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An alcove is an architectural term that refers to recessed space in a room. The word is derived from the Spanish, alcova, which stems from the Arabic, al quobba. An alcove can be any type of separate or secluded area that is connected to a main area. Alcoves are commonly seen in sleeping and eating areas indoors. They may also be used to display a piece of art or a fountain indoors or outdoors.
Garden alcoves are often part of an English style garden. They may be separate little buildings like a gazebo, or secluded little areas off the main garden. Recessed areas in a stone garden wall may be used to display statues. Some restaurants feature alcoves that are recessed indoors, but project outward to offer a view of a garden. A restaurant alcove can add more privacy for diners and give them the feeling of almost being in a private dining room.
Dining alcoves are also featured in some home designs. An eating alcove may be located near windows in a kitchen. Built in seating or a table and chairs can be added to an eating alcove. Eating alcoves may be called nooks.
Some entryways, often in larger homes or hotels, feature a wall of alcoves that each holds a piece of art. Lighting is usually added so that the pieces can be easily seen. Plus, the lighting of the recessed areas can add further interest to the look of the wall, especially at night. Indoor display alcoves may be made be plain in design or they may be elaborately trimmed with crown molding.
An alcove studio apartment is a regular studio apartment with a separate sleeping alcove. The sleeping alcove may feature a partial wall to help divide it from the rest of the space or it may have curtains or pillars. Some one bedroom apartments also include a sleeping alcove in the living room and these are popular designs for resorts and ski lodges.