This Cozy Book-Lovers’ Feature Jumped 850% in Popularity This Year

published Jul 9, 2023
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Credit: Liz Calka

Making solid use of a small space — whether outdoors or indoors — is certainly a unique challenge. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that renters and homeowners alike are always on the hunt for creative, useful, and budget-friendly ways to maximize every square inch they’ve got.

With that in mind, Yelp’s recently released Summer Home and Outdoor Trends report for 2023 shows that this one particular feature is soaring in search data lately. Searches for “alcoves” were Yelp’s biggest trend gainer of the year, jumping nearly 850% when compared to 2022 data, with searches for “book nooks” jumping 213% and “bow windows” spiking 207% in the same time period.

If you’ve got an alcove, you might be wondering how to make the best use of the area, whether it’s in your living room or part of your backyard setup. HGTV star and founder of Nubi Interiors, Carmeon Hamilton, shared with Apartment Therapy some of her pro tips, and you’re going to want to take some notes if you’ve been wondering how to make your alcove into something truly special.

For indoor nooks, Hamilton says, “Alcoves also offer a great opportunity to create focal points within your home, without taking up a lot of space. Create a designated space to highlight your favorite piece of art. Amp things up by adding a gallery light above to accent it and bring the space to life.”

Plenty of bibliophiles love to transform an alcove into a reading nook, which Hamilton gives her stamp of approval. “Not a reader? You may need a listening nook,” she says. “Tuck in a comfortable chair into that space and add a small cabinet to perch your record player on top. Store your favorite vinyls in the cabinet and don’t forget to add a unique lamp for ambiance (and personality).”

Indoor and outdoor alcoves are a great spot for a stylish home bar setup. “Storage is a popular use for alcoves, but one of my favorites for those who love to host is using that space for a built-in bar,” she says. For a chic indoor bar, “Incorporate useful storage by adding floor-to-ceiling shelving or cabinetry to an empty alcove. If the space allows, that shelving can turn into a small-yet-efficient desk space for an office or prime real estate for a home bar. Disguise one by painting or wallpapering all of the elements to match the rest of the room, or have it stand out with a contrasting color, or even a tiled or mirrored backsplash for that ‘wow’ factor.” Yelp users are all about cocktails al fresco, as search interest for “outdoor bar” projects jumped 56%, according to the report.

Credit: Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

The pandemic might’ve forced many people to get creative with their outdoor spaces for entertaining, but it seems indoor-outdoor living is here to stay, according to Yelp’s trending search data. Multiple outdoor living categories saw big spikes in search interest since April of last year, including “outdoor seating,” which surged 399% and “patio enclosures,” which rose 22%.

If you’ve got a little extra wiggle room (and you love cooking for your loved ones), consider investing in a pizza oven for your outdoor alcove. Yelp found that searches for “pizza ovens” saw a 105% increase in searches this year. Hamilton gives the trusty culinary tool two thumbs up, noting, “Pizza ovens have become a must-have for outdoor entertaining aficionados.”

Check out the full report for all the inspiration you need as you dream up some summer home projects for the season.