In a perfect world, we’d live in a beautiful space where every square inch was decorated to perfection. In reality? It’s not that easy.
From slanted ceilings to arbitrarily placed alcoves, most homes feature their fair share of awkward nooks and crannies that make it difficult to deck out your space.
The truth is, those awkward spaces aren't as big of design challenges as you think. They are actually great opportunities to flex your decorating muscle. To help make the most out of your space, a handful of design experts share their best tips for decorating those oh-so awkward spaces.
1. Take a Seat
“Add a sectional sofa to an awkward corner. It’s the easiest and most practical solution when it comes to trying to utilize that space and cleans up the edges of a room. You can switch up the shape, it increases seating capacity, and it also promotes conversation amongst family members and guests."—Liz Caan of Liz Caan & Co.
2. The Perfect Play Place
“We recently worked on a 1950s cape with an upstairs landing that was too small to properly furnish, but too large that if we left it empty, it would seem sad and forgotten. Couple that with the imbalanced asymmetrical sloped ceiling, and we had ourselves an awkward nook. We immediately decided that the walls called for a pattern with movement to soften the weird angles and that the pattern had to continue on all planes—flat ceiling and awkward slope alike. And, knowing that kids love nooks and crannies, we set up an overflow playroom area with a scatter rug, teepee and bins for toys.” —Virginia Toledo and Jessica Geller, co-founders of Toledo Geller
3. Embrace Your Green Thumb
“Adding plants to an empty corner gives it a lift, and it can really add an airy organic feel to your space. They don't take up too much room as they come in different shapes and sizes as well as being relatively inexpensive. We love adding plants to our projects as it ties in an element of nature, color, and always brings height to a room."—Caroline Grant and Dolores Suarez, co-founders of Dekar Design.
“One of my favorite ways to decorate an awkward corner is with tall plants, such as a fiddle leaf fig. Not only does it add height and a decorative element, but it livens the space! Floor lamps are another great fit in awkward corners and add brightness.” —Jade Joyner, co-founder and principal designer of Metal + Petal
4. Strategic Surfaces
“One challenge we see over and over again from Modsy customers is how to handle the awkward space below the stairs. The triangle shape and lower ceiling make it pretty difficult to design. A few of our favorite solutions: a credenza for added storage or workstation. The desk option is great for this space as you’ll be seated when working, so the awkward ceiling angle isn’t a big deal.” —Alessandra Wood, interior design expert and co-founder of Modsy
5. Chic Ceilings
“In a town like DC, with a lot of older homes, we often have to embrace the quirky! It's not usual for us to run into really awkward ceilings. In these situations, wallpaper is always your friend. We encountered this in multiple rooms on a recent project. The first-floor sunroom had an asymmetrical vaulted ceiling. A paper-backed fabric installed on the ceiling served two purposes - it masked all of the imperfections and also provided a layer of warmth - making this room the place to be in all four seasons. An upstairs bedroom had one of those classic, low ceilings where you expect to hit your head! To hide all of the unusual angles, we wrapped the room in wallpaper and made of all of the lines disappear.” —Marika Meyer, interior designer
6. Luxe Lounging
“When we moved into our brownstone, we spent months trying to figure out how to put a couch on the very-narrow first floor without making it impossible to navigate around. We could have done a short daybed, but I wanted something more substantial that I could lay down on—reclining with a beverage is a critical part of my morning routine. The genius design firm Jesse Parris-Lamb took one look and told us the answer: a built-in. It maximizes the space and gives us the L-shaped sofa I've always wanted. We call it ‘the coffee bed’ in honor of its true calling.”—Claire Mazur, co-founder of Of a Kind