Dining Room Painting

The Dining Room with Painted White Trim

I know, I’ve taken far too long to show you the ‘after’ photos. The problem is that I don’t really see the dining room as a completely finished room yet! It does look a million times brighter with its painted white trim though.

Here’s why I decided to paint the wood trim, and here’s what the room looked like before. Still to do:

  • Paint the wall above the picture rail and the ceiling. Probably the same color as the background of the wallpaper.
  • Paint the doors.
  • Paint the trim in my office and in the living room.
  • Find new window treatments. Maybe simple white shades?
  • Either get new chairs or reupholster the ones we have. The fabric isn’t very practical for our expanding family.
  • Remember to flip the handles on the buffet back the right way before taking pictures next time. Eleanor likes to flip them all up, and I hadn’t noticed until I was editing the photos!

Before and after shots:
Wallpapered Dining Room

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  • Michael - Innkeeper
    November 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

    i for one, love, love, love, love, love the painted trim. love it!

    and the wallpaper is to die for! i’m really scared of wallpaper, but that is stunning.

  • Vilte
    November 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

    “After” i love much more. You have realy good sence of style :)

  • Cait @ Hernando House
    November 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Love it!

  • Lisa
    November 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I think it looks great! So fresh and crisp.

  • Deb
    November 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

    We just purchased some 2″ white faux wood blinds for our kitchen and laundry room and I love how simple and clean they look. That might be an option for you as well.

  • Tiffany
    November 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I love it.

  • megan
    November 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I don’t know, and am sure you don’t care what I think, I rarely care what I think, but, I think I like it better before (who could care what a person who uses 4 commas in a sentence thinks?). Whatever, I don’t live there and things always look different in person and your house is awesome and I’m a hater. I am totally going to lift that Monet thing and use it somewhere in concersation today.

  • Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons
    November 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Beautiful! The white trim brightens up the room oh-so-much!!!!


  • Blair @ Studio13
    November 22, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Love all the white pieces in your cabinet!

  • Sara @travelsinheels
    November 22, 2010 at 9:04 am

    It looks so fresh and clean! I love the white accessories in the cabinet too!

  • Valentina
    November 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

    The room looks so bright now! Love it so much. Nice work!
    I need to do some trim painting in my house too. Maybe now that the weather is better (I’m from Chile, so it’s spring here)I can start with the project.
    Oh, and I’m totally in love with your wallpaper.

  • Katrin
    November 22, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Yay for painting wood. It looks great!

  • Loren
    November 22, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Looks fantastic. So glad that you left the back of the cabinet unpainted. Really makes your white collection pop.

  • Erika
    November 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I LOVE it! Love it love it love it!

  • Grace
    November 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Wow, what a transformation! I am on the look out for a new dining set, as I have a mid century table and chair that has seen better days. Also I think that the white tones down the too much wood that was in the room before. You did good!

  • meryl rose
    November 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Looks AWESOME! Have you thought about going with dark wood for the dining set now that you have nice crisp white trim? It might look really cool.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

      Ideally, I would like black chairs like these with a wood table in a similar tone to the one we have now.

      • meryl rose
        November 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm

        oooohhhhhh. I love 2 + 3, ESPECIALLY 3, the trim above the spindles is especially elegant

  • Megan
    November 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I really love it! It brightens things up and modernizes things as well.

    Just a thought, but a nice striped fabric blind may work if you pull out the colors from your wallpaper.

  • HollowSquirrel
    November 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Love the white trim. I have just as much wood trim in our dining room, but the kicker is the ceiling has wood, too — as if they hardwooded the floor AND ceiling. People love it, but I think it’s too dark (and with our large wood table — it’s just too much). Would I be crazy to paint it?

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

      I think a painted wood ceiling would look pretty cool. If you really want to, then go for it!

  • Jess
    November 22, 2010 at 9:53 am

    It looks so breathtaking!

    I fully agree with your decision to paint the trim by the way. Sometimes, the natural woodgrain just doesn’t do it for you. :)

    Kudos on the transformation.

