How To Design A Dark & Moody Dining Room

Today I want to share with you my Dark and Moody Dining Room makeover. The before and after is quite dramatic! I started with a bland base and turned it around into a Character filled space packed with old and new elements. Giving that traditional old money look! Here’s how I did it…

dark and moody dining room

Dark Academia Interiors

Academia style Interiors, are typically rooms with dark-toned walls adorned with moody and diverse art, with a scattering of quirky ornaments and curios.

Ideally, there’s an open fire and lots of Soft lighting that bounces shadows around the room, giving those magical Hogwarts vibes!

Think earthy palettes and restored or replica antiques, wood tones, natural toned soft furnishings and luxe oversized rugs.

It is a timeless and classic style that will last. Unlike some modern interior trends which will eventually go out of favour, the Academia style has a classic elegance that will endure.

These ‘timeless’ features are what is most appealing to homeowners. If you’re looking to create a space that will last and won’t require updating for some time, then ‘Dark Academia’ is the ageless style you’re looking for.

Dark Academia on A Budget!

Unlike the Witches and Wizards at Hogwarts, us mere muggles do not have the benefit of Magic Wands and piles of gold coins stashed at Gringots! We have to decorate within our means and make the most of our non-magic capabilities!

As you may have noticed on my other interior projects, I like to save the Pennies where I can! My Dining room for the most part adheres to that, with bargain preloved buys, freebies and upcycling. However, there was one thing that could not be done on the cheap! The biggest spend in the room was the fireplace…

Inglenook Fireplace

Wood Burning Stove

In my house any work that needs doing is normally carried out by my husband or by myself. Over the years we have each accrued a lot of DIY skills, therefore it has become a habit to get our hands dirty and do the job ourselves.

However, there are certain projects that should not be diy’d and should always be carried out by seasoned professionals! Fitting A log burner is one of them.

It is no small job to fit a log burner, especially in a home as old as mine. Apart from the skill required, there are also legal reasons for getting the professionals in…

Where I live in the North, log burners must have all the necessary certificates which prove it has been fitted and tested correctly.

These certificates are provided by the firm you use, who will also inform the local council of the works undertaken. Should you want to sell your house in the future, the solicitors will require all this paperwork to move forward! Unfortunately for you and your Bank balance, all of that box ticking as well as installation work costs money!

Before I go into the costs of fitting a log burner, here are some of the benefits of having a Wood burning stove in your home…

The Benefits of Fitting A Log Burning Stove:

  • Adds Value to your house!– Wood stoves can add as much as 5% to the value of your home!
  • Take pleasure in the Art of fire building!-Step back in time to an age when building a fire was once an essential part of every person’s day.
  • It looks beautiful!-There is no denying the Aesthetic appeal of an open fireplace with a real crackling fire!
  • Prove Your Bread Dough!-Looking for that perfect rise? Place your proving bowl on the warm hearth to speed up proving time!
bread proving
  • The Security of knowing Winter is taken care of!– Store away firewood in the warmer months until you’re ready to use it. It gives great sense of security and control knowing that no matter what, you and your family will be warm this winter.
Our wood store
  • Save money on Bills-Helps to heat the whole house, saving money on the central heating bills
  • An asset in times of power cuts– if the grid goes out…you can still stay warm!
  • Turn your house into a home!-Calming, comforting and welcoming, there is something very hypnotic about the dancing flames in a wood burning stove

Mind the mess

It’s about to get messy! Especially if your looking to open up the fireplace before hand! For this reason, I would Decorate the room AFTER all the work is done. Chimney soot gets everywhere!

However, If you live in a new build house, or you are creating a chimney breast from scratch, or if your bypassing a Chimney breast all together- it becomes much more straightforward and less chaotic!

However, if you happen to live in an old house, like I do, sheet up everything you can! You would be amazed how far fine soot particles can travel!

How Much does it cost to have a Wood burning Stove Fitted?

When we first made the decision to have wood burner fitted, we went to a local company that was highly recommended and had a proven track record of happy customers!

What did I want?

I wanted rustic and worn, a fireplace with character! The kind of fireplace that would not look out of place 100 years ago.

I asked for the Chimney breast to be opened up-as wide as possible, with the original bricks on show, with downlights fitted inside. We wanted a chunky oak Mantel and the wood burning stove had to be Multi-fuel (one that will burn wood and coal) and I wanted it all fitted in time for Christmas day.

For everything, including, the cast iron Stove, Beam, hearth, labour, plastering and fitting, it would cost : £3,500 and take 2 full days to complete.

We were given the date of the 6th of December. The work would take 2 days, giving me a fairly generous 18 days to whip the Dining Room into shape before Christmas day arrived!

*Top tip ask the company if they have any refurbished Stoves or Showroom models-We managed to save £500 by buying a refurbished model.

Our Fireplace before:

We inherited the original fireplace when we bought the house. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see the back of it. It served its purpose, but now it was time to go!

During/Day 1

It took the lads a whole day to open the chimney breast and remove the old hearth. The hearth was the most difficult to remove, it was years of layered cement and brick that took 2 Jack hammers, 2 men and around 4 hours of graft to remove! The poor guys were exhausted by the end of it…apparently it was their most difficult hearth removal to date!

I tried to keep their spirits up with countless cups of tea and biscuits!

fitting a log burner stove

Lastly, the lintel was fitted and cemented in. By the end of the first day, I had an unattractive hole in the middle of my dining room and black soot covering most surfaces! But I could finally see progress, and most importantly, envision what it would eventually look like.

day 2/ Completion day!

By the end of Day 2, I would have my very own Log Burner! I was so excited! The lads arrived at 8.30am and got cracking. Thankfully the weather was mild, which was important, because one of them would be on the roof fitting the cowl, lining and flue.

Once that was done, their attention turned to the fireplace bricks..

Bricks after cleaning and light buffing

Brick Preparation

Remember, I wanted rustic and worn, so when the lads asked me, just how clean I wanted the bricks. I asked them to leave all imperfections and do the bare minimum of cleaning, leaving any stains, old scars and broken edges visible. I also asked that any pointing be a little untidy and haphazard and not to bother filling any broken bricks. It was important to me that there be no clean lines, but lots of rough edges!

Oak Beam, Lights And Hearth

The Oak Beam was next. A beautiful piece of wood with natural knots and curved lines was fitted just above the fireplace opening. Oak is known for being tough and durable, perfect for finishing off an open fireplace

The two spot lights were fitted and the dark grey slate hearth was laid just before lunch.After lunch, while the Hearth adhesive went off, the room was cleaned and the wall plastered.

Fitting The Log Burning stove

The exciting part!

Our Cast Iron Stove weighed a ton! So the lads wheeled it into the house on a dolly and manoeuvred it into place. Within 30 minutes it was good to go! Here it is just after fitting..

installing log burner stove

Just In time for Christmas

I had to wait a week for the plaster to dry before I could decorate…which killed me! ;o) I was so eager to get cracking and see my Christmas tree next to our brand new fireplace! It turned out just as I had hoped, and christmas morning was spent opening presents next to the fire. We had the cosiest Christmas ever! Walls Painted in Dulux Heritage Dh Slate

Christmas open fireplace
Christmas inglenook fireplace
Christmas morning :O)

How To Choose the Right Wood Burning Or Multi Fuel Stove

  1. What look are you going for? Contemporary or traditional? Choose a style that best reflects your interior
  2. Heat Output-Pick the right stove for the size of your room. Most wood burning stoves are measured in kw-The higher the kw output, the greater the heat generated.
  3. Cast Iron Or Steel?– The main difference between cast iron stoves and steel stoves is heat retention. Cast iron is a thicker and denser metal than steel, which means it will take longer to heat up than a steel stove….However, the upside is, it will retain heat for longer. Meaning even when the flames in your cast iron stove go out, it will still radiate heat into your room. Steel stoves have their own advantage. Because steel is thinner it heats up quicker, meaning you won’t have to wait long for it to radiate heat. However, it will also cool down quicker too. Once the fire goes out, the stove will cease to emit heat into the room, unlike a cast iron stove.
  4. Fuel type– There are two types of solid fuel stoves – the wood burner that only burns logs, and the multi fuel stove which can burn both wood and other smokeless fuels

