the authors self-remodeled 1920's bungalow dining room in with painted walls
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
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Color-Coordinated Dining Room

As a result, furniture and fabrics, drapes and wall colors all coordinate. "I had to learn not to be matchy-matchy," she adds. "And to carry around fabric swatches for months to get the colors just right!" Having an artist's eye helped—and also the self-confidence to trust her instincts. For instance, she found inspiration for her kitchen's blue walls on a decorative plate—then bravely handed over the dining room to a painter, who wrapped it in a dramatic oversize floral. Oh, and it pays to be lucky: "I was able to buy some high-end furnishings at consignment shops and a friend's moving sale," she explains. New upholstery altered them to suit her style.

Looking to pull together rooms of your own? Read on for ideas you can adapt—and ways to get the look shown here.

Shown: Upholstered chairs invite guests to linger over dinner and double as extra seating in the living room. Big painted flowers and tendrils beat busy wallpaper. "It's fun to give a formal room an unexpected twist, like painting the walls with a blown-out pattern—it says it's okay to relax," says Llewellyn. Follow our painting how-to to recreate this oversize design in your own home.

Paint: Benjamin Moore's Province Blue, Salisbury Green, and Blair Gold. Decorative painting by Brian Carter.
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