A Breakfast Nook Refresh with Contrast & Practicality
Looking to create a more kid-friendly space? This breakfast nook refresh features updates to add practicality for our family and cohesion with our renovated kitchen.
Our breakfast nook is the heart of our home and also without a doubt the most hardworking space we have. It’s where we eat all of our meals, do homework, play games as a family, and visit with family and friends. My kids often just hang out here for fun. If you haven’t caught it before, you can also read the post here about how we built the bench.
As such a well-loved space, it’s natural that it would evolve and need updates over time. Our kitchen makeover in 2019 called for a breakfast nook refresh, especially since they share the same room.
A Family-Friendly Breakfast Nook Refresh
Evergreen & Unobtrusive Wall Decor
While I absolutely loved the plate shelf from the original project (and I still have it in storage to hopefully use in a future project), that’s where my husband Mack sits and he was constantly hitting his head on it and it was just generally in his way. This was a simple case of function over form— the beautiful oil painting by my grandfather takes up much less space but still fits in well with the feel of this nook.
The added bonus is that it’s one less area that I have to style on a regular basis. At one point, I made the mistake of having all of these spaces around my home that I felt obligated to style seasonally. I’m now a big advocate for evergreen decorating— decorating should be fun, not more work.
A New Trestle Table for Better Bench Access
Our DIY cottage-style table made much more sense when it matched our kitchen island. My parents now have both items in their kitchen, and although it may not be their final home, they are functioning well for my parents for now.
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For our breakfast nook refresh, we knew we wanted a trestle style table to make it easier to access the bench (no legs are in the way as you’re trying to round the corner to sit on the bench). This particular table is no longer sold, but this trestle table is extremely similar.
The Chair Saga
I’ll start by saying that I absolutely loved our french-style x-back chairs (here are the same ones but with a cane seat— much smarter!). I also still have them. However, I was thoroughly sick and tired of trying to clean the fabric on the cushions after my kids smeared food on them.
I also wanted to tie in with the contrast of the new iron chandelier (the previous wood beaded chandelier moved to our primary bedroom nook). So when it came time to embark on this breakfast nook refresh, I added these black modern Windsor-style chairs.
I love the way they look. However, they are equally challenging to keep clean, and they are completely rickety. I’m worried someone is going to sit down and end up on the floor. This is a case of “you get what you pay for”. I cheaped out on the chairs thinking that my kids would likely wreck them over the course of a few years— not that this is their fault this time, the chairs are truly awful. Interestingly, they’ve been pulled off the market. If you like this look, these black modern Windsor chairs have much better reviews from real owners on Instagram and are made from solid wood.
I haven’t fully decided my next course of action— whether I’ll try to order the better quality chairs or whether I’ll put washable cushions on the older x-back chairs. I’ll probably share over in my Instagram stories when I make a decision!
Upholstered Bench & Classic Pillows
As I’ve shared in the past, our bench cushion was made locally and is upholstered with a removable Sunbrella cover. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than I could have done. In the years since I’ve hired this cushion maker on Etsy for other projects. Here are some bench cushions they’ve made. They are so good! I may have them replace our cushion eventually, but for now, it’s looking fresher after I washed the cover and fluffed the foam cushion for this breakfast nook refresh.
Speaking of the bench, I finally put together the how-to after all of these years. I’m not calling it a tutorial, since our dimensions are likely unique, but I’m going to explain what we did so that hopefully, you can do the same.
I often use outdoor pillows in this space, but these don’t happen to be (sources for either the same pillow or similarcan be found below). However, they are fairly inexpensive options from Target. Since I’ve put them in the place where my kids eat, I have to accept that there’s a chance they’ll get stained and flattened beyond repair. Outdoor pillows eliminate that friction!
A Breakfast Nook Refresh Planned Around Real Life
You may be noticing that as I planned this breakfast nook refresh, I did so with my kids in mind. It’s really a no-brainer. As I mentioned, this is the heart of our home. All three of my kids have been home every day doing remote learning this year, and it feels like our house has taken a bit of a beating because of it. And that’s okay, that’s what home is for!
All three of my kids will finally be in school all day and every day for the first time this fall, including my little one. I’ll be able to reassess a lot of things and hopefully, things won’t get quite as worn out. If you’re looking for more tips about decorating with kids, I have a post all about the topic here!
Breakfast Nook Refresh Source List
Wall Color — Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
Ceiling Color — Benjamin Moore Simply White in Eggshell
Trim Color — Benjamin Moore Simply White in Semi-Gloss
Flooring — Read my dark hardwood floors post here, Similar Look Here
Trestle Table — no longer available, similar here in Graywash
Chairs — do not recommend, better source here
Iron Chandelier— here
Oil Painting — My Grandfather
Storage Bench — Read how we built it here
Bench Cushion — made locally, similar here
Gray Fringe Pillow — here
Grid Pillow — here
Ivory Pillow — similar here
Striped Pillow — similar here
Bamboo Shades — here