10 Ways to Decorate An Alcove Effectively to Make it Functional

Most interior designers love working with alcoves and find that they have great design potentials in that they can be designed and decorated in such ways that they become a focal point in any room, instead of being an ignored or uninteresting space.

Alcoves are recesses you’ll find within interiors spaces (hallways, living, dining, bedrooms, or bathrooms). They range from tiny nooks to wide bays. But many homeowners don’t know what to do with these recesses and end up placing a planter, a nondescript item or storage boxes into theirs. Others just leave them empty.

However, there are quite a number of ways to turn a niche into a spectacular space that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional as well, depending on its width and depth, whether it has windows or not, or its ceiling height.

10 Ways to Turn Your Niche into an Impressive Space

1) If your alcove is wide and deep enough to fit in a comfortable chair like a sofa or divan.  Add a smartly styled table in front of it to serve as a coffee table and set this on an area rug. If it is a wide bay window recess, you can add side tables. Hang a large painting on the wall behind the sofa and put a  table lamp on one of the tables and artsy decorative pieces on the others.

Regard this space as a cosy nook, a quiet area away from the household crowd, or a small retreat.

2) For smaller alcoves, mirror the walls from dado height up to give an illusion of a larger space. Antique themed mirrors or bronze mirrors look great with this style. Add a high display stand or something like a plinth and place a large vase of freshly cut flowers on it. You may prefer to place a treasured carved statue, an abstract piece of artwork, an aquarium, or any decor item that's a good noticeable size. Fix a decorative pendant light fixture to drop from the ceiling. Now, you have a beautiful spot that enhances the room.

3) Under-the-stairs niches can be converted to a work-at-home office. All you’ll need is a suspended surface to serve as your working surface, some shelves, a drawer unit under the suspended table top, and a nice chair, swivel if you like. The walls can be finished with a contrasting colour from the other walls in the room in a deeper hue colour that will accentuate the recess complement the other walls in the room. The back wall will also look great with a textured finish or wallpaper.

4) If you love aquatic life, have your alcove converted to an exotic space with an aquarium, seashells, driftwood, wallpaper with coastal, beach sand, or palm trees illustrations. Build the fish tank on a raised platform. Its height will depend on the alcoves ceiling height and how high you desire your aquarium to be. The platform can be a cabinet to serve as storage for fish food and aquarium tools and accessories.

If you don't particularly like aquariums, you can build a large open or closed plant terrarium instead.

5) An indoor water feature like waterfalls and is popular because of the tranquil feel it creates. You can add a floor standalone water feature with cascading waterfalls or a tabletop one placed on a decorative table. Whether you want something modern, traditional, or rustic depends on the theme of your interior space.

Tranquil indoor water features will greatly enhance your alcove.

6) An alcove can be transformed into a mini gallery that’s filled with photographs, plaques, paintings, or groupings of framed artwork. These can be arranged on all three walls of the niche and well lit with a ceiling light fixture that has a similar theme to the gallery display. For example, if you decide to arrange black and white photos or art d├ęcor works, the ceiling light must be of a design that goes perfectly with the theme. You can also use vintage-inspired wall sconces.

Place an imitation area rug on the floor, round, rectangular, square depending on the configuration of the alcove. Its size will depend also depend on the floor space of the recess. Your guests will linger in this space for a long while, enjoying the collections on the walls. It is important that they all be small, framed, and arranged in a pleasing manner.

7) Place an area rug in the alcove and under a low coffee table to display family relics and personal mementoes, keepsakes, collectables, and the like. You can also display unusual art objects, ceramics, figurines, etc…  Your collections should make your visitors linger and scrutinise.

8) Another design idea for an alcove space is to set a chaise lounge in the space with plush plump bright pillows or if you prefer, you can use a classic accent chair like a scroll chair. Hang a large framed artwork on the wall - metal artwork will be a nice. Set a runner rug in front of the chaise and place a small round top table on a thin pedestal to its side. A floor lamp directed within can throw in subdued light if or when the need arises.

9) If the alcove is less than 1metre wide, convert the space into a display section. Use thick shatterproof glazing for a floor to ceiling shelves and build a dropped (false) ceiling above, fitted with recessed lights that’ll light up your displayed items. The recess can serve as display shelves for anything from collectables and memorabilia to ceramic ware, porcelain vases, and small family photographs. You can display any of the items you want to show-off. Ensure the wall is painted a light hue so that whatever items are placed on the glass shelves will stand out clearly and distinctly.

Try to avoid clutter on glass shelves.

10) If an alcove is set with bay windows, a built-in upholstered bench with plush colour coordinated throw pillows placed as back support creates an awesome look, especially if it has a great view of the outdoors. If the bay window has a wide ledge, decorate it with scented candles, vases, pots of potpourri,  decorative art pieces, carvings, ceramics, and the like. It can be decorated nicely to enhance the alcove.

The platform of the upholstered bench can have concealed storage facilities that's not only a part of the furniture but a structure that is functional and handy.

With any of these ideas, you can turn your alcove, niche or other interior wall recesses into a designer’s delight, a space that can serve as a hiding place of sorts, a nook to read, a place to relax and take a nap on a daybed, or a place to exhibit your prized collections.

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