If you’re planning an upcoming kitchen renovation, odds are your “Wish List” is filling up fast. If I may interrupt for a minute, however, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite features in a well-designed kitchen: the breakfast nook.
Breakfast Nooks: The Kitchen Design Feature That Keeps on Giving
Whether you’re designing a traditional farmhouse kitchen or are a modernist to the extreme, a breakfast nook will enhance your kitchen experience in multiple ways. In addition to being a cozy place to hang out, breakfast nooks provide added seating for social functions, extra ambient and task lighting and a great place for kids to do their homework while you prepare dinner.
Use an available corner. Typically, breakfast nooks encompass a corner space if you have one. The 90° angle of the walls makes it easy to design comfortable seating, and the open space on the other side can use a space-saving bench (in smaller kitchens) or attractive chairs for additional seating. If possible, I also recommend adding a window if you don’t have one already. It’s a great way to gain extra natural light in your kitchen – always a bonus – and will provide a view outdoors, providing hours of contemplation as you watch the seasons and the world go by.
Avoid the permanent seating option. Typically, breakfast nooks are built into the corner, as I mentioned above, or can be added to the backside of a kitchen island or peninsula. In these cases, at least one of the sides includes bench seating that is permanently attached to the floors below. I recommend avoiding that option and using temporary bench seating options instead. Your interior designer can help you look for portable bench seating that fits your space or can design custom seating to fit. Either way, you have something you can take with you when you leave and more flexibility during social functions.
Make those benches a storage space. As long as you opt for bench seating in one or two sides of your nook, I recommend making them storage space. You can either use hinged seats that open up, or create cabinet spaces on the front side of the lower bench. Either way, extra storage is always appreciated, keeping serving platters, seasonal dishware or specialty cookbooks out of the way when not in use.
Match the table with the space. If your nook will be rectangular, use a rectangular shaped table, or go oval if you prefer curves. If the nook’s a square, make the table a square as well. This makes for a cleaner and more congruent look. Your nook can take an arched shape, which will lend itself to an oval or circular table. The only exception to the matching shape rule would be in smaller kitchens or nooks, where a round table will keep exterior corners from bumping thighs or little heads as they pass by.
Splurge on cushions and accent pillows. Another reason to design custom furniture for your nook bench seating is that you should have full control over the plushness of the cushions. The more comfortable your cushions and accent pillows, the more you and your guests will enjoy the space.
Adorn it with a stunning fixture. Make your nook a showpiece and then top it off, literally, with a stunning light fixture. Pick something that draws the eye – like a chandelier or an eclectic sculpture-esque light and then add a dimmer switch so it can serve as both task and ambient lighting.