Room of the Day: Hand-Painted Walls Set This Dining Room Apart

When guests spend most of their time in one room, you want that room to feel as fun as the parties it hosts. The owners of this home in Georgia did not think that their dining room lived up to its potential — in fact, it wasn’t even functioning as a dining room yet. The young couple turned to a design duo to create a beautiful space that is ready to host any event, from nice family dinners to wild poker nights.

Before Photo

Room of the Day: Bold Marietta Dining Room

“After” photos by Kimberly Murray

Dining Room at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple who host fun nights for neighborhood friends and their large families
Location: Smyrna, Georgia
Size: 225 square feet (20.9 square meters)
Designers: Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters, owners of and principal designers at Forbes + Masters

BEFORE: The dining room had interesting characteristics to begin with: tall wainscoting, a square shape and long windows. The designers leaned into those design elements and enhanced them.

Transitional Dining Room by FORBES + MASTERS


AFTER: Designers Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters transformed the space by creating a bold hand-painted pattern at the top of the room to balance the white wainscoting.

The homeowners explored wallpaper options for the area above the wainscoting, but they couldn’t find a pattern they liked. So the designers presented a custom-wall-paint idea that mimicked the shapes and lines of the chandelier and chairs. The homeowners loved the proposal but were nervous about its execution.

Forbes and Masters felt confident they could get away with such a bold design on the wall. The average wainscoting goes up only 30 to 36 inches, but this dining room had wainscoting that was 60 inches tall. The tall wainscoting plus the trim meant that more than half of each wall would remain white, creating a balance for any bold color, texture or shine that would cover the remaining part.

Area rug: Calvin Klein via Nourison;
Adeline large round chandelier in black: Four Hands; artwork: homeowners’ existing

Transitional Dining Room by FORBES + MASTERS


Then Forbes and Masters had a spark of creative genius. Instead of searching for draperies to go with the room, they decided to paint drapes to line up with the pattern on the wall.

“There is nothing new under the sun, so just when you think you’ve had your most creative idea, take it up a notch,” Masters says.

All of the other design elements fell into place from there. A square room is the perfect foundation for a round table. As the homeowners often host poker games in this room, using a round table was doubly a no-brainer.

Wall paint by Behr: Cotton Knit (base) and Black Mocha (accents); draperies: custom-made; drapery hardware: Restoration Hardware; dining room table: Classic Home; chairs: Four Hands, available through West Elm

Transitional Dining Room by FORBES + MASTERS


Not every aspect of this transitional dining room project was easy, though.

The hand-painting began as a two-woman job, but after the first few strokes it was clear that the design was created by two people. Although it would take twice the time, Masters completed the hand-painted design alone.

The result? Happy clients and a consistent look. The hand-painting cost significantly less than wallpaper would have, and if the homeowners want to change the paint or go with wallpaper later, they can easily do that.

Roman console table: Four Hands; console lamp: West Elm

Transitional Dining Room by FORBES + MASTERS


Little details in this room could have been overshadowed by the hand-painted walls, but every accessory was chosen with great intention, Masters says. Everywhere you look, you find something special, like an hourglass or a votive.

Mirror: Pottery Barn; One-Hour hourglass and all other accessories: Accent Decor

Transitional Dining Room by FORBES + MASTERS


“Unlike most formal dining rooms, this one is inviting because of its playfulness,” Masters says.

Accessories: Accent Decor

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