Do you have a favourite part of your home? Mine is the mini seating area at the top of my kitchen. It’s just a rug, two weeny wooden stools and a dinky table next to the wall – my ‘tiny kitchen nook’ – and I love it.
Pre-pandemic, like lots of people living in a town or city where space is at a premium, especially those in shared rented properties, the only place to sit that wasn’t our beds was in the lounge. With a sofa, small dining table and two chairs, this had suited me fine.
After all, most of my living took place elsewhere; home was mainly somewhere to store my stuff and sleep – until lockdown came along. Suddenly, having somewhere else to sit became a pressing need.
With no other rooms available, and a galley kitchen too small for a proper dining set-up, the options were limited. The solution was to create a tiny nook.
Creating your nook
There are a number of ways you could do this. Your tiny nook might simply be putting an armchair and lamp into an unused corner. It could be a bench, softened up with cushions, in a hallway.
It’s about zoning off an unused sliver of space to create something that’s functional and feelgood – for tucking away with a podcast or book, or even with Netflix on the laptop when the sofa feels a tad crowded.
For me, it had to be the kitchen. I’d previously tried to put the dining table in the gap between the end of the cabinets and the wall – and I had managed to wedge it in, but leaving it there would have meant having to crawl under or clamber over it to get to the bathroom.
What it needed was something super-compact. A table just big enough for a bread board, single serving plate, or a couple of small bowls, cups or wine glasses. It also had to be round, to eliminate any squeezing around awkward edges – but tall enough to comfortably eat off, or rest an elbow on while reading.
This is a trickier set of criteria than it sounds. As I soon discovered, most tables with the width I was looking for have very short legs. They’re mostly side tables designed to be tucked in corners with a plant on top, or nestled next to sofas to keep coffee mugs within reach.
I considered an outdoor dining set, a Bistro style table with matching chairs might have worked – but even the smallest of these still seemed a bit on the big side for the space I was working with.
After a few weeks of scouring websites, I struck gold with a table from Habitat and a couple of Pine Stools.
Tiny table, big rewards
I got a small Ikea rug to go underneath and hung a framed print of a photo I took of some trees during a trip to Sweden a few years ago. We’d been right up north on the edge of wilderness and I’d fallen deeply in love with the scenery; there’s nothing special about this photo, aside from the fact it takes me back and I like it.
That sums up the tiny kitchen nook, really. It couldn’t be more basic, yet I couldn’t be happier with it. This simple addition has made a big difference to my daily wellbeing, as well as to the functionality of my living space and my sense of connection with it.
It means I can sit and savour my morning coffee before the day cranks up. Working-from-home lunches and tea breaks can take place completely away from the desk, and – best of all – a guest can sit and chat with a glass of wine while I’m cooking (although that’s mostly a post-pandemic fantasy for now).
That’s the beauty of a tiny nook. And once it’s there, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.