Having a home and personalizing it can be both a fun and daunting task. You might think that when you have a new home or are remodeling the one you have, most of your focus should be on the living room or the bedrooms to make them as beautiful as possible, as that is where the majority of your time will be spent. However, the kitchen is, in many ways, the heart of the home and where so many important things take place. Enter: the breakfast nook.
Kitchens are where meals are prepared with love, conversations and laughter are shared over a meal. They are the one area where you can do away with the distractions of tv or books or phones and truly be present. With that in mind, it is a great idea to make this area of the home as warm and welcoming as possible. This is where breakfast nooks come in! Take a look below at the many benefits of breakfast nooks and how they can help make your house a home.
What is a Breakfast Nook?
Before going over all the benefits of having a breakfast nook, it would probably be good to define what a breakfast nook is exactly. Succinctly put, it is an alcove or opening into a small space connected to the kitchen, usually near a window, with a built-in table and chairs.
Sometimes there is no alcove, and a nook can be created by placing a table and some additional chairs in front of a window seat or by building a bench into the right angle of a wall and adding a table and some additional chairs. It is used as a place for everyday meals when a family doesn’t want to sit at a big dining table, usually reserved for special occasions such as holidays or fancy meals.
11 Benefits of Having a Breakfast Nook
Now that we have an idea (or ideas) of what a breakfast nook is, where it should be, and how to create one, let’s explore some of the benefits of having one.
It Opens Up the Room
There are many benefits of having a breakfast nook, but one of the most obvious ones is that it gives the kitchen an open feel and look. Many kitchens have a little extra space or corner area that goes unused while the rest of the room quickly becomes filled up with chairs, or a table is placed in an area that impedes your ability to move around and get things done quickly. The kitchen will give a cluttered vibe instead of a welcoming, open, and peaceful one.
By taking advantage of that corner area or alcove, you are using every bit of space available to you. Additionally, you are making room for an open floor plan to be able to move from the table to the stove/oven quickly without having to maneuver around big bulky furniture.
The intention of a breakfast nook is to not only conserve space and provide more room to move around, but they also tend to have a warm and welcoming feel for two reasons:
- They are usually built near or against windows. This means that natural light and sunshine are plentiful, and you will be more likely to take a moment to read a few more pages in a book or linger over your coffee or tea and take a moment to relax before you start your day.
- They are surrounded by walls or tucked away in a corner which gives them a private feeling. This is perfect for a heartfelt conversation with a friend or family member.
Get Fewer Floor Scratches
If your space allows for it, you can even turn your breakfast nook into a banquette nook. A banquette is simply the bench built into or placed against the wall and upholstered and cushioned for comfort. Depending on the depth of your windowsill, you may have a bench seating option already. This means that you will only need either a couple or no chairs, depending on the size of your family.
Children like to play around with anything not nailed down to the floor—chairs included. While generally, it’s not a big deal on certain floors, the chair fidgets can be a nightmare and cause deep scratches or grooves, which mars its appearance. If you remove the majority of chairs from the equation and use a banquette instead, there are fewer chances for your floor to get scratched up.
More Storage Space
Perhaps instead of an open floor plan that a nook has the potential to provide, you would rather have more space for storage. This could come in one of two (or both) forms:
- A pantry. Perhaps the house you bought has a small (or no) pantry. Having space cleared out for a nook can free up that extra space to put in a pantry closet or a shelf to hold your dry goods.
- Cabinets and counters. If you love cooking, few things are as important as having extra counter space while you cook or extra cabinet space for all the pots, pans, and food supplies you will need. In that extra space that having a nook will afford you, you can add storage and help make your cooking a simpler and less squished affair.
Have Your Meal with a View
If you have a kitchen with large windows, having a breakfast nook is a great way to appreciate them to the fullest. Maybe you live in the mountains, or you have a lake or beachside home. Perhaps your kitchen window faces west, giving you a perfect view of the sunset, or maybe you simply want to relax with your cup of coffee and watch your children or pets play in the backyard or watch the bees and birds flit around in the flowers.
For any of these situations, a breakfast nook is the perfect option to use your home and its features to the best advantage and will provide a beautiful place to start or end your day.
You Can Be Creative
Let’s face it, with a standard kitchen table in the middle of the room, your design options are kind of limited to the design of the tables and chairs. Even with that, depending on the size or shape and layout of the room, getting a circular table instead of a rectangular table may end up looking odd, or vice versa. So, what was intended to create an aura that people want to linger in, ends up being hectic or stressful.
With a breakfast nook, your design and creativity options have no limits. Some great design options could include any (or a combination of) the following:
- Fun and wild. Perhaps your nook isn’t located next to a window, or you cannot build it against the window for a gorgeous view. If that’s the case, focus on the upholstery design of the chairs and the curtains. Using stripes or polka dot design to balance out the practicality can give the space a fun and welcoming appearance. Add some pillows for some coziness.
- Put in a curved banquette. This is a really great option for people who prefer round tables to rectangular ones, as the curved banquette compliments and hugs the curve of the table. Additionally, it gives a bit of a unique appearance from the standard banquettes, which tend to stay strictly against the wall.
- Install unique light fixtures. Whether your nook is next to a window or simply in the corner of the room, you can spice it up with a unique light fixture in a variety of designs.
