Dead Zones: What to do with awkward, unused areas in the home

By Sklar Furnishings

Designer Tips and How to Guides

April 8, 2017

Most homes have at least one area that just doesn’t seem to work; an empty corner where nothing looks right, or an oddly-angled landing between floors. Older homes in particular often have weird little spots that may once have had defined uses but are now obsolete. With a little creativity, these decorating dead zones can be refreshed or repurposed.

Entranceways: A small entryway that shrinks even further when the door is opened into it will appear instantly brighter and larger with the addition of one large mirror or a cluster of smaller mirrors. If there’s no entryway at all, but just a door opening straight into the room, visually define a small area near the door with seating, a rug, and coat hooks. A narrow console like Westin can turn that dead zone into a useful space while taking up minimal room — just don’t place it, or any other table, directly behind the door.

Nooks: A large nook can be turned into a dedicated reading space with the addition of bench seating and hidden LED lighting. Alternatively, turn it into a mini-office by sliding in a compact desk, a chair and some overhead task lighting. Whatever furniture you choose to place in your nook, it should be a close fit with only a few inches to spare widthwise. Finally, take the back wall of your nook from overlooked space to attention-grabbing feature by painting, wallpapering or hanging art on it.

Staircases: Staircases are often treated as a decorating afterthought, but those long walls are tailor made for displaying paintings. Track lighting will illuminate your art and help bring the whole area to life. Take things to the next level by installing stepped bookshelves that follow the stairs from top to bottom.

Shelving: On the subject of shelves, they can be used to turn many awkward spaces into opportunities for storage and display. Because they have no need for legs, floating shelves leave floor space free that can be used for all kinds of purposes, from tucking in a little extra seating to giving a row of lush houseplants a new home. L-shaped shelving can turn an unused corner into a feature, and even the blank space between the ceiling and your kitchen cabinets can be transformed by installing a long, high shelf.

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