Nook Remodel: Should You Hire a Professional?

Know when to DIY or consult a pro for your nook remodel project.

Whether you plan on adding a nook or alcove to your home, or remodeling an existing nook, you’ll need to decide who should perform the work – yourself or a professional? Your experience, time availability, skill level, scope of work planned and commitment to the project will help determine who is best suited to this project. Some homeowners find that a combination of both DIY and hiring a pro is the best way to approach a project. Before you begin your project, have a clear budget and scope of work planned – this is the best way to determine who should complete the necessary tasks.

Common types of nook projects

Bedroom: A bedroom nook is meant to be a place for unwinding and relaxing. Some bedroom nooks are best suited for window seats. Other larger bedrooms, like a master bedroom, may have the perfect alcove area for extra seating or even a fireplace. A bedroom nook might also be the best place for a writing table or desk. Typical remodeling projects might be:

  • new windows
  • trim and wall details
  • paint or wallpaper
  • adding lighting or sconces
  • creating built-in furniture, like a Murphy bed, or built-in storage
  • adding or updating a fireplace
  • adding a balcony or French doors
  • buying new furniture

Some of these projects require more extensive work or skilled labor. Electrical work or fireplace inserts, for example, are best left to a licensed professional.

Kitchen: When looking for a more intimate or convenient spot to eat, a breakfast nook will do the trick. Some breakfast nooks are true alcove areas, like a bay window design. Other breakfast nooks are created by adding walls within the kitchen area or converting areas of the kitchen into a breakfast area. If you are looking to reconstruct your kitchen entirely by pushing out walls for more space, hiring a professional contractor, architect or interior designer may be the best way to ensure that the new construction is built up to code and won’t negatively impact your current house structure. Some kitchens already have a breakfast nook that simply needs an update. This is perfect to DIY as you can insert benches with seated cushions or fabric upholstery, which can be easy to learn and do if you have the time to research and stay dedicated to your project. Some typical kitchen nook remodeling projects include:

  • new windows and trim
  • new lighting
  • new window seats or benches
  • new furniture
  • adding shelves or storage
  • updating the flooring
  • adding a door
  • new paint

Den or Home Office: Sometimes you need a place to get away and have a little privacy in your home. A nook within a den or home office can help separate work stations or add organization to the room. Depending on how the room needs to be used, using the nook for a second desk, library bookshelves, or a craft area can make the space more efficient. Some dens may require converting a closet into a nook or building a window-seat, in that case look to a professional. Here are some great den or home office nook projects:

  • new lighting
  • adding cable, TV, wi-fi, speakers or other electronic wiring
  • wallpaper or sound-absorbing materials
  • new flooring
  • built-in cabinetry, seating, workspace or shelving
  • new windows, doors or trim

Hallway or Stair Landing: Some homes have extra space on the stair landing or in an open hallway. Make use of these areas by developing them into a usable nook area. Depending upon the architecture of the home, it might be the perfect place for built-in cabinetry, closets, shelving or window seating. Some hallways may require refurbishing of cabinetry or lighting and a contractor can take care of all details involved in a high-quality nook. Some common projects for these spaces might include:

  • new windows and trim
  • shelving
  • custom cabinetry, storage or window bench
  • new furniture
  • decorative lighting

Upgrades to do on your own

If you want to transform the dated, awkward extra space of your kitchen into an intimate eating area, or design a secluded reading spot in your hallway, there are many upgrades you can take on yourself. A DIY update is a great way to refresh your existing nook without spending a fortune. Decide how much time and money you have to commit to the remodel. If you are looking for a quick project to ramp up the style and appearance of your home, there are a few things that can be done.

Painting: Replenish your nook by giving it a fresh coat of paint. You can probably take on the project without the help of a contractor. All the painting supplies you need can be found at a local paint store retailer, and you can get free advice from your paint retailer before you start your project. They can help you choose the right color, the right finish, and the right brush to get the look you desire. Check out our painting how-to tutorial for more information on painting clean and straight lines.

Furniture: Choose furniture that is complimentary and not overbearing. Often times nooks or alcoves are small spaces and may require careful measuring and planning in order to fit. Take measurements with you when shopping and bring home swatches of fabrics that will compliment the rest of the room furniture. (If you hire an interior designer or decorator for this project, they can help create custom pieces that you might not be able to do on your own.) Your nook furniture might need to be multi-purposeful, like a storage bench or nesting tables. Café style, bar height, or even a booth or banquette are all easy finds that can give your space a much needed upgrade.

Décor: Your nook is an extension of a room and it might look best to try and match or coordinate with the existing decor in the room. You could give your nook its own identity by adding different color accessories like fabric, wall art, throw pillows, linens, or a small vase for fresh flowers. Small changes can have a big impact and are great DIY tasks.

When a pro can be the best choice

Consider the size and scope of your nook remodel to determine whether you need to hire a professional contractor to handle it. If you’re planning a major renovation of an existing nook, building an entirely new nook, moving walls, or creating new window space, consider hiring a contractor. Projects that require extensive work often need to be properly permitted, can be dangerous to complete, and can significantly affect your home’s value. Hiring a professional will help ensure that your nook is up to code, and can also help you take care of all construction requirements, materials, scheduling and budgeting for your project. Learn more on how to keep your nook remodel on track and budget, while considering the following tasks a professional can help you with.

Construction Drawings: Your pro will know exactly where an extension to your home can be added. They will know which permits are needed, how to get them, and how zoning restrictions will affect your project. With their help, you’ll be able to create the nook you’ve been dreaming of by drawing out the precise layout you desire to ensure all intentions and ideas are clear.

Materials: Custom cabinetry, flooring, lighting and finishing will all require choosing the right materials for your budget, timeline and project. Your contractor will have access to a vast range of elements and enable you to plan accordingly while sticking to your budget.

Labor: Some of your nook remodeling projects might require skilled labor. Hiring a pro to manage subcontractors like window installers, wallpaper professionals, or electricians can make the project management process easier. Labor can be one of the most common reasons a homeowner chooses to hire a professional.

Top Image Credit: Wentworth, Inc.