When an interior designer talks about breakfast nooks they could mean one of two things. Some people use the phrase breakfast nook to refer to the room just off of a kitchen where they put a breakfast table and chairs. Other people use that phrase to refer to the furniture that fills the room. Either way is correct. There are certain attributes that are typical for both the breakfast nook room and breakfast nook furniture.
What Makes a Room a Breakfast Nook?
People use the term breakfast nook to refer to a wide variety of rooms, so there is no hard and fast rule for what constitutes a breakfast nook and what doesn’t. In general, if the room holds a breakfast table and some kind of seating, it can be referred to as the breakfast nook.
Breakfast nooks usually have windows. While not a requirement, natural light and lots of windowed walls are quite common in breakfast nooks. Studies have shown that some people actually feel less depressed and are more productive if they are exposed to sunlight during the day. What better way to start your day than in front of some windows letting in natural light. Please keep in mind that if there are windows in your breakfast nook, you must have window treatments of some kind. You do not want the harsh light of a sunrise or sunset to be in someone’s eyes as they eat. The window treatments are actually a plus because they give the homeowner or decorator a way to decorate the breakfast nook. In a room with little furniture except a table and chairs and no extra room, the window treatments are one of the few opportunities to add color and texture.
Another characteristic of most breakfast nooks is that they are actually little nooks or areas not common to the rest of the house. Many breakfast nooks are square footage that juts out away from the rest of the house. Again, this is not a requirement, but it allows for the extra windows and it means you do not have to give up kitchen counter space to have kitchen seating. This feature is particularly nice if you want a breakfast nook for a round kitchen table. It is easy to make the breakfast nook octagonal in shape with windows on each side of the half octagon. Rooms that are actually circular are harder to build and would be much more expensive if you are remodeling or building a home.
Yet another attribute of breakfast nook is that they should just flow from the kitchen. There is rarely a wall or even a change in flooring between the kitchen and the kitchen nook. It really is not a separate room and that is one reason that some people call it an eat in kitchen rather than give the area a separate name. Those people are usually referring to a breakfast nook set when they say breakfast nook.
Characteristics of Breakfast Nook Furniture
Breakfast nook furniture is pretty simple because it mostly consists of a breakfast table and some seating. However, there are different options for seating and the materials of construction and styles of breakfast nook sets are quite varied. No matter how the rest of your kitchen or home is decorated, there is kitchen furniture for you.
Your first option for seating in the kitchen is a set with a breakfast nook bench. Bench seating has many advantages over chair seating. First, you can fit more people at the table if you use benches than if you use chairs. A good estimate is that you can fit approximately one and a half people for every chair. Large families will appreciate the extra seating space without having to get a larger table. Second, benches often come equipped with under the seat storage compartments. A breakfast nook with storage is very helpful to a homeowner because the kitchen is one room where you can never get enough storage. People use this space under their breakfast nook furniture to store small kitchen appliances that they do not use every day like bread makers or rice cookers. They also use it to store things like table linens, extra food, or art and school supplies.
Your second option for breakfast nook seating is chairs. If you do not have an especially large family that you have to seat very meal and you use your breakfast nook set to entertain guests, then chairs are a good choice. Chairs are a bit less informal than benches and it is more comfortable for a guest to sit in their own chair than to share a bench with someone they do not know well. Benches force an intimacy that many people are not comfortable sharing with strangers. In addition, chairs are more comfortable for the most part than benches because a good chair will have a seat that is shaped to a person’s body. I find that it is best to have a little of both worlds. Breakfast nooks with a combination of chairs and benches are quite popular because they give you the extra room and storage of benches but still allow guests to feel comfortable at your table.
A third seating option is stools. If you have a high top breakfast table or a pub table in your kitchen, then you will be forced to use stools rather than chairs. Stools are also popular if you plan to use your kitchen island as a breakfast bar. Some kitchens are too small for large pieces of breakfast nook furniture so they use rolling kitchen islands that come equipped with a drop leaf a few stools.
A breakfast nook set is not complete without a table. The shape of the table should match the shape of the room so that you can utilize the space in the most efficient way possible. The table should also be as big as possible so that you can accommodate as many people as possible. When measuring for your breakfast table, make sure to measure the entire breakfast nook and then subtract three feet from each dimension to allow for an eighteen inch buffer around the table. Those eighteen inches are to allow room for chairs to be pulled in and out. One way to increase the size of your table is to purchase a corner breakfast nook set. That will decrease the buffer to about twelve inches or less on two sides.