“Do you have an interesting little cubby or niche and not sure what to do with it? Here are some ideas that just might help you out.”
Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team
Originally published on HOUZZ, by Yanic Simard
Sometimes a wall niche has an obvious purpose — a cubby for firewood, for example. Other times, not so much. Either way, if you’re not sure what to do with your functional niche or awkward alcove, here are foolproof ways to fill, conceal, feature and otherwise turn that negative space into a positive.
1. Firewood. A classic, and obvious, use for a niche near a fireplace is to store clean, uniformly cut firewood, which creates a beautiful rustic effect even if you don’t actually burn logs in your fireplace. Generally small logs can fill any shape of niche, turning a rounded edge or an odd angle into a fun feature.
2. Firewood and art. The look of stacked wood works even in a modern setting. Feel free to get creative with it and add some art, or paint the ends of some logs in a bright shade to add graphic pops of color.
3. Plants. For an organic touch similar to wood, use a hardy live plant (one that can survive away from sunlight), and let the leaves softly spill out of the niche to play against the hard lines.
4. Shelves. Spanning shelves across a shallow wall niche is one of the most efficient uses of these spaces. It gives you extra storage and display space, and can turn what seems like an awkward area into something that looks planned and organized.
The horizontal lines of shelves can also visually correct awkwardly uneven walls (narrow or wide). Meanwhile, painting the backdrop elevates the niche to an architectural feature instead of a problem.
Paint by Benjamin Moore: Street Chic CSP-45 (backdrop); Balboa Mist 1549 (walls)
5. Bright hues. Of course, an alcove doesn’t have to be shy. Consider making one the center of attention with a coat of bright paint. If a niche doesn’t have a physical border, simply tape off a 1- to 2-inch edge before painting to give it a stronger physical presence.
Similar paint color: Rumba Orange 2014-20, Benjamin Moore; bike racks: CB2
6. Mirrors and glass. Filling an alcove with glass shelves and a mirrored back adds a lot of layered depth, making the niche feel almost like a window or a passageway into a distant room. Here, the overall effect extends the apparent eaye line so the niche and room feel bigger.
7. Grating. Rather than filling the unusual niche between this front room and the adjacent foyer with drywall, I added decorative faux wrought iron grating to add structure while keeping the open feeling. Now the spaces are better defined without the foyer’s being closed in.
8. Carved panels. Similarly, the designer of this bathroom filled the pass-throughs between the shower and main space with decorative panels, but in a more opaque way that preserves a sense of privacy.
9. Built-ins. Sometimes the best way to deal with a really unusually shaped niche or bulkhead is to build it out to make a flat wall. Here, the built-in storage also acts as an interesting headboard, giving the room a more structured feeling without wasting space.
A similar effect has been achieved here, in a more minimalist modern look, with built-ins used at multiple depths to turn the whole wall into a subtle feature.
10. Reading nooks and open storage. The alcove under a stairway is often turned into closed storage due to the unusual shape, but it can also make a great reading nook or open storage for attractive coats, bags and other accessories that don’t need to be stashed behind closed doors.
Cabinets: Crystal Cabinets
11. Furniture. When filling a niche with a furniture piece, you can opt for something subtle that blends in with the walls, or take the opportunity to make the furniture a feature, like a jewel in a case.