When Clare Collective ambassador Orlando Soria set out to update his two-bedroom Spanish-style bungalow in Los Angeles, he knew the first order of business would be finding the best dining room color. Though he prefers living in older homes because of their architectural ornamentation, the dining room’s stark white walls weren’t doing the moldings any justice. “I wanted to try something different with color, that didn’t negate the architecture.”
Along with the unflattering paint job, Orlando says the dining room was outfitted in ill-fitted light fixtures and an awkward wall of three windows that felt like an eyesore. “I needed a paint color and decorative elements that played up the room’s character while diverting attention away from the awkward windows.”
Once he discovered the perfect wall color, Meet Cute, Orlando used an array of clever paint and decor tricks to transform the dated space into an inviting—and dinner party-ready—dining room. “Of all the things you can do to upgrade an interior, painting gives you the biggest bang for your buck,” he says.
Curious how you can score a similar look at home? Orlando shares his advice ahead.
Be Open Minded About Neutrals
To start, Orlando swathed the walls in his choice for best dining room color, Meet Cute, a rosy shade of blush pink that moonlights as a warm neutral. “I’ve been in a pink phase for the past few years, and for me, Meet Cute reads as a really pretty neutral that still feels unexpected,” he says. “It creates a cocooning backdrop that pairs nicely with natural finishes and metals.”
Make a Statement with Ceiling Paint
In addition to applying a fresh coat of milky white Whipped to the old-school curved ceiling, Orlando used Meet Cute to paint an oval shaped border around the fifth wall. “The contrast emphasizes the drama of the ceiling by highlighting the architecture,” he says. “It also adds shape and movement to the room while visually expanding the space.”
Use Decor to Minimize Eyesores
To play up the natural light in the room without drawing attention to the awkward wall of windows, Orlando installed a salon-style art display on an adjacent wall. “The gallery wall is higher than the highest window—which creates a slight asymmetry that diverts the eye from the wall of windows,” he says. “I chose minimalist roller shades to downplay the windows while enhancing the sunlight the room receives.”
Don’t Sleep on Ceiling Lights
Instead of a humdrum flush mount, Orlando employed a sleek linear pendant light as the centerpiece of the two-toned ceiling. “It’s crucial to pick a light fixture that's proportionate to the dining table,” he says. “While your first instinct may be to go big and grand, an overscale light fixture will wind up cramping up the space.”
Natural Finishes FTW
To ensure the space felt warm and inviting, Orlando incorporated an assortment of light-colored wood pieces throughout the room, including a dining table set and stripped down vintage dresser. “The lighter toned wood finishes create a comforting coastal vibe that softens the whole palette,” he says. “Plus, I love using dressers in a dining room for storage because they’re unexpected and easy to update with new hardware.”
Looking for more dining room inspo? We’ve got plenty.