20 Fantastic Ways to Use Nooks & Niches in Your Home

November 22, 2021 7 min read

tips to decorate nooks, niches, and awkward spaces

We all want extra space in our homes, but how do you deal when that extra space is too small, too skinny, or too oddly shaped? We're talking about awkward corners, spaces between columns, slanted walls, and those random wall recesses. They're technically usable space, but what on earth are we going to do with them?

If you have this dilemma, we can relate! So we scoured the interior design world for creative, practical tips to use awkward spaces, and here they are! These can easily be applied in your own house, too.


1. Use angled walls for extra counter space.

Angled or slanting walls limit the use of your floor space because of the low height of the wall-slash-ceiling. So, use that low-lying space for low-lying fixtures instead! Above, the designer of this A-frame house built their kitchen counter flush against the slanted walls. The counter is just the perfect height, and the width is also perfect so that anyone standing by this counter has ample overhead space. (They can work there without hitting their head!)


2. Turn your curved or U-shaped stairs into a classy foyer.

Curved or winder stairs are really tricky to deal with because they take up an irregular space on the ground. You can't exactly push up a bench there. Instead, turn this floor space into an elegant entryway vignette. Place a table that's just the right size and top with a vase of flowers (or a figurine, if you like). Complete the look with a vertical artwork that goes with the height of the staircase.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized Family Name "Home" Premium Canvas


3. Turn a small bay window into a cozy nook.

Lucky are those who have huge bay windows in their homes! If you have a bay window but it's on the small side, the unusual floor area may be perplexing. But you can turn this into a lovely little space just by arranging your favorite chair and potted plants! Now it's a nice, cozy nook for reading and other relaxing hobbies.


4. Skinny corner? Match with a skinny console.

If you have a narrow extra space next to a doorway, it may be easy to just ignore it. However, this is still prime real estate for a decorative -- and functional! -- console table. Just pick one that's as narrow as the floor space, and if you prefer, look for one that can be used for extra storage. Don't forget to decorate with a matching wall art on top!

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "This Is Us" Premium Panoramic Canvas


5. Turn a deep recess into a vertical storage or workstation.

Got a deep nook that's too narrow or too obscured? Don't let that go to waste! It's actually perfect for vertical storage for clothes, shoes, coats, and other things you can hang. Or, it can be a compact workstation, too. In the example above, the homeowners maximized their narrow laundry corner with shelving plus a hanging rod right over it. Genius!


6. Fireplace with no mantel? Hang your 'spotlight' art.

A brick fireplace is a lovely feature to have, even if it has no mantel. But that doesn't mean you want to leave it bare! Use this fabulous wall space to spotlight your favorite artwork. It becomes the main focal point of the room, so pick an art piece that you want your guests to remember! It's also best to have the artwork's colors complement that of the brick.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Couple's Names Joined By Love" Rustic Premium Canvas


7. Use a shallow alcove as a seating nook.

Some homes are blessed with a shallow architectural niche on the wall, possibly used as a hearth or an accent by the original owners. Take advantage of this unique feature by turning it into a social space. Arrange a couple of chairs, a complementing shelf for reading materials, plus a coffee table for your beverages. Decorate with cozy elements like plants and pillows.

And the cherry on top? Place your turntable or music player there to play wonderful tunes as you and your guest sip tea.


8. Not enough space above headboard? Hang horizontal art.

If your bed's headboard take up a lot of wall space, but the wall somehow still looks bare, a panoramic artwork may just be what you need. Panoramic wall decor is horizontal (instead of square or vertical), so it can fit right in that blank space over your bed.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Couple's Names" Premium Panoramic Canvas


9. Tidy up open built-ins with baskets.

Built-in shelves are a godsend for storage. However, open shelving tends to collect clutter and display it for everyone to see. An easy solution? A set of pretty baskets or boxes to stash everything in. Hide the less-attractive items in those closed containers, but leave some decorative objects out for display, like above.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Love - Names On Heart" Premium Canvas


10. Turn an angled wall into a closet.

Here's another clever use for a slanted wall: turn it into a low closet! The low-lying space can house some custom shelving for your wardrobe, or even just a rack or two to hang all your clothes from. Maximize the space by building your closet along the angled wall, not adjacent to it -- just like the fantastic DIY above by wood crafter Mindi.


11. Need room division? Add a counter.

If you live in a studio or an open floor plan house, the airiness of the space may be a treasure -- until your kitchen spills over into your living room! To create a solid partition between rooms without sacrificing breathability, use mid-height furniture such as a sideboard or a console. Our favorite is a simple dining counter that functions as a transitional piece between the kitchen and the next 'room.'

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Kitchen - Seasoned With Love" Premium Canvas


12. Awkward kitchen corner? Make a coffee bar.

Got an unusual corner in your kitchen that you just don't know what to do with? It might be the perfect spot for a coffee bar! Arrange your coffee-making implements on there, add some bar stools and some decor, and voila, a mini cafe in your own home! Learn more about how to make your at-home coffee corner here.

Wall art pictured above: "But First, Coffee" Premium Canvas


13. Soften a sharp corner with diagonal shelves.

If your house has one of those deep, sharp corners that stick out of the floor space, there's a solution for that, too! A set of diagonal or triangle shelves can soften that corner while providing you with extra storage space. Be inspired by the triangle shelving above installed by DIY-er Michelle Hinckley.


14. Use a wall niche as a personal exhibit.

A decorative wall niche just demands that you style it -- otherwise, it just sticks out like a sore thumb. There are endless ways to decorate this feature, but one favorite is to use it as a dedicated display of your personal mementos. Above, our customer Stephanie L. added a light in the wall recess, to spotlight the family wall art she put up in there. Now it looks like an exhibit!

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Family... Love" Premium Canvas


15. Protruding panels? Complement with shelves.

Sometimes, a column, wall panel, or another architectural structure creates an irregular protrusion that makes the space feel 'off'. Take a look at the countertop above, and how the column protrudes on it. The homeowner turned this into a useful feature by installing overhead shelves that perfectly complement the depth of the column. Perfect for the busy work space!


16. Set up a storage bench next to a protruding column.

If the protruding wall panel creates an unexpected nook on your floor space, take advantage! You can add a storage bench in there where you can stow away unsightly items. Then make the seating cozy by topping it with a cushion plus some throw pillows and blankets.


17. Decorate the wall behind the door.

Ah, that wall space behind the door. Some homes use it for hanging coats and keys, but a bulky hanging rack could hinder the door's opening. Other homes just don't put anything on the wall, leaving it bare and lonely. The happy medium here is a lightweight canvas wall art -- thin enough to not obstruct the door, and adds appeal to an otherwise blank space.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Family... Love" With Names On Background Premium Canvas


18. Use attic walls as an office or studio.

Attics aren't just for dusty boxes. Because this room is tucked away from all the busyness of the house, the attic or loft is a great location for an office, creative studio, or even a meditation space. And those angled walls aren't a problem. As we've shown above, slanted walls can be maximized by arranging your mid-height furniture there, such as your desk or shelves.


19. Tiny dining space? Opt for a round table.

Interior designers teach us that a round dining table is more suitable for small spaces, because this shape allows more flexibility in seating and maneuvering around it. So if your dining space is on the petite side -- or if you have some extra square footage that begs to be utilized -- a circular dining setup is your best bet.


20. Play up the lighting and flooring in a narrow hallway.

If your floor plan includes a narrow corridor or a windowless hallway, it can be tricky to make less gloomy. The walls may not be the best place for a good artwork (because it's too close to view), and you can't even place decorative furniture there. Instead, put the focal points on the ceiling or on the floor -- or both! Decorate with cheery accent lighting or a fabulous rug to enliven the corridor without using up floor space.

You can also use this decor tip to perk up other dark, cramped spaces around the house, such as the closet or the bathroom.


We hope these ideas help you maximize those precious spaces in your home! If you want more like these, read our other blog post on decorating unusual spaces in the house.

And for more of the wall art pieces featured here, browse the customer-favorite GearDen store now!

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