Family-Friendly Breakfast Nook for $418
A hands-on homeowner opens up a dark, paneled dining space with a built-in banquette and lots of white paint
BEFORE | Dreary and Dated
A galley kitchen means your dining setup is more critical than ever. In Erin and Rich Kelly’s Pittsburgh home, the breakfast nook off the kitchen was a much-needed space for casual meals, but it hardly felt big enough to fit their family. To open up the room, they opted to paint the dated wood paneling. After deglossing, sanding, and cleaning the walls, they let them dry for 24 hours before priming and painting them white.
AFTER | Light, Bright Redo
Since it was difficult to move chairs in and out around their existing dining table without blocking traffic, the couple built a corner banquette to maximize space. Erin purchased two white storage benches and joined them with a filler piece made from pine 2x4s and plywood. She anchored the banquette to the wall and topped it with a sheet of MDF, painted white to match, and cushions she sewed from a canvas drop cloth.
Then she and Rich put together a round tabletop and a separate base they already owned. A handy family member installed the modern pendant light, and Erin (who blogs at A New Bloom) filled the space with art projects and accessories. A marble-topped island they already owned acts as a sideboard.
Now the breakfast nook is easily the most popular hangout downstairs. “It’s made having a galley kitchen bearable for us,” Erin says. “It’s a huge relief!"
The Project Tally
Gave the walls two coats each of white primer and paint, $60
Created a banquette by joining two ready-made storage benches with pine 2x4s and plywood, then topped it with MDF, $118
Made cushions for the banquette by covering pieces of 4-inch foam with a canvas drop cloth, $40
Joined an old tabletop and legs they already owned to make a new table that fits the space better, $0
Used a marble-topped island from their previous kitchen as a sideboard, $0
Replaced the stained-glass, pub-style light with a more modern pendant, $70
Accessorized with a table lamp, throw pillows, and wall art from other rooms, a mirror from Craigslist, and a new jute area rug, $130