Thursday, January 16, 2014

Decorating Apartment Walls: The Dining Room

As I've mentioned in several posts before, Mr. 3 and I moved into a new apartment back in September which was covered in wall-to-wall white carpeting, white vertical blinds, and lots of white paint.  I'm sure this isn't much different from most apartment rentals, but staring at all that white space is a bit daunting when you think about trying to get some rental friendly color up on the wall without being able to actually paint or wallpaper it!  In our old place, the dining room was part of the larger living area, so I didn't need more than one picture on the walls to brighten up. However, in the new place, the dining room is its own separate space with two big white walls and those icky vertical blinds covering the pretty windows.  I didn't want to spend tons of money trying to fix up these walls, because I'm hoping that the next time we move we will get a new dining room table and chairs (the optimist in me also hopes that the next time we move, we will be buying not renting and painting won't be a problem...but we are still a few years away from that goal!).

I considered a lot of different options including removable wallpaper (too expensive!), framing regular wallpaper or fabric and making paneling (lots of labor involved), and just slapping up some prints from World Market or Home Goods (couldn't find what I wanted).  Finally, I spotted these:

Magnolia Plates
Image Source: Arhaus 

Which look like this when grouped together and hung on a wall:

Image Source: Arhaus
I instantly fell in love with this look and headed over to Tysons Corner mall where there is a brick and mortar Arhaus to see if they had any flowers in stock.

Arhaus Tyson's Corner
Image Source: Arhaus
They had the plates and they had even more colors than are pictured online.  I wound up getting a total of 6 plates (plus another one for a different wall project, which I'll be blogging about more soon!).  I reused a mirror I had in our old apartment and hung the six flowers around it.  Here's how it turned out:

The brown and white plates had pre-made holes in the back of them and the store had already run fishing line through them to hang up in the store display (which by the way was amazing!), but the two blue plates didn't.  The very helpful sales lady at Arhaus told me that the ones with the pre-drilled holes could be hung using a simple nail and she suggested I buy plate holders to hang up the two blue plates.  We grabbed some picture hooks and found our plate holders at Home Depot for about $2 each.  When we hung them up, we found that the gold hooks on the plate holder blended in nicely with the flower petal lines.

Here's the finished room:

Mr. 3's cousins gave us their dining room chairs when they moved away from DC.  They are in excellent condition and we were grateful that they were free!  Red isn't usually the color I veer towards when it comes to home decor since I'm much more of a cool tone type of girl (red shoes and handbags...completely different story!), so we will probably have the chairs recovered when we set up shop in our forever home one day.  Rather than doing all white flowers, I chose two other colors to brighten up the wall.  The brown made sense because it goes with our main tablecloth (which is from World Market) and blended with the mirror.  Mr. 3's favorite color is blue and I thought it would be a great way to introduce a new color into the room with out being another earth tone.  If you've been following me on Instagram (and you should! @poshpurpose), you know that I bought this new tablecloth from Target to bring more blue into the room.

Target Threshold Tablecloth
70" Round

I've left the brown tablecloth on for now because I'm throwing Mr. 3 a birthday party on Saturday involving ribs and bourbon...but not BBQ stains on my pretty new tablecloth (more on that party next week!).  Much better right?  Here's a cost breakdown of my dining room decorations:

Mirror: Free! (Well, sort of. I've had the mirror for 5 years and I think I paid $30 for it when I bought it from Burlington Coat Factory)
Wall Flowers:
- Brown Magnolias: $35.20
- White Dogwoods: $19.20
- Blue Magnolias: $19.20
Plate Hangers & Hooks: about $6
New Tablecloth: $16.99
Total: $96.59 (plus tax)

Not too shabby considering that includes wall decorations aaaaand a tablecloth.  Most of the prints and other larger mirrors I was considering were in the $80 range.  Mr. 3 also noted that if I wanted to eventually have that feature wall look, I could buy 1-2 plates every once in awhile until I have enough to do the really closely clustered look in the inspiration picture above.

I also want to take the time to say how wonderful shopping at Arhaus was for me!  This was my first time in the store to actually purchase something specific, and I think I have been in there maybe 3 other times before just to kill time.  The sales lady was so helpful in finding the flowers for me, pulling them off the store display, and giving me tips on how to hang them!  She also showed me how I could buy this plate stand later and put the plates on the stand to make a tiered serving dish if I didn't want to hang them on the wall in future homes.

The woman also saved me some moo-lah! She told me that they were having a Friends and Family 20% off entire store discount in 3 days, but if I came back with my receipt that they could give me a price adjustment and take 20% off (which I did - prices above reflect discount).  Finally, while she was carefully wrapping my plates and putting them in an extremely durable and reuseable bag she answered all my questions about their sources for furniture and their construction standards (Lots of American made and Italian made, mixed in with some things from India and China.  No MDF.  Solid hardwood construction for all the upholstered furniture.)  The other impressive feature in the store was the upholstery room which was full of swatches for all their custom furniture.  I can't say anything but positive things about my experience with Arhaus!  Anyone else had good luck with them?  What do you think of my wall?  I'm so glad to be rid of those completely white walls!  The also give me something pretty to look at to avoid staring at those heinous vertical blinds.

Stay tuned for more articles on my living room gallery wall and bedroom collage!