Warming Up A Gray Room

I recently redecorated a bit in my dining room. The shuffle was prompted by a pressing desire to lighten things up (resulting in the relocation of the black and white drapes), and the addition of an old (new to us!) china armoire we found off craigslist. It was my birthday present! After last year's crazy house-calming campaign before the baby came, several rooms of my house adopted a cool, muted neutral palette. The only problem with cool colors like gray, black, and white, is just that--it can feel cold and uninviting. So my goal was to create a more family-friendly dining room that felt charming rather than formal. When every square foot of your house must serve multiple functions: the dining room is also hubby's study, the schoolroom is the playroom, the master bedroom is the sweatshop sewing corner and the hubby's library, there's not the luxury of having just a pretty room. And, with 5 men to share the home with, it just can't be too girly, you know! So how do you make gray, pretty, warm, whimsical, elegant, versatile, and family-friendly all come together? Here are some ways I made it work for me:

Shabby Chic drapes from Target allowed more light to come in for the Preacher's study habits. The ruffles are fun and feminine, but simple and unfussy. White cotton makes a room feel breezy and light, even in November.

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I changed a lonely corner with an old wicker chair...

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...into a cozy secretary using the console table that used to be a stand in for a buffet. (Number 1 now uses this corner for his Bible reading and creative writing time...it's so sweet.)

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A gray room can be warm by combining dark wood with black furniture. The good thing about collecting furniture as you go is that your look will never be "too matchy." Grays just work so well with white, glass, and silver...

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...and little hints of green.

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And where the old console used to reside is now an antique china armoire, whose Queen Anne styled legs add a bit of vintage, eclectic flair to an otherwise contemporary room.

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Cozy. Just in time to give thanks by sharing this room with a houseful.

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