Small nooks, crannies and awkward corners in a room sometimes present a design challenge, but turning them into cozy, self-contained spaces can be a great way to make them work. Whether you want a cozy corner to sit with a coffee, read a book or work in, there are many ways to make these spaces work.
And of course every room has corners, so there are opportunities to include these cocoon spaces in bedrooms, the dining room, the kitchen or the living room. Here are some of our favorite ideas.
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Aditi is an experienced house writer and editor. She has written hundreds of articles for various international titles to help readers make the best home design choices, and spends her days interviewing interior industry experts to bring the latest ideas to her readers. For this piece, she spoke with the world’s best designers to learn ways to decorate and make the most of corners.
12 cozy corner ideas
1. Turn a corner into an indoor/outdoor space
Some nooks are hidden in back corners, while others are located with a view to the outside. In this project, architects Timmins + Whyte designed this glass addition to create the perfect nook to relax in, overlooking the backyard. ‘We introduced a semi-outdoor space, along with a large glass window cut from ceiling to floor, all of which draw light deeper into the house,’ says Sally Timmins, founder of Timmins + Whyte (opens in new tab). “A small sitting area has been created to help enjoy the views while it’s warm inside.”
It’s the perfect place to appreciate the view outside and all the natural light this space has, even when it’s cold outside.
2. Create a sitting area in your bedroom
Bedrooms, while inherently relaxing, can be made cozier and more inviting with the right bedroom seating ideas. Consider a few chairs, a small couch, a chaise lounge, or a day bed, to fill your bedroom nook. You can make use of awkward alcoves with built-in seats or even add one under a window.
It’s all part of the process of turning a bedroom into a cozy haven, like this bedroom designed by California interior designer Anne Marie Barton of AMB Design.
“Consider adding soft material like a pillow or place a rug underneath, and change the layout of the furniture to further enhance the space so it looks soft,” suggests Sally from Timmin + Whyte.
3. Use L-shaped seats in a corner
When it comes to living room furniture ideas, if there’s one shape that serves many purposes, it’s the L-shaped couch or sectional. These extra long pieces of furniture can be placed along a wall, providing plenty of seating and ample circulation area in the middle.
These sofas are versatile, can be used in a lounge corner to seat several people at once, or even ideal for stretching out on a lazy afternoon.
Adding a room divider is a great way to make this area more intimate and cozy, like in this space created by interior designer Rafael de Cárdenas. From curtains, hanging plants and wood panels, to fabric screens, glass partitions, wooden slats, and more, there are many ways to create a simple but effective partition.
4. Add seating in the corner of a kitchen
Corner sofa seating is ideal for casual dining, morning coffee or sharing intimate conversations. By adding a cozy table and a few chairs, you can include one at the end of a kitchen peninsula.
“A banquette seat or a ledge can provide a cozy, warm place for a family member to sit in their corner while still being visually connected to the activities in the larger room,” says Sally.
What’s more, banquettes can also be extended to include extra storage under the seat. If you have a corner that is too tight, try a small round table with a pedestal base so you can move around more easily.
5. Make a narrow room into a cozy corner
Some spaces around the house are just too narrow, small or compact to be full-fledged living spaces. In that case, use them as transitions, resting places or narrow living room corners. Add a long sofa along the length of the room, and if you have space, add two more chairs.
Design the layout so that it faces an outside area or another larger space, so that the corner does not look too closed and restrictive, and you have lovely views at all times. In this project, for example, the seat faces the window gallery, making it an ideal cozy space to spend afternoons and evenings.
7. Turn a corner into a cozy workspace
Get yourself the corner office you’ve been dreaming of by adding a table and chair to the far end of the living room. Conveniently tucked away in a corner, small home offices can pack a lot of character, especially when designed with slick, design-savvy furniture and lighting pieces. Add a lick of paint and you have a space you’ll love to work in.
Keep in mind that two functional areas integrated into one must have some appearance in design. Try to choose similar styles of furniture for both ‘zones’, and if you want a more seamless look, allow a large piece of carpet to cover both spaces. Try to have a similar color scheme for both, although you can personalize the office space with small cubbies or storage baskets.
8. Make the most of a window
Alcoves offer a wonderful, cocooning atmosphere and can make ideal contemplative corners. These are great seats for looking in and out, and help create an intimate spot for anyone who just wants to switch off for a bit.
For a cozy living room, consider turning the alcove into secondary seating; whether for conversations or even for meals. Make sure you choose soft, transparent window treatments so that the views of the outdoors are never compromised.
‘This room has a custom brown leather banquette that sits perfectly snug in the alcove,’ say Kirsten Dahl-Feathers and Carlie Ng, designers at the Stylesmiths. “We match it with a walnut dining table and overhead antique cloche pendant to create a warm glow for intimate dinner gatherings.”
9. Lower the ceiling height for a cozier feel
Do you want to create a cozy feeling in your small dining room? Bring the ceiling down a bit with added units, creating an enveloping feel.
‘The way we go about creating a peaceful cozy space is to make a “place” within the space,’ says Sally Timmins. “We can lower the ceiling in that area with storage, or add warmth with wood paneling or layers in a different texture.”
‘In this space we fit a cozy dining area, where the compact shape of the table and chairs was not chosen by chance; the idea was not to burden the space with massive objects,’ says interior designer Yana Molodykh (opens in new tab). ‘We wanted to create a light, airy and cozy atmosphere of living under the roof, and we did this with ceiling storage and an Akari floor lamp from Vitra (opens in new tab).’
10. Introduce a daybed to make any corner cozy
Daybeds in living rooms are ideal for limited spaces, as they can accommodate two or more people, act as a guest bed, and even provide storage to place extra pillows, throws and more. Many daybeds are adjustable, meaning you can move them around or remove the back pieces to suit how you want to sit. They also serve as ideal room dividers.
Versatile and available in modern shapes, daybeds come in a wide variety of fabric upholstery options, so you can match them to the interior of your choice. It can transform any space into a warm sitting area, be it a bedroom, living room, passageway to even a balcony.
11. Make a corner its own little vignette
With the power of decor, you can easily create a fresh, intimate zone that stands out from the rest of the house. Think color-blocking walls to give a corner its own distinct identity. You can even place a painted, eye-catching screen with a chair in a corner for an interesting look. Create a living room gallery wall with artwork or family photos for a little extra magic.
12. Create built-in seating in a mudroom or entryway
Seating is a must for an entryway or mudroom, so consider ways to introduce it into the corners of your space.
“When you’re challenged with a tight space, a built-in seat is an ideal solution,” says Nicole Yee, founder of NY Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘It’s the perfect way to maximize seating and save floor space. You can even add hidden drawers under the seats for additional storage, which is another benefit.’