Retro kitchen and dining nook. This small eating nook would work well in a house with midcentury aspirations. It's plain and simple but has been well decorated with a set of shelves that also acts as a divider. The wall map is a retro classroom touch that can encourage guests to share after‐dinner stories of their world travels. Decorating the area with fun travel posters from faraway places can also encourage the exchange of personal travel stories and tips for future adventures.
Geometric play. This small dining nook was designed by Kimball Starr Interior Design in San Francisco. Starr says her clients wanted the area off the kitchen to be used as an activity nook for playing board games with friends; she added a touch of grown‐up glamour with impressive geometric pendants and a custom banquette upholstered in a playful fabric.
Covered dining. This dining space has a wood alcove built up and over a table creating an elegant dining space that looks like a private dining booth in an upscale bistro. The mix of materials from the timber paneling to the channeled upholstery and stone table adds sophistication to the alcove's slick urban look.
Restaurant‐style doors and globe chandelier. Why not make the door a design feature? Restaurant‐style swinging doors with circular glass insets bring energy to the kitchen here while a chandelier made up of globe lights in different hues echoes the shape of the round panes in the door.
Swing‐arm sconce. A swing‐arm sconce designed to extend over the table (like the one shown here) is an unexpected alternative to the traditional chandelier and can work even for renters if you choose a plug‐in version. Because the bulb is exposed you'll need to use a lower‐watt filament bulb to create that lovely soft glow. But because one low‐watt bulb is not enough to light a room on its own it is necessary to supplement with additional lighting – try a second sconce or a pair of lamps atop a credenza.
Budget box. Make the most of a breakfast nook by installing a complete compartment that keeps diners out of the way of the cooking action in the kitchen. Additionally those on a budget will benefit from copying the style of the boxed‐in nook pictured here. Inexpensive wood can be painted white to make the area bright. To add value choose a more expensive tabletop and treat it with a good sealant oil to keep it looking good with use.
Corner window seat and decals. Storage‐filled bench seats tucked into a corner are cozy and practical fitting plenty of people at the breakfast table. Pep up the corner with a few fun and easy‐to‐apply window decals that pick up a hue in your bench cushions.
Different chairs at the ends. The end chairs don't need to be upholstered to be different – a pair in a style that's different from the rest is all you need to mix things up. Here café chairs are on the long sides of the table and beautiful cane‐back side chairs are at the ends.