More casual than a dining room, a breakfast nook is a snug space for that first cup of coffee, a place for kids’ after-school homework and snacks, or even a relaxing spot for a nightly cup of tea.
Looking to create your own comfortable corner? Here are some suggestions for getting started.
Decide on a location. An alcove or an area in front of windows (especially bay or bow windows), is ideal for a breakfast nook. Just keep in mind that no matter where you choose, you’ll need enough space for a table and comfortable seating. While you don’t need a lot of space (it is a nook, after all), you want to be comfortable while you’re sitting there.
Select a table. Before you start looking at tables, figure out how many people your nook can accommodate. A general rule of thumb, so that people won’t be jammed next to one another, is to allow 20 to 24 inches of width and 15 inches of depth for each place setting.
Then choose a table size based on how much room you have.
As you’re considering your options, also keep table shape in mind. A pedestal table works well for a breakfast nook, simply because having a single base makes it a lot easier to scoot in and out—rather than having to navigate table legs.
That’s not to say that a square or rectangular table won’t work well. Depending on your space, a table with corners might be perfect.
Add places to sit. If you’re using a corner of your kitchen or dining room for your breakfast nook, a built-in, upholstered window seat or bench is a natural fit. A built-in also works well along a wall. (If you like the built-in look but don’t want to build your own, you can find lots of ready-made options online.)
A built-in also serves double duty, as it’s the perfect place to add storage beneath the seat, for linens, extra serving pieces or seasonal décor. If you have room, add a few chairs opposite the built-in, for guests who may not prefer “slide-in” seating.
Of course, your space many not accommodate a built-in or it may not be your thing. When choosing chairs, make sure they’re padded—or add cushions—so that you’ll want to slow down and savor the moment when you’re sitting in them.
Light things up. Lighting is essential for nook ambiance. And even if your nook is situated next to windows that channel beautiful daylight, an overhead pendant is great for adding extra illumination on cloudy mornings and dusky evenings.
Obviously, you’ll want a light fixture that works for the size of your table, but that doesn’t get in the way of people’s heads. So look for one that’s about three-fourths the width of your table.
If your table is on the longer side, two circular pendants or a single rectangular one should provide enough lighting for the entire table.
Don’t forget the details. The details are what pull a breakfast nook together—and is where you can let your creativity flow. Of course, you’ll want your nook’s aesthetics to reflect the style of the room that it’s in, so your entire space feels coherent and well-designed.
Look to pattern, color and texture to add interest to your space, in the form of throw pillows, upholstered bench cushions, an area rug, rattan or wicker chairs—and if you have windows, woven wood shades.
(Make sure any textiles are machine-washable, stain-resistant or at least easy to spot clean, for those inevitable drips and spills.)