4 Tips For Making the Most of an Irregularly-Shaped Room

Whether your home is old or new, big or small, the chances are that you’ve had to deal with oddly-shaped rooms. This can range from spaces where walls are too long or too short; where they meet each other at non-perpendicular angles; or form small, seemingly unusable nooks and crannies.
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This is especially true in cities where old regulations concerning access to light and air created funky-shaped light shafts between buildings. While it can be difficult to imagine how to make a space like this work, fear not! There are tips and tricks that designers keep up their sleeves for these types of situations. Read on to learn more. 

1) Divide and conquer 

Use furniture to create "zones" in order to help isolate irregular walls or areas. Defining these zones can easily be done by organizing your furniture around a focal point, like a fireplace or television—thus, separating angled or oddly-shaped walls from the rest of the space. 

A sofa, carpet, and coffee table create a living zone that's visually and programmatically distinct from the nearby dining table and kitchen island.

One effective technique is to create a conversation area with a sofa, coffee table, and set of chairs, and then placing a favorite picture, bench, or desk along the isolated, angled wall. By dividing up the space and treating the areas as separate, you no longer need to worry about how to address the entire room at once. 

Though two sofas enclose this living area, neither sofa is against a wall. This allows the rounded exterior wall to be sectioned off as its own space.

2) Go built-in or custom 

Invest in built-ins or custom furniture that perfectly fits your space. This space-saving solution might be more costly, but it ensures a personalized, flawless fit.

Custom storage lines the angled wall of a bedroom loft.

Custom pieces, like storage or seating, can turn unworkable or impractical areas into usable, valuable square footage, while also camouflaging unbalanced or angled walls. You’ll frequently see this in attic spaces or areas under stairs, where sloped walls make for low headspace but potential storage areas. 

Custom millwork, including a countertop and drawers, are tucked neatly under this wooden stair, turning previously unusable space into storage.

3) Think positive 

See opportunities instead of impossibilities. An unusual nook could be the perfect spot for a set of shelves, a potted plant, or a piece of artwork. Suddenly, what had been a problematic area becomes a focal point—a space that frames and even highlights what's located there. These irregularities can easily become some of the most unique and character-defining elements of a space. 

A small niche next to the closet in this home is turned into a small but efficient desk with built-in plywood shelves above.

An unusually-shaped niche that looks out into a window creates the perfect, well-lit window seat in this library.

4) Trick the eye 

If all else fails, fake it until you make it. When celebrating the irregularities just won’t work—as a last resort—you can simulate balance and symmetry through subtle design tricks, like installing curtains symmetrically along a wall with windows that are unevenly spaced or uncentered. Even just repeating the same element throughout a space creates a sense of unity, taking attention away from the irregularities of the room. 

Two doors in this bedroom aren't symmetrically located, but by using matching wood frames, a centered bed with centered light fixtures, and matching window treatments, the discrepancy in the doors is rendered almost indecipherable.

A wall at an angle in this apartment is masked by a centrally-focused bed and minimal, consistent window treatments.

In the end, whether you choose furniture, built-ins, curtains, or other design strategies to make use of those irregular walls or oddly-shaped spaces, we hope that you can better use your home or office and love it for all of its quirks.


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