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Banish visual clutter: design ideas for awkward spaces

Posted: 02/06/20 Banish visual clutter: design ideas for awkward spaces

Some homes are blessed with perfect proportions, destined to provide a beautiful blank canvas for any interior design project and to repel unwanted clutter. Others, unfortunately, come with some less-than-desirable quirks. Guest blogger Suhayl Laher of Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers, bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers, offers his top solutions.

Clutter is the enemy of any home, robbing otherwise beautiful living spaces of their style, and creating a cramped and oppressive atmosphere if left to accumulate. The bad news is clutter isn’t always something you can hold in your hands and relegate to a storage cupboard or charity bag. Sometimes, it’s that sloping ceiling or annoyingly shaped alcove you can’t for the life of you figure out how to decorate.

Fear not, though – the good news is we have an action plan ready to go, whatever kind of visual clutter you’re working with. Here, we’re breaking down a handful of awkward and restrictive home features, along with cures for the visual clutter they create.

Framed mirror

Small living spaces

A modestly sized room can feel like an interior design dead end, with so few options when it comes to combating your critical space shortage. Inside your bag of decorating tricks, though, are a range of aesthetic hacks you can use to create the illusion of additional space.

Mirrors will serve as a trusty sidekick on your mission to maximise the visual space available. Mount your mirror of choice on a wall facing a window to reflect light back into the room – creating the appearance of a space significantly larger than its dimensions would suggest.

Pale, neutral and muted colours are always recommended for smaller spaces – again, contributing to the illusion of additional space where it’s needed most. Combine with a minimalist approach to your use of furniture and accessories and you’re almost there. With maximum light reflecting around your clean, bright and pale-toned (albeit small) room, you’re free to go wild with wall-mounted finishing touches, such as shelves and wall art.

Fireplaces and alcoves

Some DIY interior designers consider quirky home features like fireplaces and alcoves a blessing. Others have suffered in silence, waiting for some creative design solutions to these aesthetic afflictions. If this sounds like you, your wait is over.

Non-functional fireplaces don’t exactly make it easy to maximise the space available in a room, but if yours isn’t going anywhere, the secret is to incorporate it rather than working around it. Your hearth or surround can become a striking design feature in its own right through the introduction of tiles designed for use on fireplaces, allowing you to create an elegant – even opulent – statement feature out of what was previously a home design hurdle.

Alcoves get a bad rap in the world of interior design. They’re widely considered a space where a sofa, TV or coffee table should have been able to live but can’t due to the unreasonably limited amount of space available. We’re here to extol the virtues of alcoves when it comes to providing a comfortable home for features including but by no means limited to freestanding storage solutions. In a bathroom, an alcove can offer essential storage nook for daily toiletries. In a bedroom, an alcove can serve as a stylish surround for your headboard. The world is your oyster.

Modular dining room storage

Awkwardly shaped rooms and ceilings

Attics and rooms housed under the stairs are the bane of any interior designer’s existence due to the severe spatial restrictions that come with these unwanted anomalies. With every inch of space at a premium in awkwardly shaped rooms with angular ceilings, it’s essential to get creative when it comes to transforming this burden into something beautiful.

Rooms come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, some of these shapes and sizes can feel like a curse, but there are countless design hacks you can make use of in a bid to beautify your living space. Ensuring a clear path through cramped rooms by strategically arranging furniture and accessories will go some way towards eliminating the otherwise inevitable ‘obstacle course’ effect. Narrow spaces can also be opened up visually through the use of monochromatic colour schemes. Avoid a busy, over-embellished aesthetic at all costs to unleash the potential of your awkwardly shaped room.

In an attic, a skylight presents a powerful design solution to the closed in, claustrophobic feeling that can come with its sloped ceilings flooding the space with natural light to create a bright and airy aesthetic. The spatial restrictions caused by these ceilings can also be used to your advantage, creating enclosed areas for standing storage solutions and cosy relaxation nooks.

Transform your home’s shortcomings into striking new visual features in their own right by taking these strategic interior tips on board. Don’t forget to combine with The Dormy House’s diverse range of modular furniture pieces, which can be built up from individual units to create a piece that fits your space making light work of creating stylish statements in challenging spaces.