First though, my disclaimer: While I can recommend ideas that I think look nice, I have never seen this house in real life and don’t have accurate measurements. I am also not an architect or landscaper and do not know the planting recommendations for your area- I just like to make things look nice. I can’t guarantee that any of the items I put in my ‘virtual’ design will actually work in real life (or that they’ll fit your design style for that matter), and this is not intended to be a professional design consultation. So think of this as a just-for-fun rendering that hopefully gets your wheels turning and provides some inspiration!
READER QUESTION from Jennifer —
I have a funky layout in my family room. The offset fireplace and Tv alcove are awkward. What can I do to help this room seem less awkward. I was thinking about putting shiplap up inside the tv alcove to make it pop. Any thoughts or other ideas? Would shiplap in just that small area look weird? Thanks!!!
First of all, this room has such great potential! I absolutely LOVE alcoves. They add so much personality and interest to a room. This one however, is definitely looking a bit awkward. I think even more than the awkward alcove though, the tiny fireplace is really what is making the room feel off balance. With that being said, I wouldn’t try to make the alcove pop more by adding a different color to the background. Most likely, that will just make the alcove and the fireplace fight for attention even more, and you’ll still feel that awkwardness in the room. Instead, here’s what I would do if this were my space:
Turning an Awkward Alcove into a Storage Bench + Shelves
The biggest thing that bothered me about this room is the fact that it seemed so bottom heavy. With the low TV stand, and tiny fireplace, everything was crowded towards the bottom of the walls, with big blank spaces above. Also, having the fireplace and the TV stand almost the same height and visual weight, prevents either one from truly being the focal point of the room. To remedy both these problems, I beefed up the fireplace significantly by adding a mantel surround. It gives the whole room a much more formal look and finishes off the fireplace nicely. Then I moved the television to over the fireplace. This moves those two focal points to the same area, uses much more of the vertical wall space, and frees up the alcove for more fun options! See more fireplace update ideas here.
With the alcove cleared out, I opted for a mix of extra seating and extra storage (who couldn’t use more of both!). A built in bench seat with storage underneath adds a unique touch, and just the right amount of character and charm to make the space feel inviting. The low profile doesn’t compete with the newly beefed up fireplace, but accents it nicely. See how Brittany installed a similar bench for a reading nook here.
Above the bench, I added bookshelves all the way to the ceiling. This not only creates a ton of extra storage and display space, but it draws the eye upward, making the ceilings look higher and the room look so much bigger! Overall, the addition of the mantel, bench and bookshelves creates a really custom look that brings the whole space together. A perfect mix of form and function! Learn to install similar floating shelves here.
Finally, I just added in a few decorative extras to really make the space pop. A nice large plant near the window, combined with some decorative baskets on the wall, balances out the bookshelves on the other side and keeps the fireplace from looking off-centered on the wall. A few blue accents on the mantel bring the cool blue used throughout the room up onto the wall space to tie it all together.
Here is a list of sources I used for this mockup if you’re interested (contains affiliate links; learn more here):
So what do you think? What would you do to solve this awkward alcove situation? If you’re still looking for alcove inspiration, I’ve rounded up a few sample photos with lots more ideas on how to utilize that precious extra space!
As always, thank you to Cassity and the Remodelaholic team for having me back each month. If you like this post, and have a design dilemma you’d like me to mock up some ideas for, you can ask your questions by sending Remodelaholic a message over on Facebook, or checkout my mockup design services over on my site adaesthetic.com. And be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram to say hello! Have a great day, friends!
More ideas to turn an awkward alcove into a nifty nook:
Turn it into a bookcase and desk — by hacking IKEA pieces! Details here.
Make an amazing shelf and fireplace combo that will even hide your TV:
For a deeper alcove, try one of these solutions: