10 breakfast nook ideas to create a cosy corner in your kitchen

The perfect spot to curl up with a morning coffee or enjoy a casual dinner

Bench and table nook in kitchen with pendant fluted lights
(Image credit: Future)

Everyone wants their home to look as beautiful as possible but above all else, it has to work for you, which is why breakfast nooks are the latest dining must-have for everyday living. 

With open-plan kitchens on the rise, we're seeing fewer separate dining rooms in modern homes and an increase in dual-purpose living spaces that inspire casual dinner parties and family-oriented mealtimes. A breakfast nook is a desirable feature for a kitchen as it provides a spot for that all-important morning coffee, speedy after-school dinners and everything in-between.  

But if you have a small kitchen that is trickier to squeeze a breakfast nook into, or you're just not sure how to design a kitchen to its full potential while keeping plenty of room for cooking, you might want some ideas to get you started. From inviting built-in benches to decor tips for zoning your nook, it will be simple to start planning your new seating area. 

Breakfast nook ideas

Breakfast nooks are slowly replacing traditional dining rooms and provide a far more relaxed vibe that is perfect for both everyday life and hosting for special occasions. It's a great opportunity to lean into a traditional kitchen design with layered patterns and upholstery to create a cosy spot to curl up in, but you can adapt it to suit your style and the needs of your household.  

'Designing cosy nooks within a space is an excellent way of creating a sense of comfort, relaxation and solace whilst making the ultimate use of the space available. These types of areas are perfect for corners of the room, spaces where beams, partition walls or classic old features 'stick out' or the so-called 'dead space' where maybe not much else fits, advises William Durrant, owner of Herringbone

1. Personalise with bespoke upholstery

Kitchen with breakfast nook with built-in bench and table.

(Image credit: Future)

Built-in benches are a core component of a breakfast nook, and they offer the opportunity to pack in plenty of personality - with little commitment. You can easily DIY a cushion cover for your bench and this allows you to swap the fabric out as your tastes change - or it inevitably gets splashed with food or drink. 

Micro-stripes are a great option for a breakfast nook to reflect the bistro-inspired aesthetic, but it's also a great chance to go bold with a statement pattern to spruce up the look of your kitchen. 

2. Add warmth with wood

Wooden panelled breakfast nook in kitchen with green cushions.

(Image credit: Future)

A breakfast nook is the ideal area to leisurely enjoy a cup of tea and read your book come a weekend or equally catch up with family as the evening draws in. It's an inviting space to sit in, so incorporating wood tones will extend this feeling even further. 

Whether this is through a wooden table, a bench or even panelling and cupboards that extend to the entire kitchen design, it will make the nook look lived in. 

3. Create a built-in bench with wall panelling

Kitchen with red wall panelling in breakfast nook area

(Image credit: Future/Anna Stathaki)

If cafe culture is the feeling you're after then adding a wall panelling idea will make your breakfast nook feel just like your favourite coffee spot. It grounds the area so that it feels homely and perfect for long lazy brunches, while also zoning the spot so that it differentiates from the main kitchen. 

Zoning is an important thing to consider when planning a kitchen as it will transform how you use the room to its full potential. Depending on where the breakfast nook is situated and how large it is will change how naturally people gather around it and interact with those cooking. By using wall panelling as a marker of a dining spot, the breakfast nook is separate visually but still connected in the larger layout. 

4. Add ambience with pendant lights

Bench and table nook in kitchen with pendant fluted lights

(Image credit: Future)

Kitchen lighting ideas are one of the most important, but often forgotten, features of a well-designed space. It greatly impacts how well you can use the space, especially around preparation and cooking areas. However, it's just as essential for adding ambience to the cosy corners of your kitchen, such as above a breakfast nook. 

One of the biggest 2024 kitchen trends focuses on 'cafe-core' spaces that feel just as luxurious as your favourite places to enjoy a weekend brunch but in the comfort of your home. 

Kate Duckworth, trends and interior expert at Swift Direct Blinds, recommends to 'Use pendant lamps and fairy lights to add soft lighting.' Positioning pendant lights over the breakfast nook gives it a dedicated source of light while adding interest up above. 

5. Make a bistro table work for a small space

Breakfast nook in small white gloss kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

Working seating into small kitchen ideas can be tricky, but they deserve breakfast nooks too. Instead of looking towards built-in benches and bespoke cabinetry for inspiration, shift your attention to bistro tables for a compact kitchen-friendly approach. 

Having a smaller table with space for a couple of chairs is likely all you need for a casual perching spot especially if you're not looking to use it as a more permanent dining area. Ideal for waiting while dinner is in the oven or your coffee is brewing, a bistro table fills the void for a dedicated nook. 

6. Focus on natural light

Kitchen breakfast nook next to large window

(Image credit: Future)

If you're planning a kitchen layout and wondering where to position a breakfast nook, then looking towards the light will be your best bet. 

Access to natural light first thing in the morning is proven to be extremely beneficial to our wellbeing, so where better to sit for your breakfast? In summer you can open up the window first thing to let in the day while winter provides the perfect opportunity to feel snug indoors.

7. Go for a patterned approach

Breakfast nook with built-in bench in kitchen

(Image credit: Herringbone)

A breakfast nook can be brought to life by pattern and textured upholstery - whether that's through cushions, table linen or wallpaper. 

'A breakfast nook bench can help to zone certain areas as well as creating ample seating space without taking up as much room as dining room chairs', says Tom Howley, creative design director. Instead, you can add that visual interest back into the design with contrasting colours and patterns.  'Disguise bench seating with cladding and the same paint colour as your cabinetry,' Tom adds. 'You can also soften the edges with bespoke cushions and fabrics.'

8. Push up against a wall

Breakfast nook in kitchen pushed up against a wall

(Image credit: Future)

A breakfast nook doesn't necessarily have to be in the corner of a room, built into the kitchen design. If you're struggling for space or have just decided that a corner nook wouldn't work well for the Feng Shui of your kitchen, creating your own breakfast area by pushing a table up against a wall is just as useful. 

It means you have the option to pull the table out and utilise each side for seating if you don't have a separate dining area, but for the most part, it's kept tucked out of the way. This works especially well with country kitchen ideas where an eclectic and relaxed aesthetic is right at home. 

9. Utilise seating for extra storage

Breakfast nook with bench in corner of kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

Kitchen storage is an essential consideration for any design, and including it as a hidden factor throughout your space will ensure every inch is utilised to its full potential. 

If you're going for a built-in bench for your breakfast nook, then consider adding in drawers to the base. Push-to-open drawers will make it easy to access additional crockery or linens (things you don't use regularly will be best placed here) while making the seat into a lid will make it handy for storing extra appliances. 

10. Create a cafe aesthetic

deVOL kitchen with light pink walls and cafe curtains on windows

(Image credit: deVOL)

Embracing the whimsical look of a breakfast nook will give your kitchen natural character and the finishing touches, like cafe curtains, are what will make it shine.  

Adding soft materials through curtains and table linen will make a nook feel more intimate, while also adding privacy if your kitchen windows are overlooked. Opting for a slightly sheer linen or voile will keep the area light and airy with an antique touch that is well-suited to the style of the seating. 


How to create a breakfast nook for small spaces

Breakfast nooks can be trickier to include in small kitchens as they typically include built-in cabinetry and seating that takes up more room. However, by opting for a standalone bistro table with stools, or going down the bespoke route, we'll allow you to squeeze a casual seating spot into a compact kitchen. 

'Using bespoke banquette seating benches work well because they can be custom made to fit your nook, whilst being incredibly functional as they can hold a lot of storage - another way of making the best of your space,' advises William Durrant. 

It's all about doubling up functionality and style in a small space, so think about how you can make use of seating for additional storage, or consider how your table and chairs can be pulled into another room when hosting. Choosing moveable pieces will give you more flexibility in switching the layout up when you need more or less floor space.

All that's left is to brew your preferred hot drink, grab a snack and enjoy your new cosy space...

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).