The dining area

The Dining area, tucked away on the left of the room consists of a Zara Green velvet Dining Bench, Diamond Back Green Velvet chairs and a clipop Dining table. The area rug is a large traditional turkish rug off ebay. The Artwork is a selection of preloved pieces off ebay. The main piece is ‘The little Violinist sleeping by Antoine Auguste Ernest (1817-1908). I bought the tapestry off Fine Art America then stretched it onto a wooden frame. *See My Bathroom Makeover post for instructions of how to make your own.

The Dining Room/Living Room is the hub of our house. We all at some point in the day gather there. Whether its for a family meal, a movie or a chat. This room is where all our family business takes place. It needed to be multi functional and have somewhere to lounge and somewhere to eat, and it all had to flow and belong together.

dark dining room

Why It’s a good Idea to blend a dining room and living room?

It may seem unusual to have a dining table in a living room, but it’s actually a very social way to live! It encourages more social interactions and creates a more informal atmosphere for guests. It also utilises your space and allows for greater flexibility in the way you live in your home.

Here are some tips for creating a successful dining/living space:

  1. Choose furniture and upholstery with similar tones and textures
  2. Introduce large area rugs
  3. Choose several pieces of Artwork that Compliment one another (for example the Art I Chose are Old masters with similar tones and painting techniques)
  4. Use a similar Colour Palette throughout the room
  5. Integrate your decor with similar flooring

Lounge Areas

The fireside chair is a staple in most English Homes! Add a cup of tea and a piece of cake and you’ve cracked the Quintessential British Aesthetic! The only thing missing from the picture below is a wet dog and discarded boots! The Chair was a freebie of facebook, the blanket and cushion were from Shein. The Lamp and side table were bargain preloved buys off Ebay. The green velvet storage Ottoman was off amazon.

The brown Leather Sofa, is what inspired the whole look of this room. Its warm tan tones and hunting lodge aesthetic got my creative juices flowing! And the great thing is…it cost absolutely nothing! Our neighbour was getting rid of it and asked if we wanted it before it went to the dump! Of course we said yes! and swiftly moved it in!

Academia interior

Blankets and Cushions are from Shein and Ebay, The kidney shaped side table was a freebie of facebook. The Large chest with the Aluminium top was also a freebie of Ebay. Check out the before below…

I used the french Chic technique to transform it….


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What You’ll Need


  • Apply 1-2 coats of french chic Creme de la Creme to furniture and allow it to dry completely
  • With a waxing Brush, Apply evenly 1 coat of wax and allow to dry for half an hour- for a lighter wood look you may find 1 coat is sufficient. But for a darker wood effect like mine apply a second coat after half an hour has passed 

TOP TIP *** If you have worked with wax before, you know that it is standard practice to buff off excess wax to make the finished surface more durable…I didnt do that, I found after the second coat of wax, the unit was exactly how I wanted it. No Buffing Required! *This unit is mainly used for storage and will experience very little wear

**For High traffic furniture like dining tables and bannister rails, buffing would be advisable.

The Large artwork above the sofa is ‘Greyhounds In A Landscape’ by Maud earl (1863-1943). Like the Sleeping violinist above, it was bought in tapestry form from fine art america. It was then stretched on to a wooden frame * see my Bathroom Makeover post for instructions.

open plan kitchen diner
open plan kitchen/dining

The Sofa is in the ideal spot for easy access to kitchen snacks and endless cups of tea! The walls, painted in Dulux Heritage ‘DH Slate’ work so well with the dusky pink Kitchen cupboards.

I wanted this space to be cosy, warm and calming. I pictured a roaring fire, a pile of books and a peaceful environment.

I also pictured naps, lots and lots of naps! After living with this room since Christmas, I can attest to the fact that it has indeed lived up to all my expectations ;0)

Take a look at my Other Room Makeovers



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