For simple but elegant look, insert tall, made-to-measure freestanding bookcases into the spaces on either side of a living room fireplace. If your room has distinguishing features such as the cornicing and Georgian fire surround seen here, ask your carpenter to design a carcass that will complement them; it will help you create a smart, co-ordinated look.
Similar bespoke bookcase
The Hungerford Bookcase Company
Log store feature
This log-filled alcove is not only eye-catching, it is also a safe way to store wood close by an open fire. The trick to making the effect both artistic and practical is to make sure your logs are all of a similar size (or that you put the larger logs at the bottom), and that you stack them evenly. To be truly useable, unless you have a ladder, you would not fill the alcove all the way to the top. Do not pull a log out from the middle – the stack may fall on you.
If your alcove has a very shallow depth, so that any furniture would jut out too far, use it as a display space, as seen here. You could choose a set of pictures all linked by a theme, colour or subject, as and as with any picture hanging, create your layout on the floor first, so you do not ruin the wall with too many unnessary holes.
Fit shelves of varying height and depth into an alcove to create a multi-functional space in which an assortment of items can be displayed. A long, low shelf houses larger pieces such as ceramic vases and also provides space for a storage basket underneath, while smaller items — books and family photographs, for instance — can be placed higher up.
Create a cosy study area in a living room by tucking a desk into a deep alcove next to an open fire. Place next to a window to make the most of natural light, and use a delicately framed chair to save space. Do remember to take measurements before buying furniture to fit a tight space.
If you want to use bold, two-tone wallpaper without overwhelming a small space, why not use it to make an interesting feature of an alcove. This handmade chevron print provides a contemporary angle to this otherwise beautifully simple scheme.
For a luxurious feel in a bedroom, extend the bedside table by creating a tall alcove next to the bed in which to house personal items such as books, framed photographs and other treasured objects.
Make the most of the space on either side of the fireplace in a child’s bedroom; fit brightly painted shelves and a low clothes rail for tidy and accessible storage, while also bringing fun and colour to the room.
Symmetry and colour have a powerful effect on a room and both are put to good use in this pair of large, unusually shaped alcoves. Note how the shape of the mirror has been carefully chosen to echo that of the aloves, but is deliberately taller and with an ornate centrepoint so that, like a pyramid, your eye rises upwards and the room feels taller.
Fixed shelving should always be designed to suit the room and your needs, as seen here: by leaving the bottom open, there is room for a small table and reading lamp, while a pediment at the top adds a note of classical style to this converted artisan’s cottage; it also leaves the striking, extra deep cornicing that runs around the top of the walls visible and unharmed.
Paint on walls and shelves
Farrow & Ball
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