What is a Breakfast Nook?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A breakfast nook is a small space, often enclosed on three sides and located near or off the kitchen, which many people use for casual dining. Seats and tables in such an area can be diner style, and installed or attached to the floor. Alternately, any small space with a table and chairs for morning, or casual afternoon or evening dining, can be considered a breakfast nook.

A simple breakfast nook.
A simple breakfast nook.

Since breakfast nooks are by nature relatively small, they may only fit four to six diners at most, and sometimes only two. Many people who have these already built in their kitchens also have a formal dining room. With large families, a nook may be too small for a whole family to dine together, but they were often and still remain the perfect place to serve young children breakfast.

A continental breakfast.
A continental breakfast.

Style in these areas varies greatly. Many are located next to or surrounded by windows, so that those seated can have a nice view. It’s a good idea to garden accordingly so that you can provide a pretty view of gardens, trees or flowers. Some people line their breakfast nooks, especially in apartments, with window boxes full of flowers, so if the view is not terrific, at least sunny flowers greet the informal diner. Some do not have windows attached, but simply provide a convenient extra space for serving some meals, and in two person homes, such nooks can provide the main dining space in a home.

You can decide how you’d like to design this space, or create space by adding onto a home, based on what your needs are. Perhaps you need an elegant space with lovely curtains, padded benches and an antique table. A less formal approach would be to add a diner-like booth with vinyl benches and a Formica table. Before you design the space, think about who will give the nook the most use. If it’s a space to feed kids breakfast, consider an informal style that it is easy to clean. If it will be the main dining space for a newly married couple, you might want to strive for elegance and romance.

There are plenty of different furniture styles to choose from when creating the perfect breakfast nook. Simple constructions might include wood tables and several benches or a single bench to surround the table. Measure your nook space carefully, since the small space provided is not forgiving if you add overly large furniture. An unusually sized space, hexagonal instead of rectangular for example, might require custom furniture, or be better suited to chairs than benches.

If you prefer dining in your formal dining room, it isn’t always necessary to keep a breakfast nook as a dining space. It could provide the perfect fit for your home computer, a hutch, or it could be converted into a homework station for children. The only trouble encountered here is that when nooks have large windows, they may be ill suited for electronics equipment, and large hutches can block light to the nook and the areas around it. If the area gets a lot of sun, you may also want to invest in double paned windows and good curtains or shades so that it isn’t too bright, or too hot on sunny days.

A breakfast nook typically offers only enough space for a small plate and drinks, not an entire family meal.
A breakfast nook typically offers only enough space for a small plate and drinks, not an entire family meal.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


"@Sunny27" - I saw a corner breakfast nook that was designed as fifties diner on a television program once.

It was the coolest thing. There was a booth facing the wall and then a table extended outward with no other seating. It really worked with the space because the kitchen was designed with that fifties retro style so it looked perfect.

I know some people prefer to have a granite counter with some bar stools, but I think that the corner nook idea adds more character to the space.


BrickBack - I love the idea of a breakfast nook bench with bright colored cushions. It really allows more space in the kitchen and creates an illusion of a larger space.

The breakfast nook bench with storage really comes in handy if you have a small kitchen and need more storage. By having the extra storage you can create a cleaner and neater space that is easy to maintain.

I know that I use my breakfast nook more than my dining room table. It is just more convenient.


I think that a breakfast nook bench with storage offers a stylish dining option that could enhance the resale value of your home.

Having a bench with storage allows you to store other kitchen items that may not fit in your cupboards. It also allows for a less cluttered kitchen that would be more visually appealing.

Having a breakfast nook bench allows a more casual setting for everyday dining leaving the dining room for dining at night or for special occasions. This will also make it easier to clean up because the kitchen will be getting the majority of the use.

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