Here’s How to Make a Built-In Dining Nook on a Budget

published Jun 3, 2022
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Credit: Antrom Kury

Hosting friends and family in small space can be a bit tricky, so sometimes you’ve got to get creative. If you’re looking for a smart, stylish way to add more dining room seating that doubles as a lounge zone, a California couple came up with a great solution.

Aleksandra Zee and Antrom Kury live in a neutral, coastal-inspired 1,200-square-foot home in Oakland, California. Zee and Kury are both artists and woodworkers, and looking at the photos of the house tour, it shows. The couple’s design style is cool, minimal, and monochromatic with tons of texture, courtesy of the many wood accents. “My biggest inspiration is the California landscape — from desert to ocean — and the relaxed design that California is known for,” Zee says.

Over the past three years, they’ve customized their rental through art, thoughtful design, and amazing DIY projects. “A few of my fave DIYs are the deck in the backyard and the built-in bench seating at our dining room table,” Zee says.

Credit: Antrom Kury

“When you walk in the front door you are in the living room/dining room with a huge couch and sizable table with lots of places to sit and enjoy company,” Zee says, noting that she wanted to make the seating at the table another spot to recline and entertain. “I found the perfect size cushions and my husband and I built the bench,” she says.

Zee and Kury built a wooden base that’s the perfect size and width for their dining corner, but if you look closely at the bench, it almost looks like an armless sofa — and that’s exactly how you can fake their built-in design. When searching for an armless sofa to be used as dining table seating look for easy-to-clean performance fabrics and a not-to-deep seat depth.

Credit: Antrom Kury

For Zee and Kury, the best part about their home is having created a space to invite friends and family over. “Hosting gatherings is one of my favorite things to do, so we set up our home to be a comfortable and beautiful space to entertain,” Zee says. So if you love to entertain, but don’t feel like you have the space, you might want to consider a sofa-style dining banquette.