Before and After: A Space-Savvy Dining Nook Makeover Features a “Wallpaper Canopy”

published Jan 27, 2024
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Dining Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

Wraparound dining nooks seem to be a popular DIY addition to homes lately. (To see some of the latest on AT, check out this beautiful brown leather one, this petite L-shaped one, and this gorgeous gray-green one.) And it’s no surprise they’re such a popular DIY choice: The benches are a somewhat simple build with basic angles geometry, the effect is maximized real estate around the dining table, and dining nooks often have hidden storage and can add a pop of color or pattern to an otherwise stale, formal-feeling space.

DIYer Becks Huntley’s  (@the_interior_lens) designated dining nook adds storage and pattern galore, and it fills an awkward space in her home. “The previous owners had built an extension, but it was a difficult size and shape,” Becks explains of the “before.” (It was just 5 1/2 by 9 feet.) “The window was not in the middle of the walls or the light fitting, and it was hard to organize furniture without it feeling boxy,” Becks adds.

Eventually, Becks and her husband decided that walling over the window would open up more possibilities for how to use the space. “It would overcome the lack of symmetry and provide another usable wall,” Becks says. “The room had plenty of natural light so the small window was not needed.”

Once that was complete, the Huntleys decided “to use the area to house a dining table,” Becks says. “In order to really maximize the space and make a statement, we decided to build bench seating in a U shape with statement pendant lights to create a wow factor.”

U-Shaped seating adds practicality.

A word to the wise if you’re considering creating a dining nook of your own? If you’re opting for something U-shaped, you’ll also need to find a table with a base that makes sense for how your guests will be sliding in and out of the dining nook. “The hardest part was working out whether to create L-shape or U-shape seating,” Becks recalls. 

“Creating U-shaped seating meant we needed to find a dining table with a central base as table legs obstructed the ease of getting in and out of the bench seating. It took two years to eventually find a table that worked in the space!” she says. (The table they landed on is from Wayfair.)

And although it took some careful planning and shopping to figure out, the MDF unit adds lots of storage. “We designed the seating area with push drawers for extra storage and gave our sketch to a joiner who went away and built the seating,” Becks says, adding that MDF was a much cheaper option than real wood. “The storage is so useful and so hidden that you wouldn’t know it was there,” Becks adds. “It’s a really practical space — a comfortable place to dine as a family or entertain friends.”  

The MDF was painted in a creamy white (Farrow & Ball’s Shaded White) for a quality-looking finish “and can be repainted when required, which means it can also be given a different look as tastes change,” Becks adds.

A pendant and “wallpaper canopy” add overhead drama.

Becks and her husband also hired professionals to install two new pendant light fittings and replace the third. And for Becks’ favorite part of the project, she added a peel-and-stick wallpaper block that extends all the way up to the ceiling, which she dubbed “a peel-and-stick floral wallpaper canopy.”

“I had previously painted a color block, so I knew the zoning worked, and I decided to take it to the next level,” Becks explains. She used a wildflower option from Rebel Walls for the dramatic new look. 

“The wallpaper feature is a great way to create a wow factor without needing to wallpaper a whole room or invest in lots of artwork,” Becks says. “It is also a really unique design and a real focal point in our home.”