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Alcove ideas: 18 creative ways to use awkward spaces

These alcove ideas will show you how to transform an awkward nook into a functional and useful space within your home. With ideas for alcoves in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room, you'll not be short of inspiration after reading this post.

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Our selection of top alcove ideas will have you looking at your home’s unused corners and nooks in a completely new way.

Alcoves were originally used as a unique design addition to help save space, particularly in smaller homes. We’re going to show you how to squeeze every last drop of potential out of these architectural features, with alcove ideas that provide extra storage, seating, and display areas.

We’ll also share some expert design tips to make your alcove areas a feature in their own right. Let’s go!

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1. Alcove storage ideas for your books

Alcove bookcase in a living room

This homeowner has made the most of the recessed area in their living room with a wall of practical and stylish alcove storage. A floor-to-ceiling cupboard fills part of the recess, in a contrasting material to the floating bookshelves. We love how impactful a simple design can be.

2. Chimney breast alcove ideas

Fireplace alcove ideas

We adore this chimney breast alcove idea. From the neutral decor and clashing textures to the feature fireplace that lights up the room.

This is a living room that wows guests and invites them to stay awhile. However, where there’s a fireplace, there’s an alcove (or two!), and this room is no exception.

These homeowners have used their alcoves to create shelving units that display electronics, trinkets, ornaments, and plants, injecting life and character into this gorgeous space.

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3. Wood store and fireplace alcove ideas

Firewood store in an alcove

The wood store in this home is perfectly placed next to the fire, utilising a narrow gap that would otherwise have been redundant. The addition of wood brings natural warmth and texture to this modern scheme, helping to create a homely feel. In the opposite nook, a cosy reading corner has been cleverly created, with a single light fixture to help illuminate the pages.

4. Create a reading nook in your living room alcove

Cosy reading nook alcove concept
Cosy reading nook alcove AI generated concept

The small alcove in this concept has been transformed into a simple but cosy reading nook.

The rich, earthy tone of the burnt orange armchair creates a focal point that pops against the charcoal background, making it impossible to ignore its allure.

5. Alcove TV unit idea

Alcove cupboards cost

This alcove TV unit idea kills two birds with one stone. The chimney breast is flanked by two storage alcoves turning the whole wall into a feature and maximising every last inch of storage space.

Consider this setup for a small and cosy living room. By building upwards and not outwards, you save on precious floor space too!

Why not hire one of our professionals to help you get the look?

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6. Alcove shelving ideas

Floating shelves and built-in cabinetry in living room alcoves

Floating shelves are a cost-effective way to add useful storage and display areas to an alcove. Build in cabinetry below to help keep clutter, such as children’s toys and games, neatly tucked away.

7. Built-in alcove storage ideas

built in wardrobe in a bedroom alcove

Built-in storage is a popular solution in both living rooms and bedrooms.

The bespoke nature of built-ins means you can design it to your exact needs and specifications. So whether you need your alcove to house an expanding shoe collection or an overflowing library of books, built-in, bespoke storage is the answer.

8. Utilise all available storage in a bedroom loft conversion

Small bedroom with alcove about the bed

Alcoves make for smart space-saving solutions, so they’re particularly handy in smaller rooms.

This loft bedroom incorporates a small alcove that sits above the bed. The homeowners have opted to install lighting in it to save space on bedside tables and lamps. However, the shelf can also be used to store items such as books, electronics, or pictures.

Alcove storage in the loft eaves

And when you lose your attic space to a gorgeous new bedroom, build bespoke fitted wardrobes into the eaves to create a space for everything.

9. Alcove storage ideas in a kid’s bedroom

Mirrored fitted wardrobe in a child's bedroom alcove

The small nook in this kids’ bedroom has been transformed with the addition of a mirrored, fitted wardrobe. With oodles of storage and a practical mirror to prance and preen, we think this is a great use of an otherwise unused space.

