Kitchen Design Ideas: 10 Breakfast Areas We Love

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA
Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson

Jun 24, 2021 - 5 min read

Kitchen Design Ideas:  10 Breakfast Areas We Love

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the breakfast area is its beating center. Like islands, they gather family members to share meals and conversation. They also make ideal settings for activities such as homework, art projects, gift wrapping, and card playing, to name a few. But unlike islands, breakfast tables enable everyone seated around them to face one another – and that’s a big deal. It’s why, when space allows, the residential design team at Morgante Wilson likes a mix of both – an island for eating snacks and gathering friends while you put the finishing touches on dinner, and a proper table that encourages you to linger in a more casual setting than a dining room. Here are some of our favorites, with design ideas for you to serve up in your own kitchen:

1. Truly a nook in every sense of the word, this breakfast area is separated from the kitchen proper by a graceful architectural arch. Like the kitchen, its coloration is fairly subdued – but look more closely, and the same patterned finishes that grab your attention in the kitchen, such as the tiled backsplash and the island counter – are present in the base of the breakfast table. Because the yard is so pretty to look onto, and because privacy is not an issue, we elected to leave windows bare.

2. This breakfast area is possibly the closest you can get to feeling like you’re seated at your favorite booth at your favorite restaurant. It’s cozy, for sure. It’s also a bit dramatic, with a shaped back that speaks volumes about its sophistication. Easy care fabric makes it livable; its generous size means there’s always room for one more at the table.

3. This is the breakfast area in our own house, and I can promise you, Fred and I do a lot more than eat our Wheaties here. We love to start the day in this spot with coffee, watching the waves roll in off Lake Michigan. We also love spending Sunday evenings here talking with our adult kids. We have an island in our kitchen, too, but nothing beats spending time here gazing out at the lake – whether we’re eating or not. (We elected to install floor to ceiling windows here to make the most of the view.)

4. Tucked into a true bay window, this shapely nook allows our clients to feel as though they’re dining outdoors all year round. It’s as magical on a snowy December day as it is in the middle of summer. And though the windows are dressed, roman shades are an intentionally minimal choice to add a finishing touch while allowing the outdoors in.

5. Surrounded by large windows, this breakfast room – an actual room, in this case – features a concrete table. In contrast, chairs are softly upholstered in brown velvet. It’s an elegant but durable choice for a breakfast room that wanted to feel just a little bit like a dining room.

6. This elliptical shaped custom banquette is a favorite for several reasons. First, there’s its shape, which is unexpected and just plain fun. The brackets appearing to “support” the seat mimic those in the kitchen, for a cool tie-in. The paneled trim surrounding the banquette brings in a touch of architectural interest. And the window treatments are a light, fresh way to hide a very-close brick wall. (You’ve already seen how impactful it can be to leave windows undressed. But sometimes, window dressing is more of a necessity. Plus, fabric helps to “enclose” a breakfast area and make it feel even cozier.)

7. This image shows another way roman shades can be used in a breakfast area. The previous shot shows them hung low to hide an adjacent brick wall; this shot shows them hung high, as more of a finishing touch that leaves most of the window bare to admit natural light. These are two very different approaches to using the same window dressing – each serves a specific purpose.

8. We often gravitate toward round tables because they’re more egalitarian. There is no “head” of a round table, and so every seat is as desirable as every other. But some breakfast areas call for a rectangular table, and this is one of them. We made it special with a metal base, and a shapely split natural wood top. Note the two different (but both easy-wipe) fabrics on the bench seat and back. Also note the practical addition of storage drawers beneath the bench to keep table linens and serving pieces conveniently close at hand.

9. Tucked between the kitchen work area and an outdoor deck, this breakfast area feels as much a part of the outdoors as the indoors. The window makes it an especially welcoming place to be. So does the vinyl upholstered banquette, which means no matter what might spill, a damp cloth is all that’s needed to restore serenity. Brown leather dining chairs offer an alternate seating option for those preferring an actual chair. (Mixing a few chairs into a banquette is always a nice idea for that reason.)

10. Finally, here’s a whole other way to treat a breakfast area. There’s the table and chairs – and then there’s the intimate little seating area nestled into the window. It’s reminiscent of being at a cool little neighborhood coffee place, right in your own house. I can hardly imagine a more inviting spot to browse a cookbook, read the Sunday paper, or chat on the phone. And when more space is necessary, either for eating or to work on a project, the larger table is right there, ready and waiting. This is the ultimate in versatility and we love the combination of options.

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Morgante Wilson Architects provides architectural and interior design services in Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Northfield, Ravinia, Wilmette, and Winnetka – along with Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson