What is a Breakfast Nook

This is an introduction to breakfast nook furniture and other breakfast nook topics. I think any conversation about a particular topic should be begin with the definition of that subject.  Since this site is devoted to the discussion of breakfast nooks, I’ll begin by describing what a breakfast nook is.  The common definition is a small area off of or near the kitchen where light meals are served.  Often it is a small room with three windowed-walls built directly off the kitchen.  The nook is usually furnished with a small breakfast nook table and chairs or benches.  Sometimes the table and benches are built into the kitchen which will give your nook the ambiance of eating out at a fine dining establishment.  Finally, a breakfast nook generally seats just a few people.  Up to six, sometimes fewer, can share a meal or snack in relative comfort.  If you have more than that, it might be appropriate to move to the dining room.  Or if the weather is nice, a move to the picnic table might be in order.

Really, a breakfast nook’s purpose is not merely a place to eat your first morning meal, it’s about a focal point where a family and friends can gather. We eat ninety nine percent of our meals here. At night, this is where we play board games or discuss the goings on of the world over a cup of coffee. Our children fill in their coloring books, or do their homework, or take a break from playing to eat a snack at the table. In the end, this site’s purpose will be about kitchen furniture, decorating ideas, and activities that will enhance your breakfast nook and by extension maybe make your family life a bit better, if only just a bit.

Breakfast Nook Furniture

The most important part of all breakfast nooks is the furniture. Since this is usually a small room there is not a lot of space for a lot of pieces so the few that you choose are very important. In addition, this room is extremely utilitarian and you must consider how it will be used when picking out the furniture. Aesthetics are not the only thing that is important. The two most critical pieces of furniture for the breakfast nook are the table and chairs. My ideal breakfast nook is most importantly comfortable. It is, after all, meant as a place in your house to serve a causal meal or snack. I have a hard time picturing people snacking in a formal dining room. That means nice, but not necessarily expensive, furniture.

Breakfast Nook Tables

Since it is the largest object in the room the breakfast nook table is automatically the focal point. There are a few things to consider when picking out the right table for your eat-in kitchen. First of all, you want to pick a table that is as large as will comfortably fit in the space. Even if you have a small family now, you never know how it may grow in the future and you always want to make sure there is room for guests. That being said, make sure that there will be adequate room for the seating. You also want to pick a table that is shaped similarly to the room. For example, a breakfast nook that is a half circle would be the perfect place for a round kitchen table. Secondly, make sure the table matches your kitchen in decorating style. If you have a country kitchen with wooden cabinets and checkered curtains than a wooden table would be appropriate. In contrast, a modern kitchen with black marble counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and very straight lines might be complimented nicely by a glass table with metal legs. The material and look for the table should fit in. Yet another reason to consider the material your table is constructed out of is how easy or not easy it will be to clean and its durability. Especially if you have children, you will have to clean up messes often and you know that kids can be hard on furniture. Make sure the table is made of something durable and is easy to wipe off. Tables that need special cleaners are inconvenient when you are in a hurry so you should consider that when purchasing a breakfast nook table.

Breakfast Nook Chairs

Once you have chosen the piece of furniture you will sit around, the next step is to choose what you will sit on. There are two main categories of breakfast nook seating. The first is chairs and the second is a breakfast nook bench. It is quite common for there to be a combination of the two around a table as well.

The benefits of using chairs are that they are sometimes more comfortable. If you are a person of large size then it is more comfortable for you to sit on a seat that supports your entire bottom rather than a bench that might only support part. Another advantage to chairs is that they give the occupants personal space. If you are going to be entertaining at all, then you might want to allow your guests the option of sitting in their own personal seat. Benches require a certain amount of intimacy and closeness that not everyone would be comfortable with. Thirdly, it is easier to pull out a single chair to sit on than an entire bench. If only one person wants to sit down, it is awkward to pull out the whole bench by yourself. If you try to only move one end then you end up sitting at a strange angle. Chairs make it easier for individuals to find their place at the table. Finally, choosing to use chairs means that you can be more flexible when choosing your breakfast nook set. If you decide on a modern style then you are much more likely to find a set of furniture that includes chairs than benches. Benches are typically used in very specific styles. Chairs give you a wider range of possibilities. If you end up going with chairs consider picking up a set of breakfast nook cushions.

However, there are pluses to using benches as well. Benches can accommodate more people in the same amount of space taken up by chairs. If you have a large family then benches could be the key to making more of the limited amount of space that you have. In addition to seating more people, they can help maximize your space in the entire breakfast nook. Corner breakfast nooks are great space savers. If you put a bench in the corner of the room and then put a rectangular table right up to the benches you can have a larger table in your room than you could if you had to pull chairs in and out on all four sides of the table. One final advantage is that benches are often equipped with storage underneath the seating area. You can use this space to store anything from kitchen linens or small kitchen appliances that take up space in cabinets or on countertops to art supplies or games that are used often in the room. Everyone can agree that extra storage is always good and that you can always find something to put in it.

Other Furniture

There are many different breakfast nook designs and depending on which one you choose, you might be able to fit in additional pieces of furniture. My mother has a small table sitting under one window that is only about one foot wide and about four feet long. She uses it to hold small plants and knick-knacks. If your kitchen does not have a lot of windows and natural light, you might have to compensate by adding a floor lamp, ceiling light fixture, or maybe even a simple chandelier. Since most people want to accommodate as many people at the table as possible there usually is not much room for other furniture. But, if you have the room make sure that the theme of the room is continued in any piece you add.

Decorating Your Breakfast Nook

As I have said before, the breakfast nook is not a large room. But, that does not mean that you can not decorate it tastefully and add character to the space. There are many ways to add color and personality to the room. One way is with the breakfast nook cushions. The chairs and/or benches should have some cushioning to them.  It might be nice to able to sit up at the table so don’t go overboard with the cushioning. Whatever padding you choose, make sure that the color compliments some color in the kitchen like in the counters or cabinet hardware. Another way to add color and continue your decorating theme is with the window coverings. There are an incredibly large number of styles and colors to choose from when picking out blinds or curtains. This is a great opportunity to use a utilitarian element to make an influential decorating statement. Whatever you breakfast nook plans are, you have plenty of other opportunities to add decorating elements like the lighting fixtures, place mats, center pieces, wall art, and even accents in the table or chairs such as tile borders or painted stenciling.

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