A DIY Makeover Gave This Dining Room “Dead Space” a Practical New Look

published Mar 4, 2024
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One place in your home that can pretty much always benefit from extra seating? Your kitchen. Whether you have an eat-in kitchen or a completely separate dining room, it’s important to have enough space for everyone in your home to gather around a table. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and you probably spend a lot of time there, either chatting over coffee before work, cooking up a delicious family meal, or hosting a dinner party. 

If you’re working with a smaller room, take a look at the areas that may be just existing rather than serving a purpose. Take Zoe Rich’s (@homeatmayvilla) bay window area, for example. After switching her historic home’s dining room and kitchen around to best utilize the space, she was left with a blank area that didn’t make a lot of sense in the new layout.

“The bay window then sat behind the island and created dead space,” says Zoe, who shares the home with her partner, Ryan, and their dog, Olive. “We needed extra storage in the kitchen to store things like mops, larger cooking appliances and this solved our storage problem.”

Zoe and Ryan opted for a completely DIY window seat project to help them achieve the goal of more storage and a more practical use of the “dead space.” 

Credit: Zoe Rich
Credit: Zoe Rich

A built-in bench started with a basic frame.

The couple started by building their window seat frame from standard lumber, using MDF to clad the outside. Once the base was built, Zoe and Ryan attached the lid with a piano hinge, which would allow them to easily access storage inside the bench when needed. Once holes were filled and sanded, the final step was to prime the wood and paint. 

Credit: Zoe Rich
Credit: Zoe Rich

 Little touches create a high-end look.

What takes the bench the extra mile are the details. Zoe and Ryan added baseboards at the bottom of the bench “to make it look bespoke” and to blend with the rest of the kitchen. They opted for paint in the same creamy white color as their kitchen walls (Little Greene Paint Company’s Slaked Lime) to help the built-ins fully blend in. Finally, they topped the seat with a plush cushion and soft pillows to create a cozy, homey vibe.

Zoe is thrilled with the amount of extra storage that the window seat has provided and loves the overall vibe it brings to the space. “I love the English countryside feel it gives to our kitchen,” Zoe says. “The fact that it is completely bespoke and built by us gives us a real sense of pride.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.