Going From Dark to Bright and Light in the Dining Room

June 28, 2024

Going from dark and moody to a light and bright space with paint!

I absolutely LOVE a dark and moody room! Our cozy basement family room is a perfect example of how I like to color drench a space in a dark paint color. 

One of my upcoming projects is to continue the pretty green color throughout my office to match the dark green bookcases I built. Cozy and deep colors are comforting to me.

But lately I've been drawn to lightening up some spaces too!

Earlier this year I updated our main bedroom with a bright white tongue and groove wall treatment and lighter decor accents. I LOVE how that room turned out!: 
tongue groove vertical shiplap

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And next on my list was our dining room! 

Our builder called this a "morning" room, because it's so open to the kitchen and family room space. It gets beautiful natural light with all of the windows. 

That's why I was sure it wouldn't feel too closed in with dark blue accent walls:
dark moody dining room walls

That beautiful blue paint color is called Cyberspace, and I first used it on our tall fireplace in the family room nearby. I liked the idea of continuing that color into this space. 

But for the past year or so it's felt heavy to me, and I've been looking into lighter paint colors to brighten up the room. 

I was looking for a lighter neutral color, but something with warmth to it. I considered some green colors for a bit: 
evergreen fog with blue walls

But I already have plenty of green accents throughout our main level. 

Instead, I kept going back to this "warm and welcoming" paint palette I picked up at Sherwin-Williams: 
warm welcoming paint colors

After months of considering the different colors, I finally made a decision and went with Pachyderm by SW. 

I had it mixed in a satin finish and got started painting over the dark blue. Colby observed from the ladder, as always: 
cat on ladder

When I paint a room I go in this order: 

  • Clean any dust and dirt off trim and/or baseboards, even if you are going to tape them off. You'll want a clean surface for the painter's tape to stick to. 
  • Use nail filler and/or caulk to fill any holes in the wall or gaps along trim. 
  • If you're not going to cut in (paint along trim and ceiling without tape), use your painter's tape to tape everything off. FrogTape is my absolute favorite painter's tape!
  • I cut in with a brush first, along the ceiling and trim. I like to do that first because I can cover any brush marks with the roller later. 
  • By the time you're done cutting in or painting around the trim, you can start rolling the flat surfaces with your paint roller. I use these 3/8 inch nap rollers for flat (no texture) walls. 
When I installed the DIY picture frame molding years ago, the dark wall color must have hidden a lot of gaps and holes! I had a lot to fill in after painting my first coat: 
filling holes in wood trim
My favorite wood filler.

painting over caulk

Filling those holes and gaps makes a HUGE difference! So much better. 

It took me about five hours over two days, but the difference was immediate! It felt SO much brighter and SO MUCH more open when we walked into this space!: 
warm neutral paint color dining

The color is so lovely and warm, especially at night. It's so soothing. 

This Pachyderm paint color would be lovely in bedrooms or bathrooms. 

It looks great against the brass accents in this room as well. I was a little worried the light console table would blend in too much, but it turned out to be a beautiful combo: 
cane console table dining

I LOVE that tabletop picture easel I found at Michael's. They only had a brass color in stock so I spray painted it black. :) 

When I was looking at colors, I wanted to make sure it would play nicely with the wallpapered hallway off of this space. This paint looks great with the navy blue accents: 
small floral wallpapered hallway

And I just love how the lighter neutral color looks with the crisp white trim and cabinets!

For DAYS it was shocking when we walked in here, the difference was huge. The lighter color really did open up the space: 
Pachyderm paint color in dining room

It also gives me more options for accent colors. The change was perfect for the summer, but will look beautiful against the deep, warm colors of the fall and holidays. 
long window seat dining room

As I was painting the room, I decided on my next project in here. I'd love to add a little more character to the front of the built in window seat
window seat with bookcases

Stay tuned for that update!

This room literally feels like a breath of fresh air now:
dining room with large window seat

Do you prefer rich, darker walls or lighter and brighter rooms? I love both! What a difference a couple of coats of paint will do to a space! 

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  1. Looks fabulous!! I really loved the old color so much, but I have to admit, it looks great. Have you considered changing out the dark blinds?

    1. Not yet, I like the warmth of them even more now with this color! I'll keep them till they fall apart. ;)

  2. Absolutely love, love it, and I would never have picked it myself but I would now!

  3. I think it is wonderful. You are truly talented!

  4. It looks fabulous! I just love the “happy vibe” that light walls bring to a room! I personally would tire of the dark colored walls very quickly! Great job!🙌🏼

  5. This might be my new favorite neutral color. On the swatch, it looked much darker, more green. It’s truly lovely. And I love that the room is no longer dark - for a morning room, letting it be bright is so rejuvenating in the morning.

  6. It looks really lovely! Does it appear gray in person? Or just neutral, greige... Just asking based on the name of it.
    I have a room to redo, and am intrigued. Hope SW can still sell a small ish paint sample. How does it look with Agreeable Gray? I don't think you have that in the vicinity, though. Chrissy

    1. Thank you Chrissy! It looks a teensy bit grayish at night, but that's it. I LOVE the color at night. And yes we have an adjoining wall that is Agreeable Gray and even though they're different tones, you don't notice it at all.


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