Before & After: This Boho-Style Breakfast Nook Is Packed with DIY Money-Saving Hacks

updated Sep 24, 2020
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Before: Empty breakfast nook area with gray tile floor and beige walls
Credit: Madison Bess

When you’re living in a small space, it’s crucial to maximize every square inch. Madison Bess (The Blushing Bungalow) knows this all too well, as the beach bungalow she and her husband moved into was just 696 square feet total. One spot in the house that wasn’t working as hard as it could? The kitchen’s tiny eat-in dining space. “When my husband and I first stumbled upon our beach bungalow listing, we weren’t sure how we were going to transform this tiny corner with the plastic lawn chairs,” Madison says. Fortunately, she says, the previous owners left behind the lawn chairs to give the couple something to sit on while they bided their time creating the perfect breakfast nook.

The space before was “a little dark and dingy,” Madison says — not ideal, as she loves to spend time cooking and reading in the morning at the dining table. “Designing a space where we could have a few friends over for dinner and sit comfortably was really important to me! I knew I had to maximize every square inch of the corner,” she says.

Credit: Madison Bess

Realizing having the chairs pushed against the wall was a poor use of space, Madison got an idea: a breakfast nook with banquette seating. She and her husband tackled the overhaul by themselves in five small parts over five weekends — a smart way to take on DIY!

They’d previously updated the floor when remodeling the rest of the kitchen, so the breakfast nook already had a chic new black-and-white floor to rest on. The first big project for the nook was the built-in banquette. Madison knew she wanted it to be able to seat six, so they based their measurements on that. The custom-built wood banquette is made extra welcoming by a DIY tufted cushion on top. “With all the pillows and cushions it’s an extra comfortable seat to read or chat on the phone,” Madison says. A bold black paint job gives the bench a cool edge and contrasts with the two vintage rattan chairs (also recovered, for just $14).

Next, the couple tackled the table. Madison knew a circular table was the right choice to maximize the space, but everything she liked was way out of her price range. So she DIYed her dream table, using a piece of marble for the top that she’d thrifted for just $40 and a base made with wood slats nailed onto a concrete form for a perfectly cylindrical look. “It was a really easy and budget-friendly project and totally transformed the space into a modern boho chic nook,” Madison says.

Credit: Madison Bess

“My favorite part of this budget-friendly makeover is the DIY rattan basket pendant light,” Madison says. “Rattan pendant lights can be quite costly and we don’t have a light outlet over the space. I had to get creative and so I decided to use a rattan storage basket as a pendant light!”

Madison pulled it off using a plug-in pendant light kit she bought online. She simply cut a hole in the basket, slipped it onto the light, and hung it from the ceiling. “This light looks expensive and the look of natural wood ties the whole space in together,” Madison says.

Last up: the window wall, which was looking a little bare. Madison and her husband installed whimsical dandelion print wallpaper, then added molding around the window to give it some oomph. They also added faux window muntins for some architectural charm, using craft wood and double-sided tape to create a grid pattern on the window. “It turned out fabulous,” Madison says. “Even from the outside, the window panning looks real!”

“What I love about the entire look is how it fits perfectly in our beach bungalow vibes,” Madison says. “Between the botanical wallpaper, rattan accents, and modern slat table base, I have a perfect boho chic dining nook to invite friends over for games and intimate dinners.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Boho-Style Breakfast Nook Packed with DIY Money-Saving Hacks