So I was recently browsing through some old photos and I came across a few shots of our breakfast nook. The photos were taken probably 4 months after we moved in and it’s very clear that I wasn’t quite sure of my design style at the time. I was definitely giving it my best effort, but things just weren’t clicking. I remember feeling irritated with the space, knowing that it could be so much better. I envisioned a bright, airy breakfast nook with a vintage light fixture and farmhouse feel, but I was far from it. Fast forward one year later and this little nook has slowly but surely evolved into what I dreamt of all those months ago. And what’s interesting to me about this transformation is that it really symbolizes how I’ve found my design style through a bit of trial and error over the past year. It didn’t happen overnight. I’ve definitely evolved over time, but I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride. Today I thought it would be fun to share the before and after photos of the breakfast nook to show you how my style has changed. I also want to give a bit of advice to those of you that might be struggling to find your own style.
Ok, let’s begin with a before photo of the breakfast nook so you can see where I started.
So there’s a lot I don’t love about this space.
1) The paint color doesn’t blend well with the tile floor. I actually painted this nook when we first moved it. Previously it was a dark chocolate brown, which made this already small space look tiny. I wanted the color to match the rest of our home, so I painted it with Autumn Blonde by Sherwin Williams. I LOVE this color, but it just didn’t work for me in the breakfast nook.
2) The table doesn’t work. Ironically, I actually spent weeks shopping for a table before I came across this one from a local antique dealer. I bought it, thinking it would work, but I wasn’t crazy about it once we got it in the breakfast nook. I needed something bigger and preferably brighter–the dark top always bothered me.
3) Just blah. This whole area is just very blah to me. Nothing seems to click, the decor is random and not really pulled together, and the colors didn’t go well together.
Bottom line here? Nothing seemed to click, which left me feeling restless. That’s how I knew something needed to change with my style. Sure, it’s not hideous. But there’s no pizzazz. If anything my style could be characterized as putting random things together and hoping it would look good. That’s how I had always decorated, but I knew it was time to make a change. I just kept dreaming of what this room could be. How it could look with a bit of work. I wasn’t exactly sure how it would come together, so I started gathering some inspiration on Pinterest and figured out what kind of design made my heart skip a beat. Little by little I started to realize what I wanted and this breakfast nook began to evolve. From this:
Nothing major happened in this space, it’s actually just a few strategic and very affordable changes that created such a different look.
1) Vintage light fixture. We actually found this pendant at an auction for $5 and converted it into a light fixture. Cheap fix, but I love the vintage farmhouse vibe it gives to this space.
2) Different table. I sold my smaller, dark table and replaced it with this larger one. I actually bought this table from my cousin for $50, chalk painted it, and it’s exactly what I envisioned for this nook. I have a full post about that project here.
3) Planked Walls. I really wanted to brighten this space up, so I went with my gut and decided to add planked walls to the breakfast nook. This was my very first planked wall, I had no experience going into it. But I figured it out and the whole thing cost less than $100. I shared the tutorial in this post.
The Secret Sauce to Finding Your Style
All together those three simple changes completely transformed our breakfast nook. And in the process I realized that I truly love the calming, fresh feel of farmhouse style. Simple whites and vintage accents. It’s what makes my heart skip a beat. And really, I think that’s the big secret to finding your style. It’s not rocket science. It’s about listening to your gut. Follow that little voice in your heart that says, “this is awesome”. Who cares if it doesn’t fit in a perfect mold, or if you’re mixing 2 or 3 styles in one. Your style is unique to YOU. Follow what inspires you and what makes you giddy with excitement because it’s beautiful to YOU. That’s what was missing in my old breakfast nook, it didn’t inspire me.
If you love farmhouse style, go for it. If you’re more modern, then embrace it. Don’t let yourself get stuck in that in-between phase like I was, where you’re just putting random things together without much intention or vision. Think about what YOU love and the feeling you want to create in your home, then go for it.
And my biggest piece of advice: Don’t put anything in your home that you’re not in love with, really. I spent many years buying things that were cute, or on clearance, without really thinking about it. I know that sounds crazy, but I’m sure many of you can relate. Before you buy anything, whether it be a coffee table or a sign for your wall, stop and ask yourself, “Do I absolutely love this?” Over time you’ll figure out what to take home and what cute things to leave at the store.
I hope you found this post helpful if you’re struggling to figure out your style. Above all, be patient with yourself and know that it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s definitely a process and it takes time to find your stride. There are still a few things I want to change in our breakfast nook, but little by little it’s becoming “more me” and that’s the important part.
Well friends, let me know if you have any questions. I wish I could give you all a big ol’ hug around the neck for being here. You’re the bee’s knees. And don’t be shy, leave me a comment and let’s chat. It will be fun.
More on how my style has evolved: