A Bright Breakfast Nook for $347
Subtly striped walls and a storage-savvy banquette add up to an inspiring family-gathering spot
After: A new banquette saves space, while fresh white on the old table, gradient stripes on the walls, coral chairs, and colorful art brighten the nook.
Even when the size of a space isn't a problem, the setup can be. In Deme and James Crinion's 1967 ranch, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, clunky furniture made their family of five's kitchen breakfast nook feel so confined that it was difficult to seat more than two at a time. Although they have a formal dining room, Deme wanted to create a casual place for the whole gang to gather and for the three kids, all under age 5, to do crafts and (eventually) homework.
During: Tearing out the wallpaper modernized the kitchen, but bulky furniture still made seating a hassle.
What They Did
First, James removed three layers of 1970s- and 1980s-era wallpaper and hired a contractor friend to help replaster the walls. For a unique look that wouldn't overwhelm, Deme painted the corner nook in tonal light- to medium-gray stripes. The couple scoured Craigslist for seating, settling on an L-shaped bench with hinged seats for art-supply storage and painting it and the nook's existing table in easy-to-clean satin white. Deme sewed durable outdoor-fabric–covered cushions to make the bench more comfortable. The tall ladderback chairs overpowered the new arrangement, so James sawed off the top rails before Deme painted the chairs a punchy coral. Framed prints and a "gallery wall," where the kids can clip up their own projects, finish off the space. Now the nook fits everyone and provides a cozy crafting spot. "It was an awkward space, which forced us to be creative," Deme says. "But it's become such a cheerful corner."
The Project Tally
Removed wallpaper, then had a contractor friend help replaster the walls at a discount. $50
Painted the walls with bands of pale to medium gray. $60
Snagged a corner bench off Craigslist and painted it and the table white; added washable cushions sewn from on-sale outdoor fabric. $178
Lowered chairbacks by cutting off the top rails; coated the chairs with a sample can of coral paint. $6
Mounted framed prints and put up a gallery wall made with ceramic knobs and jute twin. $53