Start off by viewing those commonly found loft-space dead-spaces as potential storage solutions:

Awkward corners
Corners can be difficult to fit regular furniture into, but creating built-in storage will bring corners into play for additional cupboards, wardrobes and shelving storage.

Even more awkward, low corners
Even where headroom additionally restricts corners, the space can be brought into use with wall shelves. These don’t have to be high up, or even very long, but can be placed right into corners where a freestanding bookcase wouldn’t fit.

Space sapping stairways
Consider the stairway with additional storage in mind. If there’s a ‘gap’ under stair treads this could be used to incorporate stylish cubic storage or even drawers, whilst walls alongside staircases can be fitted with shelving.

Low sloping roof
A low sloping roof which is too low to stand under but high enough for sitting in a chair can be an opportunity for a partion separating an office space from the main bedroom.

If want to use every part of the space whilst giving the illusion of height, try a built-in floor-to-ceiling wardrobe but keep the top part as open shelving for baskets (ideal for storing out-of-season items you don’t need to access frequently). This adds a sense of height to the room, but also keeps the space alive and open – particularly if you enhance this with your décor (as suggested below)!

An unusable space at the lowest level? Deep drawers can be useful even when low down, being ideal for shoes, bedding, towels and linens.
Similarly, for home offices or playrooms, a low bench with storage below also uses the dead space under low eaves. If headroom allows sitting, cushioning can be added so it doubles as a daybed, but if not the firm surface can be used as a display or additional storage, such as a book, folder or toy shelf.

“If the dead space from low ceilings is impacting on getting what you wanted out of the room itself, it may be an idea to re-think designs. Eaves spaces offer a natural canopy which may not be ideal for storage or headroom, but in a child’s room can become an exciting den or play zone.” advises Guy Beaven from Abbey Lofts.

Window spaces
The spaces around or below windows can appear unusable but can in fact hold solutions not just for storage, but for additional enjoyment of the room.

The space created by a dormer window, for example, can be incorporated into the room as a reading nook. As an ideal way of using those nooks and crannies under windows space, it can take just the addition of a rug, bean bag and book box or magazine rack to create a usable reading space if the ceiling is low. If there’s more headroom, a small chair and low table, or storage bench with book shelving, cushions and lighting are options.

A reading nook can not only go as large or small as you need to fill an awkward space, it can also be multi-purpose too: in a child’s playroom it becomes a quiet corner in a busy space; in a master suite, it’s a place to unwind before bed or to collect thoughts before the day starts; in a home office it’s a great space for a screen-break, making notes or relaxing with research reading. Whatever the reason for having it and whatever the size of space you have available, a reading nook offers ways to make the most of natural light and all available space!

Next, it’s time to consider how else can you bring those dead zones to life by letting your décor and design touches do the work!

First, that décor…

- To liven up awkward nooks and shape features, accentuate the ‘difference’ with bold or contrasting colours.
- To bring tucked away spaces together, use light tones to allude to space and unity across the room. For example, whilst the colours white and ice blue may feel a little cold, changing the tone to cream and duck egg can offer the illusion of space and light during daylight, but be surprisingly cosy after dark.
- Use a paint finish which livens up dead spaces. For instance, a silk rather than matt finish offers offer soft, reflective coating which helps light to travel around the room and add bring space to life.

- Unite odd spaces around and above by painting the walls and ceiling in a matching light tone. This not only helps to expand a smaller space, but also reduces the illusion of dead space around the room by making it part of the whole room.

Then the design…

- Consider incorporating reinforced or safety glass as one of your design materials, as adding a glazed panel at an awkward end of the room can delineate and add a sense of purpose to even the most random space!    
- Of course, the other go-to glass is a mirror! Although we tend to place mirrors where we can usefully see into them, mirrors can really enhance decoration and bring life to dead corners and tiny spaces. Take inspiration from the use of mirrors in gardens, where they are specifically used to give the illusion of light and space, by experimenting with different sized mirrors in conjunction with     lighting. Try to move away from the idea that you have to see into it, what you’re trying to do is see the space and extra light from it.
- Minimise obstructions to any natural light in the room by positioning built-ins and furnishings in ways that will bounce the light, rather than block or absorb it.
- Use lighting such as spot lights, to light up even the darkest corners and bring them into play.
- Use the flooring to make spaces flow together. Just adding a rug to an unused corner adds a sense of purpose to it, even if it is just for ad-hoc storage or a low stool.

Article supplied and written by Abbey Lofts

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