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Makeover of the Week: How One Designer Breathed New Life Into a Dreary Dining Room

dining room after

Tim Williams Photography

The furnishings were dated and the energy was lacking,” says interior designer Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo, when describing the décor in the small dining room of this 1956 Colonial home. “The table and chairs were made of dark rod iron and the setup barely sat six comfortably. The challenge was to design a space that could seat eight when needed, yet still leave room for storage via a credenza.”

Meet the Expert

Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo is an interior designer and the owner of Laurie Blumenfeld Design in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for mixing and layering textures, colors, and patterns in small spaces.  


Dining Room Before
Courtesy of Laurie Blumenfeld-Russo

"I wanted to create an artful and approachable mood for this dining space, one that was also contemporary and functional,” says Blumenfeld-Russo.


dining room after
Tim Williams Photography

“This room was inspired by my clients’ large-scale painting by an Italian artist named Rocco Ungaro, which they purchased on a trip to Puglia. The organic movement of the lines, the contrasting powerful black arrows, and the unique color palette became the jumping off point for my design scheme,” notes Blumenfeld-Russo.

What Changed:

  • Color Theme: Black, white, gray, and gold along with a hint of light blue complement the art piece and give off great energy.
  • Rug: Hand-knotted in India, the light blue swirls in this wool and silk rug provide a cool contrast to the warm gold in the painting and the in-laid brass on the table.
  • Chandelier: Swedish-inspired bubble lamps add a modern aesthetic and give off a soft ambient light.
  • Chairs: Barrel back chairs provide comfort while their shape offsets the straight lines of the table.
  • Dining table: White oak was stained black to complement the art, while the brass in-laid stripe and straight-lined legs offer up a bit of contrasting shine.
  • Mirror: The large-scale 48” round mirror was placed over the credenza to make the space feel larger, while telegraphing the shape of the chandelier bulbs.
  • Credenza: The three-door baby blue credenza, with its bands of perpendicular lines, provides storage and adds a pop of color to the area.
  • Accessories: The items on the credenza were layered in an array of eclectic materials, shapes, and sizes using shades of orange, back, white and gold.
  • Walls: A bright white paint (Blackened by Farrow & Ball) instantly adds vitality and freshness to the space.  

Shop the Look:

dining room vignette
Tim Williams Photography
Modshop Lisbon 3 Door Credenza $2,495.00
round mirror
West Elm Metal Frame Oversized 48" Round Mirror $499.00
barrelback chair
Restoration Hardware Morgan Barrelback Slope Fabric Armchair $600.00