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How One Designer Turned a Drab Dining Room Into a Sleek Space for Entertaining

sleek and modern dining room

Design: Maria Castillero; Photo: VSI Group; Graphic: MyDomaine

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 had been living in their contemporary-style house for a couple of years when they decided it was time to refresh their dining room, located right off the home’s front entrance,” says interior designer Maria Castillero. “It was important to create a beautiful space guests could see as they entered the house and a more functional spot where the homeowners could entertain family and friends.”

Meet the Expert

Maria Castillero, Lead Designer for Spacejoy in Santa Monica, California, loves

to blend midcentury modern with glamourous and bohemian styles to create beautiful and

functional environments that are rich in color and texture.


old drab dining room

Courtesy of Maria Castillero

“The prior space felt unfinished and thrown together, with a mix of design styles that included a dated dining set, an unattractive metal chandelier, aluminum venetian blinds and art that didn’t fit within the space,” shares Castillero.


modern dining room

Design: Maria Castillero; Photo: VSI Group; Graphic: MyDomaine

“My goal was to create a dining room with a glamourous midcentury feel,” says Castillero. “I kept the existing white oak wood floors and gray walls, then incorporated color including emerald velvet curtains and an Indigo woven rug. A gold sputnik chandelier became the room’s focal point and a dark wood sideboard allows for warmth and additional storage.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme:  Navy and emerald pop against shades of white, ivory and gray. 
  • Dining table: A white mango wood table has a unique inlay pattern on the legs for added detail. 
  • Chairs: The white upholstered seats provide contrast to the sleek dark metal legs on the curved back chairs. 
  • Curtains: Emerald colored velvet curtains are suspended on brass rods, adding color and texture to the oval-topped windows. 
  • Chandelier: A six-globe gold sputnik pendant adds a midcentury modern vibe to the space.
  • Sideboard: A dark wood, retro-styled sideboard can hold plates, linens, and tabletop items. 
  • Rug: A navy and cream flat weave rug makes it easy for the chairs to glide over.
  • Mirror: The curved framed mirror is both modern and minimalist and reflects light within the space.
  • Lamps: Matching ceramic white lamps add a synchronized formality to the sideboard. 
  • Plant: A fiddle leaf plant placed in the corner of the room provides a hint of greenery.

Shop the Look:

modern dining room set up

Design: Maria Castillero; Photo: VSI Group; Graphic: MyDomaine

Dunewood Whitewashed Dining Table
Spacejoy Dunewood Whitewashed Dining Table $1,599.00

“I love that this table works in both contemporary and traditional dining rooms,” notes Castillero.

Arched Mantel Metal Framed Mirror
Spacejoy Arched Mantel Metal Framed Mirror $649.00

“A metal framed mirror looks great above a sideboard or over a fireplace or dresser,” notes Castillero.

Antique Brass Dycus 6 - Light Sputnik Modern Linear Chandelier
Wayfair Antique Brass Dycus 6 - Light Sputnik Modern Linear Chandelier $124.99

“The brass arms on this tri-level pendant can be adjusted depending on the look you’re going for,” says Castillero.