How to carve out a cafe-style coffee nook in your home, according to interior designers

As 'Cafecore' is set to become the defining kitchen trend of 2024, we sat down with interior experts to find out their very best coffee nook ideas

how to create a coffee nook at home
(Image credit: Montana Labelle / Alice Grace Interiors / Nigel Hunt)

There's a certain magic in the ritual of brewing a morning cup of coffee. That morning mug or mid-afternoon pick-me-up is a time-honored tradition for many, setting the tone for the day ahead. So what if you could further enhance this experience by carving out a dedicated space in your home with a coffee nook designed exclusively for the joy of sitting down with your morning brew?

Inviting its cozy warmth into our homes, the newly-dubbed 'Cafecore' trend is emerging as one of the biggest kitchen trends for 2024. Going beyond your average coffee station, it’s the art of creating a space reminiscent of your favorite cafe.

Comfortable, functional, and a great banquette seating alternative for those short on space, a coffee nook is a small but mighty spot that can be tailored to work with the flow of your kitchen, dining room, or family room.

Whether you fancy a cafe-style dining spot to sit and sip or a compact coffee bar that exudes an air of at-home cafe ambiance, we've consulted the experts to gather all the inspiration you need.

How to create the perfect coffee nook

So why is the coffee nook so popular? According to designer Clara Jung of Banner Day Interiors, it stems from a commonplace feeling that mornings are often far too hectic. 'Having a morning ritual in a beautifully packaged space will never get old since it provides a moment of joy before the rush of the day takes over,' says Clara.

If space allows, designating a cozy nook with comfortable seating and a table for your coffee is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. To help you create a spot that echoes the comfort, functionality, and social allure of your favorite coffee spot, we've tapped into the minds of interior designers to get their hot take on creating a coffee nook at home.

1. Select the best spot

pink kitchen walls with a window banquette seat and cafe table

(Image credit: Neptune / Nigel Hunt)

When searching for the perfect spot or small corner of your home to turn into a little retreat, beyond mere functionality, there are a few key ideas to consider. 

The first thing to check off your list is finding a space with good natural light like under a window, if possible. In this London pied-à-terre, above, designed by Nigel Hunt a cozy banquette seating area has been cleverly carved from the end of a slim galley kitchen

'We added a perfectly padded bench with hidden storage below that has space for 6 to perch, drink, and chat. It's sunlit by day with a warm amber glow by night thanks to the dainty wall lights,' says Nigel, head of design studio Huntreay. 

'The best spot is in a corner of the kitchen and especially good if it’s near a window so you can hang up some floaty curtains to create some intimacy,' agrees deVOL's creative director Helen Parker.

Helen Parker portrait
Helen Parker

Helen is the Creative Director at deVOL, a leading kitchen design company that mixes classic and contemporary. Helen has been creative director at the company since 2011, passionate about the signature understated approach deVOL takes to designing kitchens. 

burnt orange and brown tiled corner coffee nook by Montana Labelle

(Image credit: Montana Labelle)

A coffee nook needn't just be reserved for the kitchen, however. You can just as seamlessly curate a space within your dining room, family room, or even living room should you wish to curl up with a good book and a hot drink.

Interior designer Montana Labelle agrees that finding the good light is crucial to a good coffee corner. 'Both cozy and practical, a coffee nook is the ultimate luxury for any home,' says Montana. 'We love the idea of a moody space to sit and sip your morning latte - take the coffee-inspired palette of this space, it's a dream spot to sit on a morning.'

Look for a spot where you can easily integrate small shelving or storage (or build it in yourself), and ensure close proximity to a power source for coffee makers and other gadgets.

interior designer Montana Labelle
Montana Labelle

Montana Labelle is a Canadian designer recognized for her multi-layered approach to designing residential and commercial projects across North America. Her company has grown into a multi-faceted design studio with projects in New York, Toronto, Florida, Bahamas, and beyond, and a lifestyle shop that sells to customers and top-tier designers around the world. She has a deep passion for mixing vintage with contemporary, a philosophy that extends to every project.

2. Create a café-style dining set-up

devol kitchens small corner coffee nook seating area with pink woodwork

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Once you've landed on the best corner, alcove, or niche to create your coffee nook it's time to bring in some furniture. Choose a bistro table and a couple of comfortable chairs to create a cafe ambiance.

'A small, ideally round, table of any sort is the key to a cozy little bistro nook. Create a banquette with just room enough for 2-4 people to squash around and add some cafe-style chairs,' says Helen Parker.

Designer Kathy Kuo agrees. 'I love the idea of making use of underused corners and crannies in your kitchen by adding a bistro table for a coffee nook – all you really need is a small table and 1-2 bistro chairs or counter stools.'

'It's a lovely way to utilize every last inch of your kitchen space and if you end up needing the space for a big day of cooking, bistro chairs and tables are lightweight enough to quickly move out temporarily,' advises Kathy.

kathy kuo home
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry. 

3. Prioritize comfort with banquette seating

red and blue panelled small banquette seating area by laura stephens

(Image credit: Laura Stephens / Photography Chris Snook)

The other approach is, of course, to employ bench seating – a feature Simon Temprell, interior design lead at Neptune, has found is gaining in popularity. 

'A custom nook can be more economical on space than a free-standing table and chairs. Bench seating can be installed to create an L-shaped configuration, with storage underneath and a softly raked back that can be softened with cushions and throws,' says Simon. 'You can add a few chairs to complete the setting and anchor the dining table with a pendant light or wall lights,' he adds.

Interior designer, Laura Stephens took a similar approach when designing the above nook to make the most out of a small space at the back of the kitchen. 

