This Kind of Space Is More Popular Than Ever Before, According to Real Estate Experts

published Mar 8, 2022
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Real estate agents have always been partial to an open-floor plan. It’s a layout that’s diplomatic, letting people carve out flexible spaces that fit and evolve with their lifestyles. As people approach a third year of pandemic living (!), the open-floor layout remains popular, but with an asterisk: Real estate professionals fancy an open-floor plan that also has tucked-away nooks.

When I asked real estate agents what they wanted to see more of in 2022, Sacramento, California-based real estate agent Cheryl Nightingale mentioned “nook space.” The way we’ve been living has changed so dramatically amid the pandemic, that having the ability to create multi-use spaces on a small scale is more valuable than ever, she said.

Other real estate experts agree that the nook is here to stay. While this isn’t quite a new trend (anyone remember the computer desk nook carved out in kitchens in the late 1980s and early 1990s?), it’s one that makes sense for homes that serve lots of different purposes — like making space for at-home workouts and WFH jobs. 

After spending a lot of time at home with roommates or family members, people want some privacy. Nooks can provide a place to work, do homework, or simply serve as a cozy space for reading or relaxing, says Anna Franklin, interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective, an interior design and home staging company.

“As more and more people have been working remotely and looking for a separate space, a nook space can offer some of this desired privacy, which has made it become more appealing,” she says.

Nooks don’t require a huge budget, either. Closets being converted into reading and office nooks is a trend that’s gaining momentum, says Matthew Digati, a professional real estate photographer and home stager. “When done properly, this can really be a great selling point, especially if the home is only a one or two bedroom and there isn’t an office space,” he says.

Digati says he loves to stage and photograph these closet nooks. Removing the door, building in a small desk, and adding a few plants to liven up the area, he says, can really transform a home by only changing a few square feet.

Digati also says that he’s noticing nooks are being built purposefully in new construction homes, and marketed as areas that can serve as small home offices or workout zones. 

“New-build nooks are commonly just large enough to fit a desk and a chair for those that need a work area, or a Peloton bike for those that choose to workout at home,” he says. 

Chris LaBadia, a real estate agent with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey, says he’s loving an under-the-staircase nook. “It’s a great way to utilize a space that would otherwise be wasted,” he says. 

In new and remodeled homes, he’s seeing nooks pop up all over the place, though — under large windows, in unused corners, and in lofted spaces. 

In addition to being used as work spaces or meditation areas, the nooks are being used as dog dens coinciding with another pandemic trend of people prioritizing properties that are a good fit for their pets.

And all those at-home Zoom happy hours have turned people into enthusiastic mixologists. As a result, LaBadia is seeing these small nook spaces being turned into at-home bar stations with stocked bar carts. Cheers to the nook!