Dining Nooks by This Year’s 1stDibs 50 Honorees Make Gathering Around the Table a Cozy Affair

Sunny alcoves and booth-like banquettes can be so much more than places to have breakfast. Here, 10 top designers make them destinations for family and guests.
Dining nook in an Aspen-area vacation home designed by Shawn Henderson
Photo by Stephen Kent Johnson

Interior designer Shawn Henderson created a custom banquette to fit neatly into the bay window of a vacation home near Aspen. “This is one of my favorite areas of the house — the way that the room captures the view is so spectacular,” he says. “The chairs and breakfast table playfully engage each other, while their materiality ensures durability, since the room is a go-to gathering spot for the family.” Made from recycled plastic, the Dirk van der Kooij chairs surround a custom terrazzo table. The asymmetrical light fixture is by Lumfardo Luminaires, and the wall sconces are vintage Scandinavian candelabras.

Dining nook in the Jake Arnold–designed Los Angeles home of musician John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen
Photo by Michael P. H. Clifford

In the Los Angeles home of musician John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen, Jake Arnold designed a brass and textured-wool banquette that curves around a travertine table to provide an intimate kitchen-dining experience. “The kitchen is an open layout that connects to other parts of the home, so it was important to give the area its own moment while adding warmth to the contemporary space,” Arnold says. “The rounded corners and brass details we incorporated feel special, yet there’s livability for the family.”

Arnold chose a dramatic metal-and-porcelain light fixture by New York–based artisan Anna Karlin to float overhead. The flush-mounted lights in the kitchen’s work area are by Apparatus.

Dining nook in a loft in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood designed by Nicole Hollis
Photo by Douglas Friedman

For a loft in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, Nicole Hollis looked to her clients’ art collection for inspiration. In the dining area adjacent to the kitchen, a piece by contemporary American artist James Siena serves as the focal point. Hollis used one-of-a-kind artisan-made pieces for the furnishings: Sam Accoceberry created the organically shaped wooden table, and the cedar-and-nickel stool is by Nakagawa Mokkougei.

“We designed the custom banquette to envelop the sitter,” Hollis says of the neutral built-in that anchors the space. “It creates a serene place to have morning tea, work and relax.” 

Dining area in a Connecticut home designed by David Kleinberg
Photo by Richard Powers

In a Connecticut project inspired by Scandinavian country houses, David Kleinberg created a charming dining spot near the floor-to-ceiling windows. “Whether used for a languid breakfast watching boaters on the lake or as a connection point between the kitchen and terrace, the space functions easily and beautifully,” Kleinberg says. “The casual furnishings of French and Swedish origin contribute to the relaxed atmosphere of this room.”

Kleinberg found most of the pieces on 1stDibs, including the Carl Malmsten pine dining table, produced by Karl Andersson & Söner in the 1940s, and the Charlotte Perriand rush-and-wood Dordogne chairs from the 1960s. The French industrial leather-and-steel stools are also from the 1960s.

Dining nook in a Hamptons home designed by Monica Fried
Photo by Nicole Franzen

“We wanted the dining nook to be super stylish but also functional for our clients, who have a large family and lots of guests,” Monica Fried says of the seating area she created for a beach house in the Hamptons town of Amagansett. “The space is equally perfect for breakfast with the kids or a chic summer dinner party.”

In a minimalist design scheme like this, each element counts. Fried commissioned a maple live-edge dining table and surrounded it with wire-and-leather chairs by Overgaard & Dyrman. A pair of alabaster sconces by Apparatus give evening festivities a warm glow. The tablescape features Scandinavian candleholders, as well as a blackened-oak bowl by Michaël Verheyden.

Dining nook in a Nashville home designed by Damon Liss
Photo by Regan Wood

Designer Damon Liss worked with art consultant Kate Bellin to source the vibrant ink-and-watercolor piece by multimedia artist Masako Miki that brightens the dining area just off the kitchen of his clients’ Nashville home. “This breakfast nook is nestled between floor-to-ceiling windows, extending the view from the kitchen out to the beautiful landscape,” says Liss. “As it’s a tight space, the built-in banquette was a natural choice, and the neutral upholstery allows the colorful art and room’s gorgeous Calacatta Viola marble to shine.”

Liss commissioned dining chairs to match the banquette, as well as a pedestal table with a pink Formica top. KDLN’s minimalist Kushi pendant lights up the space without obstructing views of the art or outdoors.

Dining nook in a Manhattan home designed by Steven Gambrel
Photo by Eric Piasecki

On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Steven Gambrel created a dramatic backdrop for family dining with a glass-and-steel grid that acts as a room divider. “I like the transparency,” he says. “But the subtle enclosure makes the space warm and cozy.” The 1970s double pendant light, found at Original in Berlin on 1stDibs, provides a bit of shine and a point of interest. It’s nicely echoed by the bronze base and Calacatta Gold marble top of the Giorgetti table. The artisan-made metal chairs are upholstered in the same muted-blue leather as the banquette.

Dining nook in a Virginia home designed by Zoë Feldman
Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

In a Virginia home, the owners’ travels were the impetus for Zoë Feldman’s global, textured decor, including in the sunny dining nook, frequently used by the family’s young children. “Since the niche is small, we customized the table to have the legs close to the center so people could move in and out more easily,” she says. “And with the kids in mind, we upholstered the built-in bench in vegan leather for easy cleaning and maintenance.” Feldman brought in Casamidy chairs, made by artisans in Mexico, to provide extra seating. The matte lacquered pendant light is by Space Copenhagen.

Dining nook in an Atherton, California, residence designed by Ohara Davies-Gaetano
Photo by Sam Frost

“I love an intimate dining moment, and a cozy nook furthers the intimacy,” Ohara Davies-Gaetano says of the window-lined kitchen alcove she outfitted for an Atherton, California, residence. “When you sit in this space, you feel fully immersed in the garden. The light is ethereal — it’s a beautiful place to daydream and connect with others.”

Davies-Gaetano furnished the nook with a custom banquette, as well as a walnut table of her own design. The chairs, made of seagrass and blackened steel, bring a coastal touch to the room. Gallery L7’s aged-brass Utah-24 ceiling light adds subtle shine overhead.

Dining nook in a Manhattan apartment designed by Area Interior Design's Janine Carendi MacMurray
Photo by Kirsten Francis

Janine Carendi MacMurray, founder of Area Interior Design, spied an opportunity to tuck some extra seating into the dining room of her clients’ Manhattan apartment. “We took advantage of a bay window to create a custom banquette and table so the children could use it as a space to draw and paint,” she says. “It also serves as the kids’ table at Thanksgiving, while providing a great spot for everyday casual meals or snacks.”

MacMurray, who designs furnishings and accessories for her brand, Carendi, gave the custom table a fluted base that complements, but doesn’t compete with, the Art Deco–influenced main dining table and Frits Henningsen chairs, which she found on 1stDibs. For a final flourish, she framed the dining nook with green-and-navy drapes, which echo the emerald green upholstery on the banquette.

Loading more stories …

No more stories to load! Check out Introspective Magazine

No more stories to load! Check out Introspective Magazine