'We panelled the walls to add character and created kitchen storage in the bench adding bright cushions for interest,' says Laura. 'The pendant helps to define the space and we made box cushions (in addition to scatter cushions) to ensure the seating was extra comfortable for a morning coffee!'

Consider all the things that feel conducive to a little me-time: big squishy cushions, a throw or blanket, task lighting for reading or scrolling, and maybe even somewhere to put up your feet. 

4. Put your favorite things on display

cozy corner coffee spot in a small country kitchen designed by Studio Atkinson

(Image credit: Studio Atkinson)

The goal is to turn your coffee time into a ritual that is just for you; so there a no hard and fast rules other than one: make it a space that feels completely you.

'When styling a coffee nook, incorporating antique accessories such as mugs, crockery, lighting, and art creates an inviting corner full of charm and personality,' advises Suie Atkinson, founder and creative director of Studio Atkinson. 'To soften up the seating area, the use of cotton and linen fabrics creates a textural effect that is both comfortable and visually interesting,' she adds.

'Touch is important,' agrees designer Artem Kropovinsky. 'Coffee corners are made all the­ more cozy with textured pillows, fluffy rugs, and soft, warm wood surface­s. To mimic your favorite coffee­ shop, use soft, ambient lights and consider adding some plants in small pots to bring in a natural, fresh vibe to your coffee time.'

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and the founder of Arsight, a global award-winning design firm with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial interior design. With a cohesive team of professionals, Arsight specializes in tackling complex projects, including new constructions, complete residential renovations, restaurants, and retail stores. Their designs embrace authenticity and originality, utilizing natural materials and handcrafted elements for a unique and cohesive aesthetic.

5. Perfect the art of an on-display coffee station

blue pantry cupboard with wooden larder accents

(Image credit: Bannery Day Interiors / Photography Christopher Stark)

Now you've assigned an area of your home to coffee hour, filled it with bistro-style furniture, and styled it up with your very best mugs, it's time to think about the actual coffee-making itself. 

'Coffee nooks are now one of the most requested features of the bespoke kitchens we design,' observes Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport Kitchens.  'As the popularity of coffee has exploded, so too has the desire to have a dedicated area where everything you need can be kept. It is split 50/50 as to whether the coffee corner is on show or hidden behind pocket/cupboard doors,' he adds.

Clara Jung of Banner Day Interiors is a fan of creating a dedicated coffee nook cabinet that sits pride of place near but not in the kitchen.

'I always recommend that we place the coffee nook on the boundaries of the kitchen, but not in the center so that whoever is making coffee can take a slower pace and enjoy the morning ritual,' says Clara. 'However, it's nice to ensure that you're in close proximity to the general kitchen amenities to make that coveted coffee efficiently,' she adds. 

In this blue kitchen, above, Clara opted to frame her coffee machine in wood-trimmed glass-fronted arched doors to create a statement bar. Behind, sits a cozy bench seat perfect for sitting and savoring every sip.

Clara Jung of banner day interiors
Clara Jung

Clara left a career in corporate law to start Banner Day Interiors when she realized that legal research and courtroom appearances didn't satisfy her creative desires. Today, she pursues her passion for design by working with both institutional and residential clients to transform ordinary rooms into stylish spaces. At Banner Day, her projects balance traditional interiors with their signature color, pattern and whimsy. 

6. Or, consider hiding it away

plain english kitchens pink larder pantry cupboard with coffee station nook

(Image credit: Plain English Kitchens)

For those who prefer their kitchen to perform behind closed doors, a beautifully designed (and organized) pantry or larder cupboard will be your best friend for housing all your pods, syrups, and stirrers. There is a lot that needs a home.

'To design the best coffee nook we’d recommend having it hidden out of sight so that it keeps your kitchen clutter-free,' advises Richard Davonport. 'A pull-out shelf is a must with your coffee machine on it so you can easily pull it out and use it without having to lift it out. Make sure you have electrical sockets fitted at the back of the cupboard so that you can plug in your machine.'

Merlin Wright, designer director at Plain English Kitchens, agrees that 'an integrated coffee machine concealed behind doors allows storage room for coffee beans, cups, and spoons.'

'We are finding a separate coffee or tea cupboard – perhaps incorporating a boiling water tap – is becoming popular in kitchen design. Our Dutch Larder cupboard [above] adapts beautifully to this need, and can accommodate an integrated fridge to one side so everything is immediately to hand,' adds Merlin.

7. Invest in good coffee-making paraphernalia

plain english kitchens freestanding coffee station with large coffee machine

(Image credit: Plain English Kitchens)

We're aware that your kitchen countertop is valuable real estate, and, as Richard Davonport observes, because of this more and more people are investing in appliances to make good coffee at home – and want a dedicated space so that worktops remain clutter-free. 

'The biggest trend of late is to have a freestanding coffee machine, rather than in-built,' Richards adds. 'It provides more choice, allowing you to have an at-home machine from some of the best coffee companies on the market.'

Plain English Kitchens' Merlin Wright agrees that it's worth investing in a machine that supports your decor, whether it is hidden away or out in plain sight. 'The design of coffee machines themselves means they are often left on a worktop where they are readily accessible, with gleaming stainless-steel levers and knobs they become quite a visual feast,' says Merlin.

Recreating the look, feel, and atmosphere of your favorite coffee shop in your kitchen, however small, is not only a big trend for 2024 – but actually rather achievable. Thanks to the popularity of coffee stations and coffee bars cropping up, and the darling new trend for cafe curtains, it doesn't come as a surprise that we're all now searching for the perfect nook to retreat into with a mug of the good stuff. 

Intentionally positioned in a well-lit corner, with plenty of seating (and some with hidden storage) a bistro table, and a dash of well-curated styling, your coffee nook is sure to start your morning off right.

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