My house was built in 1942. I have a built-in phone nook. In talking with my neighbors, pretty much everyone on my block has one.
I've read that phone nooks were done in the 1920's, 30's, and 40's. They were placed in the middle of the house, in a common but quiet area. The phone ring could be heard everywhere, but talking on the phone was out of the way.
Mine is located in the little hall area where you can choose to enter the bathroom or one of the bedrooms. The area is dim, so unless you turn on the hall light (I never do), you may walk right past it without noticing it. There is no electrical outlet in or near it.
I've asked neighbors how they decorate theirs. The answer...they don't. The same ideas I've heard over and over are:
- a display of candles (can't light them)
- a framed picture
- some creepy holy shrine
- jokes about setting and/or charging a cell phone there