Before & After: Dining Rooms for a Post-COVID World



The concept of having an elegant space to dine in is nothing new. If we look back to the 18th century, lavish dining rooms were popularized by aristocrats seeking to impress their dinner guests. When the pandemic hit and we were stripped of the luxury of dining out, we saw a resurgence of clients hoping to give their dining rooms a fresh look in an attempt to liven up the monotony of yet another meal at home. Though far more relaxed than the dining rooms of our 18th-century predecessors, we are finding there’s a new appreciation for a thoughtfully decorated dining area. As things start to open up again and our world begins to return to normal, COVID fads like the made-from-scratch sourdough bread trend will likely fade. Perhaps instead, we will entertain at home more often and bring back the dinner party, in our newly revamped dining spaces?! Here are the before and afters of three of our recent dining area projects for clients who are sure to do so…

When space is an issue in a dining area, the first thing we look at is the layout of the furniture. Then, we examine the furniture itself and see if we can simplify things. In our clients’ home above, by simply repositioning a new dining table (from CB2) so that it ran parallel with the wall, resulted in an immediate improvement in the flow of the space. This adjustment also allowed us to add a space-efficient custom banquette. The banquette not only looks spectacular in an eye-catching teal, but it also allows the family to seat more guests at their table than they could before but in a way that is incredibly streamline.

This dining room is a striking example of how sometimes all you need is just a few new pieces to create the appearance of a complete reno! Tired of their dark and heavy dining set and in need of some extra storage space, this client simply wanted to give their dining room a quick update. A few Restoration Hardware dining pieces with luxe, neutral upholstery, grey-oak finish and pewter-tone hardware immediately brightened up the room. To create the illusion of a larger space, we hung an elegant, round mirror. When it came to the lighting and area rug though, there was really no need to replace them, as the new pieces had brought them to life. For a finishing touch and a lovely splash of colour, we repurposed a vibrant painting from our clients’ living room.

Part of a larger main-floor renovation, the goal in this dining room was to give it a completely new look that felt relaxed but still relevant. Our clients opted to keep their original dining table so, to give it a lighter and more contemporary appearance, we brightened up the space around it with white, paneled walls and engineered-hardwood floors with minimal sheen. Sculptural, upholstered dining chairs from West Elm further modernized the look, while simple lighting kept things clean and pared back. To avoid an overly monochromatic vibe, we hung a stunning, colourful painting by Kathryn MacNaughton over the newly refinished fireplace. The result is a dining room that is chic and current but yet incredibly inviting and approachable.