Let's take a little trip together. A trip to the dark and dreary land of our breakfast nook. After scrapping wallpaper and removing the old dark chair rail, we were left with this.
A feast for the eyes, eh?
The first change to this space (besides removing that old fruit wallpaper) was to address the lighting. Installing recessed lights throughout the kitchen made a world of difference!
It stayed just like this for quite awhile but with school fast approaching it was time to tackle the rest of this eat in kitchen area. The kids ate breakfast and lunch here regularly but we really needed this to be a multifunctional space for eating, painting/crafts, homework, learning activites and congregating as a family.
We began by priming and painting those aweful walls. I'm not one to jump on a trend but I couldn't resist the pull of the ombre! I had planned to use stripes to help the space feel larger, so a subtle ombre striped wall was the perfect backdrop. You can read about how we tackled that bad boy
Seating was a big issue in this space - the table and chairs could seat four, so someone in our family of five was always out of luck. To expand seating we took advantage of the corner space by adding an L-shaped bench (scored off craigslist), which expanded our seating to seven. We said goodbye to the honey colored finish and gave her a fresh coat of white paint.
They were pretty basic, but the feature that sold me was the additional storage in the bench seats. Show em', Vanna...
I lined the inside with a graphic shelf liner from TJMaxx and filled them with art/craft supplies. This one holds all of our painting supplies (in one box so that when it's time to paint, I only have to pull out one thing) as well as pencils, crayons and tape. I keep glue and scissors in a nearby bookcase where little fingers can not reach.
The other bench holds paper, dry erase handwriting boards (Target dollar bins), a box of dry erase markers and plenty of activity books.
It is so nice to have all of our arts and craft supplies in one location, right where we'll be doing the creating! We also made a
in the dining room, so new masterpieces can go straight up for display.
To ensure the benches would be a comfy spot to sit, we made a cushion using 2" foam, cut it to size with a sharp serrated knife and covered it with some grey fabric (actually a sheet). I will probably replace it with a fun outdoor fabric at some point. Outdoor fabrics are a great option for well-used areas like this - they hold up well to little ruffians and clean up well too. Another option is to treat your regular fabrics with Scotch Guard to give them an added durability and protection against spills and stains.
I busted out all of the pillows in about an hour using this super easy
by Maillardville Manor. I don't think I'll ever make pillows another way! (You can use Scotch Guard to prevent messy stains on these puppies too). The envelope cover makes it super easy to pull off and toss right in the wash.
We stuck with the same table and chairs giving them a fresh coat of paint and making a minor adjustment to the height of the chairs. I had the hubs take off the top rung which was a much better proportion to the benches and gave them a smaller footprint in the tiny space.
A quick sanding and they were ready to go!
I wanted to have some fun with color here, so I covered the natural seat fibers with painters tape and Press n Seal, then went to work. Hhhmmmm. Salmon anyone?
A lovely color but not the bold coral I was going for. This color was Valspar's Passion Pink. It was very close to the color chip but far less dark and saturated as the color sample on the lid.
Our second attempt (sample on the right) was the perfect shade, Valspar's Autumn Fire. It gave the chairs just the right pop of color!
The prints on the wall are another DIY project. I took one of our favorite Dr. Seuss quotes ("The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go") and broke it up into four sections. I used a digital scrap-booking kit, "First Comes Love" by Shawna Clingerman, to create a print for each section and then framed them in these white lovelies I grabbed on sale from Target.
They mark this is as a place to explore, learn and create!
We mounted 3 knobs from Hobby Lobby right next to the benches. With 3 kids so close in age everything tends to get identified with an initial or color coded to keep everyone's belongings with the right little person. Here we went with pink/purple (Mia), green (Jack), and blue (Sully) knobs for each of the kidlet's art smocks. Easily accessible and easy to put away when art time is over.
Mr. Owl holds our twistable Crayola colored pencils that we use most often. His spot in the corner keeps them handy but also out of the way.
That colorful scallop striped fabric by Michael Miller inspired the whole color palette for this cozy space. The entire area feels so much brighter and much more inviting.
We are over-the-moon thrilled with this fresh new area of our home!
One last before and after? Here we go....