Before and After: A DIY Dining Nook Makes Practical Use of a Kitchen’s Empty Corner

published Oct 28, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Dining Room
Organic Modern
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

There’s maybe no better way to maximize kitchen space than with a cozy corner nook for gathering and dining. This seating by a staircase, this navy dining nook, this bouclé bench and mirror combo, and more will have you wanting to create an L-shaped setup in your kitchen or dining room corner, pronto.

Interior designer Megan Geiber’s (@hartinterior) cozy corner setup, a $2,000 DIY addition to her kitchen, is another beauty to add to your inspo list. 

“Before, our kitchen was lacking character and warmth,” Megan says. “It didn’t have a real purpose for this corner space. We wanted to have a great use of space for this corner and knew it needed built-ins.” (Before, Megan had a rectangular table and a couple of chairs in this spot — you can see it in her Reels on Instagram here.)

An L-shaped bench and circular table are a dream combo. 

“The first step was to measure out where we wanted the built-in seating to go,” Megan says. “We needed to remove the baseboards and vent covers and began creating a mock-up of where everything would go with painters tape.” Her best advice for those wanting to embark on a similar project is the following: “Do your homework first, and measure twice.”

Megan and her husband, Jordan, built the banquette seating with lumber from a Canada-based lumber yard, painted the finished product (and the walls surrounding it) Farrow & Ball’s French Gray — a much cozier, more inviting color than the white before. 

Then they cut the baseboards from before to size and reattached them around the bench. Their round table is a Facebook Marketplace score, and Megan stained it to her exact liking, as she shared on Instagram that most tables she found while shopping for the project were too shiny for her style. The round table allows for as many people to fit in the banquette area as possible. 

Layered lighting creates a distinct zone. 

The dining area was finished with a wall lamp in the corner and a wicker pendant overhead, which made the space feel special and separate from the rest of the kitchen. One pro tip to steal from Megan and Jordan’s project? If your dining area has a large window, hang curtains halfway down to let lots of light flood in without anyone having to squint or put on shades during dinner. 

Megan says if she were to do anything differently with her design, she would add drawers to her benches for more storage. “Originally we had planned to put drawers on the bench, but because of our central air built into the bench, we had to opt not to.” (The bench covers a vent that had to be re-routed, so adding any drawers would block airflow from the bottom.) Still, even without the drawers, Megan loves the added functionality of her dining nook. 

“This space now has purpose and works so well for our family,” she says. And she writes on Instagram that she envisions lots of hangouts, coloring, and family time taking place here. For more cozy family dining setups, check out these additional banquette ideas.