Transform a corner of your home

Doing a micro makeover, like sprucing up your pantry, is less overwhelming than an entire room.

Story highlights

  • Turn an unremarkable spot into a beautiful, inviting haven
  • Do a little makeover and take on one corner of a room rather than the whole space
  • Create an indoor garden, game spot or art gallery in an otherwise unremarkable corner
The Bite-Size Makeover
Who says you have to redo a whole room at once? Take on just an unutilized corner using things you probably already have around the house.
Dressing "Room"
All you need:
-A big mirror
-An ottoman
-A wall hook
-Something pretty to look at
-A throw rug
-A little table
Tips on putting it together:
-Think bare feet and bare skin when you're gathering pieces for this spot. The ottoman and the rug should be soft.
-One wall hook -- just enough for your robe or the dress you want to wear the next day -- is better than multiples, which could easily cause clutter.
-Works of art and photographs that feel personal are especially nice in an intimate space like this one.
-If you're near a window, you can scoot the ottoman up to the mirror and do your makeup here, too.
-Layering a small patterned rug over wall-to-wall defines a zone, creating coziness.
Kids' Reading Nook
All you need:
-A beanbag chair (or something just as squishy)
-A sconce
-Tiny works of art
-A low table (or not)
-Favorite books
Tips on putting it together:
-Scale the setup to appeal to the people it's for. Choose a low seat that's easy to collapse into, a low-mounted light to illuminate books, and low pieces of art to gaze at while daydreaming.
-A bookshelf could clutter up a tight corner, so use what you've got -- a windowsill, a table, or even the floor.
-Beanbag chairs can look messy. It helps to keep something (creaturely, perhaps?) in residence when they're not being used.
-Rich, dark colors are gender-neutral and can be made to look more grown-up as tastes change.
Indoor Garden
All you need:
-A bit of sun
-A mix of potted plants
-A skinny desk or console
-A low table
-One or two unexpected elements
Tips on putting it together:
-Corral plants you have around the house and outside. It's best if the pots are similar in tone and material.
-Vary plant shades, textures, and heights. Here, purple and green plants (oxalis and Begonia 'Escargot') add depth. Round, sculptural leaves contrast with delicate ferns. A tall plant in back and one cascading in front make for a pleasing composition.
-To balance the main display, put a plant on the floor (this asparagus fern doesn't need much light) and one on a table.
-A plant on the wall (here, a watermelon dischidia) draws the eye up and looks exotic, but all it needs is an occasional misting.
-A glass garden cloche, as on the small table, catches light and makes a big deal out of a modest eyelash begonia.
Game Spot
All you need:
-A tiny table
-A floor lamp
-A couple of chairs
-A stack of games
Tips on putting it together:
-This is a fun space, so go with a bright, cheery table. If you don't have one, paint an old one a vivid shade. Hang a colorful framed poster or some other piece of art above the table to complete the look.
-Airy, leggy pieces, such as the furniture here, keep a small corner from feeling crowded.
-A nice-looking chess- or checkerboard can stay out, decorating the table and summoning players. When games get buried in the closet, they're forgotten about. Leave one set for play and pile others on a footstool and they're more likely to be used.
-No need to match chairs. This is a great place for showcasing random favorites.
Art Gallery
All you need:
-A comfy chair
-A floor lamp
-A bunch of framed art
-A little table
Tips on putting it together:
-Shop your own walls for framed art, and also dig out things you've been meaning to frame. Think about a mix, with some hits of color. When art is varied, as it is here, similar frames make the display cohesive; frames don't have to match exactly if their styles are alike.
-Position the lamp, the chair, and the table first, then hang the art to float above them.
-Keep the space between pieces roughly the same. No need to measure; just use your eye. Hang in a loose pattern (don't line things up) so you can add more whenever you want.
-Artwork that's small in scale draws in people, inviting them to come check out the display.