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Ah, morning…… My favorite time of day.

There is nothing I like better than drinking coffee where the sun meets the kitchen first thing. In summer, the windows bring in bright light, but on cold winter mornings, the sun pours in and heats me up.

My kitchen table is on the southeast corner of the house with windows on two sides. Every house I’ve ever lived in has had this arrangement. It must be some sort of unconscious draw for me. In my next house, though, I am going to deliberately build a morning room in this same area.

A morning room. I love the sound of that. It conjures up cozy, bright, warm, coffee, reading, relaxation, and intimacy. How can I not build a morning room?!

What is a morning room?

A morning room is separate from the dining room. It is a small, simple addition to the kitchen designed for casual family living. I imagine it as a place to relax in the morning and get centered for the day. Of course, I live alone. My kids are grown, but a morning room is a good place for family to gather for breakfast and make the day’s plans.

It does not have to be just for morning, either! It could be a spot for after-school snacks, family games, hobbies, crafts or even a home office. The idea of morning, though, is to get a refreshing start to the day. A morning room can be as simple as a breakfast nook with a table and built-in benches. Built-ins are a great place for storage, too, so the space could do double duty for items that are used infrequently.

If you don’t want an eating table in it, you can simply furnish it with a small couch, easy chair and a coffee table. Think of the old-fashioned parlor or drawing room – small, intimate living room used for family activities. Think ‘family room’ without the tv, but it can also be for having a friend or two over for coffee or a drink. Think ‘casual’.

Morning room elements – function and aesthetics

Most morning rooms in new construction have three walls of glass as they extend out from the house, like a glassed in porch. This takes advantage of scenery, views and landscaping. It’s almost like being outdoors! All those windows will let in sun in winter for passive solar heating. With energy efficient windows, window coverings and soft lighting, this would also be a cozy space on winter nights.

If you would like to open up your kitchen space, a sunny addition like this would also add light. It is easy to add on a morning room. It does not need to be a huge space, and it does not need water plumbed in. It would just be an extension of the kitchen. If your kitchen table is in the southeast corner of the room, consider adding more windows to bring in that morning light. This is the easiest fix.

Decorating can be casual or elegant, depending on the use. If it is intended as a family space, make it casual and simple with easy to clean fabrics and surfaces. For something more formal, I imagine floor to ceiling drapes, an antique chaise and a chandelier. The theme of your house will help determine they style of the morning room.

As always, check your zoning and neighborhood association regs, and build, remodel and decorate within your budget. You want to be sure to enjoy this refreshing space, not worry about the bills that built it!

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.