First, my apologies for how long it has been since my last post! My schedule has been OVERWHELMED the last few weeks with not only planning and projects, but also regular responsibilities as the school year and all its activities are in full motion now.

I was able to spend most of this past Saturday touring some AIA (American Institute of Architects) award winning homes in our area with a dear friend of mine. It was so fun and inspiring, and I had hoped to share some photos with you readers but unfortunately photography was not allowed inside most homes 🙁 . If you enjoy interior design and have any home tours like this in your area then I highly recommend you attend. I discovered some inspiring ideas and innovative products, plus it’s great to see what’s happening in your own community!

I also had my ottoman makeover featured at Better After this week. If you’ve never been to her site go check it out! It’s full of great before and after photos, and who doesn’t love scrolling through before and after photos?

Okay, onto my dining room…

When I sat down to redesign my dining room it became apparent pretty quickly that a dining room is a rather simple room compared to most rooms. My office, for instance, had many elements and pieces in it where I could infuse design, but the typical dining room is actually pretty basic. It usually contains a table with seating, lighting and often a storage piece. And that’s it! Unless you have a dining room with some amazing architectural elements there’s not a lot happening in there.

So I faced the challenge of how to bring engaging interesting design into an otherwise boring and somewhat empty room. After spending some time considering my options, I decided the best place to make an impact in my particular dining room was to create a feature wall on the large prominent wall.

Here’s a before photo:


I painted all of the walls in the room white and decided to give the feature wall a special treatment. My main strategy for creating interest and design was to add unique molding to the wall. An interesting wall paper or the ever popular pallet wall were options I considered, but I had started a molding theme in this room and it made sense to continue it.

The molding theme began with my baseboards. I have the shorter size baseboards throughout my house and have considered replacing them with taller ones for awhile, but that involves a lot of time and a lot of money!

We’ve already removed a little of the existing baseboards for the built-in in our office and it was not easy. The baseboards appear to be glued to the wall and it caused a lot of damage when we removed them. So yeah, that’s not something I want to do ALL over the house!

I saw the idea of adding trim above the existing baseboards while browsing Pinterest and realized this is a much better alternative. It’s cheaper, easier and would take less time! Here’s the pin I found:


I decided the best place to try this idea and see if it looked good was in my dining room.

So I purchased five 8’ pieces of base cap trim to install above my baseboards.


I used a leftover 1” x 2” piece of wood as my “measuring stick” for the distance between the existing baseboards and the new trim. It was a good distance, not too close or too far.


The day I decided to install all of this trim my kids were out of school. My husband was working and my son was at a friend’s house so that left me with no one to help me except my 10-year-old daughter. All I needed was someone to help me hold things in place while I cut and installed everything. I knew my daughter was capable of helping me, but I also knew it wouldn’t sound too exciting to her.

Let’s see, help mom install some wood or watch my favorite Disney Channel shows? Tough choice! So I had to offer her a “payment” for her help. I offered her a reward of a tall glass of soda (my kids rarely get soda to drink so they consider it a treat) and a trip to Bruster’s for an ice cream cone. Can you tell she has a sweet tooth? …Oh, and if you have a Bruster’s Ice Cream near you and have never been you’re seriously missing out!

My offer was enough to convince her to turn off the tv and help me! She didn’t like the noise of the nail gun and wanted to be as far away from it as possible whenever I used it, but that was fine with me because I felt it was safer for her anyway. She mostly helped me align and hold the trim in place.

After a couple hours we had the whole room done… and I liked the look even though it still needed to be painted…


Who needs guys to do a home improvement project?! Me and my daughter have got this covered!

With the baseboards done, I decided to add the same base cap molding to the tray ceiling in the room in order to freshen up this area and create a little continuity in the room.



Then it was time to turn my attention to the feature wall. This is the inspiration photo I used for my feature wall.


I wanted to use a little different style molding than they used in the photo so I went with this cove molding:


It’s simple yet interesting and also quite affordable.

I spent some time doing math calculations trying to find the right size and number of rectangles to put on the wall. I ended up doing a grid of four rectangles high by eight rectangles long. I drew the grid on the wall so I could get an idea of how it would look before cutting all of the molding to size.

I used the width of my long level as the “measuring stick” for the distance between each rectangle of molding.


Drawing the grid on the wall was a lot of work that I really wanted to skip, but I knew I needed to see the layout on the wall before installing the molding to make sure I liked the spacing and proportions. I’m glad I drew it ahead of time because I did not like the way it looked! The rectangles were too close together making it all feel too busy. So I drew a larger gap between each rectangle and it definitely made everything look better. I hated having to spend so much time laying out the grid, but it was definitely better than having to rip down all the molding and start over.

With the layout set, that meant I was ready to start putting up molding. Two days of cutting and installing molding by myself and I finally had it all up!


I caulked each rectangle and it was now ready for some color.

While I love the dark color of the wall in my inspiration photo, I realized that a lighter color would work better in my dining room so I went with a light gray which would offset it from the white walls without darkening the room. I went with Benjamin Moore’s Harbor Gray, a lighter version of the gray color I chose for the sideboard.




Overall, I’m happy with how this feature wall turned out. It brings some much needed texture and interest to the room and only cost me about $75. It may look a little busy and for some rooms it would be, but this is a room that I felt could take the bold pattern. Hopefully you’ll see that when I finally have the room all put together.

As for the rest of the molding in the room…

I gave the baseboards and tray ceiling a good coat of white semi-gloss paint and they’re looking much better!



With the plain white walls in the room, I feel it ended up making the baseboard molding even more important because it really gives it that extra punch.

So I’ve got two more projects left to do in my dining room, and then I’ll be ready to reveal the final makeover!


  1. Avatar Mara

    Great job! Fantastic that you did it by yourself. I find your can do attitude and resourceful, budget friendly ideas really inspirational. Good on your little girl for helping you and what a great empowering role model you are!

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