Before & After: This 1980s Dining Room Redo Is Both Dramatic and Inviting

updated Jun 26, 2021
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With more and more people getting COVID vaccines, lots of people are excited about getting back to hosting friends and family. If you’re ready for more formal gatherings, then dinner parties might already be on your mind. That was the case for Broadway actress and singer Laura Bell Bundy, who was determined to completely overhaul her empty dining room so she’d have a beautiful place to entertain her friends.

When Laura, her husband, and their son just moved into their 1983 home this year, the dining room was painted a light gray with white crown molding — fine, but a bit boring. But it had a working fireplace, gorgeous hardwood floors, and lots of square footage, so the room was chock-full of potential. “When we moved in, it was very bright and big … and while bright, the reality is that you don’t use this room for breakfast or lunch or daytime entertaining,” Laura says.

Laura turned 40 on April 10, and her post-vaccine dream was to have an intimate dinner with her best friends in her dining room. Her goal: Turn the empty, underutilized room into a true dining room that served as a luxe entertaining space. “I wanted the dining room to have a feeling of elegance and sexiness that you would want in the evening,” she says. “Intimate with mood lighting … almost creating a romantic vibe.”

Laura started by choosing the wallpaper, a bold blue print. “I didn’t want it to look too modern. I needed to respect the older more traditional vibe of the house even though I was going to go a bit loud,” Laura says. “Wallpaper was often used in the 1800s and the one I found has a vintage Victorian feeling to it.”

Shades of blue seemed perfect to set the mood, so Laura ordered 10 dark blue velvet chairs from CB2. There are hints of gold in the wallpaper, so she bought matching brass fireplace tools that pair perfectly with the brass on the bottom of the chairs.

Next, it was time to choose a paint color. “I had so many different colors on the wall, my toddler thought it was his new art project,” Laura says. She ended up going with a soft historic-inspired blue (Benjamin Moore’s Van Deusen). She used the same color on the ceiling, fireplace surround, and chair rail moulding to make the whole room feel like it was enveloped in color.

Since the space is so big, Laura wanted a table at least 10 feet long. It proved tricky: “No one sells tables this big that don’t cost a fortune,” she says. Finally, after rigorous Googling, Laura found a 10-foot acacia table from SOBU that perfectly fits her CB2 chairs. 

Laura wanted a dramatic light fixture, and this glitzy Art Deco-inspired crystal chandelier was the perfect fit. It arrived just days before Laura’s highly anticipated birthday dinner — and was installed just hours before friends started showing up. Talk about great timing!

Even with the time crunch, Laura enjoyed taking on this project. “I love all of it! It’s like one great big puzzle. I like starting with wallpaper and using that as my color palette,” she says.

Now, she has a space that’s luxurious but also welcoming, with touches of modern and vintage — making it the perfect space to hang with friends over a home-cooked meal.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A 1983 Dining Room’s Dramatic Redo Is Both Luxurious and Inviting