In my former life (before I traded in my paint brush for a bottle scrub brush) I got to do a lot of cool painting in a lot of amazing houses. When we got our own house, I wanted it to be a showplace to display some of my work for prospective clients. Since the dining room is one of the first rooms people see when they entered our house I wanted it to be really awesome so I spent a lot of time painting in there before I was satisfied!
I started by scraping all the popcorn off the ceiling (which I totally recommend doing before you move your furniture into a house, it’s not hard but VERY tedious and messy) then I painted the ceiling a light cream color of latex paint in an eggshell finish. I painted the walls with a darker cream color that I used on the walls throughout the house and below the chair rail I painted a dark gold hue, which I also used on the outer rim of the ceiling (all eggshell finish latex paint, which is what I always use for the base coat if I plan on glazing on top of it).
To create the painted design on the ceiling, I made a huge stencil out of dry-erase poster board (which is much cheaper than large sheets of stencil paper). The stencil was 1/4 of the pattern so I used a lazer and yard stick to get it lined up so it was centered in the tray ceiling. Then I stenciled each of the 4 quadrants with light gold latex paint, leaving the pattern very faintly on the ceiling. I also did this with the stencils I made for the corners of the ceiling.
Once it was dry I hand-painted over the stencils with gold, brown, green, terra-cotta, and red hues, using some glazing medium to allow the paint to go on more smoothly and be more workable. I wanted the design to look hand-painted so the original stencil was completely covered by the hand-painted designs.
Once that was dry, I went over the whole ceiling with a light glaze to make it all look antique.
For the upper part of the walls, I used a damask stencil from Melanie Royal Designs. I used a stencil brush and gold paint to stencil the pattern all over the walls. Once it was dry I went over the stencils with a dry-brush application of the original wall color, to make the pattern look faded in some places. Once that was dry I went over the walls with a soft application of a light glaze (the same one I used on the ceiling) to make it look antique. When people see my walls they assume it is wallpaper but then when they look closer and see the orange-peel texture of the wall they realize it is all done with paint!
For the lower part of the walls, and the outside rim of the tray ceiling, I started out with the dark gold latex paint. I mixed up a brown glaze and painted it on, then ragged it off (leaving the rag marks) and then softened it with a badger brush. When that layer of glaze dried, I went over it with a red glaze which I brushed on unevenly with a chip brush and then blended with the badger brush. It turned out to be a great terra-cotta finish with lovely depth.
To finish off the room, I re-painted the molding (which hadn’t been done in 20+ years), re-covered the dining room chairs and made some curtains with beaded fringe. I’m so glad I put the time and effort into this room when I first moved in and had time to do things like that, so now I can just enjoy it! It’s the perfect place to host friends and family for special meals!
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