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Expert tips on getting the most out of those awkward spaces in your home

Written by Tearne Madden
What do you do with that awkward spare space in your home? You know the one: it’s that space that’s not quite big enough to be its own room, it’s the one that hardly sees natural light, it’s the one found in limbo between other rooms, and it’s the one where “miscellaneous” things often go to live.

Here, design experts offer their advice on getting the most from these tricky spaces – helping you get inspired to create something amazing within these otherwise overlooked spots.

1. Take a closer look at your home

Often the potential of the awkward spaces in our homes is simply underestimated. Worse yet, these spots can at times go totally unnoticed. But if you pay closer attention to your home, there may just be some nifty nooks demanding your attention.

Interior stylist Tara Wokulski of Coco Camellia says one of the most common of these are those strange spaces under stairs. “I get so excited when I see these spaces; to me they scream opportunity,” Wokulski says. “You can easily make it the hero of your home; for example, you can create a little reading nook by simply adding an armchair or a bench seat under there, along with some shelves to display books.”

Other common tricky spaces Wokulski likes to get creative with are those awkwardly sized walls between windows, most commonly found in lounges. “I love adding a small shelf and some artwork here, as it gives it an instant lift and makes the space feel more lived-in.”

2. Give the space a purpose

In many cases, the biggest challenge when it comes to awkward spaces, once they have been identified, is deciding what to do with them. Often we stay indecisive about these spaces, which prevents us from unlocking their full potential.

According to Aimee Tarulli, interior stylist of Thomas Archer, small awkward spaces need to be defined in order to be used. “Decide how the space will get the most use and then act accordingly,” Tarulli explains.

Wokulski agrees. “Let’s not forget the importance of purpose and functionality,” she adds. “You want these spaces to ooze liveability, and function. By having a clear objective in mind, whether it be a reading corner, or a place to display your favourite items, it will ensure that these new spaces don’t get unused or ignored as they once did before.”

3. Use the power of paint

Since these spaces often bring many design hurdles, such as being awkwardly positioned, poorly lit and lacking personality, paint can really come to the rescue.

“This is a great time to show off your creativity,” says Dulux colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr. “For example, introducing a feature wall in a study nook is a wonderful way to use colour to highlight this space and help add a distinction between other spaces in the home,” says Lucena-Orr. “If the space you are working with doesn’t have much natural light, adding a lighter cooler colour can help brighten things up, as well as make the space feel a little larger.”

What’s more, since colour holds the power to directly affect how we feel when we spend time in a space, it’s important to not to fall into the trap of using only whites and greys. “There are certain tones such as orange that can help with creativity, and colours such as blues and greens which give the space a calming presence. Paint colours can really add specific moods to the space and make it more inviting.”

Lucena-Orr recommends the following colours:

For an orange: Orangeade in Dulux Wash&Wear

For blue: Pre School in Dulux Wash&Wear

For green: Eaves in Dulux Wash&Wear

4. Look for smart furniture

When it comes to furnishing small spaces, being smart is key. “Furniture should be purchased exactly for the space,” says Tarulli. “Take the time to measure the dimensions and look at items in person, as it’s often hard to get a real feel for the shape of items online.”

Where possible, Wokulski advises looking out for items that have more than one purpose. “Bench seats, shelving, side tables and armchairs are all great choices. For example, a bench seat can be used at an entryway for sitting, but also to store shoes under, and be styled aesthetically to add a warm welcome.”

5. Style it to perfection

Whilst there are many important factors to be considered other than the styling of an awkward space, adding the final touches with decor and soft furnishings can do more than simply make the space look pretty. “When it comes to styling, think big in terms of rugs and art, as, like a feature wall, this will help to further define a small space,” explains Tarulli. “Think about the lighting of each area for each of their designated purposes in order to clearly define zones. Add a small decorative lighting to give ambience, like wall lights or space-saving track lighting when spaces are awkward.”

Other styling hacks can help get the most of awkward spaces, such as adding mirrors. “It instantly reflects light from your home and creates the illusion of a larger space,” says Wokulski. Lastly, why not bring the outdoors in? “Plants are a really easy way to soften a room and serve a great purpose when trying to divide spaces. I use tall plants, in woven baskets for those awkward small spaces between windows, which helps divide, say, a sitting area from a dining room. Plus, who doesn’t like sharing their air with an indoor plant?”

SOURCE: Domain

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