- Find your dramatic side. One really striking way to do this is by using contrasts. For example, if you have a dark banquette and chair upholstery, use a lighter-colored table. If you have a big window that lets in a lot of light, use thick dark curtains to create a more mysterious effect.
- Use the walls as an art gallery. Do you have a piece or pieces of art that you love but haven’t been able to find a space for yet? Put them on the wall where your nook is located to create an art gallery that everyone can enjoy while they eat. You can even use the colors in them to help design the rest of the look for your nook.
- Keep it simple. If you are pressed for space, you could go for high tables that tools can be placed under when not in use.
- Minimalist design. A perfect option for those who prefer the simple and comfortable look that is easy to clean is using wicker chairs surrounding a round table placed in the corner.
- Outside option. For the outdoor enthusiasts, creating a nook is a simple as placing a bistro table and some chairs (with colorful cushions) in the corner of a balcony or porch.
- Go classic. If you have inherited some antique pieces from a relative, what better way to enjoy them than by incorporating them into a breakfast nook?
- Add a bookshelf. For the book lovers out there who like to read a few chapters with their morning tea or coffee, make it simple by adding a bookshelf with whatever you’re currently reading. Even if you’re not a big reader, you can use the shelf as a decorating space to place beautiful clay or other art pieces that are best displayed on a shelf. Or you can use it for both!
It Can be Multi-Purpose
One of the great parts about creating an open and welcoming breakfast nook in your kitchen is that you do not have to limit it to simply meal or drink times. In our busy and fast-paced world, it can be a great space to connect with your loved ones and has a variety of uses and purposes including, but not limited to:
- Place for the kids to do homework. Often parents find it hard to connect with their kids. Between school, work, and extracurricular activities, it is essential to find any moment you can with them. One way is by having them do their homework in the breakfast nook while you make dinner. This has the advantage of you being right there if they need help and encouraging conversation.
- Workspace. If you work from home, it is important to have a space that is comfortable and engaging. Why not use a ready-made breakfast nook with a nice view?
- Room for game nights and entertainment. A breakfast nook is an excellent space for entertaining new and old friends and having a game night.
You Can Get Multi-Purpose Seating
If you have your heart set on a banquette breakfast nook, you can get double the use out of it by using the banquette for other things as well. Some options could include:
- Cabinet space. Pick out a banquette or bench that is designed with storage underneath. Even if there is no storage designed into the benches, if there is space beneath, you can still use it as a storage option and give the bench a bit of style by draping a curtain over the area and storing things behind it.
- Pet play area. This is a really cute option. Build some holes for your pets to climb in and out of the banquette. That way, they can enjoy the nook along with you.
No matter the layout of your home, if you really like the idea of having a breakfast nook, there are ways to incorporate it with the fixed features in your kitchen or by adding some comfy furniture pieces that you already have. Take a look at some of the following options to help you tap into your own creativity and appreciation for the home you have.
- The Island Nook. For example, there is an island in the kitchen in many apartments that takes up a significant amount of space. Some people use the island as a table by adding some high stools. Instead, incorporate a nook into the island by adding a backless bench against the island and adding a table and some chairs.
- Archway. Some people have very open kitchen layouts, but they want to create separation between where they prepare the food and where they eat and relax. You can still have the openness but create some separation by placing an archway between the counter and sink area and the table and seating area.
- Sofas and Armchairs. You don’t have to have banquettes or benches specially made. Look around your living room. Maybe it is too cluttered, or you have an armchair or loveseat that does not quite fit. Maybe you love to go to yard sales or to thrift stores and have found some beautiful furniture pieces that you are not quite sure how to use.
- Don’t worry, you can use them as seating for a breakfast nook. This will provide bench seating while also adding to the cozy and comfortable feeling that you want for your nook.
Gives You Space to Work
We’ve already discussed how having a nook can help create an open floor plan and give a roomier feeling to a small kitchen. There is another way that having a nook gives you space—the space to cook and prepare dinner. Kitchens tend to be the place where people gather to talk and interact. The informality of it helps put people at ease.
However, for the person in charge of cooking the meal, having a bunch of people or children underfoot can throw a wrench into your ability to maneuver and move between places quickly to cook a meal. Having a nook can give people a place to sit, talk, and play that is out of the way, but still means that the kitchen can be the center of interaction, and the person or people cooking will be close enough to join in the fun and the conversation.
Combines Modern and Classic
Mealtimes can be a way to connect with our families at the end of a long day. Sitting at and having to clean a big dining table can sometimes feel too formal and like more trouble than it’s worth. However, not having a specific place for regular mealtimes can encourage you to sit and eat in front of the TV instead. Having a nook can be a way of encouraging everyone to put away their devices and sit around a table for a wholesome meal instead.
Breakfast nooks have many advantages. It opens up the room, making it easier to cook and move around, or provides you with additional space for extra cabinets, shelves, or even a pantry. It provides a comforting and cozy place for mealtimes, game nights, homework or work, and can make the kitchen a central point of interacting and catching up with your loved ones in a relaxed environment.
You can also use your creativity to create the space you want with the room you have. You can make the upholstery and decorations as zany or classic as you want. If you are a collector of art, you can make your nook an art gallery. If you want to use your nook as a place to sit and relax and read, you can build shelves. The possibilities are numerous, so have fun and enjoy all that having a breakfast nook can bring to you and your home.