  • Bonnie
    November 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I struggle with the same problem in my old house–loving the woodwork but suffering the effects of many previous owners who were not careful in keeping it free from paint drips, etc. I am just about there in deciding to paint the woodwork in my kitchen and hallway, but still clinging to the woodwork as is in the living and dining room, which is all oak and has a very nice grain. Best case scenario in those rooms would be to strip and refinish the wood, but — oh! — I don’t have the time or skill for that and I don’t have the money to have someone who knows what they are doing refinish it for me. At any rate, I think your painted woodwork looks stunning and beautiful!

    • Elaine
      February 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      I think you could sand or strip and refinish more easily than paint…You Tube has some really great step by step videos.

  • Valerie
    November 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Very, very pretty! You have such amazing style and I love how you have decorated your entire house. Gorgeous!

  • Carole
    November 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

    wow, what a difference! I liked it before but I love it now, the wallpaper looks even better next to the white trim.

    how’s the wallpaper holding up? is it a practical option for a young family, in your experience?

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      The wallpaper is holding up well, but admittedly Eleanor is a very neat and non-destructive kid. So far at least. ;)

  • Kris Mays
    November 22, 2010 at 10:24 am

    It looks much better now! I know it sounds like it might be ugly, but consider having the chairs upholstered over the pink in a heavy duty clear cover. You can get a matt clear, so it doesn’t stand out too much.

    I had this done so I could keep my upholstered chairs (I had had them re-upholsteres in the fabric of my choice-blue and gold-already)and be able to wipe them down as necessary.

    Of course, this was our maing eating area, so the kids always used it. We do not have a formal dining room.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Our only eating area is the formal dining room. I’m OK with reupholstering though – it’s fun to go for a different look (and such as inexpensive, easy way to get it).

  • Diana Smith
    November 22, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I love the white trim more! It looks more clean and modern!

  • Sasha
    November 22, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Looks wonderful! It’s amazing what a little paint can do!

  • Your Mother
    November 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I especially love that Eleanor flipped all the handles. That had to drive the perfectionist in you nuts :). Just wait til you have 2. The dining room looks lovely.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      It’s totally cute the way she does it though. She takes it very seriously, and then she’s so proud when she’s finished!

  • Hayley
    November 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Looks great! I saw this picture on Desire To Inspire and it looks strikingly like your dining room. Good decision with the white trim.


  • my little apartment
    November 22, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I LOVE IT.

  • Shannon @ What's Up Whimsy
    November 22, 2010 at 10:42 am

    What a huge job!! But it turned out so well! I love it!

  • Zakiya
    November 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Love your wall paper. This is such a pretty room.

  • kelsey
    November 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

    oh, that looks so great! i have a hard time visualizing stuff like that. great job!

  • bungalowbliss
    November 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I will admit that I (silently) struggled with your decision–not that it matters one teensy bit, I realize. I have been anticipating this post and withholding my opinion until seeing the result…and I’m glad I did. This room looks amazing, and I’d have been eating my words, for sure! Even though I lean toward purist preservation when possible, I also don’t believe in people telling me what to do to my own home. It IS important to make it YOUR home. I’m glad you stuck to your vision and created the room you wanted. It’s truly gorgeous.

  • bungalowbliss
    November 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    P.S. And for what it’s worth, I love the natural beadboard inside the built-in. Your white pieces just pop! Are you still considering painting it the dark gray of the wallpaper?

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks. I’m going to leave it as-is. Maybe not forever, but definitely for right now. I can always tack up fabric again if I want a quick change.

  • Carrie
    November 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I love it! And I’m considering painting my own trim. Did you already talk about how you did it? Did you sand? What primer did you use? How much time did it take? I’m a little nervous about the whole process. :)

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      I didn’t sand (the wood was not glossy at all), but I did clean the wood first with diluted wood soap and a scrubby sponge. I used Zinnser primer and two coats of semi-gloss latex paint. It did take a long time, but it would have gone faster if I had been able to tackle it all in one long weekend.

      • Lena
        July 26, 2013 at 6:19 am

        Which specific primer? Oil? Latex?


  • Ashley
    November 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

    After such deliberation, it looks fab! You have excellent style and taste. Thanks for letting us peek inside! xo

  • Kara @ KSS
    November 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Looks great. :) I love white trim so much more than wood-colored.

  • rachel
    November 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

    wow, it’s a totally different look, isn’t it? i have to admit, i liked the plain wood, but the white is nice too. i’d be tempted to paint the wall above the picture rail a contrasting color picked from the wallpaper! but i like a lot of color. :)

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      I’m considering a darker version of the background color from the wallpaper. If I were to pull an actual color, there are only four choices: white, warm gray (the background), berry pink, and black.

  • Danielle@Newlyweds Paradise
    November 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I had no idea there was a mirror in your buffet! The white really brought it out. I have to say I really like your dining room set even more now with the change in the room. I think it is just enough contrast to the white.

  • Corie
    November 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I love it, Nicole! I think it looks so fresh and bright in there now! Lovely!

  • Karrie
    November 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I love it! LOVE, love, love!

  • Jody
    November 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    The painted trim really changed the room!

  • Nat
    November 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I would paint the ceiling the same as the wall. The room is so bright that it wouldn’t be too much. Just a thought :)

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      Yes, that’s the plan.

      • Nat
        November 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm

        Awesome, can’t wait to see the results! :) I’m painting my own ceilings tonight. Hope it goes well.

  • Carla
    November 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Where is that light fixture from? It is perfect!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 8:53 pm

      It was from west elm, but it looks like they’re no longer carrying it.

  • amanda
    November 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Stunning transformation! It’s amazing how different it makes your wallpaper look too. I always thought of it as a dark (though pretty) wallpaper, but it looks so bright and light now.

  • The Sister Of
    November 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Much better! It’s really nice!

  • Jane
    November 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    It’s lovely and bright! What a giant undertaking it must have been!

  • Sarah
    November 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Looks great! Really improved the space and I liked it before!

  • Cherry Baby
    November 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Wow so much brighter. Really looks great!

  • Emily G.
    November 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    love it! The white trim looks so clean and really lets the lovely wood on the dinner table be a great focal point in the room!

  • Evelyn
    November 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    It looks great! I wasn’t sure before but I think with a new dining set it would look much more finished.

    Holly at decor8 painted her dining set in her first German apartment, maybe you could continue the transformation?

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      I’d rather sell this set and get something new than paint it. I don’t know if I will or not though.

  • Miss B
    November 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    It really makes such a difference! I am usually all for keeping the natural wood but in this case the white just changed the feel of this room and really pulled it together, excellent job as always!

  • Anna Elena
    November 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    love it! and it will pop even more once the ceiling/wall above the picture rail are painted, I think.

  • Beth
    November 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    It looks nice and crisp, but I think there is too much white. I really think that painting the wall above the wall paper and ceiling (like you mentioned in your ‘to do’s’ will really help to finish the look…and perhaps a different light fixture, that’s not white would help to make the space more rich looking. Love your blog!!

  • luuve
    November 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    sooo nice….i loooove the after!!! im soo glad you did it…its so much nicer and like everyone said..”looks crisp and clean!”

    i think painting the wall above the picture rail will look awesome as well…

    wow…you have a wonderful eye for design! congrats :)

  • CJ
    November 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    It looks beautiful! What a great transformation.

  • Robin
    November 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    nicole, as in your case, our only eating space is the dining room next to our galley kitchen. i reupholstered our dining room chairs with laminated amy butler fabric from fabric.com and am so happy with the results. cleaning up after my five year old and other messy guests is a cinch. i highly suggest you take a look at the fabric choices.

  • Fleur
    November 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Love it Nicole, looks so much nicer with painted trim x

  • Clair
    November 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Wow! It really has made a huge difference in the brightness of the room. Looks great and can’t wait to see your other plans come to light!

  • Jacinta @ modelmumma
    November 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I LOVE IT!! It makes the room brighter and the wallpaper pop out and become a feature.. not overpowered by the wood trim like before. Well done!

  • Anom.
    November 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I think it looks horrible! =( The room looks incomplete now, like there is something missing. I really loved it before. I really can’t believe you ruined it!

