{Before + After} A Transformed Dining Space


The Dupont Circle House Tour was a big fat SUCCESS and it’s all because of you pretty people. Thanks for coming, thanks for liking me, and thanks for reading my little ol’ blahg. You’re super.

So, for any of you who came on the tour (or for anyone who follows Apartment Envy on Facebook… Ahem, ahem…) you may have noticed that there was something very different about my dining space. Yep — I switched out the light fixture at the last possible second. (Pats on the back for not getting electrocuted.) I know I said I wanted to paint my dining table (I really did), but since the survey results were so split down the middle I really couldn’t in good conscience mess around with that barely 72 hours before the tour.

And then a magical stranger fairy found her way to my post and solved my problem:

I think the problem of what makes it boring, as you say, is not the table… It is the lamp in combination with the table that makes it look a little bit “flat” — at least in the pics.

Lola, you were absolutely right. Gold star for you.

dining before

You see, I originally bought this pendant for my bedroom in a previous apartment. That room was painted a lovely slate blue, and this fixture really popped out against the rich color. When I moved into my current apartment I wanted the yucky $5 flush mount light gone ASAP and was eager to reuse as much as I already had as possible so The Scientist wouldn’t scold me for wasting money again. (As if purchasing the perfect pieces for one’s home could EVER be considered wasteful!) And so, without really thinking about the space at all, I recycled my old pendant.

MISTAKE. The pendant totally blends in with the wall color. Wow — I suck.

So then I thought:

What can I do to not have a sucky dining room? Oh, I know! I’ll PAINT it a happy color!

So I skipped and hopped and zigzagged to the local hardware store for some orangey-red paint. That color would contrast with the mint in the kitchen and continue my trend through the space of little pops of orangey-red here and there. GENIUS.

Except not.

I painted the pendant and left for the day. By the time I returned home it was dark out, so I turned on the light.

Red Light District

I was instantly transported to the Red Light District. With the seemingly harmless flip of a switch my entire apartment had turned a very uncomfortable shade of brothel.

And The House Tour was now only 54 hours away.

After breathing into a brown paper bag for a few minutes I realized it was ok if I wanted to buy a new light fixture. The Scientist would surely understand. So I consulted my Pinterest Board and decided to take inspiration from one of my favorite images:


Knowing the entire IKEA catalog by heart has its advantages and disadvantages.

PRO: I can count RIBBA frames instead of sheep when I’m in bed.

CON: I can’t stop counting RIBBA frames when I’m in bed.

PRO: I knew that this existed:


The JÄRA shade in black was the solution to all my problems and, for under $30, even The Scientist wouldn’t be able to argue. After the world’s fastest trip in and out of IKEA I rushed home to install my happiness.

table 1

dining table 2

dining table 4

dining table 5

dining table 6

dining table 3

So there you have it, folks! A new lamp shade, a fresh floral arrangement, and a bunch of design magazines all add up to be a jazzy new dining/foyer/office space. What do you think? Did I convert the “Paint the Table” crew into believers?? I certainly changed my own mind, at the very least. And that’s saying something.

10 thoughts on “{Before + After} A Transformed Dining Space

  1. Lola Ortiz says:

    You were extremely kind posting on your blog about my post…Thank you! You are wrong in one thing, though: you don’t suck at all. Your apartment is very, very well decorated. I spent lots of time on it :)
    Your house was ” real”, warm. Flow, balance and style. However, many impressive and expensive houses in the tour were lacking good interior design…at least in my opinion.
    Congrats again, on your blog and your work!

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