Let’s face it—although oddly shaped rooms give a home plenty of character, they can present some design challenges. And the culprit is often those nooks and crannies that don’t have an obvious purpose. Instead of letting them go unused, consider how they might help you add comfort, style, or function to your space.
What is a niche, alcove, or nook?
A niche refers to a small area in your home where the wall is recessed inward. These enclosed spaces are also commonly referred to as alcoves or nooks, and they can come in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re even the size of a small room, but they aren’t separated by a door. Niches are often found in common areas like living or dining rooms.
If your home has one (or another awkwardly shaped, small space), it can be difficult to figure out what to do with it. But trust us, these little nooks have boundless potential!
Teacher and DIY home renovator Fletcher Nelson (@_thirdgradeswag) used his small, finished basement to create a media and activity room (which he likes to call “The Hangout”) for his nephews to use when they visit. Complete with card games, books, a TV, and (of course) snacks and drinks, this small but mighty multi purpose room is catered to the kids but decorated for adults to enjoy as well. Functional furniture pieces—like the Logan Sectional with Reversible Chaise and the Brock Etagere Bookcase with Hanging Storage—go a long way in a small space to help everything fit just right.
Here’s a hint: your dining area does not have to be kitchen-adjacent! We love how @greerbrewer creatively meshed her dining area with our comfy Jackie Sofa (also available in a loveseat version if your nook is especially tight). In our eyes, this is the perfect cozy room for enjoying your morning coffee or catching up on emails.
Sometimes, a “nook” is that corner you’re just not sure how to harmonize with the rest of your space. Compact furniture like our 3-Piece Louis Dining Table and Bench Set can be tucked neatly into nearly any condensed area. (If you’d like to know more about how home DIY expert Racheal Jackson put this space together, check out our 5 Tips for Designing a Functional Small Space blog!)
For those especially small niches, a home library is a great idea. Often, shelves or a bookcase will fit right into those areas. Add a comfy loveseat or armchair nearby, like @midwestmunchers did, and your book nook is complete!
Home office space
A lot of home offices can function properly with just a few essentials, like a small desk or table, comfortable chair, and adequate lighting. In a pinch, your nook or unused closet can easily be transformed into a workspace.
Utilize space around the staircase
The wall that surrounds your staircase is often under-utilized. And although it may not technically be a niche or nook, it’s a low and sloping area that can present similar challenges. Our solution? Choose a low-profile piece of accent furniture – like a cabinet or loveseat – to make use of the space without covering up the banisters.