How to Rename Your Breakfast Nook | Peter F Gibson

Can you decorate your morning? Of course you can. Heck, you can decorate a pet ferret if you're so inclined, although I'd be sending some men in white coats your way if I saw you do it. "Morning rooms" exist, they rock, and in the grand words of my old high school English professor, "'nuf said on the subject".

Lots of people have never even heard the expression "morning room" and those who have usually envision a room residing somewhere in Bruce Wayne Manor, right next to the secret door that leads to the Bat Cave. In fact many homes built after the turn of the last century have an area that can be used as a breakfast nook. The difference between a breakfast nook and a morning room is essentially flowers, comfortable chairs, good coffee, and pompous attitude, so potentially you already own a "morning room", it just has an identity crisis. Now if only you had a butler named Alfred and a secret lair.

So, if you're following along, one can consider the "morning room" as the classier incarnation of that tried and true "breakfast nook". This epiphany - of course - assumes that you make significantly less than $10, 000, 000.00 British Pounds per year. If you are a rich bugger, then the concept of "morning room" can contain an entirely different meaning.

The purpose of a morning room is to have a sanctuary within your private house or establishment - where people can sit, talk, relax, ponder, e.t.c... during daylight hours. Also, genetically speaking, it is within our human nature to seek sunlight upon waking so as to acclimatize our bodies and minds for the day ahead. In that respect a morning room is a perfect spot to nibble a quick bite, grab a coffee and gather your thoughts.

  • Factoid: In my relentless pursuit to inform and educate, I've come to discover that morning rooms are - for the most part - designed for morning use. I tell you fair and gentle reader, I leave no stone unturned, no weed unearthed.

So if by now, you still are unclear as to what a morning room is, I'll quote my 16 year old son and then ... 'nuf said on the subject.

"It's kind of .. like... just a place where you can chill and munch out before school."

So how do you appropriately adorn and decorate a morning room? Of course this all comes down to your personal style, but there are a few things worth noting:

  • Darker wall colors will absorb natural light and heat, so they can be useful to keep your guests from feeling as if they're sitting inside a solar flare. The opposite can be said for your color choice of furnishings, because incessant sunlight can heat up a dark seat like a frying pan.

  • Any respective artwork will want to have some darker shadings, perhaps even textures, to make it feature more within the natural light surrounding it.

  • Window coverings - if at all necessary - should be sheer and loose, having a translucent quality. This can be achieved using any open weaved decorative fabric.

  • Certain high-light plants can give you that "outdoorsy" feeling, should you be so inclined. Larger floor plants work if your "nook" is on the larger scale. Plants such as Norfolk Island Pine, Weeping Fig, even Fiddle-leaved Fig plants can work well in bright, sunlit areas as accent pieces. Otherwise, you can achieve a similar feel by utilizing a good soft toned *flower arrangement as a center piece on your table.

A morning room is easy to decorate as long as you start by defining it as a "mini-dining room for sun worship". You will of course need an appropriate table - I prefer smallish - with a few comfortable chairs surrounding it. I wouldn't go for a table that sits too high vertically; instead try to find something that's in between dining table height and coffee table height. I have seen a few very attractive morning rooms with typical dining room chairs being used, but my personal preference is to bargain hunt for some good quality high seated, cushioned chairs. These are not the soft and cushy flop chairs you find in a master bedroom or living room, but a kind of hybrid dining chair that adds lots of padding and some "sink in" value. They can be found at any furniture gallery worth a salt. I keep harping on the chairs because seating is one of the more important elements of a good "morning room". It should be more comfortable than a typical dining ensemble, and should enable you to sit upright for a spot of tea as well as be comfortable when leaning back to meditate on the coming day.

Your morning room will certainly want to face the rising sun, otherwise forget a morning room and get a light therapy machine. (I'm kidding, I think) Assuming your room IS guided to glory by the rising of the sun, it will be well lit by a natural light source and this creates two potentially negative effects on the room:

  1. Temperature: sunlight produces quite a bit of excess heat, more-so when accumulated in small spaces. You will want to try and offset this with a powerful, yet quiet ceiling fan or a small air conditioning unit. Floor model fans are usually miserable in a small room as their use often results in a napkin blowing Festival Of Doom. Unless you're prepared to tie everything in the nook down, forget a standing fan for cooling. It's just not really conducive to a relaxing morning coffee when your chasing around the sports section. Get your cardio workouts in the gym, I say.

  2. With natural light, aesthetic imperfections are magnified at least 436, 799 (and 1/3rd) times. OK I'm not so sure about the statistic, but I can tell you that fading paint or a chipped fruit bowl seem to have a Rock Star Spotlight on it in a morning room. Room dust can also hinder your morning tranquility, as it just seems to hang in the air, reflecting the sunlight and reminding you of just exactly that which is landing on your breakfast bagel and eggs. As such, you will want to keep the room well maintained and as dust free as possible.

*For full disclosure I have to say that when I commence to feats of decorating prowess, the rule is to never use real flowers in small spaces, using nooks as the prime example. Flower arrangements can produce pollen and irritate sinuses, not the best way for someone to start their day. If you have guests occasionally and you don't wish to keep a candy dish of antihistamines near by, lose the FTD credit card already. Flowers can also significantly add to dust in a small area, even when kept perfectly. So if you choose to go the route of having a flower arrangement, spend a little extra and get a nice faux flower deal and put some aroma therapy candles around for the scent of lavender, Jasmine, or my personal favorite, burgamot.

Dollars to donuts says that if you have a detached private home there is an area available that you can designate a "morning room". If not, oh well, no loss really, after all sunlight is highly overrated. (I'm kidding again, I think) If you feel like taking a break from eating toast on your way to work however, recon your home for that one place pointing towards the big, bright and shiny ball in the sky, and start your creative juices to build your own little piece of morning nirvana. Me, I hate mornings, even when they come after noon. I'll stick to the bat cave, thank you very much.

About the Author

Peter Gibson is an interior design expert of 20 + years and an accomplished author on the subject. He has also written for many publications and penned 2 best selling novels. His design works include the redesign of a popular New York recording studio, redesigns and upgrades of countless homes, and he renovates challenging older condo/ apartments as a part of his charity work abroad.

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