How to Successfully Style the Nook or Niche in Your Home







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So, has anyone else noticed the emergence of a new interior design trend? Whereas the awkward corner or peculiar spaced cut-out used to be the bane of an interior designers’ existence, all of a sudden, the ugly ducklings of interior design have become the darlings of the home fashion world. It seems like everyone contemplating a DIY project (it’s always a good idea to do your research before deciding whether to DIY) is now actively looking for ways to incorporate “a niche” or “a nook”.

What is a nook? What is a niche (and how do you actually pronounce it)? Why are they suddenly so popular? All valid questions (oh, and it’s pronounced similar to “quiche” or “leash”). Basically, a nook is classified as a space that is large enough for a person to occupy, but too small to be an independent room (a dedicated reading corner, a window seat, etc.). A niche is a recessed area of a wall that can be used for storage or decoration (you see them used a lot in modern bathrooms). Why are they so popular now? Personally, I blame reality TV. 

There are basically two separate categories of niches/nooks that you’ll generally find in a home: the “created on purpose” nook/niche (specifically built as a design feature) and the “it exists because of the building layout” nook/niche (the space below a flight of stairs). So, if you want to incorporate a nook or niche into your interior design, start by analysing potential spots that may already exist. If you need to create one, then it may be worth talking to an expert about the best way to go about installing one with minimal expense. But once you have your niche or nook, how can you go about styling it successfully? Remember, you want it to look intriguing and effortless, not overdone or sloppy.

  • The Breakfast Nook: One of the easiest nooks to create, all you need is a trestle table and some stools or bench seats that slot underneath. This comfortable corner is ideal for a quick breakfast or even a late-night snack. The key to a successful breakfast nook is to style it so it suits the rest of the kitchen, and institute a family rule prohibiting the use of the nook as a dumping ground for books, bags and other assorted items.
  • The Decorative Niche: The decorative niche is commonly found in close proximity to an entry door and will (if possible) have a downlight installed directly above to maximise the effect. Purely for decorative purposes, these niches look great with an attractive vase or an eye-catching sculpture taking centre stage.
  • The Reading Nook: All a reading nook really requires is decent lighting and a comfy chair. If you have an inbuilt closet that is seldom used, consider transforming the interior into a little reading nook for your children to enjoy. Another great option is the awkward landing space commonly found at the top of stairs – install a cosy armchair, add a tiny side table and a free-standing lamp, and your reading nook is complete. Bonus points if you manage to incorporate a small bookshelf.
  • The Storage Niche: The storage niche is great for creating extra shelving in the lounge room or bedroom, but its greatest value is in a shower. Why? Because we all know that the ugliest part of a shower is the shower caddy (responsible for holding shampoos, soaps and all other essential shower paraphernalia). Once you’ve installed a shower niche you will have a dedicated space where you can arrange all of your bottles and jars.
  • The Picture Window Nook: This kind of nook will really only look good if it has been specifically built for this purpose. If you want to add one to your existing home then choose a longer room (you are going to lose space), preferably with a nice outlook. The ideal picture window nook will include a large viewing window, plus a window seat or well-positioned daybed; if you’re custom building this nook then be alert to opportunities to install inbuilt shelves.
  • The Under the Stairs Nook: What used to be considered dead space can now become a study nook (small desk, chair and computer), a music nook (for storing the piano or any other musical instruments) or even a play nook for the children (some plush cushions and a few favourite toys). 
Regardless of where you choose to install a niche or nook, try and get the balance right between style and function. There are literally thousands of style ideas online, but not all of them will work with your space, so take the time to really consider what kind of niche or nook will best suit your home.


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