Imagine you are sitting in a room where style and comfort are perfectly combined. "This mat is a design goal," you think to yourself-until you see it. Yes, we are talking about an awkward empty corner. It is true that we all have corners and crevices in our house that should be filled with things, but we don't know what they are. Therefore, at the same time, these corners are still uninhabited, mocking us with their embarrassing glory.
Dear readers, don't be afraid, help is on the way. We flipped through our house tours — even talked to some design experts — on 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.
2. Create a reading corner
Convene all the nerds: that awkward corner may be your chance to finally create your dream reading corner. Liana Thomson, EQ3's accessory product developer, explained: “Many of us still spend a lot of time at home, reconsidering an empty corner as an additional living space, and creating a small reading corner.”
Want to double read your reading corner? She said to add a footstool or key chair in calm colors such as blue or green; a stool or coffee table for books and drinks; and a floor lamp so that you can point 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.
4. Style with storage
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.
7. Add an easel
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 corner
Let you work overtime in awkward corners, creating a calm and soothing space. “Quick guided meditation course is my favorite way to start the morning, so I created a meditation corner in an empty corner of the apartment next to the windowsill,” shared Abigail Cook Stone, CEO and co-founder of Otherland. You can achieve a similar atmosphere by creating an altar-like setting with a stack of books and crystals and candles. Be sure to surround the area with lush greenery to create a truly relaxing atmosphere.
9. Mix it up
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
If you don’t want to schlep to and from the bathroom to grab all your nighttime skincare essentials, put ’em in your corner. In her Harlem-based bedroom, influencer Folasade Adeoso keeps her favorite lotions and potions in a shallow basket.
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.
12. Pile on the plants
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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. Bring on the baskets
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.
18. 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.