Learn about Life in the 1920s

A 1920's House Feature - The Breakfast Nook

BREAKFAST in many American homes is apt to be a helter-skelter affair in which the head of the household makes a mad dash to devour some food before rushing to the train or car that will get him to the office at the scheduled time. For that reason the breakfast nook is an all-important invention. It has enabled many families to start the day in an easier and more cheerful fashion.

The breakfast nook, as usually planned, is an alcove off the kitchen, near enough to be in easy reach of the stove and cupboards, yet separated from it sufficiently to give the feeling of an independent room. By its use the table may be set in the minimum of time and steps, and where there are no servants the housewife may sit down to breakfast with the rest of the family while watching whatever cooking is in progress on the stove.

In many of the most popular breakfast nook designs practically the entire equipment is built in. One end of the table is fastened to the wall and the opposite end is supported by a leg reaching to the floor. Where the table can be placed immediately under a window, especially one with an east exposure, a breakfasting place as cheerful and inviting as it is convenient may be provided.

High backed built-in seats are a further convenience provided in many breakfast nooks. If well designed, such seats can he made more comfortable than chairs, although their chief purpose is to economize space. A breakfast nook with a pair of such built-in seats is illustrated at the top of the page. The seats shown have hinged lids, and the space inside may be used for storage purposes.

In fact, in small houses or apartments where a children's room or nursery is out of the question a breakfast nook such as that shown: above may serve as a play-room in addition to its main function, and the seat boxes may be used to store playthings.

An exceptionally attractive breakfast nook design is shown at the bottom of the page. It would be difficult to contrive a cheerier or more cozy place in which to have the morning meal. The series of three windows give a sunny and attractive outlook, while the mirrored doors above the built in seats carry out the design of the windows and reflect the light and view from them, so that the room has the effect of walls composed almost entirely of windows. The simple but solid lines of the table and benches, with the projecting beams held in place by wooden pegs are in keeping with such a nook.

In some homes a bay window may he converted into a breakfast nook. The long casement windows which give a French door effect add to the light and airy character of the room. A profusion of potted plants and bouquets assist in giving a suggestion of the outdoors.

Instead of built in seats in this room a gate leg table is provided. It is painted in bright colors as is called for in such a room. The chairs are also painted to match the table.

A Cheerful Kitchen Corner Nook

A breakfast nook of another type can be created in a cheery corner of the kitchen. The table and chairs are built on simple but attractive lines well suited for their purpose. Cretonne curtains at the double windows add to the inviting appearance of the alcove. The cupboard at the side is built high enough so that the kitchen work table can be slipped under it when not in use.

The table may be set for breakfast with an electric toaster and coffee percolator attached ready to provide the toast and coffee. By this means a simple breakfast may be prepared at the table, while the cups and dishes used may be set down in a moment from the cupboard close by.

This eliminates the bustle and rush which accompany the setting of a table in the dining room for a hurried breakfast, with many trips between pantry and dining room and the kitchen stove and the dining room a necessity.

Photo of a Breakfast Nook
Breakfast Nook Bay with Windows

In many homes where breakfast nooks have been provided they have been found so convenient and pleasant that many meals aside from breakfasts are eaten there when there are not too many present to overcrowd them. For this reason, where a nook is being included in plans for a new house special lights should be provided either overhead or in the side all near the windows. These are essential where evening meals or early winter morning breakfasts are to be eaten there.

Where the problem of the home designer is to reduce household space to the minimum as present day conditions often make necessary, the breakfast nook is a real boon. By its use the house may be planned with the separate dining room completely eliminated. A combined living and dining room with a breakfast nook in which many of the meals are served solves the problem in many instances. A small household may have most of its meals in the breakfast nook, using the living room for dining only when guests make too great a number to be accommodated in the nook, which probably will not be often.


Source: Woman's Weekly Supplement, 1923.