. Are you going to put the gloss design on the dark wall? I suggest you go with a shade that’s a little lighter to make the design pop out from the wall.

    1. Thanks, Norbert! I'm glad you like it. The gloss is going on the dark wall, and I still need to decide what's going to be installed under that chair rail (I found some beadboard wallpaper that's affordable) and paint it, too. So much to do, so little time. Right now we're focusing on moving in before we do any more painting. Hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer to get back to the living room. With a baby on the way (any minute now, it seems), it should be interesting to see what I'm actually able to get done!


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