Bedrooms

Nook beds ideas – 10 space-clever beds for alcoves, nooks and niches

Nook beds are perfect for maximizing small spaces and for creating a comfortable, inviting look. These are our favorites

Nook beds and alcove beds
(Image credit: Jon Day/Future)

Nook beds are having something of a moment, appearing on the social feeds of internationally renowned designers – and Homes & Gardens (of course). We think we know why they're suddenly so en vogue: we all found the comfort, shelter, warmth and reassurance of home during the pandemic addictive, and they're the perfect bed idea, and retreat, we've all been looking for.

Perfect for making large bedrooms feel cozier, for making brilliant use of space in small bedrooms and for making bedtime an occasion in kids' bedrooms, we think every home should have one – or more.

These, below, are our favorites – but we think this feature may just continue to grow as we add more finds to it.

Nook bed ideas

Whatever you call them – and you'll find them called nook beds and alcove beds when you're searching on Instagram and Pinterest – there's plenty of inspiration for creating your own perfect retreat... but these are the best we've found. So far.

1. Create a false wall to create a faux niche

Bed for a spare room

(Image credit: Future / Simon Brown)

Let's start by saying that a nook bed needn't be in a nook. It may be that it's just a bed squeezed into a small bedroom that's retro-designed with a nook. Because while a bed placed against a wall, whether or not it is under a window with lovely views, can be quite cozy, the room will always look compromised unless you make a small bedroom layout look purposeful.

And you can do this by building a false wall in front of the bed and decorating it in a contrasting color or scheme to the rest of the room, as interior designer Beata Heuman (opens in new tab) has in this space. 

'This could make a small room feel even more compact,' says Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief Lucy Searle. 'However, the sculptural nature of the false wall, the color blocking and, of course, the window make the nook feel incredibly inviting and space-clever.' 

2. Think practicalities as well as decor

Bedroom by Veere Grenney

(Image credit: David Oliver/Veere Grenney)

If you're looking for guest bedroom ideas, you might want to consider the practicalities for your nook bed: storage, lighting and privacy. Everything you want in your own bedroom or a hotel bedroom. This alcove bed has it spot on: curtains to draw for privacy, shelving for storing personal items or for bedtime reads, and lighting for reading or simply the convenience of not having to get out of bed when it's time for lights out.

3. Turn a child's small room into a secret hideaway

Red bedroom alcove

(Image credit: Future / James Merrell)

Children's rooms are often the smallest spaces, turning quickly from nursery to toddler's room to – before you know it – teen spaces. A nook bed can accommodate your child safely from toddler to high school graduate, and we defy any child not to love the privacy and comfort a curtained niche can offer.

4. The grand nook bed you'll stay in all weekend

Nook beds and alcove beds

Styling, Alice Hart

(Image credit: Jon Day/Future)

Fit for royalty (we're thinking Marie Antoinette), this nook bed is taken from one of our own photo shoots, inspired by the Bloomsbury Set and the Arts & Crafts movement. And we think it's the kind of nook bed you'd never want to leave – hemmed in by the layers of fabrics, and calmed by the muted color palette.

'From dusky pink to chalky blues, the Bloomsbury Set loved color and embraced it in every room – furniture was painted then painted again, creating tonal depths that harmonized and contrasted with other furnishings and a medley of textiles,' says Homes & Gardens' Interiors Editor.

It's a wonderful example of how to mix patterns, we think, too.

5. The pared back but peaceful nook bed

A total contrast to our cozy nook bed above, this elegant design by Paris-based designer Benjamin Guedj (opens in new tab) is reminiscent of French coastal properties – and in fact is in a home in Biarritz on the west coast of France. 

It's the perfect, restful-looking retreat that is probably more suited decoratively to warm weather, but we can picture pulling that curtain across and sleeping soundly...

6. The nook bed that's also a reading nook

The detailing in this little nook bed by Veere Grenney is exquisite – from the rope that draws the eye to the lantern in the ceiling, the subtle reading light on the wall, the coordination of the textiles and the shutters at the window. 

Perfect for a child's room, this one is actually in a guest room – we want an invite! 'The VGA solution for a cosy single bed in a guest room,' say London-based Veere Grenney Associates (opens in new tab). 'Cashmere walls and curtains and a little tented bed surrounded by books and even a little telly. Does it get much better?!' No, it really doesn't.

7. The alcove bed in a nook

We've noticed that interior designer Rita Konig is partial to a nook bed, and describes this one as 'The coziest, most calm corner – from @stevengambrel (opens in new tab)'s Sag Harbor home'. And we agree – the pale blue color palette – one that Gambrel favors –is restful and inspiring. 

However, it's the position of the nook bed that really caught our eye – it has its feet in the room's alcove, butting right up to the fireplace – it really is the perfect solution for a small bedroom. The room is an all-one-shade affair, which is a clever space-enhancing trick, too.

Picture: @ericpiasecki (opens in new tab)

8. The nook bed that makes great use of eaves

In attic bedrooms, eaves space is often wasted – or given over to awkward storage space. Here, in a bedroom refresh by @jeffersonstdesigns (opens in new tab), it's been used to the max. 

It's a simple look to recreate – we'd argue that it's simpler than building in storage – and the detailing with the wallpaper creates a real focal point in a bedroom that might otherwise have been... just ordinary. We like the little nook bed nook, too, where the lucky owner can store books and a lamp. 

9. A child's nook bed that's fit for an adult

We love the smart suiting approach to the textiles used for this nook bed by @peterpennoyerarchitects (opens in new tab) and interior designer @katieridder (opens in new tab), designed for their daughter's bedroom at the family in Millbrook, NY.

The vertical stripes actually perform a neat visual trick – other than looking incredibly smart – making this compact space feel taller than it is. The red keyline used around the nook and in detailing within is the perfect finishing touch – adding warmth, and framing the bed perfectly.

10. Proof that nook beds are better than bunks

If you have children sharing a room, loft bed ideas are a sensible, space-saving option – but they rarely look smart. Enclosing them within a frame like the one above by New Zealand-based Apple Tree Designs (opens in new tab) is the perfect solution, giving both beds much more status. 

'Let your child's dreams come true!' they comment. 'A climbing ladder, a cozy sleeping space, each bed with its own bed light and nook and under bed storage. May the adventures begin!' Indeed.

What is an alcove bed?

An alcove bed, like a nook bed or niche bed, is a bed set into a recessed space created by a room's architecture. You can create an alcove bed by having a frame built around the bed, with a wide opening along one side of the bed. This frame can be painted, wallpapered or upholstered inside and out, and the opening can be curtained to create an alcove bed. The bed itself can be freestanding or can be part of the carpentry. 

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.