  • Julie
    November 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I knew I’d love it in white, and I do!!! It looks so crisp, clean, and modern. I feel like it goes better with the rest of your house (except the living room, which you’ve already said you’re repainting the trim in there too). I can’t emphasize how much I like it, and how I admire you for taking this bold step. Given the condition of the wood before, it seems like it’d be a pretty obvious choice, but I can see why you struggled with not preserving it.

  • Alexis L., The Studioist
    November 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Anom., There’s really no need for such an outburst; the room isn’t ruined, whether you like it or not.

    My opinion is that though the trim matches the paper (of course), it doesn’t do justice to the home. The architectural interest has been obliterated for a decorative flourish (wallpaper) that likely won’t be there in a few years and I think that’s unfortunate. No one should have to live in a home they don’t love but it seems that perhaps a different home would be better suited to a light, bright, punchy aesthetic if the dark heaviness isn’t an interesting counterpoint. I’m glad you’re happy but I do have to say that I think this would have been a better choice for a contemporary build with MDF mouldings.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

      I think that once the upper wall and ceiling are painted, the trim will be better showcased. Right now it blends into the white in an unfortunate way.

      • Beth@Just{Heart}It
        November 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm

        I love the whole room, but think the white walls with the white trim are gorgeous. Of course, you’ll do what you want, but my opinion is it looks great as is.

  • Kylie
    November 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    I think I like the before picture. Seems very cold now. Where as the wood really make the room feel warm.

  • Kylie
    November 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Opps hit enter before I finished.

    But with that, I think it looks alot fresher and bright which gives everything a lift and make the wallpaper look fantastic.

  • Kristi @ Visible Voice
    November 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    We are also painting out all of our trim and our built ins. It’s a HUGE project but will be so so worth it! I think yours looks great!

  • kelly
    November 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    great job, it looks very nice! i, too, am in the process of painting the wood (2000 era oak) trim in my home, room by room.

  • Katie
    November 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I love it! So fresh and fabulous!!

  • Jaimie
    November 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    It’s a big change. I can’t wait to see it with the wall and ceiling painted; I think it will feel a little less austere compared to right now. The dining table doesn’t blend as much as it did before you painted the trim. I think it looks good though.

  • Elizabeth Nixon
    November 23, 2010 at 12:01 am

    It looks amazing! I love craftsmen homes with their trims! Both natural wood and painted (usually!)

  • Meghan
    November 23, 2010 at 5:10 am

    This looks fantastic – just the inspiration I needed to get going on finishing painting my own trim, so thank you!

  • Dana @ House*Tweaking
    November 23, 2010 at 7:22 am

    It looks like your dining table is in a different {lighter & brighter} room! Great work. I love that you kept the back of the cabinet a wood tone.

  • Ashley @ sunnysideshlee.com
    November 23, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I like the change a lot, that now that I see the wood in the other rooms through the doorways, I want you to continue it through the house. Ooooh lots of work! But, I think it looks great though and I heart that wall paper!

  • D. Marie
    November 23, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I absolutely love that you’ve painted the trim. I have wood trim – the same color as yours, actually – all over my house and I hate it. I’m apprehensive on painting it because I’ve heard horror stories (regret, chipping, peeling, looks tacky, etc.). You may have just convinced me otherwise.

    • Elaine
      February 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Wow, I came across this too late, but D. Marie, you could probably stain your wood a lighter color, which would remove the problem of chipping, dripping, etc. I found this company (just by Google, no affiliation!) that shows some color choices: http://www.cabotstain.com/colors-and-finishes/families/Custom-Tint-Colors.html

      As I’ve been trying to strip all the gloppy, flaking, causing-windows to stick paint on our trim, I noticed the original treatment in our 1922 house was actually a very light green stain, so the wood looked bright! So…I may give it a shot once I have the trim stripped and start a blog, though I don’t have style like this lady!

  • Mona Idriss
    November 23, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Love the white!!! Modern and fresh!!

  • Erika
    November 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Ooooooo…so much better!

  • amanda
    November 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    it looks so good!! i think you should paint the trim in the whole house!! i like the white a lot better than the wood.

  • Michelle Harrison
    November 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    You made a wonderful decision to paint the woodwork!

  • Leah
    November 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    LOVE IT!

  • Suzie @ cupcake monkey
    November 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I think it looks fantastic! …and I think black chairs would look awesome!

  • Jenny
    November 23, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Nicole! It looks awesome!! Like a completely different room! It’s so light and friendly and just beautiful! Great job!

  • Livi
    November 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I think a really mod (maybe round), white dining table (and chairs) would look fab in here.

    That or mod white chairs w/your existing table.

    Nice job – I like it.

  • ann
    November 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I love it…maybe the overhead light fixture could be dropped a little lower??

  • Starr
    November 23, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I liked it before better also. I do agree that is a feature in classic houses that should not be painted. But I can’t wait to see your final ideas!!

  • urbanblonde
    November 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I love it painted!

    Not a fan of the current seat upholstery either, think a fabulous stripe picking up the trim and wall paper colours would look great to tie everything together.

  • Krissy
    November 24, 2010 at 6:45 am

    What a beautiful transformation! It looks great. :)

  • Fiona
    November 24, 2010 at 10:26 am

    No idea why, but I’d love to see the ceiling and rest of wall be gray. I think it would look great.

  • Fiona
    November 24, 2010 at 10:28 am

    And for what it’s worth, I think the painted trim is SO SO SO SO SO much better than before. But everyone has an opinion. :)

  • Becka @ Life as an Artistpreneur
    November 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I like it so much better! I’m a white trim fan.

  • Married In Chicago
    November 24, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I love the way it looks!!!!!!!! I think you made a great choice!

  • Julie
    November 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Love the transformation! And, do you have the wallpaper info somewhere on your blog – totally in love with it!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Enjoy your turkey day!

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno
    November 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I still like the way the wood looked unpainted. However, I know woodwork always look better in photos than in real life. One thing you must do is paint the wall above the picture rail and ceiling a slightly different color (as you said) because otherwise, that picture rail is completely lost.

  • Anja
    November 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    to be honest, i loved the old natural wood trim. “what a pity”, i thought, when you told, you´d paint it. referring to the condition of old wood, i´m very tolerant. and it gave this special charme and character to your dining room.

    i like the after, though. And i admire your great ability of painting even such difficult things like this.
    but if i was in your shoes, i would definitly change the chairs (a bit more black could add more contrast) . Or/and the table. and if you go for a reupholstering: what about bold black an white stripes?

  • Kristin
    November 26, 2010 at 9:34 am

    The crispness of the painted white trim and buffet looks great! Looking at your pictures with the ceiling currently white, my mind keeps going back to wondering how the room would look if the picture rail were painted black. Maybe it sounds strange, but I think that it might nicely tie together with the black in the wallpaper and the dark knobs of the buffet.

  • Nikki
    November 29, 2010 at 9:53 am

    White trim lightens the room so well! I am curious about the window treatments you’ll chose. Roman shades in a bright pink to highlight the accent color? Maybe a layered look with pink “peeking” out? Looking forward to more pics–

  • Bridget B.
    November 29, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    very nice! i’m such a wimp about painting wood cabinets/ trim, but i always love the way it looks.

    your dining room looks great!

  • nancy @ {COZAMIA}
    November 29, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    You did an incredible job, I think it looks so much better, I enjoyed the natural trim too but I think it just made everything else feel a bit…old. I don’t know if that makes sense but now it feels like a new room with a modern retro vibe. Love your blog!

  • Joey
    November 30, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Haha! I grew up in a house with a built in buffet and my sister and I lived to flip up the drawer handles too! Your post brought back a memory I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

  • Natalie
    November 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I literally gasped when I saw the “after” pic. No joke. The trim looks AMAZING!! Don’t get me wrong; I loved your dining room before, but WOW that white trim is fabulous! Well done :)

  • Natalie
    November 30, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    P.S. aww I just read a few of the other comments on this post. I’m so sorry you have to deal with the occasional snarky/blunt/downright rude comments, especially from anonymous posters. But I love that you always respond so politely! Though I guess it must help to know that your entire home is drop-dead gorgeous. ;)

    Well done…again :)

  • Melissa
    December 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I love the painted trim! It makes your table pop out now and your built-in looks so great. Also, really ties into the wallpaper so much more. Looks great!

    (sorry, I’m catching up on blog reading when I should be wrapping :)

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