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How to Design Awkward Spaces in Your Home

Updated: Jun 24, 2022


We all have those areas in our homes where that they feel are a waste-of-space. These can be hallways, above cabinets, mud rooms or any space that you aren't sure what to do with. But they don't have to be uninspiring. Giving these areas a purpose and function is the first step to falling in love with them.



Let's start from the very first room in your home, the entryway. Before you even begin to design this room, figure out how you and your family use this space. Some people don't use their entryway on a daily basis and either enter their home through the backdoor or the garage. If you never enter your home through your front door, it's going to take on a very different function than someone that does. So, this is step one.

Once you've determined how often you use your entryway, next is figuring out what functions you will need in the entryway. If your entryway is just for guests and visitors of your home to enter through, then maybe you will want a coat rack at the front entry or an umbrella holder. Do guests need to take their shoes off when entering your home? Maybe a bench with a shelf underneath for guests to store their shoes.

If you as the homeowner use the front entry every day, what are some of the first things you do when you walk in the door? Drop your keys / purse / wallet? Place a narrow console table near the front door with either a drawer or a bowl where you can place these various items after a long day of work. Try some wall hooks to hang coats or purses on so they are in the same spot for the next day you leave for work. Even have a drawer for mail to be sorted. Once you think about how you function in your day-to-day life, think about the design and how it should meld into your lifestyle.

Photo Credit: Collov Home Design



Think about how much of your home is given to hallways and what we call 'circulation spaces' (pathways on how you get from one space to another). It's a lot. Here is how to give all that space a purpose.

Even though hallways are usually long and narrow, you can still make them interesting by adding either architectural elements like arches or pendant lights to elevate the space, or you can go for more simplistic (and cost effective) look by adding a gallery wall with children's artwork or achievements. You can also line the hallway with hooks for backpacks or coats, shelves for various items from your travels or a long rug runner to add some color to the space.


Stair Landings

Like I mentioned before, so much of your home square footage is given to circulation. How do you find a purpose for these areas? For a stair landing, how you design it is all going to depend on the size of your landing (and if you even have a landing).

If your landing is a bit larger, you can add a tall vase or tall plant in the corner of your landing to provide some visual interest and height. If your landing isn't that large, a gallery wall of family portraits or a beautiful work of art is great to add here. Landings are the only part of the stairs where the diagonal line of the stair ends and provides a break where you can highlight something special. Use this to your advantage and showcase something you love.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Hill Interiors



Alcoves can also be referred to as niches in your home. They are typically a recess in your wall that act as a built-in frame. What I love is when people design the interior of the alcove with wallpaper or paint to add an accent color that really makes it pop. Whether the alcove is small enough to hold a small trinket or a large piece of furniture, built-ins are also a great option in this area to maximize storage and personalize the alcove to fit your needs. Adding the finishing touch of a spot light or accent lighting is also the perfect way to bring attention to your display.


Above Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets don't extend all the way to the ceiling, this is a perfect place to add decor that you want to showcase. These decor items can be vases, special plates, greenery, bowls, the possibilities are endless. This is also where you can extend your kitchen accent color to. What I like to do is find items that are a similar color to your backsplash color. By adding items with the same color scheme, it will help make your kitchen feel cohesive and unified and will draw your eye up making your space feel taller.

Photo Credit: Ellen Auer


Mud Room

This is like the catch-all room. This also doubles as the laundry room in a lot of cases. Shoes, backpacks, keys, mail all seem to congregate here. Just like the entryway, the first step here is to figure out what you use your mudroom for. If your mud room is used to store shoe storage, then add a shoe shelf. Add a clothes rod for hanging clothes while they are drying or hooks for rain jackets and umbrellas to dry out. Our laundry / mud room currently houses detergent, pest control supplies, ironing board, lawn mower batteries and everything in between. We plan on adding a storage cabinet in the future to house all of this. The design will all depend on you and your day-to-day functions.

Photo Credit: Sarah Shields



I hope this has helped relieve any anxiety about what do with those weird or awkward areas in your home and how to give them a purpose. Hopefully this will help you fall more in love with your home and the process of making it your own.


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