10. Create an alcove dressing table area

Dressing table in a bedroom alcove

If you have a small alcove in your bedroom, why not add a dressing table? If it’s near a window, hang a mirror to make the most of the natural light. Add wall lights or choose an illuminated mirror to ensure it’s still functional in the evening.

11. Bespoke alcove desk ideas

Home office setup in an alcove area under the stairs
Modern home office AI generated concept in an understairs area

Let’s face it, when it comes to modern living, space is a commodity. That’s why finding your nooks and filling them with useful furniture or storage is a must.

Creating a home office or study area in the empty space under the stairs is a genius way to add extra living space to your home.

12. Utilise your alcove for a hobby corner

Hobby area in an alcove

An alcove can make an attractive spot to indulge in your favourite hobbies. A simple A-frame desk or – bespoke option with rustic storage crates – is the ideal area for crafting, sewing, painting, or writing.

13. Make music in your unused alcove area

A black piano in an alcove in the lounge

This grown-up sitting room makes the most of its alcove with a beautiful piano. Why not follow suit in your own home, or opt for a more retro feel with a vinyl record player?

14. Create a home bar or drinks cabinet

Home bar within a kitchen alcove

Take inspiration from this homeowner and turn a narrow nook into a home bar area. Complete with a wine fridge, prep area, and wall units housing every drinking vessel imaginable, this indulgent space would be the ultimate addition to a sociable kitchen.

We particularly love the metallic accents and the clever mirrored splashback to make the space feel bigger.

Working within a smaller space? Choose a freestanding drinks cabinet or drinks trolley to slot into your alcove, position a wingback chair close by, and sit back and relax after a long day.

15. Rustle up a kitchen larder from an unused alcove

Kitchen larder in an alcove space

We have to admit, this kitchen larder is rather generous, but creating a pantry in an awkward kitchen alcove is both a practical and stylish way to store all your kitchenware.

Have plenty of kitchen storage but struggle with seating? Consider transforming your kitchen alcove into a neat breakfast bar area to enjoy that morning coffee.

16. Take a pew at a gorgeous alcove window seat

Window seat in an alcove

Rather than place freestanding furniture in front of this window alcove, this homeowner has opted for a built-in window seat.

This decision frees up valuable floor space, avoids blocking the natural light, and provides plenty of useful storage too. Perfect!

17. Seek out alcove storage ideas in the bathroom

Alcove storage ideas under sink

This modern bathroom makes use of its alcove perfectly. By incorporating double sinks over a storage unit, the hollow is filled out beautifully.

Marble surfaces and wood-panelled walls add texture and detail, while the vintage drawer handles inject a little extra warmth into this bathroom. Finished with a large mirror to open up the space, this alcove offers maximum impact.

Hooks and shelves in bathroom alcoves

Alternatively, if you have a chimney breast to work around, use the alcoves for bathroom hooks, floating shelves, and laundry baskets. That way, you create a useful place for everything!

18. Use your hallway alcove to maximise your storage

Coat storage in a hallway alcove

The reconfiguration of this period property has created a pretty hallway alcove, ideal for some extra storage. Whether you hang coat hooks or install built-in shelving and cabinetry, this alcove is an organisational gem.

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Alcove decorating ideas for every home

Lighting ideas and feature wallpaper in an alcove

Struggling to decide how to decorate an alcove wall? These simple tips will help:

  • Paint the alcove wall in a pale shade that matches your room decor to reduce the visual depth.
  • Wallpaper the alcove wall to create a contrasting feature.
  • Tile a kitchen or bathroom alcove for interest and texture.
  • Lighting in the alcove ceiling will help to illuminate a naturally dark area. Place the lighting centrally to create a fan effect that lengthens and deepens the space.
  • Artwork is an easy way to add colour and interest to an unused nook.

Maximise the potential of your alcove space with the help of an experienced carpenter

The nature of alcoves means it’s usually necessary to get a bespoke solution for your home. This way, you’ll maximise every last inch of space with a perfect fit.

Find quality carpenters in your local area using our leading directory. Just add your postcode to the box below to start your search.

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