The Dilemma: A formal dining room is often an overlooked and underused space in the home. Even though it's a more formal space, it doesn't have to be saved for just holidays and special occasions. And when it comes to design, the decor of the dining room should match up to the rest of the home, and it should be a space that's inspiring to be in considering it's a gathering spot for meals. In the case of this particular dining room, the bare walls and plain window blinds left much to be desired.
The Fix: First in order for this dining room was to really bring out the windows, which are one of its biggest assets. To do that, curtains were brought in and box-type valances were made to frame the windows. Using valances not only helped give the room a tailored look, it also made the windows and the overall space look taller. Additionally, adding valances is an easy way to immediately make any drapery look custom-made. And they're pretty simple to make: Simply build a three-sided "box" from plywood and cover it with foam and the fabric of your choice by stapling both in place. Then, you can just hang the valance with brackets.
Next up was to tackle the bare walls in the dining room. It's great if you already have art that's just waiting for a wall to be displayed on, but if not, you can save money (without sacrificing style) by simply hanging up an arrangement of plates. You can mix colors and patterns, but sticking to one hue creates a more pulled together look. And you don't have to use plates that have the same shape -- in fact, if you stick to one color, different-shaped plates will end up adding sculptural interest. If you want to make the plates pop a little more, you can add silhouettes to them by using peel-and-stick vinyl, cut into your desired shapes. A key thing to keep in mind is that hanging plates will require you to get some plate hangers. They come in different sizes and can be found for as low as $1 each. These will act as a hanging bracket for your plate, and installation is as simple as hammering a nail into the wall.
Finally for accents and finishing touches, a few ceramic vases in the same color palette were grouped together in the center of the dining table. Whether or not you're using the dining room, the table provides a handy surface for displaying items that don't have a place elsewhere. Just like the plates, sticking to the same color scheme will make inexpensive touches look elegant and unified. And last but not least, mosaic candle sconces were brought in to add a pop of color and some mood lighting.