5 Ways to Make the Most of Awkward Spaces

By Greta Brinkley

5 Ways to Make the Most of Awkward Spaces


We all have them. They’re those little spaces in our home that we just don’t have any idea what to do with. When we originally looked at the home, we thought, “Oh, isn’t that a charming little nook? It’ll be perfect for a photo or fresh flowers!” or something along those lines. But now that we’re living with it, that “charming” nook has become nothing more than a glorified dust collector.

For those not-so-charming nooks and other awkward areas that you just can’t quite figure out what to do with, here are some ideas for transforming them into useful spaces and helping you fall back in love with your home.

1. Start Fresh

Remove everything that you can from the awkward space in question and make it a blank slate. By doing this, you’re likely to gain a fresh perspective. Options that never occurred to you will suddenly appear. Perhaps the furnishings and accessories you had in the area were skewing your vision. Slowly bring items back in or try some new pieces you never considered. The hall table and a wingback chair may not be the best fit, but a cozy overstuffed chair could be perfect. Try adding and subtracting items until you’ve created a new setup for the space.

2. Repurpose the Space

There are some basic rules to decorating, but nobody says that you must use the room for its intended purpose. Have a bedroom with too many doors and windows? Turn it into a home office or library or a playroom for the kiddos. Does your living room have a lack of wall space? Try swapping it with the dining room to create a cozy and intimate space that can be used for both relaxing and entertaining. This may require you to use your imagination and think outside of the box. There are very few spaces that are designed for only one specific purpose in your home.

3. Consider the Scale of Your Furniture

One of the biggest issues when planning your space is the size of your furnishings. Although sofas and chairs look great in the showroom, they may not work in your home. It’s not that uncommon to find out that the piece that was just delivered really doesn’t work, and at that point, there isn’t much you can do about it.

Before shopping for furnishings, draw a floor plan of your room and make notes of the maximum sizes of furniture pieces that will work. You may find that two loveseats will work better than a large sofa and chair.

4. Examine Available Wall Space

Don’t have enough wall space for your living room furniture? Consider moving the pieces away from the walls. A secret designer trick is to place a large area rug in the middle of the floor. This helps to act as a visual anchor to tie the pieces together for a cohesive look. It’s also a great way to add some color, texture and, just maybe, a wild pattern into your room.

Add visual interest by making your seating area somewhat symmetrical in weight — like two sofas or a sofa with a couple of chairs opposite each other to balance the design. This placement is inviting for both your guests and your family.

5. Create Your Own Entry

If your front door opens right into your living room, create an entry. Although you’ll see tons of ideas for using a small table behind the door for interest, this rarely works. Why? Because your front door will no longer open all the way.

Try creating a space next to the door using a small table with decorative accessories for keys and other small objects. Add a small chair and a coat rack or shelf for a little storage and you’re all set. If you have the space, you might consider a small desk instead of the table. By using a small writing desk, you get the dual purpose of having a place to sit and organize your life — a little, at least. It will also provide some storage and hide some of the clutter that naturally accumulates. That’s another story, though.

Reworking awkward spaces isn’t about making do with some obscure corner in your home. It’s about rethinking your views on how to use that space. Toss out the old ideas and try something new! It will probably take a couple of attempts, but realize that what works for someone else’s home doesn’t necessarily fit in with your lifestyle. Be prepared to try more than one idea and, before too long, that awkward space might just become your new favorite spot in the house.

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Greta Brinkley is an interior design aficionado and former content writer for HomLuv.com

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