Five Ideas for Making the Most of the Small Corners and Nooks Around Your Home

Install a reading space, storage shelves, or a breakfast bar—all as recommended by our interior designers.

Don't let a lack of square footage fool you—the small corners and nooks in your home are teeming with design potential. "City dwellers know every square inch of a room is usable space," says Cagney Krzywosinski of Hyphen & Co. "Corners are a spot that is often forgotten about and, in turn, end up collecting all your bits and bobs. To make the most of them, consider incorporating thoughtful surfaces and storage items."

small teal desk in nook by stairway
Lucas Allen

Unfortunately, finding shelves and other furnishings that are small enough to squeeze into a tight alcove can be tricky. "It's easy to purchase the wrong size piece that is too large for the nook and makes your space look smaller," explains Ella Hall, founder of Stitchroom. "You can solve that problem by filling the space with flexible pieces that are easy to move, like a small pouf or ottoman."

Looking for more tips about how to transform a cramped corner or nook in your home into a fully functional space? We asked a few of our trusted interior designers for advice and they offered their clever solutions.

Design a reading nook.

If you haven't converted at least one corner of your home into a comfy reading nook, now is your chance to dive into all those books on your list. "Pair a petite accent chair with a slim side table for a makeshift reading spot," says Sara Barney of BANDD DESIGN. "Use wall-mounted sconces for lighting to save space." If there's not enough room for a proper chair, that's alright. Hall says a plush rug and a handful of floor pillows will do the trick. "Pillows are always great to have to use to prop up behind your back, lean against the wall, and settle into your reading nook," she elaborates.

Make a mini workstation.

Why work from home on your sofa when you can forge a workstation in an unused corner of your home instead? "A floating desktop and a small chair can moonlight as an impromptu home office area," says Kate Lester. "There are several stylish foldout tables on the market to free up floor space, and you can add in wall-mounted shelving or a narrow bookcase for storage."

Carve out extra storage.

If a nook or corner is far too cramped for furniture, our experts suggest using the space to create extra storage. "Adding floating shelves to the walls will allow you to use the space for storage," Barney says. If you don't like the idea of showing off your storage in plain sight, she says you can use the shelves to display books, art, and other decorative accessories to ensure the space is functional.

Create a small indoor garden area.

If you love to garden but don't have access to a yard, Michelle Lisac says a small corner or nook is a great place to display and care for low-light houseplants. "A large plant in an eye-catching decorative pot or basket is a stylish way to fill a corner," she says. "You can also incorporate hanging planters and wall-mounted pots in the area to take advantage of vertical space."

Build a breakfast nook.

No proper dining area at home? No problem. Barney says you can convert a small corner into a bonafide breakfast nook in no time. "Pair a slender bistro table with a tall stool or chair to create a cute spot for sipping coffee," she says. If you don't have room for a freestanding table, use a wall-mounted one to score a breakfast bar-style setup.

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