I’ve often dreamt of a place I can go, early in the morning, when my eyes aren’t quite open and my brain is still in between dreams, where I can cuddle up in a ball, sip some coffee, and eat a piece of toast or two in the shimmer of the morning sun before I begin my day.

That place has a name, of course: it’s called a breakfast nook. And I imagine it existing, not in the area between my dining room and kitchen—as is the case in most homes—but at the very back of my house, just behind the laundry room.

I’ve thought about this area so often, I sometimes wonder if it’ll ever be built. (Or when it does, if it’ll be as serene or as dream-worthy as I wish it to be.)

Regardless, like I said, I’ve thought a lot about it, and in my ruminations, I’ve come across a number of items worth wondering about before it’s time to bring in the wood and hammer in the nails.

Let’s start with the sunlight.

1. Where Will the Breakfast Nook Go?

Traditionally speaking, breakfast nooks make for an ideal addition to any kitchen. They also work rather well when connected to a formal dining room. And they’re especially accessible when pinned between the two—customarily speaking.

But who needs classical convention in the era of iPhones and extreme personalization?

You know what I say? I say put that breakfast nook wherever you want it to go. Just make sure it aligns with the following criteria, otherwise it won’t be a breakfast nook so much as a breakfast table sitting awkwardly in a random room.

  • It must be near a window; and preferably one that gets plenty of indirect morning sunlight. Because the only real difference between a dining room and a breakfast nook, minus the size, is an abundance of natural light.
  • It must be in a nook-ish area. If there aren’t walls or windows surrounding your breakfast nook on at least three of its sides, then it won’t be as cozy, as cool, or as comfortable as you’d like it to be.
  • It must be close to the kitchen; or at least on the same floor. Otherwise you’ll end up sloshing hot coffee on the carpet and ruining your morning mood as you traipse up and down the stairs.

2. How Will the Breakfast Nook Be Used?

hands playing games on a breakfast tableWhile the word breakfast is in the name, that doesn’t mean you’ll only be eating on it or you’ll only be using it at the start of your day. (What would be the point of that?)

Modern breakfast nooks are used for a variety of different activities these days that have nothing to do with stuffing your face before nine o’clock in the morning. They’re used for reading, playing board games, doing homework, doing work work, arts and crafts, DIY, you name it. (You can even *gasp* eat dinner there if you and your family are feeling rebellious.)

That’s why, depending on the activities you and yours plan to pursue in this new awesome area, you should take the time to consider the design. If you’re a reader like me, then a built-in bookshelf would be an ideal addition. If your family loves games, some extra storage space for boards, cards, pieces, and dice would be nice. If it’s only for eating, plan to have plenty of space for gut-busting brunches.

Speaking of which…

3. What About the Breakfast Table?

Sometimes the most obvious items are the easiest to overlook. And while you’re thinking about all those activities and necessary designs—and daydreaming about that first plate of bacon and eggs you’ll be eating in the basking rays of the rising sun—you can end up forgetting about the highly-prized item that will ultimately determine the size, shape, style, and height of the area you’re hoping to transform.

So, before you measure the area and settle on the size of the seating, you should drive by some antique markets and furniture stores to better understand what’s out there. (You can also look online, but it’s a lot harder to measure and gauge the space.)

Shop around. Take some notes. Get inspired. Just have a good idea of the type of table you want to buy, and how it works within the space, before you go breaking down walls and buying loads of wood.

4. Build It In? Or Pick It Out?

couple looking at a computer and blueprintsThere’s a common misconception about breakfast nooks. A lot of people seem to think that the seating—and sometimes even the table—need to be nailed, bracketed, and directly built into the wall. But in all honesty, there’s no need to tear up your house just so there’s a space to sit and sip your coffee in the morning or play games with the family.

A stylish bistro table. A sectional couch. Even a simple loveseat. There are several items out there that can help you easily create the comfortable and cozy allure of an early morning getaway space. If you are looking for a perfectly customized space, talk to a professional kitchen remodeler.

Again, shop around. Take some notes. And don’t let the box-style shape of the breakfast nook box you into thinking that it can only be done one way.

5. Crazy Colors? White on White? What’s My Style?

When it comes to modern breakfast nooks, simplicity is key. And with simplicity comes calm, cooling colors, shades and themes that set a scene of serenity and relaxation.

White is the more commonly used hue, but that doesn’t mean the space needs to look like a psych ward. Pops and swaths of a particular pattern do awesome to break up the paint. Lavender pillows and well-aged wooden furniture bring the outdoors in. And even something as easy as fresh fruit on a high-top table can create a minimalist vibe that’s comfortable, convenient, and clutter free.

You Be You with Your Breakfast Nook

woman eating toast at a breakfast tableThe wonderful thing about breakfast nooks—apart from being the perfect place to spend your Sunday mornings—are that they can provide inspiration for the rest of your home.

If you take the time to consider the color, the size, the style, the location, the need, and the type of table you want to use in the area, it can make for an amazing jumping off point for a full-home makeover. (Or, if you’re simply interested in adding a very useful half-room to your home, it can make for an outstanding centerpiece for the style that’s already there.)

Just remember, at the end of the day, the space is yours, and you should do what you want with it. And if you need any help with the design or creation, you know who to call.