5 Main Ingredients For Cooking Up a Homey Kitchen Nook

By Kristine Schnell / Published by Dwell
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A kitchen nook can be one of the hardest working, unsung heroes of a home—and its function goes far beyond just hosting a humble breakfast.

It's a multifunctional spot for meals at different times of the day, an area for the kids to complete their homework or a craft project, and a place to enjoy a glass of wine after work or tea with a neighbor. These cozy spaces are usually more casual—and thus more used—than a formal dining space and offer the convenience of being right in the kitchen, where it’s easy to converse with the cook or take a few minutes for a simple solo meal. Though this space can sometimes stump the most confident homeowners, the formula for creating a perfect dining nook is really quite simple and works for nearly every type of home.

So, what makes a great breakfast nook? 

1. A signature light fixture 

This is a great opportunity to reflect the look that you desire. It’s equally important to ensure it’s hung at the correct height and works proportionately with your table. Make sure to select a light fixture that complements other pendant lighting you may have in your kitchen, but isn’t an exact match. 

This dining nook is fully clad in Western cedar, augmenting the home's connection to the outdoors.

This dining nook is fully clad in Western cedar, augmenting the home's connection to the outdoors.


Three simple light fixtures with a pretty brass finish add a warm glow to a cool-toned room. 

Three simple light fixtures with a pretty brass finish add a warm glow to a cool-toned room. 

Photo by Nick Ballon.

2. The right table for your space

A pedestal shape is usually a safe bet, but all types of tables can conceptually work, depending on the size of your space and the seating configuration. 

A clean-lined, glass-and-metal table adds an elegant simplicity to this restrained space. 

A clean-lined, glass-and-metal table adds an elegant simplicity to this restrained space. 

Photo: Justin Fantl

3. A built-in banquette

Whether it's upholstered or left bare with a few pillows, a built-in banquet can be one of the defining features of a breakfast nook. Since they're usually custom-fabricated for your home, this is a great opportunity to incorporate storage, as well as to choose the material, moldings, and trim. Renters can achieve a similar look with a tightly upholstered dining height love seat, which can be bought off the shelf or custom fabricated to fit your space. 

Form meets function with a banquette that boast built-in shoe storage and an easy-to-clean seat cushion.

Form meets function with a banquette that boast built-in shoe storage and an easy-to-clean seat cushion.

Cesar Rubio


A modern breakfast nook boasts an abundance of natural light and a large, multi-functional space with built-in storage.

A modern breakfast nook boasts an abundance of natural light and a large, multi-functional space with built-in storage.

Niche Modern

4. Special chairs

Dining nooks offer an opportunity to add chairs that are perhaps more whimsical or expensive than what you would select when choosing several chairs for a formal dining space. This is a great opportunity to add some interest or a little luxury with a modern classic. 

Chairs with clean lines in a signature hue add punch to small breakfast nook. 

Chairs with clean lines in a signature hue add punch to small breakfast nook. 

Jennifer Sath

5. Natural light

While not required, this is definitely a big plus when it comes to making a cozy nook feel warm, pleasant, and inviting. Roller shades can be extremely valuable, as no one enjoys dining with bright sun in their eyes. 

A light-filled nook illuminates simple materials beautifully. 

A light-filled nook illuminates simple materials beautifully. 

Photo: Eirik Johnson


A beautifully simple shiplap built-in banquette balances perfectly with a live edge table, making the most of the abundant natural light. 

A beautifully simple shiplap built-in banquette balances perfectly with a live edge table, making the most of the abundant natural light. 

Photo by Charlie Richmond Coffing

Kristine Schnell

@kristineschnell

kristine schnell is the creative director of playground design agency. Obsessed with art, design and the built environment from a young age, she's known for designing elegant spaces with an edge. With a classical education in art, architecture and design, her love of beautiful details has taken her around the world in search of the exquisite. As the chief creative vision behind both commercial and residential projects, kristine brings an encyclopedic library of visual knowledge, blending classical styles with an equal sense of restraint and irreverence. She is a voracious reader, a former ballerina and dreams in French when she’s had a very good day. Adores champagne, fine leather goods and creating stunning spaces.

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