Work Around the Weird: Design Ideas for Tricky-to-Decorate Spaces

Work Around the Weird: Design Ideas for Tricky-to-Decorate Spaces

Adrienne Breaux
Jan 9, 2015

With a little space planning, most rooms can fall into place pretty easily. Big furniture might exchange walls a few times and smaller accessories are always on the move. But sometimes, there's a spot in a new (or old) home that just seems to defy decor. It might be an oddly located area, that's a strange shape or size, or with some element you've got to work around — it's just weird! Here are some ways you can work around that weird and continue on your designing merry way.

Small spaces/corners you don't know what to do with

(Pictured above) Lucky enough to have a small weird room that you don't know what to do with? Or have a corner of a room that you want to be functional but comfortable, too? Built-in or DIY banquette seating that also doubles as storage is a great way to milk a corner for as much storage and style you can while still keeping it fairly flexible; by bringing in a table you make it into a dining room, longer tables and you've got yourself a work space. Spotted via French by Design.

Weird windows and architectural details that are in the way

Oh the weird windows. Or the columns that jut out of nowhere. Our favorite method for working around weird spots is to literally work around them — add your decor to the area despite and around the things that are sticking out, folding them into your design composition. Above, a set of high (but lovely) windows is connected to the decor by leaning tall art to make up the negative space and placing decorative objects on the sills that relate to the vignette below. A leaning guitar hugs the column into the whole look. Seen Via Homedit.

Nooks of all shapes, sizes and locations

Nooks are a lovely, cozy thing when you want it. Unwanted or unexpected, and they can befuddle even the best designer. The best way to tackle a nook of any size is to find a furniture piece (or if the nook doesn't reach to the floor, an accessory that fits in snugly) that cozies right in (not too much space on either size), and then either going very minimal with wall decor or going a little overboard. Adding a paint color or wallpaper to set the nook apart from the rest of the room will strengthen that nook even more. Try to find a function or purpose that nook can serve, too. If it's near an entryway, can it also serve as a landing strip? Could it be a little work space? Nooks like to feel useful for their full beauty to be revealed. Found via Refinery29.

Space behind doors

That weird space behind doors that are located in the center of walls? Like, what do you do? Do you just always leave the door open and against the wall? We suggest going for partially open most of the time, turning what's behind it into a nook. Like above, the door can't swing all the way back when open, instead creating a wall for a nook that has a sturdy furniture piece, some serious vignette skills and even a light to attract attention. The fact that the area is partially obscured by the door makes it even more alluring. Seen on via My Scandinavian Home.

The "not enough room" spot between a window and a wall

You know the type, the tiny sliver of wall space that always seems like you're trying too hard when you fit a small piece of art on it or like you're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole when you put a reasonable sized piece of furniture there and it looks too big. So what to do? Take a page from the above photo and make the whole corner of the room into a cozy seating area instead of trying to squeeze into all into that sliver. Spotted via Dust Jacket.

The space around a maybe-too-small-for-a-long-wall furniture piece

If your home has a long wall (and thanks to open floor plan popularity, it very well may), you might sometimes find yourself in the unenviable position of placing a perfectly reasonable-sized furniture piece along said wall, and it looking tiny and out of place. Your next course of action? Combining that furniture piece's visual power with a few other elements on the sides and above, "stretching" the composition to seem larger and a more appropriate size for the wall. The trick is to work with spacing and layering so it all feels apart of the same composition and not a bunch of separate things sprinkled across a wall. Seen Via Lovely Life.

The tricky side stairwell nook

Small nooks off of entryways and stairwells are special in that they often have very strange shapes. They're a perfect spot for strange collections of elements that you don't have another place for, as well as for bold design ideas you've been meaning to try out.

The tiny kitchen

What to do when your extremely tiny kitchen is the weird spot thanks to a too-small floor plan and awkward element arrangements that you may not have the money or permission to alter? Strip away as much as you can, add natural light and color and focus on function — let the room be defined by clever storage ideas. Seen via Sfgirlbybay.

Do you have an awkward spot in your home? How have worked around the weird to create a design that makes some sort of sense?

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