Despite a Tiny Budget, This Omaha House Has a Patterned DIY Dining Nook, Colorful Murals, and a Dreamy Patio

Despite a Tiny Budget, This Omaha House Has a Patterned DIY Dining Nook, Colorful Murals, and a Dreamy Patio

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Name: Kyle and Jerica Christensen with Margot (9), Nels (6), Betty (dog), Todd (cat)
Location: Benson neighborhood — Omaha, Nebraska
Size: 1400 square feet
Type of Home: House
Years lived in: 6 years, owned

Our house is a basic Cape Cod style built in 1960. When we decided to buy, the only things that really mattered to us were (1) staying within our small budget and (2) staying in the neighborhood we already lived in. We live in a little historic neighborhood called Benson. It’s full of murals, shops, restaurants, and our favorite music venues. Although there was nothing architecturally special about our little fixer-upper, I immediately knew it was meant to be our home. We purchased it in 2015 and have been slowly turning it into the home we want it to be!

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would describe my style as eclectic mid-century modern. I love the lines and shapes of mid-century modern, but I definitely don’t restrict myself to the traditional mid-mod color palette.

Inspiration: I draw inspiration from everywhere. Movies, TV, other people’s homes, nature. I’m really inspired by color and pattern, so lots of times I’ll fall in love with a color or pattern, and I’ll design a space around that.

Favorite Element: I think this changes pretty regularly for me, but right now it’s the wallpaper in the dining nook. It was love at first sight, and I’m still smitten with it!

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge for us is having a tiny budget. I’m naturally impatient, so it’s frustrating to have to save up for projects. We have been able to make our budget go a long way by doing a lot of the building work ourselves. I’m pretty fearless about DIYs, so I’ve been able to make things that I wouldn’t be able to buy. I love to thrift, so that’s really helpful as well.

Proudest DIY: It’s really hard to nail down my proudest DIY. Our recently-built dining nook is probably my proudest right now. I framed the wall, drywalled, painted, wallpapered, built a base cabinet unit to match our current cabinets, built/upholstered a bench, and built the dining table. I really love how the table turned out. I spent the whole building process reminding myself that I have no experience with building furniture and that it probably wouldn’t work out. I was pleasantly surprised when it came together exactly as I imagined!

Biggest Indulgence: We really haven’t spent an extravagant amount on anything. The wallpaper in our dining nook was way more than I had originally budgeted for, but it was so worth it. Not only did the quality make it easier to hang, but I love the pattern so much. It feels like it was designed specifically for me.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Aforementioned wallpaper for its great pattern and easy installation. All of our vintage furniture. I love the feeling of having furniture that has stood the test of time and has a history longer than my own. And plants! I don’t know if that counts as a product, but bringing plants in made our house feel so much warmer and more lively.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have:  I have found that making deliberate and dedicated spaces has helped us maximize our layout. One of the first things we did when we moved in was to completely open our kitchen to our living room, and it was a mistake! I realized over time that we could get a lot more function out of our limited space by thoughtfully separating our spaces!

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My advice is to make your home a place you actually want to be. Find what you love, and just fully go for it! If there is something you want to do, but have felt too scared to do, you should do  it. There is nothing like the feeling you get walking by a space that makes you smile every time you see it!




  • Makenna Barrel Chair — Wayfair
  • Media console — IKEA (discontinued)
  • Hexagonal Shelves — DIY
  • Coffee table — DIY
  • Console table — Vintage
  • Ya Basta Print — Hola Papi Shop
  • Dog Portrait — Maggie Cole
  • Tripod floor lamp — Target
  • Various accessories — Vintage and/or thrifted



  • Pink vent hood — DIY
  • Pink mixer — Kitchenaid
  • Various accessories — Vintage and/or thrifted, gifts from loved ones


  • Dresser — Vintage
  • Magic Mingle Print — Gift from Jennifer Mercede
  • Various Accessories — Vintage and/or thrifted 

Thanks Jerica!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.