Before & After: This $125 Boho-Style Dining Nook Makeover Is a Thrifter’s Dream

updated Feb 9, 2021
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Credit: Mya Garcia

Moving into a first apartment is exciting — after all, you get to create your own living space from the ground up! But as anyone who’s tried to furnish an entire apartment at once knows, it can also be expensive.

Mya Garcia (@my.a.home) found that out firsthand after moving into her apartment this past year. “This is my first apartment, and I’m one of the unfortunate Class of 2020 college grads who was quite literally thrown into the real world,” she says. “Since I was still taking classes, teaching a class, and dealing with finals and grading papers, I wasn’t able to take my time with choosing furniture that was functional but also made me happy.”

Credit: Mya Garcia

Mya knew her top priority was giving herself a place to work ASAP. She looked for something that would fit the space and ran with it. While it wasn’t terrible, she says, it didn’t exactly spark joy, either. “It was just kind of depressing,” Mya says. “It served as both a dining area and a work/study area, so I spent a lot of time there. It was uncomfortable, super cramped, and just not a good fit, literally and figuratively.”

Mya knew she needed something that fit both the space and her style better, so she asked her landlord if she could put some holes in the wall. Once she got the OK, she ran with a totally new plan.

Credit: Mya Garcia

Mya started with wall-mounted shelves, which she made from a wood board she scored from Lowe’s for less than $20. After having it cut in half at the store, she brought the two pieces home and drilled black brackets into each piece. Then, she attached the brackets to the wall.

Next came the table. “I discovered Facebook Marketplace, and it shifted my whole apartment, truly,” Mya says. That’s where she got her table and the matching set of chairs, which cost just $5 each.

Mya scouted thrift stores to get decor for her shelves. Her savvy shopping meant that the whole dining area transformation cost just $125 total. “Facebook Marketplace should NOT be slept on. Nor should thrift stores!” Mya says.

Credit: Mya Garcia

The after feels way more in line with her personal style, Mya says. “It’s brighter, cozier, and far more inviting. It’s much more functional too — no more having to ‘suck it in’ to get to the inner chair. We actually have elbow room when we eat. Truly liberating.”

While the end results took a lot longer to put together than the first draft of the dining area, Mya says it was worth it. “The before was something I didn’t love simply because I rushed the process,” she says. “For the after, everything was accumulated over time after searching for things I truly loved on Facebook Marketplace. It didn’t happen overnight, but it was definitely worth approaching with patience and care.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: This $125 Boho-Style Dining Nook Redo Is a Thrifter’s Dream