Imagine: You’re sitting in a room that’s the perfect mix of stylish and cozy. “This pad is design goals,” you think to yourself — until you see it. That’s right, we’re talking about an awkwardly empty corner. Admittedly, we all have nooks and crannies in our home that should be filled with something, but we have no idea what. So, in the meantime, these corners remain unoccupied, taunting us in all their awkward glory. (The nerve, right?)
Fear not, dear reader, help is on the way. We flipped through our house tours — and even talked to a few design pros — about how to make the most of those bare corners.
1. Add a (stylish) wine fridge
Looking for a clever design idea that appeals to all of the senses? Hillary Kaplan of Mimi & Hill has an easy way to occupy that awkward corner — and cater to your virtual happy hour. “One way to fill an empty corner is with a wine fridge. But a wine fridge on its own can be an eyesore.” To get around this, hide the wine fridge in a cabinet along with your liquor collection, she suggests. In the above home, Kaplan also added custom shelves to her clients’ setup, but a bar cabinet is a budget-friendly alternative.
Calling all bookworms: That awkward corner could be your opportunity to finally create the reading nook of your dreams. “With many of us still spending a lot of time at home, rethink an empty corner as additional living space, and create a small reading nook,” explains Liana Thomson, EQ3’s accessories product developer.
Want to double down on your reading nook? She says to add an ottoman or accent chair in a calming color such as blue or green; a stool or end table to hold your books and beverages; and a floor lamp that you can direct the light exactly where you need it.
3. Get creative with your bookshelf
A bookshelf is a surefire way to occupy any awkward corner, but a simple, store-bought option feels a little expected. If you want to make your bookshelf feel a bit more personal to your pad, take a cue from Hannah Broadway, who opted for a corner unit. The result? A well-stocked library that doesn’t take up too much precious square footage.
Why limit your awkward corner to books? Alessandra Wood, Modsy’s vice president of style, is a big proponent of using this unclaimed space as storage. (Stylishly, of course.) While you’re at it, you might want to reconsider your room’s layout.
“You can position furniture towards the corner rather than centering it on a wall. This allows you more wall space for other furniture and decor and eliminates an empty corner,” she explains. “This works particularly well in a living or dining room where you’d like to find space for a bar cabinet or bar cart.”
5. Work on your home office
The world might be going back to some semblance of normalcy, but trust us: The home office trend isn’t leaving any time soon. And, as this Chicago-based home tour proves, it’s possible to squeeze a teeny-tiny desk into your corner. Owners Sam Rosen and Linsey Burritt made the most of the small space with floating shelves and a wall that double as a message board.
6. Embrace your artistic streak
When in doubt, a great piece of art never fails to zhuzh up your space. “I normally use a sculpture or art for the empty corner,” says Mia Jung, interiors director at Ike Kligerman Barkley. “Art instantly enhances the space and makes it interesting.” Not only can a great sculpture double as a conversation starter, but good art is also available in a bunch of shapes and sizes, so you’re bound to find the perfect match for your home.
Or, if you want to flex your artistic muscle, consider placing an art easel in your awkward corner. (Psst… you can complete the look with a canvas of your latest work in progress, as seen in this grandmillennial house tour above.) Art, decor, and something to do rolled into one formerly awkward corner? Consider us sold.
8. Make a meditation nook
Let your awkward corner work overtime to create a calm, soothing space.
“A quick guided meditation session is a favorite way to start my mornings, so I created a meditation nook in an empty corner of my apartment by the window sill,” shares Abigail Cook Stone, CEO and co-founder of Otherland. You can achieve a similar vibe by creating an altar-like setup with a stack of books topped with crystals and a candle. Be sure to surround the area with lush greenery for a truly relaxing vibe.
Why settle for one design idea when you can enjoy two? “My grandmother was a collector of interesting chairs and it taught me that chairs can be used as a functional sculpture in most spaces,” designer Kelly Martin says. “You can stick one in the corner and stack books, magazines, or a plant, and they instantly become a funky little addition to your room. The weirder the chair, the better!”
