Before & After: A $130 DIY Project Turns Unusable Space into a Prime Family Hangout

updated May 4, 2021
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Before: Empty dining space with a half-wall featuring a bar counter

Sometimes, homes are customized to accommodate someone with a completely different lifestyle from your own. There might be a huge closet, for instance, even though you’re a minimalist, or there might be no pantry space even though you’re an avid cook.

Jenna Etherington (608 Interiors) was in that exact situation in her 880-square-foot home. The tiny half wall between the living room and dining area had been put in previously to serve as both a bit of a division and a counter for eating. That might have worked for previous homeowners, Jenna says, but her two young kids weren’t quite the right audience. “They could not sit and eat at such a high bar top so we never used it,” Jenna says. “We wanted a place to sit together as a family.”

Jenna and her husband Chris knew they couldn’t work with the bar top as it was, so they ripped it out and repaired the floor beneath. Then, the couple designed and built a banquette bench from wood and MDF that sits right under the window and is the perfect height for little ones.

Behind the bench, Jenna installed a wood slat wall stained in a light natural color that gives the built-in some extra oomph. “I feel like it gave the area a much more custom look,” Jenna says.

With a round table and room for more chairs in front, the dining space is now way more practical for the family of four — and is a trendy statement piece, to boot. And even though it looks high end, the price is shockingly low: just $130 for all the supplies and materials needed to make the bench and slatted accent wall.

“I love that the space feels so much bigger and is now functional for our family,” Jenna says of the new design. More stylish and more practical? A true dream pairing.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A $130 DIY Banquette Turns Unusable Space into a Prime Family Hangout