While oversized islands have been #kitchengoals for years now, this year’s kitchen has a new status symbol: the breakfast nook.

A breakfast nook offers an ideal setup for meals (and not just breakfast!) without the pressure and formality of the dining room table. Plus, it works equally well in large and small kitchens. That’s why more and more clients are requesting one in their kitchen design, says Carol Estes, an interior designer in Southern California.

“Nooks are having their moment,” she says. “They take up less floor space than a traditional table and chairs, and they aren’t just for families with kids. They appeal to all ages and should be cozy, comfortable, encourage engagement, and communication.”

Here are a few ideas for incorporating or building a breakfast nook into your own kitchen.


1. Blend it in

In designing a breakfast nook, first consider the existing aesthetic and color scheme in your kitchen. Then plan your design around that, rather than picking out anything new, recommends Audrey Driscoll, a design consultant in New Orleans. After all, your nook is likely to be fitted into in a corner (more on that in a minute) so it should feel as if it tucks in to the rest of your space.


“If you have a transitional-style home, don’t use ultracontemporary furniture and features,” she says. “This nook should look like part of the kitchen, not an add-on. The style should blend into the room.”

2. No corner? No problem

Most breakfast nooks can be fitted into a corner or enclave, thus the name “nook.” But if your kitchen doesn’t have a designated spot for a cozy nook, that’s OK. You can still create your own breakfast nook against any flat wall or set of windows, or even on the other side of your kitchen island. (One of the benefits of this style is that it provides easier access.)


“Straight boxes [as in benches] allow storage under seats, too,” Estes points out.

Set up a bench (whether built-in or not) against the wall or island, and cover it with cozy pillows and cushions. Complete the look with chairs and a table that are easy to move, so that anyone can slide in and out.


3. Petite nook, party of one

Kitchen not big enough for a large table? You can still create a nook for one or two—and a spot for breakfast (or date night!)


Look for an oversized chair or small bench that fits your measurements. Then add a tulip table and another chair, if you have room.

“Oval or circular pedestal tables work best for easier access here, since they have no corners or legs,” Estes says.


4. Fancy a floating bench

For a more modern look that works well in a lighter space, Kyra Williams, lead interior designer at Bungalow in San Francisco, recommends installing a floating bench.


“I love the idea of a floating bench—it adds a cleaner look that can be softened by textured pillows,” she says. She recommends black sconces or another modern pendant light fixture to complete the look.

As for installing your floating bench, you may want to get a professional to help. It can be a bit tricky, depending on your wall situation.


5. Go modern boho

When you think breakfast nook, you may envision a real kitschy or old-fashioned look. But today’s breakfast nooks can suit a modern lifestyle, Williams explains.
“I love the idea of a modern, bohemian vibe, which includes a well-balanced mix of clean lines and vintage textures,” she says.


To create your boho look, use walnut cafe chairs or even rattan-style chairs, and then use lots of comfy, textured pillows. Add a cool, modern light fixture. Finish up with some plants for a pop of greenery, which is sure to cheer you up each morning.

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