Another perk? Martin says it’s also a good excuse to get a stylish chair that’s not exactly comfortable. That’s right: Your cute, yet impractical stool finally found its home.
10. Beautify with your cosmetics
11. Make room for mirrors
If you’re going to fill that awkward corner with something, you might as well make it work for your overall space’s vibe. “A mirrored screen that has antique mirrored panels adds a sculptural statement, while also giving the illusion of a larger space,” explains designer Christina Nielsen. Sure, you can accomplish the same look with any other mirror, but the paneled silhouette seen here can really hug the corner.
Let’s face it: One large plant might be the obvious choice for your awkward corner. But, adding several? Now that’s an innovative alternative. This Chicago-based home has 90 plants — including a handful of leafy greens bunched into a corner. This easy trick gives this living room a tropical feel.
As Kim White’s Brooklyn-based home proves, the only way to go is up. We love how the makeup artist and stylist filled a corner with a slim dresser and hanging planter, drawing the eye upward and emphasizing those high ceilings.
In case you didn’t get the memo, you don’t need to physically put something in an awkward corner to make it pop. For a clutter-free way to make a statement, add an oh-so-trendy painted arch. Let actress Janina Gavankar’s Los Angeles pad show you how it’s done.
15. Feature your firewood
If you’re blessed to have a working fireplace in your home, take a cue from this Parisian apartment, which fills an otherwise awkward corner with spare logs. Not only is this super practical — especially when you want to light an impromptu fire — but it’ll also give your space a rustic, casually cool edge.
16. Incorporate those antiques
You know those trinkets you find in a vintage store that are so cool, but you have no idea where to put them? Turns out, they’ll make an excellent addition to your awkward corner. Let this storage rack in designer Emily Rickard‘s show you the way.
17. Show off your personality
If you want to bring little more you into your space, fill your empty corner with items that are special to you. Kelli Collins added a surfboard to her tropical home, but a guitar or rolls of leftover fabric will work wonders, too.
18. Give it the television treatment
More times than not, a television set finds its home in the center of the room. But, if you want to cut down on screen time, try inching it closer to the corner, as Michelle Jones did in her Toronto home. Trust us: This unconventional design move pays off.
Have a furry little friend at home? Place a scratching tree or dog bed in the corner of your room. (Spoiler alert: It’ll look ten times cuter when your little pooch is curled up there!) In her San Francisco rental, Geraldine Silva mastered the look for her dog, Marni.
20. Add an unconventionally-placed end table
We’re going to let you in on a little secret: You don’t need to buy a new piece of furniture to create the illusion of a sectional. We love how Neha Paroha placed two matching sofas together — and completed the look with a small accent table. Of course, this idea has more to offer than good looks; it’s practical, too.
21. Flex your home gym muscle
Think you don’t have enough room for a gym? Pamela Kaupinen’s 385-square-foot home will prove otherwise. The former Small/Cool winner added a Peloton to the corner of her bedroom. Though she was nervous the bulky equipment would cramp her style, she swapped out the window treatment for lightweight curtains, brightening up the space in the process.
22. Go for copious countertops
As this Argentinian home proves, you can never have enough storage space. It would’ve been so easy to place a bistro set or spare plant in the corner of the kitchen. Instead, owners Lígia Baleeiro and Ramiro Pena doubled down on storage — and even made a little meal prepping station. Living in a temporary space? You can always recreate the look with a portable kitchen island.
Think of a cute, woven basket as an effective (and super easy!) way to keep your home in tip-top condition. (The one in this San Francisco-based apartment is perfect for stowing spare blankets and children’s toys.) Best of all? It can fit perfectly in that awkward corner.
24. Cram in a closet rack
As for that awkward corner right next to your front door? Make that space work for you with a coat rack. The slim style in this renovated Victorian gets the job done without upstaging the rest of the foyer’s charming features.
25. Mix and match wallpaper
Jono Fleming and Ryan McGregor’s Australian home single-handedly convinced us that the coolest way to fill an underutilized corner is by getting creative with wallpaper. This bedroom features two different repeats, but uses a similar color palette to keep the room cohesive. The result? A simple corner that’s eye-catching, not awkward.