Making the Most of an Unusual Closet Space

in Apartment Living on by
An empty, unusually shaped closet space.

Apartments and homes built in the last 20 or 30 years typically have nothing but standardized closets scattered throughout their interiors, each one usually equipped with sliding doors to keep hinged ones from taking up precious space. But if you live in a place that’s older, you may find that a few of your closets are a little more unorthodox than usual.These charming cubby holes not only baffle the mind and stimulate the senses — they also challenge us to put them to good use.

These unique spaces can easily be transformed into a myriad of practical rooms. All you need is a little bit of creative decorating know-how:

File Storage

Whether you’re a person who keeps their tax returns for 20 years or just can’t part with Tiger Beat magazines from your teens, you’ll probably find that the odd space in your apartment is perfect for storing mementos and other important documents. Equip it with some prefab shelves, build your own, or stash the materials in sturdy boxes (shipping boxes are ideal) to keep them out of sight and easily accessible.

Dressing Room

Alternatively, you can shove a large, comfortable, padded stool or mini-daybed in that awkward closet space. Hang up some hooks for purses, totes, belts, etc. That way, you’ll be able to start getting dressed here instead of just sitting on your bed to do it. You might even want to add a small hamper or basket in here, if there’s room. Either way, you know you’re a star, so pamper yourself accordingly.

Instant Personal Work Space

An island in the storm of life is often a godsend. Decorate a small open space with paint or wallpaper, add a light and a workbench or shelf in, and you’ll have the perfect place to write your novel, share secrets with your journal, or just listen to music in private, sans distractions from the outside world.

Be a Wrap Star

Wrapping gifts for family and friends is fun and exciting, but trying to manipulate rolls of paper, tape tight corners, and tie bows can be very frustrating on a kitchen or coffee table. Lucky for us all, oddly-shaped closets are easy to transform into wrapping stations. Hang paper rolls on the wall with butcher paper racks equipped with serrated edge cutters, use wall-mounted doles to keep your ribbon organized, and keep all your tools in a nearby cabinet or handled utility box.

Book It

Sometimes nothing satisfies like losing yourself in a good book, and a small space can give you exactly the space you need to make that experience possible. Sprawl out on a giant pillow, kick back in a recliner, or just sit at a proper (small) desk in a space that’s big enough for you and your private library. Sublime solitude awaits.

Beauty and Beyond

Imagine a room dedicated to nothing but selfish pampering. Fill that empty nook in your home with a small dressing table and a lighted mirror, then surround those pieces with everything that makes you look and feel good, including lotions, scents, makeup, jewelry, and accessories. When you’re getting ready for a night out on the town or even just another day at work, you’ll find that it’s much more enjoyable in a private spot with great lighting.

Transforming Strangely Configured Spaces

Sometimes unusual closet spaces need a bit of tweaking to be made usable. Don’t worry, though — even a few DIY changes can make a world of difference.

Dark, Deep, and Daunting

These odd spaces are usually found in corners of rooms or under stairwells and written off as wasted, unusable crannies. Why not install a storage cart with bins in here and use it to store rarely needed files or seasonal decorations?

Sloped Walls

Closets with sloped walls can be transformed into usable spaces with pressure rods that adapt to any length. Plus, these spaces can easily store large garments like winter coats, costumes, and sports uniforms.

Painless Plywood

If you’re faced with a space that’s just too oddly shaped for simple solutions, you may want to create a room within that room using plywood. Start by carefully measuring the space in question, then build a large plywood crate that fits snugly into it. Presto! You now have a box enclosure to easily store anything you like. Spaces that need minor modifications can also be transformed by screwing a line of plywood planks into the closet’s studs. When you’re finished, you’ll find that you have a lot more workable storage space.

The next time you run across a peculiarly shaped closet in an apartment, force yourself to think outside that box. No matter how small or irregular it is, something can find a home there, whether it be cooking supplies, biking gear, or balls of yarn.

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