Designed by: Phoebe Howard
The wall space surrounding your breakfast nook is the perfect spot to inject personality into your kitchen. Hanging a framed collection—vintage photography, coasters, postcards, recipe cards—is a great way to create instant (and easy!) art. When choosing your collection, go for something with an eclectic look but a common theme to keep it cohesive. A breakfast nook area is typically casual and informal, so have some fun with it!
If you don't have a collection yet, we suggest picking up paper menus from your favorite restaurants. They'll provide colorful reminders of memorable meals with friends and family. Most restaurants don't mind giving you a crisp, clean menu to take home. (For a personal touch, ask the waitstaff if the chef will sign and date your menu. Often it takes just a few minutes, and chefs are happy to accommodate the request—sometimes they'll even swing by your table to say hello!)
Project Time: 5 hours (2 for shopping; 3 for the project)
What you'll need: Menus and frames, hammer, nails, soap and water, pencil, scissors, kraft paper, painter's tape
Step 1: The fun part—choose your frames! Pottery Barn's Verena Whitewashed Frames are perfect for a vintage-style space but look great in any style breakfast nook. Minimalist frames like the Gallery frames from west elm are good, clean options. If you're framing a collection with smaller dimesions, like drink coasters or vintage photographs, opt for frames with oversized mats, like these Wood Gallery Oversized Mat Frames.
Our top pick for frames, above: Gallery Frames in Antique Silver by west elm
TIP: If you want a more dimensional look, try hanging several ledges—like the Holman Shelf from Pottery Barn or west elm's Metal Picture Ledge—on walls and propping framed menus on them. Don't want to put a bunch of holes in your walls? Use a frame set that hangs from rods like the Studio Wall Easel from Pottery Barn.
Step 2: Wipe down the surface wall with a sponge and diluted soapy water; allow it to dry completely.
Step 3: Before you put any holes in the wall, arrange your collection: Trace each frame shape onto kraft paper—being sure to mark the location of the frame's hanger on the paper with a pencil—and cut out with scissors.
Step 4: Experiment with various layouts by hanging the kraft paper "frames" on wall with painter's tape until you are satisfied with the arrangement. Depending on the size of your space and the number of frames you have, space the frames anywhere from 1 to 3 inches apart. For a clean, modern look, hang same-size frames in evenly spaced rows. For a gallery-style wall, use different frame sizes to create an asymmetrical but balanced arrangement.
TIP: Mark off the entire space where you'll be hanging the collection with painter's tape, and then arrange the kraft paper frames within the boundaries for a look that's eclectic without being haphazard. Make sure the outer edges of your frames line up with the outer border of the space to create a box.
Step 5: Hammer a nail into the marked spot on each piece of paper, then tear away painter's tape and paper before hanging frames.
When you want a slight change of scenery, switch out the items in the frames with newer ones you've collected, like a rotating art collection. Be sure to pick up new items on travels around the country and abroad—you can even group them by region.
A collection of vintage photographs; Photo courtesy of Dwelling Room Interiors
Colorful kids' art looks unified when housed in sleek, white frames; Photo courtesy of Material Girls Blog
Botantical drawings add a touch of whimsy to this traditional kitchen; Photo courtesy of Matt Matt France
Vintage vacation ads, mounted to a bright pink matte.