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Custom Residential, Interior Design

Five Ways to Enliven Nooks & Niches

Do you have a small, awkward space in your home you just aren’t sure what to do with? With a little creativity, you can turn even the most cramped nook or niche into a spot that delights you. Here are some of our favorite ways to make the most of those small spaces.

June 15, 2023

Small spaces can create big design challenges. Nooks and niches can feel hard to integrate into the rest of your space in a way that feels natural or useful. Sometimes they’re too small to be a discrete space or room. Sometimes they’re not quite small enough to remain empty. Or maybe you have a room with a jaunty wall you just can’t figure out how to incorporate into the larger space.

Whether you’re up against a corner, a landing, or blank wall, we can help get your creative juices flowing with five ways to enliven nooks and niches.

Transform a tricky, small space into a functional one that also looks great.

Whatever kind of small space, nook, or niche you have, there’s a way you can make the most of it.

A Reading Nook

One of our favorite ways to use a small space is by creating a reading nook. They can be customized to suit many different spaces and corners. And, you can create them with items you may already have in your home!

Laurelhurst Storybook Home – Board & Vellum
Quiet Corner

A small nook with a bright window makes the perfect spot to settle in for a long afternoon of reading in this fairytale home.

To assemble a basic reading nook, most importantly, you’ll need something to sit in (or sit on). Some type of lighting is also important. And a small table will make the perfect place to set down a cup of tea or current book.

Soft and plush materials make for a cozier experience. If you want to go all out, a custom bench seat with a pillow top is a great way to make the space permanent. Most importantly, make it your own with some special touches! You could add a small rug to warm your feet, a few house plants, maybe even some shelves! Pick items that fit with the rest of your space for a cohesive look and feel.

A Plant Shelf

Many of us already know the calming impact of having plants in our homes. Plants are a wonderful way to bring a natural touch to your space.

Colonial Restoration On The Hill – Historic Restoration – Board & Vellum
New Life

This small plant shelf fits perfectly into the angle of this staircase railing, and brings color and freshness to what might otherwise be an empty space.

If your small space has ample light or is positioned near a source of natural light, consider creating a special place for your houseplants! Using a shelf that best fits the dimensions of your space, you can arrange pots and plants to introduce natural color and beauty to the area.

To take your plant shelf to the next level, add a few books, trinkets, antiques, photos, et cetera. Whatever you feel will make the area more interesting and convey your own personal style.

Additional Storage

Let’s face it – more storage never hurt anyone. If you find yourself with an awkward space you’re unsure how to fill, consider installing some stylish storage.

Assessing the size and location of your space can help you decide what types of items will be the most eligible for the area. Once you know what you'll be storing, you can determine which type of storage is the best option.

Blue Ridge View Home – Board & Vellum architecture and interior design.
Up Your Storage

A recessed nook by the fireplace, and vertical storage by the bed make the most of these small spaces while still adding to the overall design and feel of the room.

A dresser or small wardrobe can keep linens, clothing, and supplies looking tidy. If you’re in the market for a place to stash books, photos, or other trinkets, cubbies, shelves, and open storage will provide a nice display case.

And don't forget about vertical storage. In a nook, sometimes the best direction to go is up! If you opt for lower storage, consider placing a long cushion and a few throw pillows on top for a quick, DIY bench.

An Accent or Art Wall

If you’re working with limited floor space, you aren’t out of luck. Create an eye-catching accent or art wall.

A collection of electric and acoustic guitars and ukuleles hang on a white wall. To the right is the back of a baby grand piano with the lid open.
Personal Touches

A small set of narrow cabinets along this wall are a great way to use this small space. And the above wall is the perfect spot to display instruments for a unique flare.

Hanging family photos, art, or, in some cases, instruments is a highly personal way to make use of empty space while adding color, dimension, and a moment of interest within your home.

This method can also be highly cost effective if you’re working within a limited budget. And it’s relatively quick to assemble. You could have a whole new space in an afternoon!

A Small Bar

There are many fun and functional ways to create a home bar. For small spaces in close proximity to a common area, consider installing a beverage fridge or small home bar!

Craftsman Bungalow Restoration – Board & Vellum
Beverage Zone

This small space around the corner from the kitchen is the perfect place to make coffee in the morning, and pour a nightcap in the evening.

For a budget-friendly option, opt for a beverage cart stocked with a few glasses, drink-making supplies, an ice bucket, and your favorite drinks. Or consider a coffee bar for a designated space to make your morning brew.

If you’re taking your renovation to the next level, beverage or wine fridges or even small, wet bars make for highly functional, fun, and attractive fixtures to fill small nooks or spaces.

Regardless of how you choose to utilize smaller areas of your home, you should always opt for an option that makes the most sense for your personal needs and style. Hopefully, with these five ways to enliven nooks and niches, your creative juices are flowing! (And your small-space design woes don’t feel so big anymore.)

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