A Country Chic Breakfast Nook Makeover

See how Better Homes and Garden's contributing editor Stephen Saint-Onge transforms dated and dark breakfast nook into a cozy spot for morning coffee.

Before: A Dreary Breakfast Nook

With dated furniture, and dark wall this breakfast nook was in desperate need of a wakeup call. With the help of designer Stephen Saint Onge it was transformed into a cozy room perfect to enjoy your morning coffee.

The Mission: Take a room that was dark and felt a bit dated and make it a sunny and bright space where you would welcome a chance to start your day.

A Bright Nook

To instantly brighten up the room, Stephen chose a rich yellow wall color. To add even more character, he took advantage of the existing molding piece that went around the room in a chair rail style. Stephen saw a natural fit to add one of his favorite elements to the room, bead board. This added detail gave the room a classic feel infused with country style.

Designer Tip: To save on time, Stephen says, "I chose the panels that are sold in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets and cut them down to size to fit under existing molding. The panels come primed or unprimed. I tend to like the thicker versions that are sold, but there are various options and price points to suit your budget."

All About the Table

A unique kitchen table can add so much character to a small nook like this. Stephen chose to go with a round table, so every guest can gather around. He also liked the flexibility of the table because the sides can drop down or expand to fit the dining needs. Another added bonus of this table is the hidden storage which adds an extra dash of character to the room.

Chair Option 1: Country

Makeovers don't always have to be overhauls. There is nothing better than doing quick changes and getting instant results. You can literally change the energy and mood in a room by changing out simple things (without buying new things but working with what you have). To stick with the country look, Stephen used an oatmeal color wood chair.

Chair Option 2: Wicker

To bring the outdoors, in -- Stephen updated the table with black wicker chairs with indoor/outdoor cushions.

Designer Tip: You can take something that sits on your porch or deck and move it into your breakfast room to get a more contemporary feel to the space instantly.

Chair Option 3: Metal

Stephen loved the look of this French Metal chair. It adds a modern flair yet mixes beautifully with the vintage wood pieces to make a creative statement. These chair also bode well outdoor uses too. Dual purpose furniture is key for changing up your space.

Before: Tired Hutch

Don't toss all your furniture; it might just need a new coat of paint. The homeowner built this hutch, yet the wood tone made it seem dated and tired.

After: Hutch Reborn

To give it a new look Stephen primed the hutch and simply painted it an oil-based paint white to match the bead board and trim. It's the perfect piece to display your favorite kitchen treasures.

Easy Accessories

Dressing up the hutch with colorful and classic accessories is an easy way to make the room come alive. Since yellow is the base tone of the room, Stephen chose accessories in the button tone or colors that would contrast like the deep blue dishes.

Styling the Hutch

When accessorizing bookshelves and hutches it's important to remember the details is what make the room come to life. Stephen did this by creating small grouping; like the white pitchers with the blue plates behind them or the bowl of green apples and bottles of lemonade. It adds a personal touch to the piece while acting as a functional storage unit.

Extra Seating

When designing rooms Stephen likes create cozy areas that will fit the needs of the homeowners. Since the kitchen is right off the garden, he gave her a cozy bench to take off her shoes and set down her fresh picked veggies.

Designer's Tip: It is important to imagine how you might live in the room, the essence of what that room feels like, that is just as much a part of the design.

Resource List

Like what you see in this makeover? Recreate Stephen's look with these resources:

Designer: Stephen Saint-Onge

Table, Bench and Oatmeal Chairs: Broyhill Furniture

Wicker chairs, Boots, Baskets, Wall Organizer, Garden Urns, Wall Art: Smith and Hawken www.smithandhawken.com

Pendant Light, Butter Yellow Paint: Restoration Hardware www.restorationhardware.com

Window Shades: Country Curtains

Area Rug: Pier 1

French Metal Chairs, Tableware, Dishware: Pottery Barn

About Stephen

Stephen's keen understanding of the homeowner has moved him into the spotlight in recent years through his work on television and in magazines. This understanding, accompanied by his friendly, approachable, and creative style, is making design accessible to everyone -- no matter who they are, where they are, or what their budget may be.

As a husband, father, and homeowner, he understands the needs of the family-focused lifestyle. "I have the same to-do list on my refrigerator that everyone has. There is always something to be to done with our homes and hopefully what I bring to the table will help everyone see the best in their homes," says the designer. He draws upon his background in film and design to help homeowners create a home that truly captures who they are, but at the same time captures a mood they are looking to bring to life that represents their home in the right light.

Good home design has the power to change lives.


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