See How This Dining Nook Redo Packs in So Much Hidden Storage

published Mar 1, 2024
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When furnishing a 500-square-foot studio apartment, you have to get creative about where you’re going to eat. You can, among other options, use a bar-height table that doubles as a desk, rely on your coffee table, or scoot some stools under an eat-in counter.

Interior designer and content creator Mallory Wackerman (@malloryinteriors) had a different idea for her Hollywood, Los Angeles, studio apartment. Before she landed on her final product, Mallory didn’t do much with her “empty corner,” save for a bistro table and two chairs. With her apartment’s layout, she knew it was the only place for an eat-in situation. 

“Once I realized we could fit a [dining] nook in that corner, it became much more comfortable,” Mallory says. When she completed her design, she could fit up to seven people on the benches and a couple of extra chairs, although she says it seats five much more comfortably.

It all started with the benches.

With a vision in her mind, Mallory went on the hunt for a seating solution that would fit perfectly. “I spent hours looking for benches that came in two different sizes so I could make an ‘L’ without one side being far too long for the table,” she explains. One large and one small Line Storage Bench from Design Within Reach fit the bill and became the foundation for Mallory’s dining nook. “I was smitten because they were the perfect size, had additional storage, looked amazing, and the quality could not have been better,” she says.

The next step was softening up the wood benches with cushions. After photoshopping a few ideas, Mallory landed on a vision of ticking stripe fabric with leather strap detailing to hang as the back cushions. She worked with Stitchroom, a custom upholstery company, to create her “perfect, beautiful cushions,” which she says “executed my vision to a T.” (Mallory was seriously impressed with them. “If you need custom upholstery work, reach out and tell them I sent you,” she says. “They rock!”) 

A gallery wall brings the dining nook together.

With the benches in place, the sit-down eating area was almost complete, but it needed some final touches. Thankfully, Mallory was prepared with a collection of black-and-white photography she was collecting for a potential gallery wall above her bed. But with a stroke of 2 a.m. inspiration one day, she thought the pictures might be better in the nook and “started slapping the artwork on the wall.” She loved how it looked and “made it feel like you were sitting in a trendy restaurant booth” and kept going. “I found some more artwork and created the gallery wall of my dreams,” Mallory says.

To complete the dining area, she added a gold and marble dining table, a gold-trimmed hanging light fixture, and a sleek black chair for additional seating. 

Even though the nook looks completely customized to this space, Mallory says it’s totally rental-friendly. “There were just a few nails to hold some of the heavier artwork, and then the cushions were also nailed to the wall, but that’s it,” she says.