If you like the European look for your dining room, consider decorating it in an Old World style. Here are some tips you may find helpful in achieving this look:
1) Wall Paint: Using the correct color hues on your dining room walls can set the stage in achieving the old world look. Use darker colors, for example, use darker shades of browns, reds and yellows on the walls. In addition, there are also some wall texturing techniques that you can use for your walls. Sponge painting, Venetian plastering, and rag rolling are examples on how you can add depth and texture to your dining room walls to add to that old world charm. Keep in mind to choose the design and hues that would be a good backdrop for your wall art and furnishings. In the photo shown on the left, although the textured walls are kept in neutral cream, the upper third of the walls are painted in dark earthy brown color with a shade of mauve.
2) Architectural Details: Adding crown moldings, ceiling medallions and cornice boards made of wood can all spell Old World. In the sample photo on the left, the ceiling moldings used were wider than the standard ones. 5-inch wide molding were used on the very top close to the ceilings and then a foot below it is a 2-inch wide molding painted a shade darker than the wall in between the two moldings, adding more interest and accentuating the height of the ceilings. The window cornice boards accented by wood relief that were glued on and painted in golden brown, are also painted the same color as the ceiling moldings for cohesiveness.
3) Flooring Materials: If you want to stay authentic, you can use wide plank wooden floors with nails showing, or use stone slates the ones you see in European castles. Nowadays, you can still achieve an Old World look by using carpeting as long as you keep the color neutral. Add an area rug on top with Old World motif to enhance the look.
4) Window Treatments: In an Old World look, you would certainly almost always use fabric on your window treatments. This is because in the olden days, draperies are the ones being used. The trick is in mimicking what the old world European homes were like, and certainly they did not have aluminum blinds on them. For privacy, you can use wooden blinds but put drapery panels on each side. In the sample photo on the left, a damask designed window panels in taupe color was used to frame the windows, tie backs made of iron helped accentuate this look.
5) Lighting: In an Old World dining room the most commonly used lighting is a chandelier. Choose an elegant chandelier with wrought iron finish. You should not use any modern looking chandelier because it will look out of place. In the photo shown on the left, the chandelier chosen was made of clay and wrought iron. The author also painted the plain white shades with dark brown and applied a crackle finish and tassels to add interest. Another lighting you can add as an accent is using candelabras, which you can add on your table. Wall sconces made of same European style as your chandelier can also be used to light your Old World dining room.
6) Furnishings: The dining room table should be made of dark stained wood. You cannot use an art deco table in an old world design. Old World designs make use of heavy upholstery, so choose dining chairs that are upholstered in dark colors. On the photo on the left, the author used chairs upholstered in brown fabric made of wool and added throw pillows on each chair covered in black accented with golden brown damask. The other furnishings used are a console table and China cabinet made of wood with similar dark stain as the dining table and chairs.
7) Accessories: Use of clay pots, plates, and old world styled candelabra’s are great ways to accessorize your Old World dining room. In the first photo on the left, two clay pots in a European style flanked the clay plate on a stand that was on the console table. The center piece used is a bowl with fruits made of clay. The china cabinet also has pots made of clay and some other mementos that are European in origin. Table cloths, placemats and napkins made of velvet and damask can add drama as you set your table. Add painting on your walls that are framed in ornate frames, depicting an old world subject like scenery in the countryside of Italy.
8) Plants: Use indoor plants or silk plants to add a touch of green to your Old World design. Put a silk fichus tree in a clay pot, like in the photo shown or add trailing ivy on top of the china cabinet.
As you can see, achieving the Old World look is not really difficult to do. If you have been inspired by your European travels or visiting homes decorated with Old World look, you can easily achieve the same design by starting off with the small pieces. You do not have to buy new things right away; staining your light colored furnishings with darker cherry or mahogany stains can be your starting point. If your light fixture is not made of iron finish, do not despair, you can buy spray paints that you can use on your existing light fixtures to match the iron finish of the Old World designs. Another suggestion is to go to salvage yards and buy inexpensive pieces that you can use to display on your wall or table. There are old world finials and door knobs that you can use to decorate your room. Draperies can be bought cheap as well. The ones I used here came from a discount store and I bought the panels at $8.00 each. You can go to garage sales and flea markets to buy inexpensive materials. Read books, magazines, research online, check your attic and basement, who knows you may already have the pieces scattered around your house that you can use to achieve the Old World design.