Reader Martine sent me some photographs of her dining room and living room to see what changes could be made to make them less formal.
The following is her dining room as seen from the living room:
This is her living room as seen from the dining room:
And part of her living room and dining room:
Let me begin by saying Martine that you have two lovely rooms. Good pieces of furniture, big windows, a grand mantelpiece, lovely chandelier and fantastic vintage mirror. I guess you don't want to spend too much renovating them and I think it is not necessary for you to do so.
Even though I love that burgundy colour on the walls in the dining room I feel it makes it extremely dark. I would suggest painting the walls white or some shade of cream, and leave just the wall where the toys are the same burgundy colour so it will relfect on the mirrors opposite. I would replace the shelf on this wall with a painting maybe similar to the one in the living room perhaps a little bigger. The contrast between the dark wall and a light coloured picture would look lovely.
Here is an example of a room with only one wall painted red. You can see what a nice contrast a picture of a lighter colour makes.
The room would be brighter too if you added skirted cushions to your dining room charis like in the following picture. No need to cover the backs too, just the seat.
And the toys could be stored in a trunk with one or two custom sized pillows (cream coloured with a touch of burgundy to match the wall),
Or you could put them in a wicker basket trunk under a console table. Something like the one in this picture on the far left:
While you are painting maybe you could give the living room walls the same treatment. Leave only one the same colour it has now.
I love the shape of your sofa! Maybe you could have slipcovers made in a lighter colour for the sofa and the armchairs. . You could choose reversible slipcovers with a wintry colour on one side and summery white linen on the other. Then you could buy or make covers for the pillows in colours that combine with the walls. The arrangement of the furniture is just right.
How about also adding two side tables with lamps beside the sofa?
Bright pillows on a white sofa will make your room less formal, something like this:
Thank you Martine for sending your pics and question and I hope some of these ideas will inspire you. I'm sure our readers could give you more tips, and maybe when you finish your makeover you could send us some pics!