Published on May 25, 2019

There are a lot of reasons why you might be stressed today. Your thoughts might be racing from upsetting headlines or that pileup of work that you just can’t seem to tackle. Maybe it’s raining and there’s nothing you’d like to do more than to hide from the world for a while. Or maybe you just need a little time at the end of the day to put down your phone and tuck into a good book, away from all the chaos of your daily life. There seems to me no better place to find respite than a sleeping nook.

Okay, technically the proper term here is alcove bed, but there’s something delightful about these sleep structures that seem straight out of a fairy tale. They’re not a new design innovation, but rather something a bit old school—in fact, even Thomas Jefferson fancied an alcove bed in his home, Monticello.

That doesn’t mean that these kinds of beds today are covered in brocade fabrics and constructed out of dark wood. In fact, plenty of designers have crafted their own contemporary take on the alcove. And I want oneso badly.

It seems to me that settling down in one of these hidey-holes would make bedtime feel even more rejuvenating. Physically cut off from my surrounding world, I could finally stop thinking about my daily stressors as I prepare for bed. Each night, I would enter into this cocoon and emerge each morning like a butterfly, totally prepared for the day ahead. Now isn’t that a satisfying fantasy?

If you find yourself a bit claustrophobic, I’ll admit that the womb-like enclosure of an alcove bed might not be for you. But I have to ask: How would you feel about sleeping in one of these cozy little nooks?

The Book-Lover’s Nook

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photography by Lisbeth Grosmann

The nook in this Melbourne apartment by Clare Cousins Architects was designed so parents could be close to their baby but still have their own hideaway. The plywood construction that appears throughout the space gives it a casual, contemporary appeal, while built-in bookshelves make this alcove even more covetable.

The Shelf Space

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courtesy of van staeyen

Afraid that #NookLife would make it difficult to keep your phone or a glass of water always in reach? Don’t be! This design by Belgian firm Van Staeyen combines coziness with convenience, thanks to a playful pendant light and a built-in shelf that can function as a nightstand. Even better: Pull-out drawers underneath provide all the clothing storage space you could ever need.

The Tucked-Away Corner

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photography by Bertrand Fompeyrine

This Paris nook features a built-in bed and a closet—what more could you want? Batiik Studio’s interior is simultaneously contemporary and old school—just look at the juxtaposition of those lime-washed walls with the sleek matte black alcove.

The Gentle Swoop

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courtesy of van staeyen

Van Staeyen has a thing for a good nook. This Antwerp home gets in on the arch trend with a space that provides just enough privacy. At the head of the bed, cabinets offer a little extra storage, making for a tidy (read: very relaxing) environment.

The Curvy Cave

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courtesy of plum guide

When it comes to creating a womb-like, enveloping effect, this nook, found in a London Plum Guide home, fully commits. The plywood curves create a totally mesmerizing sleep environment—and a high-quality Simba mattress makes this an apartment you’ll want to stay in, if only to get a great night’s rest.

The Kid’s Cubby

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photography by meghan mcneer

Sometimes things made for kids are just the best. That’s how we feel about the delightful house-shaped bed nook in the Brooklyn home belonging to Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza, founders of Chiaozza. Here, sweet dreams are practically ensured.

The Hidey-Hole

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photography by cody guilfoyle

Alcove beds are a very smart solution to studio apartment living—consider them the cheat code to sneaking in a bedroom, without raising the price of your rent. Arielle Assouline-Lichten’s Brooklyn apartment features a super-cozy bed nook that not only provides extra privacy but also makes for a cool architectural detail.

See more cozy spaces:
These 17 Dreamy Bedroom Ideas Are Truly Transformative

Tiny Bedrooms With Big Ideas
Bored With White Bedding? This Sunny Hue Is Having a Major Moment

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