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Large, Airy Dining Room Made Over With a Wash of Color

A Carleton Varney dining room is a treat for the senses. Washed in color with beautiful details and exciting adornments, dinner is a delight in such a room but diners aren't as lucky in this bland space.

Although it's a beautiful room, it's not ideal for a festive dinner party, so interior designer Kate Hart changes that.

This neutral dining room will be transformed into a technicolor culinary experience using design inspiration from Carleton Varney.

  • The blank canvas has been turned into a real conversation starter with bright color, collectibles and floral fabric.

  • The dining room has wonderful architectural elements, large windows and lots of natural light but it needs color. To get started, Hart decides to keep only the table and chandelier so everything else is moved out.

  • The walls are brightened up with vibrant pink because it flatters people (unlike gray or beige). High-backed chairs from a thrift store look completely different after white spray paint is applied. Hart chooses a pink tulip print with a yellow background for the seat covers.

  • Stencils are a great way to get the look of a Carleton Varney trim for little money so acrylic paints in colors that match the seat fabric are applied to create a floral border.

  • The room lacks warmth and energy due to the bare table, walls and windows, which make the space cold and uninviting for meals.

  • Varney never leaves dining room windows bare, so Hart uses the same tulip fabric from the chairs on the windows and also adds sheers for more softness.

  • The only new piece of furniture is a traditional service with a white patina and gold leaf finish. An oil painting, colorful dinnerware and a ceramic fern planter in the shape of a giant rabbit plus faux Staffordshire dogs hung on wall brackets complete the area.

  • Every good host knows a welcoming table is the key to all great dining rooms so Hart starts with a simple, white tablecloth. Mixed and matched dinnerware from a variety of collections gives the table a personal look so heirloom china sits alongside cabbage-shaped bread and butter plates while antique silver shares the limelight with inexpensive glassware. Miniature animal figurines at each place setting add some Carleton Varney fun and a bouquet of fresh, pink roses adds the final touch.

  • By applying Carleton Varney's helpful tips, the room is now a party in and of itself.

  • Finally, Hart dresses up the beautiful chandelier with colored crystals to give the fixture a sense of fun. When it all comes together, she was able to take a beautiful but bland space and transform it into a magical Carleton Varney style dining room.

    cotton French tulip fabric (Calico Corners / Everfast, Inc.)
    wall paint (Rose Freeze/ 7433 M); chair paint (Duron Spray Gloss White) (Duron)
    pink glass ornaments for chandelier (Kay Lighting)
    Chocet placemats, pink checkered fabric (to make napkins), stencil paper and stencil paint (Folk Art: Fresh Foliage, Hunter Green, Titanium White, Magenta, Taffy) (JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts / Jo-Ann Etc.)
    sheer rose wine glasses, Catherine glasses (Pottery Barn)

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