How To Make Your Dining Room Moody

Our beautifully perfect puppy low key ruined our dining room and library with holes and scratches, and with a party to host we needed to give this room a quick makeover. We have a mostly bright and neutral home and after lots of consideration and advice from one of my best friends we decided we wanted to have a bold, more moody space. So if you want to know how to make your dining room moody, keep reading! Photos are at the end.

Note: This before picture was from the day after we moved in, so we hadn’t done ANYTHING yet!

We vacillated on the color for days, and ended up switching after painting half of it! We thought we wanted SW Greenblack, but after realizing it is indeed black, we switched over to SW Jasper, which was 1000% the right call.

We chose to paint everything the same color to give it that moody vibe we were going for. The walls, the window trim, the baseboard…everything except the ceiling. This added a lot of work and a lot of time, but it was soooo worth it in the end.

This post is all about how to make your dining room moody.








Ok, you’re ready to learn how to make your dining room moody, but I have to warn you, the first few steps can be tedious. We had to fix all the wood and trim that our puppy Daisy had destroyed. She also scratched some holes in the wall, and we decided to remove the chair rail, so we had some drywall patching to do as well. My husband Jack did ALL of this work and it was brutal.

He’s done plenty of drywall mudding, but this was his first time doing this level of wood repair without just removing and replacing it. He used Bondo Wood Filler, and we couldn’t be happier with how well it worked! Take note that it has a short working time (3-5), so you have to make a plan and move quick once you mix it. But the advantage is that you can start another coat or be ready to sand after the 15 minute dry time, which is great when you have major repair work to do. Jack mixed it in small batches to make sure he didn’t run out of time while applying it and waste a bunch. If you want something that lets you go at a slower pace, you can use this Dap Wood Filler. Just know that you’ll have a much longer wait time between coats or before sanding if you aren’t filling small holes (up to 24 hours).

We had a few different situations that called for different approaches. Filling holes is fairly straightforward, but building up edges and corners is a bit more challenging. Jack would apply the filler and mold it as best he could before it would start to harden. Then he would sand it down to shape after it fully cured. He found the best way to mold some of the more detailed areas was by using a small chisel or screwdriver first, then smooth it out with sandpaper. Some areas needed multiple rounds of this process before getting it just right.

When we were done fixing the wood, we removed the shelves and started the prep work!


Don’t skip this step!! After all the trim and drywall was fixed, we rubbed de-glosser on all the wood surfaces. The baseboard, the molding, the shelving, ALL the wood. We gave the baseboard and shelf fronts and tops extra attention since they will be higher traffic. It took forever, but we noticed a huge difference on spots that we accidentally missed, so don’t skip it. We used a deglosser from Sherwin Williams, but you could also use this one from Amazon.

Once it was all de-glossed we taped around the floor, the panes of the windows, and the ceiling to prep for primer.


Next we had to prime all of the wood. Everything we de-glossed, we primed with Sherwin William’s Extreme Bond Primer. You may be tempted to skip right to painting, which sounds nice, but your paint won’t cover evenly if you don’t prime. Any bare wood spots will absorb paint, taking more coats and potentially looking inconsistent when you’re done. While deglossing definitely helps, any finished woods with glossy surfaces won’t accept paint well. Even if you do get it to look consistent after 3 or 4 coats of paint, it will chip and scratch off much more easily. This is why it’s important to get a bonding primer rather than just any generic primer, it’s specifically designed to stick to hard and slick surfaces.

Last, before you move on to painting, do a very light sanding of all the primed areas with a high grit sandpaper or sanding block. If you run your hand over the dried primer before sanding, you’ll notice the texture of the brush or roller you used. A quick sanding will make it feel like a natural smooth wood again. But you have to do this before you paint, or sanding won’t have the same effect!


Finally we started painting. It felt like it took forever to get to this point, and it was such a good feeling to finally get paint on the wall. So exciting that we tried to look past the fact that we didn’t love the first color we chose. We got about half of the first coat done when we pulled the plug and decided to choose a different color. We were originally worried that Jasper would be too green and we would get sick of it, but it turned out to be the perfect color for us. This is the first time we’ve ever changed our mind on a color after starting to put it on the wall, and we almost didn’t do it because we couldn’t return the paint. But when you put it into perspective how long we’ll keep this room this color, it was a no brainer to make sure we get it right! We can always repurpose the unused paint or donate it.

We started with the trim and wood, then rolled so that the texture looked as good as possible. It took 2 coats to cover most of it, but some areas needed 3. We used brushes like these and rollers like these – trust me, don’t go cheap and choose quality on the rollers! These tray liners were super helpful too!


We wanted a cozy, moody, but classic space that’s also kid friendly. Before we even painted, we switched out the lighting fixtures. We chose black scones like these and a feminine black chandelier like this one.

After painting, we started by setting plants on the shelves randomly, and then filled the gaps with the many books that we’ve read over the years. We stacked them randomly, aside from grouping the children’s books together on lower shelves and in baskets. We also displayed some of our favorite little heirlooms and treasures we’ve collected on our shelves.

An Arbequina olive tree was on top of my list because they’re pretty AND we want to actually try to grow olives because we love them.

For a party we hosted recently, we had two tables set up in our dining room. The tables were set with woven placemats, white dinnerware (I used a combination of heirloom china and classic white, but these are AMAZING if you’re looking for something new), jars instead of glasses, linen napkins, and a combination of silver and gold silverware! We decorated with mini pumpkins and random jars that we filled with a Costco bouquet that we split up into smaller groups. We had this speaker on the shelf pumping Frank Sinatra era music to set the vibe.

The next step for us is finding some art to add to the walls, and maybe making a DIY Walnut console table? We’ll see!

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This post was all about how to make your dining room moody.