The Washington Post

House Calls: Dressing up a dining room


Shelia Carpenter’s room. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)

Laurel resident Sheila Carpenter loves the cherry wood dining table she got from her mother, but she wants help pairing it with other pieces to create a more contemporary, sophisticated dining room.


Carpenter dining room. (Julius Goyanko for The Washington Post)

Designers Lorin Jones, Raisa Spratley and Jan Bertin pull together a new color scheme, with chairs and accessories to complement the table.

Jones, Spratley and Bertin, of Decorating Den Interiors (703-299-0633,, are based in Alexandria.

A new rug matches the plum accents in the kitchen.

Removing the corner cupboard frees up space for long drapery panels, which make the ceiling appear higher.

Pairing contemporary dining chairs with the traditional table gives the room a polished feel.

The existing buffet gets a dark lacquer, which gives it new life and helps the Carpenters stay within their budget.

Carry the plum tones through the space with new art on freshly painted walls. Try Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray for the wall color.


Accessories: Medina area rug ($199 for 5-by-8 foot rug,; inverted box pleat drapery panels in Creamy Pintuck Raised Diamond pattern ($449 for set of two 96-inch panels,; “Twilight 1” ($90) and “Twilight 2” ($90) prints, Bloomsbury canister ($50 for 19-inch canister) and Oxford serving tray ($80), all from; Abacus table lamp in Mercury ($169,


Sylvia side chair in Natural brushed canvas with Dark Walnut finish ($650,

Venice console ($1,449,

. . . OR SAVE

Scallop dining chair ($299,

Belgard cabinet in distressed black ($949, or paint the existing buffet with black lacquer.

Margaret Ely is a digital editor for Lifestyle. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.



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