A Colorful $100 DIY Makeover of an LA Dining Room


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The before: “Our dining room is very dark even though it has two windows,” Thomas says. “There’s not a lot of natural light coming in from either one.” Because the apartment is a rental, using paint to brighten things up was a landlord-friendly decision.

The inspiration: Thomas’s muse for the mural motif was vintage cartoons. “I’m always very inspired by Eastern European midcentury animation,” he says. “I have big memories from when I was a kid of one show that’s called the Little Mole, from the Czech Republic. The style is just beautiful—vibrant colors and gorgeous shapes.” For this particular project, he also cites an animated show called Asterix, circa 1960s France. “The landscape that is shown inspired this one a little bit.”

Budget: The real expense would have been the custom mural work, but since Thomas was DIY’ing it he didn’t really consider the budget. “If you’re creative enough, whether you’re good with freehand painting, or stencil, or a projector, you can do something like this,” he says. “Paying someone to do it would be expensive, but the material costs for that aren’t really high.”

Square footage: 120 square feet

The artist and his husband, Jake, decided to limit the amount of artwork hung in the dining room post mural installation. Now, the dining room’s colorful walls provide a vibrant contrast to the bright white living room walls.

Main ingredients:

Paint: Thomas had seen the shade of blue that he used on the ceiling and the wainscoting—Backdrop’s Early Stuff—at a friend’s house. “Every other blue tone that you see in the mural is mixed with that shade,” he explains.

Chandelier: The 1950s Italian chandelier, designed by Stilnovo, features 16 bulbs with perforated white metal shades and a brass frame, hanging from black wires. Jake sourced the striking piece through an antiques dealer.

Bar: The 1940s French bar with a mirror inlay was a 1stDibs find.

Jake sourced the dining room furniture—a mix of vintage finds via 1stDibs and artful accents.

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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