Cafe corner ideas – learn how to embrace the 'cafecore' trend with our 6 design ideas

Instill the feeling of your favorite coffee shop into your kitchen with these interior-designer-approved tips to help you embrace 'Cafecore'

cafecore coffee corners in your kitchen
(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens / Cathy Nordstrom / East London Cloth)

According to Pinterest's 2024 predictions, 'Cafecore' is set to revolutionize kitchen aesthetics by bringing the allure of your favorite coffee shop right into the heart of your home. And it's big news over on TikTok, too.

If you're looking to turn your kitchen from utilitarian to uber-charming – the Cafecore kitchen trend could be just what you're looking for. Echoing the most welcoming of cafes, it's all about inviting you and your guests to curl up with a hot beverage and enjoy a comforting corner of your kitchen, without the formality of a dining table. Sound rather pleasant? We think so too.

For those of us guilty of romanticizing that first coffee of the day, it seems fitting to dedicate an intimate corner or coffee nook to building a beautiful at-home brewing station, complete with bistro-style tables and chairs, or warm and welcoming banquette seating ideas with a color palette to match. Here, we delve into the nuances behind the trend to find out how a coffee corner could help you slow down, savor those daily rituals, and transform your space into a living kitchen.

How To Create A Coffee Corner In Your Kitchen

navy blue breakfast or coffee nook with patterned floor tiles

(Image credit: Plaster & Patina / Photography Bryan Miller)

To help you carve out a corner that echoes the comfort of your favorite coffee spot, we've tapped into the minds of interior designers to get their take on how to create nooks in your home

The beauty of this idea is that it doesn't require tons of square footage. 'I've been pushing comfortable seating in kitchens for years so I'm excited to finally be on trend,' says designer Bethany Adams. 'To start, you must have the restraint to not wrap your entire kitchen in cabinetry and leave one wall open for a cafe corner.  Built-in banquettes are lovely, but for ultimate flexibility, a little settee and cafe table or two comfy chairs are perfect to have a friend for coffee, a morning cuddle with the dog, or a glass of wine with your partner after a long day.'

In stark contrast to a separate dining room, which can be a more formal space to gather family and friends, a coffee corner is the art of creating a casual space that naturally invites connection and conversation. Just like your favorite table at your favorite cafe.

'That feeling you get when you go out to eat can easily be created in your kitchen or breakfast nook,' says Kristina Khersonsky, founder of Studio Keeta. 'Cafecore is romanticizing something as simple as your morning coffee at home, and adding the extra layer of comfort for you to feel like you have your very own cafe at home. It just takes a little effort with the small details for a big impact,' she advises. So let's get into the details. 

1. Select bistro-style table and chairs

bistro table and chairs in a corner of a muted kitchen by devol with checkerboard marble floor

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

To infuse your kitchen with an air of Parisian charm or an independent coffeehouse, choose a little bistro table and chairs to set the stage for your cafe corner. Not only do they barely take up any space, but they are dainty and charming kitchen seating ideas, too.

'I love the idea of taking advantage of unused spaces in your kitchen by leaning to a cafe corner aesthetic,' says interior designer Kathy Kuo. 'The key to success is to choose a smaller cafe table with minimal footprint and plan to only put two chairs around it,' she suggests. 'Bistro chairs in woven materials look great in an instance like this, and they're lightweight and easy to move if you end up needing to free up kitchen space on occasion.'

As Kathy suggests, seats with a woven or rattan base will bring a vintage feel to the space, while tables made from wrought iron or marble with cast iron bases offer a stylish departure from wood. Consider the size of your kitchen, the smaller your coffee nook the best suited you'll be to a round table that promotes intimacy and simple chairs that tuck neatly underneath. 

2. Or instead, build a banquette

patterned upholstered dining nook with floral wall art

(Image credit: Alexandra Kaehler Burling / Photography Aimée Mazzenga)

Think of all the hallmarks of your favorite coffee shop – we can almost guarantee comfy seating is high on that list. A banquette is an excellent choice for creating casual and inviting seating in the corner of your kitchen or dining space, offering a comfortable spot to enjoy your morning coffee or unwind with a book. It's all about encouraging you to linger a little longer.

'In addition to creating a more intimate dining experience, a small bench seat is so flexible – it can be used for occasional working from home/homework or having coffee or cocktails with friends,' suggests Tiffany Duggan, founder of Studio Duggan. A banquette, similar to cozying up together on the couch, helps to foster a sense of togetherness that formal chairs cannot.

'They are also excellent space savers as the bench (unlike a dining chair) can sit right against the wall. Creating a cozy banquette is an excellent way of adding both interest and practical use to a dark, bland corner and is often a real focal point of a kitchen,' adds Tiffany.

When planning your banquette seating ideas, consider including custom storage hidden away in the bench seat and choose plush cushions and throw pillows in coordinating colors and patterns.

3. Invest in essential brewing equipment

yellow pantry cupboard appliance garage painted in farrow and ball hay

(Image credit: Alice Grace Interiors)

Investing in good coffee-making equipment is the key to achieving that perfect cup. So, to physically bring the coffee shop to your kitchen, try to dedicate a specific area to set up your at-home coffee station. Whether it's a moveable bar cart, an appliance garage, or a pantry cupboard, set up a spot where you can display your mugs, store coffee beans, and house your coffee machine and teapot (we don't discriminate on tea drinkers here).

