This Designer Transformed an Empty Dining Room Into the Perfect Space for Entertaining—Here's How

Teal midcentury dining room with leather chairs.

Design: Dana Schwartz; Photo: Laura Metzler

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

My client is a 43-year-old bachelor who purchased this single-family home in a historic neighborhood in Washington, D.C.," Dana Schwartz, the owner of Dana Schwartz Design in Washington, D.C., says. "Our goal was to create a textured-filled space that felt warm and welcoming, but not overwhelming masculine.”

Meet the Expert

Dana Schwartz is a Washington, D.C.-based interior designer who likes to highlight bright colors and unique textures in her designs and isn’t afraid of breaking decorating rules when a change or taste overhaul is needed.

Before:

Empty dining room.

Courtesy of Dana Schwartz

“The dining room was basically a blank, white space,” Schwartz notes. “The only item in the room was a builder-grade light fixture which we quickly swapped out.”

After:

After picture of dining room with moody teal wallpaper and leather chairs.

Design: Dana Schwartz; Photo: Laura Metzler

“It was important to give my client a place to entertain and to catch his guests’ eyes," Schwartz shares. "The overall feel we were going for was sexy yet relatable. So, I applied a bold cork wallpaper complete with metallic accents, added some furniture with a midcentury modern feel, and introduced a graphic rug that brings movement to the floor. I left the window and doors bare because the space pops even more when it’s flooded with natural light.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Teal, black, white, brass, and woodwork together to create a colorful yet controlled look. 
  • Wallpaper: Specks of gold create a metallic pop on this teal-colored wallpaper.  
  • Table: The pedestal base allows for six chairs to fit around the circular wooden table. 
  • Chairs: The tufted leather teal chairs are a modern take on a vintage look and play off the wallpaper. 
  • Rug: The black and white geometric wool rug grounds the space and lightens up the room. 
  • Floors: The floors were remodeled by the prior owner in a deep walnut stain. 
  • Wall art: The colors of the ocean compliment the other hues in the room. 
  • Ceiling pendant: A black and brass chandelier plays off of the mod look of the dining chairs. 
  • Clear table: An acrylic table functions as a bar and a place to store art, books, and plants. 
  • Centerpiece: The teak wood bowl holds dried star anise pods which add a natural note to the tablescape. 

Shop the Look:

Bar area on clear acrylic table.

Design: Dana Schwartz; Photo: Laura Metzler

Khatam—Kha 51
Omexco Khatam—Kha 51 $Price Upon Request
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“This wallpaper takes a pretty traditional material—cork—and turns it completely on its head with the teal color and metallic accents, adding a textural element and a wow factor,” Schwartz says.

Carlos Chair
Industry West Carlos Chair $715
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“These teal chairs are framed in a brushed brass finish and made of a water buffalo leather that is hand waxed, sanded, and colored for a naturally worn look,” Schwartz notes.

Jane Chandelier
Shades of Light Jane 5 Light Chandelier $853
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“The retro-inspired Jane chandelier is made of burnished brass and black steel and plays off of the vintage style of the chairs,” Schwartz says.

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