Here’s a good example of how to use white paint in a classic dining room without it looking too stark or modern!

The classic look of this dining room comes from the design of the dining room furniture (especially that Greek klismos-inspired chair) and some pretty strict symmetry (the Greeks and Romans loved their symmetry…  everything on one side of the room mirrored on the other side). Notice the very definite center reinforced with the artwork and wall sonces centered on either side of the chandelier.

But the room gets a few updates that make it feel fresh and contemporary.

First, all that white paint is pure modern! But notice how carefully it’s used. The symmetry is reinforced with the center panel painted white to highlight the centered artwork. But the cafe au lait color (Benjamin Moore #1077) above the white dado warms up the room (the colors were picked up from the rug).

The furniture finish is also darker than most classic furniture (nearly black), giving it a more contemporary feel.

The only thing I’d have changed are the light fixtures. I like the centered chandelier with the wall sconces on either side, but I’d have looked for something simpler – an alabaster glass lamp (with coordinating wall sconces) would have been more classic and more contemporary (like the room), rather than the shaded lamps.  Here are two possible alternates that I like for this room.

 
On the left, this classic chandelier coordinates with the furniture, but adds a more classic feeling with the alabaster glass lamps. Source: LampsPlus, Valmont Collection. $299.99.  #67177.
On the right, definitely more modern! But the black furniture, contemporary artwork and white walls could handle it. Source: Lamps Plus, Possini Euro. $399.99.
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