Alcove ideas: 10 clever ways to use corners and niches

ByDavid M. Conte

Apr 23, 2022

Alcove ideas can harness the potential of these home features, giving rooms a boost of style, while serving a useful function.

These nooks and niches can be found near the fireplace, but older homes may also feature them elsewhere in their internal architecture, as may newer homes where they were designed to add character and style.

Here, we’ve picked our favorite alcove ideas for the living room as well as those for rooms in the house, showing how these nooks can enhance any room they’re in.

Alcove Ideas

Corners and niches lend themselves to stylish storage and are perfect as a display area. But it is not only their content that is crucial, but also how they are decorated, which can enhance the interior. Be inspired by these alcove ideas.

1. Experiment with marble and glass

alcove with glass shelves for display, blue hallway

(Image credit: ND Studios)

“Alcoves basically serve only one purpose: stylish storage ideas,” says Natascha Dartnall, Managing Director of ND Studios, though we’d add that they’re also great for displaying artwork. “They shouldn’t house unsightly piles of household bric-a-brac that have nowhere to go (we see you and we don’t want you – stacks of receipts, broken remotes, fly spray).

“Alcoves should be shelves and places to display ornaments, artwork and picture frames. We like to experiment with different decors – marble is a good choice and glass shelves always look chic.

2. Use alcoves to create symmetry

upholstered bedroom with bed and alcove wall shelves

(Image credit: future)

Alcoves can be a godsend for realizing master bedroom ideas. “Embrace the alcoves of a period home by maximizing space and creating smart uses,” say Jen & Mar, co-founders of Interior Fox. ‘Centering the bed in front of the fireplace not only allows you to use each side for a bedside table, but also as a decorative element, additional storage and even for a dressing table.

“Layout is important to consider when building a custom shelving unit. A standard nightstand is typically 24-28 inches (60-70 cm), but building your own gives you the freedom to create a height that works best for your space.You’ll want to make sure it’s easy enough to reach a glass of water or the book you’ve been reading.

‘Start by measuring the height of the mattress. This will give you a good indication of placement and a few inches above the bed works best. Originally the fireplace in this space was narrow so to balance the proportions we extended the width to match the super king size bed.

3. Create drama with a black alcove

black dining room with alcove used for display, wooden floor, retro mahogany table, chairs covered in velvet, painting

(Image credit: Cave Interiors/Helen Cathcart)

Consider alcoves with your dining room color ideas. “Farrow & Ball’s Paean Black has been used throughout this dining room, including the bespoke paneling and cabinetry in the alcoves to provide a rich and luxurious backdrop to the growing collection of art and tableware vintage from our customers,” says Georgina Cave, Director of Cave Interiors.

“We used a plum-coloured George Spencer velvet on the dining chairs, which surround a polished walnut dining table by Fiona McDonald to create a dark and sumptuous setting, ready for dinner parties and large family gatherings. “

It makes the perfect backdrop for displaying china.

4. Consider the position of the bookcase

living room with green painted shelves in the alcoves and armchairs in front

(Image credit: Future/Mel Yates)

Keep the look sleek by framing your alcove ideas. “What we love about this intricate alcove is the way the shelving is placed – the cabinet below allows the space to breathe while the bookcase idea is in keeping with the rest of the traditional style. of the room, while having a practical element,” says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.

5. Frame an alcove

DIY projects

(Image credit: Future/Simon Brown)

Sometimes alcoves are seemingly architectural anomalies, perhaps a recess where a built-in wardrobe once was home since your house was built. Sure, you can fill the alcove with a replacement closet, but if you’d rather create space for a display, allowing the room to breathe a bit, that’s one way to do it.

Note how the sides and back of the alcove are painted a shade darker than the room’s wall, creating a subtle but useful separation.

6. Continue the wallpaper in an alcove

bedroom with yellow striped walls, white bedding, white table lamp, blue throw, built-in bookshelves

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

Don’t leave out alcoves when it comes to bedroom wallpaper ideas. “We selected a soft but bright yellow wallpaper with a classic vertical stripe in a painterly quality for this bedroom to add color and pattern without overwhelming the space,” says Katie Lion, senior interior designer at Kitesgrove.

“The alcoves on either side of the bed provide convenient bedside storage, while adding depth and decorative display to the room for an overall balanced bedroom full of character.”

7. Use the space for a bed

Bedroom by Veere Grenney

(Image credit: David Oliver/Veere Grenney)

“Interior designer Veere Greeney’s bedroom design can be adapted to be a clever use of an alcove,” says Lucy Searle, Global Editor, Homes & Gardens. “Alcoves are the perfect place to house corner bed ideas, which can be decorated and draped over to set them apart from the rest of the space.”

8. Multiply the number of alcoves

Wall lights in a living room designed by Kitesgrove

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

It is not necessary to stick to a single alcove on each side of the fireplace. “Designed by Kitesgrove, this modern living room makes full use of purpose-built alcoves,” says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.

“Used to display client’s ornaments and books, they are a stylish feature in this space and the wall sconces accentuate the bookshelves in the evening.”

9. Arrange a flexible kitchen alcove

kitchen with upholstered alcove with open shelving, wooden cabinets, white countertops and hob in the island in the foreground, glass pendant lights

(Image credit: Interior Impressions)

“An alcove in a kitchen is a great way to utilize space and maximize both storage and visual interest,” says Amy Leferink, owner and lead designer, Interior Impressions. “We love the idea of ​​creating a nook like this, to use as a coffee bar, prep area, or even as a cute extension to your pantry, where you can house canisters and trays with larger items. frequently used.

“The kitchen wallpaper accent wall also gives it a distinct look, setting it apart from the rest of the room.”

10. Harness the power of a little recess

spice rack in a small alcove in the kitchen wall

(Image credit: Hub of the House Studio)

Add to kitchen storage with alcove ideas. “Traditional Spanish homes typically involve simple architectural details and built-in storage,” says Karen Harautuneian, owner and principal designer of Hub of the House Studio.

“When redesigning this 1920s Beverly Hills Spanish home, it seemed fitting to incorporate a recessed alcove for my client’s spice storage. It allows easy and accessible access to all of its most frequently used spices.

What to do with alcoves?

Consider alcoves in kitchen layout ideas to maximize available space.

“This kitchen from deVOL is a clever mix of beautifully crafted cabinetry that makes the most of the alcove, paired with an industrial-style freestanding countertop,” says Melanie Griffiths, Managing Editor, period of life. The wardrobe is housed in the alcove with a side extension that gives the impression that it has always been there. It’s a great example of how to make the most of the space you have.

Should I paint alcoves or a fireplace?

Painting the fireplace is a traditional option, drawing the eye to this focal point of a room. But it’s entirely possible to take the opposite approach and use paint colors that emphasize the alcoves. Here, the color can be an excellent backdrop for items on the shelves, for example.