Filling the Gap: How to Decorate Problem Areas in Your Home

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Image: Ivan Terestchenko on Little Augury

Just about every house or apartment has them—those weird places that are difficult to decorate. Sometimes it’s just an odd nook, other times it’s that whole dead area where nothing seems to really work. Fortunately, there are a few tried and true laws of interior design that can help you make sense of and successfully decorate those unusual areas.

Collections that Make Sense

Take a look at the tiny landing area overlooking this short stairway shown above. What can you do in that little space? In reality, not much… so why not use it to show off a collection? This one is tied together using three concepts: color, shape, and use. Each of the items that fill the space are connected by one or more of the concepts, filling up the odd landing and fitting together perfectly.

Keep Things In Scale

Space Under the Stairs
Image: Mocca & Me

The short space under these industrial stairs is visible from the main living area in this home, so leaving it empty is a real waste. Instead, the area is being used to store additional seating. These stools are the right size in relationship to the space they are in—looking neither too small nor overly crowded.

Less is More

Headboard Niche
Image: Plastolux

While many of us might use this above-the-bed niche to stack books or store other bedtime supplies, let’s face it—that wouldn’t look terribly nice. So, in keeping with the aesthetic of the rest of this room, the space is used to display a few key items. This subtle, gallery-like use of the unusual area is a terrific idea.

Balanced Vignette

Hanging Art Living Room Corner
Image: Chris Nguyen for Analog Dialog

Here’s one of those spaces outside of the useful footprint of a room that most people tend to leave bare. Putting an interesting vignette including art, stacking tables, and a few collectibles on display turns it into an area of understated visual interest.

How have you decorated the problem areas of your home?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.