There is nothing commonplace about the room in our feature photograph. There is no archi tectural symmetry or balance. This might pose a problem to some but is a creative challenge to others. Personally, I like a room that has odd angles and an asymmetrical look. This room in particular has several unique features that give it personality.
In the photograph the designers have actually made a focal point of the unusual wall by placing a red chair in front of it along with colourful artwork and tall reeds. Enhancing unique features rather than trying to hide them is the way to go in a room like this. The unique character of the wall is further enhanced by painting the shelf and fireplace trim in a soft white against the yellow walls. There is a fireplace behind that red chair so the furniture arrangement is not perfect. However, when the fireplace is not in use the red chair blocks what would be a black hole in the fireplace hearth. The chair can simply be moved when the fireplace is needed. You may have to make some compromises if you have unique rooms in your home.
The unusual wraparound picture window would definitely be a challenge when trying to purchase draperies. In some cases you may have to get custom draperies made to fit a unique window like this. In this room the designer has forgone drapes altogether and opted for crisp window shades. By placing the unique floor lamp at the corner of the window, this feature is further enhanced because the eye is drawn to it.
The window takes up a lot of wall space as well. It is lower and wider than most living room windows which limits your choices for furniture placement. The lowprofi le black sofa looks fine set in front of the window but a higherprofi le one would look cramped.
A bedroom with unusual features like this poses more of a problem. Beds take up lots of floor space and require clearance around them for ease of movement, which makes the options for placement very limited. Normally, the head of the bed would be placed against a wall, but if the room has unusual features that cut into the available wall space you might be daunted by the challenge. If this is the case, consider placing the bed in the centre of the room and at an angle if possible. Drape a canopy or netting from the ceiling, or consider lowering the bed by placing the mattress and box spring directly on the floor (or on slim wooden slats to keep the air flowing beneath). By lowering the bed it will take up less visual space. If low windows were an obstacle before, they may not be any longer, as you’ll have removed the headboard so the bed may fit against a wall now where it wouldn’t before.
An attic bedroom with slanted ceilings poses similar dilemmas. You may have to remove the large mirror off of your dresser so that the base will fit against the short wall under a slanted ceiling. We had to do this in our home but it wasn’t a huge deal. We simply stored the mirror away and everything fit just fine. If you’re dealing with a high dresser or tall wardrobe, consider placing them in the hallway near the bedroom or in another room altogether. You may have to remove a tall headboard so that the bed will fit against a short wall as well. Store it away for future use or modify it if you can to fit your situation. Consider cutting the legs off of a wicker or wooden headboard so that it will fit. Give it a fresh coat of paint to give it new life. If the headboard is part of the bed support you’ll have to buy a bed rail to solve your dilemma. In this case you can simply place the modified headboard between the bed and the wall even if it’s not attached to the actual bed support.
Unusual spaces have great potential. You just have to work with the quirks and compromise a little. Just like people, it takes a few unique characters to make life interesting!
– Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Winnipeg