Before & After: This Cheap, One-Hour Project Turned a Bland Wall into a Vibrant Dining Nook

published Oct 27, 2021
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paint stencil DIY before

City living comes with its share of perks: restaurants open at all hours, plenty of parks, and bodegas where you can grab a few quick groceries to make dinner on a whim. A distinct place in your home to eat that dinner, however, is often not one of those perks.

That’s why Megan Fullagar, an architecture enthusiast living in Astoria, Queens, got creative and came up with an easy and cheap DIY to brighten up her kitchen and carve out a defined dining space. 

She moved into her apartment, a perfect spot right near a dog park, with her boyfriend, and the two committed to eating dinner together in the evenings — and not on the couch. But a brown kitchen and a bland white wall lost in an undefined large room made the space less than appealing. In looking for a way to easily DIY a solution soon after moving in, Fullagar echoed a familiar sentiment: “As a renter, I wanted something we could easily paint over when we moved out.”

She landed on a reusable stencil from StencilsLabNY on Etsy to create a bold punch of turquoise behind a space-efficient four-person high-top table.

While the project itself took place over the course of a few evenings in order to let the paint dry and avoid smudging the stencil, it was quite simple. Fullagar used painter’s tape to attach the stencil to the wall and a paintbrush for painting, though she says adhesive spray and spray paint would be another option. She suggests working from one side to the other to avoid smearing the paint and to keep a straight line. On the last day, she cleaned up any small mistakes, while leaving a few spots imperfect for an organic feeling.

Her supplies ran just $70 total, including $18 for paint (she used Sherwin-Williams’ Cloudburst), $16 for painting supplies, and $35 for the stencil. 

Now, Fullagar and her boyfriend have an intentional space to sit down together each night, and they were able to draw the vibrant color into the rest of the living space with an area rug. “I love how the wall brings our living room together, and this is my first NYC apartment to be able to fit a table for four, so that has to be celebrated,” she says. “The leaves help bring a little bit of nature into the apartment and you almost forget that we’re in New York City!”

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Cheap, One-Hour Project Will Turn a Bland Wall into a Vibrant Dining Nook