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Setting the Right Budget for a Nook Remodel

Before you begin your nook remodel, create a budget and stick to it.

Colleen Knowles nook

A nook remodel can be an excellent project to add value to nearly any room in the house. Also known as an alcove, niche, or recessed space, the nook is usually considered a feature of the room.  Some of the more common nook areas such as breakfast nooks, master bedroom alcoves, window seats, or entry nooks, can be great places to add more function to a room without majorly remodeling the entire space. Regardless of how you plan on using your nook, setting a realistic budget is a smart way to start your remodeling project.

Before planning your budget, determine your needs for this space. Maybe you need more space to sit and eat as a family, perhaps you need a spot for reading your favorite novel, or maybe you just want a space to sit and admire your backyard. Whatever you desire, it’s always a good idea to consider how upgrades to your home will affect your home’s resale value. Knowing what projects your neighbors have done, and how they’ve designed the nooks in their space, may help keep your home competitive. In upscale homes, for example, having a separate breakfast and dining area may be expected as is having a master bedroom or bathroom alcove.

Prioritize your nook needs

The planning stage of your nook remodel project is very important. Whether the nook remodel is part of a larger whole-room remodel, or if it’s a separate project, you’ll want to have a detailed list of what you need done. Typical types of nook projects include adding sconces or lighting, upgrading windows, adding built-in furniture, upgrading a fireplace, adding a television or refinishing the flooring. Don’t forget to include any additional furniture, wall coverings or window treatments. Next to each item, note the estimated cost, timeframe for completion and who will be performing the work. Even if you’ve hired a professional contractor, architect or interior designer to manage the entire scope of work, you’ll want to understand where your money is being spent. Regardless of your design, both options (small or large scale) will need a set budget and to be kept on schedule.

Materials affect the nook remodel budget

When designing your nook project, the size, materials and decorations will impact your budget. Be wary of certain cost drivers that may cause the price of your project to increase automatically. Size, complexity and finish level all play a role in driving your costs up. Imported materials may take longer to arrive and may require a special contractor to install. Custom wallpaper may require pre-finishing the walls and may add to the timeline. When sourcing materials, be sure you ask detailed questions such as: is the item in stock and ready to ship, is this material a DIY project or best left to a pro, and what types of pre-work needs to be done prior to installing this material. If you have a tight budget, you’ll want to purchase materials that fit your time line and installation budget. Consider the following things to be a part of your nook remodel:

  • Dimensions and size of the nook
  • Type of building material (e.g., wood, metal, glass)
  • Window fixtures or doors
  • Built-in seating
  • Electrical wiring
  • Cabinetry and storage
  • Flooring
  • Finishing products (e.g., stain, laminate, paint)
  • Decorations (e.g., fabric upholstery, pillows, light fixtures)

What your nook will cost

If you already have a nook and are simply looking to transform it into a new breakfast or reading space, you may find it to be an easy DIY project. Adding furniture, painting walls and trim, or changing out the lighting can be done on a tight budget as well as a tight timeline.

If you don’t have a nook space already, or want to majorly remodel the space, then you may need to involve adding on to your home or altering your home structure. This type of project is far more extensive and would likely require permitting as well as a professional.  Hiring a contractor to manage this complex project and set appropriate expectations can help you stick to your budget, materials, and timeline. Here are some typical nook project designs to consider if you’re thinking of building a nook or remodeling one in your home.

Siemasko and Verbridge nookKitchen

According to Remodeling Magazine, a kitchen remodel offers a significant return on investment, between 63.6% and 82.7% for major and minor designs respectively. Adding a nook to your kitchen could help boost your home’s value. In larger homes, it’s common to have a separate breakfast nook area for at least four to six people in addition to a formal dining room. Creating a nook space in your home can help you keep up with your neighbors if you’re in an upscale neighborhood, and it can help your home standout if the houses in your area don’t often have nooks. If you are planning on remodeling your kitchen, consider adding a breakfast nook as part of the overall design.

 YA Studio bedroom nookBedroom

On average, a complete master bedroom suite addition will cost about $103,844 with a resale value of $70,121. Very often a master bedroom nook is part of this design. Transforming an existing bay or box window into a nook is a way to create a cozy reading space that adds to your home’s value. If you are looking to only remodel your bedroom by adding a nook or updating your current nook, this project will cost much less. Consider transforming your existing alcove into a reading or study area, like the project above.

FINNE office nookDen or Home Office

Maximizing your home office space is a smart way to remodel. If you already have a home office or den, a nook can be a spot for reading or concentrating. If you don’t have a home office room, consider turning an already existing recessed alcove into a desk area. Custom cabinet makers can take a typical closet-sized recessed space and turn it into a highly-efficient work space, regardless of it’s location in the home.

Miller Design living room nookLiving Room

A living room nook can be a window seat or an area for sitting that is both removed from the primary sitting but still considered part of the conversation. Windows, comfortable seating and lighting are generally part of the living room nook. Sometimes these areas are perfect for a large piano or designed to take advantage of the view.

Colleen Knowles entrance nookHallway or Entrance

The nook in the hallway or entrance is a great place to have storage for shoes, coats or other personal items. In a formal area it can be the place for guests to remove shoes or drop purses. In a less formal area it’s the perfect place for family life like a bulletin board for memos and messages, backpacks, groceries or other objects of daily life. Maximize your existing nook areas with built-ins or custom shelving.

Gelotte Hommas landing nookLanding

Some stairway landings or platforms are a perfect place for storing favorite objects. Stairs are often the personal part of the home and can be a great place to show off collections. This example above was designed to keep books but also as an impromptu reading nook.

Before you set your budget

More expensive nook remodeling options, such as an addition, will require you to hire a professional contractor to complete at least some aspects of the remodel. A contractor will help you create the project design, manage the scope, hire the crew, obtain permits, and monitor the schedule. Consider whether you plan on contracting out all of the remodeling work or doing some projects yourself as you determine how much of your budget will be used for skilled labor. Keep in mind that if you decide to complete your nook remodel on your own, you’ll want to be sure whether your plans require a permit. Completing a remodeling project without proper licensing can lead to fines and may negatively affect your homes resale value.

Whether you decide to go ahead with a DIY remodel or use the help of a pro, be dedicated to your budget to ensure smooth sailing.

Top Image Credit: Colleen Knowles Interior Design

Anne Reagan

The Author