'Cafecore is the idea of turning to our local and favorite coffee shops for design inspiration, and implementing it in our own homes,' explains Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport. 'It can be as simple as finding the perfect container to store your coffee beans, a syrup station, or a dedicated coffee pantry which houses just about everything you could ever need to make the perfect cup of coffee.' 

'A dedicated coffee cupboard is the way to go,' suggests Richard. 'Often in the form of a double kitchen cabinet, hidden behind the doors are your coffee machine, pods, beans, syrups, and mugs. Everything is neatly stored to reduce visual clutter in the kitchen, you simply open up the doors to make your morning brew.'

4. Add cafe curtains to windows or under cabinetry

corner of a kitchen with muted pink walls and a bistro set of chairs with cafe style curtains

(Image credit: East London Cloth)

You might have already heard, but trending in a big way in 2024 is the humble cafe curtain. To be used on windows to conceal either the top or bottom half, or to replace doors on cabinetry for a whimsical, cottage kitchen idea – they strike a delicate balance between privacy and openness, allowing natural light to peep through.

'The cafe curtain is not only the prettiest of window coverings, but it is actually a very useful and authentic method of sectioning off a room, hiding a view, or creating privacy,' suggests Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL Kitchens. 'Look to create an intimate coffee corner by draping vintage lace in your window or simply add a touch of Parisian cafe culture to your home with deVOL's aged brass cafe curtain rails.'

Opt for fabrics that complement your color scheme and overall design. Sheer linens or lightweight cottons can enhance the airy, welcoming atmosphere you're aiming for.

Studio Keeta founder Kristina Khersonsky, agrees. 'Add vintage cafe curtains to your windows to soften the space. Cafes usually decorate with a curated collection of ceramic mugs, plates, and coffee spoons consider adding vintage or vintage-inspired coffee cup sets, and even go a step further by displaying them on open shelving to give a cafe feel.'

5. Soften with muted colors and cozy textures

breakfast or coffee table nook with a small archway and french doors and a bistro table and iron chairs

(Image credit: Studio Keeta)

The beauty of recreating a coffee hub at home is being able to perfect a calm atmosphere, away from the hustle and bustle of a busy cafe. To really cash in on that feeling, try softening the space with a palette of hushed tones and cozy, warming textures.

Cafecore is all about creating a space in your home to retreat into with a hot drink of your choice and your book/laptop/crocheting. So you want to think about colors and patterns that will allow you to relax into the space. 

'Because you are creating a separate space within a larger room, you can take a bit more creative liberty to use surfaces and design elements that may not appear anywhere else in the space,' suggests Luis Carmona, founder and designer at Verde. 'Perhaps a different medium or color palette can be used to further make this space stand out on its own. The easiest way to do this is by using paint to accent a space, and the same goes for textures such as wallpaper, wooden slats, or tile,' he suggests.

If you're wondering, what are the most relaxing colors to decorate with? There are two schools of thought: look to nature or look to coffee to inspire. Think soft, muted hues like subtle pinks, soft blues, and gentle earth tones to provide a serene backdrop for your cafe corner. Or, turn to warm creams, caramels, and moody mocha shades for something more cocooning (and on theme!). Be sure to layer textures and textiles – from smooth marble countertops to plump cushions and soft throws for curling up with.

6. Add ambient light, art and accessories to personalize

upholstered banquette coffee nook seat with antique wooden table and wall light on an arm

(Image credit: Cathy Nordström / Photography Fanny Radvik)

Of course, no space feels truly "designed" without finishing touches like wall decor ideas, lighting, and accessories. Consider open shelving with hooks to display your favorite mugs and stylish accessories, add a curated collection of coffee table books, or keep it simple with a couple of wall plates. These personalized touches create a sense of intimacy and make the space uniquely yours.

Natural light is so important to create an inviting space, but if you're lacking (this is a corner after all), ambient lighting could be the secret ingredient your coffee nook is missing. Consider pendant lights, wall sconces, or picture lights to add warmth and create an inviting atmosphere.

'Adding character to the space by using art, lighting or texture helps it stand out from the surrounding area,' adds Luis Carmona. 'Wall sconces or recessed lighting are both great to emphasize a space while providing accent lighting to a specific task. They also make the space much more functional allowing it to be used during the day and night. With a well-defined nook, you can treat it as a little alcove with its own personality and sense of style.'

From coffee stations to coffee bars and dedicated coffee nooks, it's clear that we've all gone a little caffeine-crazy in 2024. By carving out a corner of your kitchen and dedicating it to your favorite beverage, you'll not only be right on trend but able to give yourself a cozy, comfortable spot reminiscent of a welcoming cafe. 

Charlotte Olby
Style & Trends Editor

Charlotte is style and trends editor at Homes and Gardens, and has been with the team since Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she has worked at many women's glossy magazines including Grazia, Stylist, and Hello and most recently worked as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with her passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome