Before & After: Window Nook Makeover

In every house, there are the main rooms (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.), and then there are the secondary spaces — those little hallways, nooks, closets and crannies. These spaces are wonderful, and they certainly make a home unique, but figuring out how to use them to their full potential can be challenging. I love Before & Afters that confront these idiosyncratic spaces, and today we have two to share! First is this charming reading nook from Lora Neveu, who decided to build out this dreamy escape in her daughter’s bedroom on a rainy day last month. I love that the seating doubles as storage and that she used dozens of paper lanterns; it’s an extremely budget-friendly way to create a fantastical mood and makes far more impact than having just one. This is such a nice, cozy nook; it seems too difficult to leave! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

See more after the jump . . .

Time: One weekend

Cost: $165

Basic Steps: First we ripped out the original baseboards. Then we made a rectangle box with a divider and shelves on the front. Everything is held together by brackets, and the hinged lid rests on the plywood rectangle. We drilled finger holes, but you could easily have handles, as well. Then we replaced a portion of the baseboards (that were cut to fit) and added a piece of trim at the front to give it a rounded edge. We used some DAP to fill in the gaps where the boards meet inside the shelves, and we painted the whole thing up and on to the cushion. I got two pieces of foam cut (couldn’t get one the right size), and using an old blanket I had, I cut out and sewed a cover for it. We wired Xmas lights into the light source and hung lanterns that I got in Chinatown for a buck each. Those lanterns have followed me around for five years and through three moves and are still going strong!

We just got the paint color matched to the existing paint on the baseboards. I already owned the cushion-cover fabric, and the cushions are all from Ikea. The Alice in Wonderland quilt is vintage and something I have been saving for the right spot for years. The Xmas lights are just from a hardware store, and the lanterns are from Chinatown. The curtain fabric is a basic lightweight muslin available at any fabric store. — Lora

  1. It seems complicated but it’s so easy to realize. A really cozy result. I love it!

  2. Gregory says:

    Seriously. Good work.

  3. kiki says:

    oh pretty!! i want to see it lit up at night :)

  4. Andrea B says:

    Magical. This has inspired me to create something similar in my spare bedroom/office/someday nursery room. All that added storage, too!

  5. Heather says:

    I want to be in that nook! Now!

  6. How lovely! Definitely something I would have loved growing up :-)

  7. I would love to read in this nook! I think little challenging areas like this, done right, can MAKE a house. Hope your daughter loves it!

  8. Cute and easy. I guess even a teen can do it.

  9. margaret says:

    I think we could call it Barnacle Bay ‘Window’

  10. Kim Fisher says:

    Stealing that drape idea- LOVE.

  11. Coco says:

    Looks great but all I can think about is all the dust it will collect!

  12. Melody Sage says:

    So dear. The paper lanterns are my favorite part. I thought they were party balloons at first glance.

  13. Maya says:

    Wow, it seems double the size, doesn’t it, once it’s done! I would have l.o.v.e.d a nook like this to myself, growing up. What a place to lounge, & dream. Well done!

  14. Aislinn says:

    such a nice idea- completely transformed the space into something that will be used!

  15. Tish says:

    Great vision! I NEVER in a million would ever think to do something that snazzy. Beautiful!

  16. Anna says:

    I love this, and need a nook like this in my life!

  17. Eva says:

    I wished I had such a lovely spare place – the idea is not only very atmospheric but also practical due to the storage. But the lanterns placed tightly together dirctly under the ceiling is a nice idea which would certainly work also somer else – I’d like to try that!

  18. Miss Heliotrope says:


  19. Ladybug says:

    Thanks for all the lovely comments. Kiki- I put a lit up picture on my blog, Coco it’s amazingly not that dusty, just give the lanterns a knock every 6 months or so and vacuum up the dust, and Eva, we’ve had those lanterns above our bed, on our (indoor) porch, above the crib in our last place, they are so fun and pretty, they make anywhere magical!

  20. Anuszka says:

    Oooooooooh, what a lovely place :)

  21. Debbie says:

    Congrats, this is a really clever make-over on a decent budget. I would have loved this if it were in my childhood bedroom. The lantern idea is brilliant!

  22. Jessica says:

    Oh, I do so love this little space. I’m going to use some of these sweet ideas on my basement/guest bedroom redo. I’ve been waiting for just the right tidbit of inspiration and I think this is it. Lovely.

  23. Kylie says:

    It’s beautiful! We have a nook just like this in our bedroom and I’d love to do this someday when we move our girls upstairs into it. It looks like the perfect place to read!

  24. studio@7199 says:

    Love this. Reminds me of nook we had between our two bedrooms in our old farmhouse. We made it into a “nursery” for our 3rd baby (sophmore in college now!) Shows you how you can really utilize every inch of a small home.

  25. how2home says:

    this little nook is perfect!

  26. Sue says:

    So cozy. What a great idea.

  27. Sarah Evelyn says:

    We have a similar nook in our kitchen. Our apartment has no storage space whatsoever, so as soon as we moved in, we built something very similar. Yours is much more practical, though. Ours is much deeper and we have to crawl in through the front to reach stuff in the very back. I wish now we had either made it more shallow, or added a hinged flap like you!

  28. A Day in May says:

    So adorable! I’m dying to just curl up with a book there right now. Well done.

  29. Ali says:

    So functional, I love the extra storage you created. The lanterns are a pretty idea, I wonder if they light up at night. That would be beautiful.

  30. Azil says:

    Inspired! This goes on my favorite nooks/crannies list.

  31. Till says:

    Those lamps freak me out. The look like wasp hives.

  32. CC says:

    Can you put up a pic with the lights on?

  33. Lesley Morgan says:

    Very clever as well as beautiful, and I love the lights and the dragonfly ‘pull’ on the blind cord.


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