The Breakfast Nook

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  • Get all the details for a charming Breakfast Nook, including our breakfast nook table and how to decorate a warm and cozy dining table nook in your home.

    breakfast nook

    From the moment we toured this house, I knew this space had potential to be great. It’s taken several years and a variety of changes to bring it to life.

    What Is A Breakfast Nook?

    A nook is generally defined as a small part of a room (separate from the rest of the room), or a slightly secluded separate space near your kitchen. Often, breakfast nooks in the past featured a built-in table or banquette seating, which enhanced the cozy, casual feeling of a vintage kitchen.

    We were lucky enough to see the potential in this space as a breakfast nook for casual dining. While we do have a formal dining room, this is the space where we frequently dine together as a family. Kitchen dining is much more in line with the way we live day to day, although I will always love setting a more formal table on occasion!

    breakfast nook ideas

    For me, the breakfast nook is one of the most important spaces in our home. It’s where the girls’ day begins, chatting over bowls of cereal and fruit, and where we come together as a family in the evening. I always envisioned lingering around the table long after dinner, talking about our day and playing board games.

    It’s fun to bring that vision to life, creating a space to spend quality time with our family and entertain friends.

    Creating A Cozy Breakfast Nook In Your Home

    It appeared that what is now our breakfast nook was a bonus room for the previous owners. The beautiful view was somewhat hindered due to blinds inside the windows and doors {learn how to add light to a room here}.

    breakfast nook before
    BEFORE

    After living in it for a few months, we realized exactly what the room needed and over the past several years, it has evolved significantly. We redefined the space as a breakfast nook. The previous owners had a small kitchen table near between the island and mudroom. It impeded with the walkway and felt cramped.

    You can see the layout of our home below  and the original oak kitchen here for reference.

    Moving the eating area to the adjacent room immediately made our home feel larger and more functional. It added a nice flow which is really important in a traditional home filled with walls.

    In the first week or two we lived in our home we removed all the blinds from the windows to allow the light to flow in and painted the walls. Both are very quick fixes to add light.

    You’ll notice in the before photo, there wasn’t a light, which made this space unusable after 5 pm over 4 months out of the year. We hung a raw brass lantern over the dining table which instantly added character. The casual feel of this piece is perfect for adding a warm glow early in the morning or late into the night. You can find it right here!

    Next, we replaced the linoleum with wood floors. Unfortunately, a new roof, followed by significant leak and a second new roof ensued. The wall had to be replaced, but the wood floors eventually dried out and went back into place. (One of the many reasons I prefer sand and stain wood floors to engineered wood floors.)

    Art in a Breakfast Nook

    Still, the breakfast nook lacked warmth. I needed something to balance the patio doors and windows. A few years ago, I saw this casual dining room with brick flooring and an oversized cow painting (original source unknown) and started my almost absurd cow painting search.

    breakfast nook with cow painting, lantern, beams, brick floors, wood table

    For a few years, I was unsuccessful, but finally came across this similar cow painting from Ballard Designs from my now friend, Carylon Killebrew. I was beyond excited to finally add her to our home. She’s a charming addition that adds a lot of character to the space.

    cow painting over breakfast nook table

    casual dining room decorating ideas

    The Search For The Perfect Breakfast Nook Table

    No breakfast room is complete without our first purchase, a table! We purchased a Restoration Hardware baluster table first, followed by a trestle table. If you’re considering purchasing one of these tables for your breakfast nook (or anywhere!), I highly recommend that you read these posts, as well as the comments and answers to questions.

    breakfast nook table

    I collected antique chairs and an array of chairs on sale to give our table a relaxed, eclectic feel, vs a traditional dining set look. I think that’s the goal of a breakfast nook: a space that feels cozy, warm and collected. (That actually how I want to describe all of my home decor, now that I think about it!)

    Our table is set for 6 in our breakfast nook unless we’re anticipating company. With leaves it seats 14! We adjust the table to pull it toward the wall with the cow painting to accommodate everyone as there is a small bump out on the other side of the space where the kitchen cabinetry is.

    The Right Rug For Your Nook Table

    Let’s not judge my floors, okay? They looked clean until I saw this close-up. That brings me to my next addition – the rug!

    I fell head over heels in love with this rug online, but love how soft it feels on our feet even more. It gave the room the traditional style I was looking for, in addition to eliminating an echo from Isla. She only has one volume, and it’s not low.

    wood nook table and chairs

    But you know me, it was a lot of color to commit to. After several years enjoying that lovely rug, we chose a vintage turkish rug. I wanted something with a  subtle color palette and I love the character that vintage rugs can bring to a room. You can read more about my obsession with vintage Turkish rugs right here along with my favorite sources to find your perfect rug.

    Did you know that ideally, your dining table rug should reach at least 24 inches on all sides of your table? This allows your chairs to scoot in and out effortlessly. I don’t mind breaking the rules occasionally though, and this rug is the perfect fit under our long and narrow breakfast nook table.

    Adding Character To Your Kitchen Dining Space

    We had shadow box trim installed to add character and balance the windows and doors. I absolutely love it! We had it painted the same color, but in a different sheen for depth rather than contrast.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t love the first paint color we used and it’s now been repainted in Navajo White. (I’m not perfect and neither are my decisions – sometimes it’s just trial and error.)

    breakfast nook with lots of windows

    Navajo White is a warm white that works really well for spaces that receive a lot of natural light, especially Northern light that tends to read blue. You can see how creamy it looks against true white molding. We had that painted in the same color but again in semi-gloss for a hint of contrast.

    Our kitchen dining space has a vaulted ceiling.  If the ceiling were painted white, the eye would stop at the top of the wall. To give the illusion of more space, we painted the ceiling in the same color.

    You can see the difference here. The first is with a white ceiling.

    beautiful farmhouse kitchen / breakfast nook

    and second painted the same color as the walls. I highly recommend it for all vaulted ceilings or heavy creams.

    breakfast nook with wood table brass lantern and cow painting

    and again below you’ll see the contrast of trim just before it was painted. You’ll see just below that how rich it looks to go tone on tone.

    how to decorate your kitchen or breakfast room

    You know I love versatile pieces and this brass table also from my friends at Ballard Designs is no exception! I’ve had my eye on it since we purchased our living room furniture 4 years ago. The kitchen bumps out into our breakfast nook, creating this tiny little corner that needed something.

    breakfast nook furniture

    I selected this brass tray table because it’s a beautiful accent piece for everyday, but also makes a great bar cart for entertaining. It’s easy to move, so we can also use it in our nearby outdoor living room or dining room.

    breakfast room ideas

    Ever the utilitarian decorator who appreciates minimalist living, I hung platters that can be easily removed when we needed for entertaining. You can find them in my friend Chloe of Boxwood Avenue’s shop!

    and a miniature lemon tree that gives the room a little life and fragrance while supplying us with juicy Meyer lemons (in 6 months). This little lemon tree is teaching me that all good things are worth waiting for. Of course I put it in a basket for a little charm.

    beautiful breakfast room and kitchen decorating ideas

    You can see more of our breakfast nook in the video below! Click subscribe for more decorating ideas.

    I hope you enjoyed this tour of our breakfast nook! It has taken time and effort, but it’s now one of my favorite space in our home. Do you have a breakfast nook in your home, or are you planning to add one? I’d love to hear!

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