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Turn a closet or nook into a work zone. In this space, drapery panels slide along a curtain rod to make it easy to conceal the clutter. Even without an architectural niche or bay, you can duplicate this effect by curtaining off an area across the width of a room -- just hang the drapes from a rod or thin wire suspended from the ceiling.
Don't let the awkward angles of a dormer dissuade you from taking advantage of square footage -- the light-filled alcoves are often the perfect spot to squeeze in a desk. Two 1 x 4s painted white and mounted on shelving brackets create a handy work zone in this second-story cubby. Built-in benches boost the cozy quotient and allow the space to double as a dining table for two.
Opting for a narrow, shallow refrigerator netted more counter and shelf space in this compact kitchen. White cabinetry, honed black-granite countertops, and a deep stainless-steel sink give the space a tailored look. To lighten up the painted brick flooring, a solid door between the kitchen and laundry room was swapped out for one with a glass inset.
Reclaim wasted space under a staircase as storage. Wide-trim molding turns these staggered shelves into a strong architectural feature. Baskets add eye-pleasing texture as they keep linens and other kitchen odds and ends corralled.
Transform the often-unused space at the top of the stairs into a destination. Built-in bench seating capitalizes on the sunny window on this second-floor landing, creating a cozy reading retreat. Flip-up lids under the bench cushions provide access to hidden storage.
Replacing dark upper cabinets with a sparkling wall of pale glass tiles turned this kitchen luminous. A china hutch (not shown) now sits opposite the sink to make up for the lost storage. To free up space for a peninsula counter, the refrigerator sits in a recessed nook -- space commandeered from a bedroom closet.
Play with scale to deliver big impact. An oversize mirror balances the heft of the sofa in this space and reflects light, making the room appear larger. A large patterned throw pillow creates a strong focal point. Reaching from floor to ceiling, wispy tree branches subtly pull all of the elements together.
Home offices are natural candidates for multifunctional spaces. This dining room was too small for entertaining, so it was converted into an artist's garret, complete with a drafting table and a rolling set of drawers. To expand the room's usefulness, the built-ins hold special-occasion dishes, and extra floor space is home to a vintage bike that doubles as sculptural art.
Set a casual, family-friendly mood for mealtimes by mixing and matching chair styles. In this breakfast nook, a slipcovered wing-back chair promises sink-in comfort in an easy-to-clean form. The bench is a great space saver because it accommodates multiple people and takes up less space than a group of individual chairs. Also, the pieces around the table could easily segue into the living room for hosting a crowd.
Pale-tone walls, unfettered windows, and sleek furniture leave visual "room" for eye-popping pink geometrics. Tall bookcases in the corner display artwork. Dark floors anchor light-colored rooms; the gradation of wood tones helps hide dirt, too.
Adding too much storage can make a room too snug. This bath is long but narrow, and most of the storage is in bottom cabinets. Not having cabinets above the counter keeps the space open and airy at eye level, making it comfortable in spite of the close side walls.
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