Small Spaces

Right angles: creative ways to use your apartment's corners

By Mayra David | March 4, 2015 - 8:59AM

When it comes to New York City apartments, every inch counts—especially if you’ve got a wonky layout that chops up the floor space. Don’t waste those corners! Here, seven nifty solutions to take full advantage of the places where wall meets wall: 


Furniture that tucks neatly into a corner is the perfect space-saving item—and even better when said item is a triangular bar cart that efficiently holds glasses, bottles and an ice bucket. The Tonic bar cart, a collaboration between CB2 and students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is on wheels for even greater flexibility, and the transparent design means it blends in to the wall, rather than appearing bulky. 


Why don’t we all have these extra rungs in the corner? They’re perfect for hanging clothes that aren’t quite ready for the laundry hamper (we know you re-wear those jeans!), kitchen utensils, plants or any other relatively light items. This sleek option from CB2 is about $40, but you can also DIY your own or try this option, which doesn’t require drilling into the wall.


If you’re in the market for more permanent—or just plain more—clothes storage, may we suggest turning a corner of your bedroom into a closet? This example, from renovation connection service Sweeten, added a closet to an otherwise closet-less Upper East Side apartment. “This seamless addition and mirrored doors make the room feel bigger and brighter while still carving out critical storage space,” Sweeten writes on their blog.


Hanging art properly can be intimidating, but a gallery wall is a great way to bring disparate pieces of art together into a cohesive grouping. In the above room, featured in Architectural Digest, Charles Churchward, a former art director for Vanity Fair and Vogue, arranged the furniture first, then placed the pictures so none would be obscured. Also, notice how he hung the photographs to cut the corners. Well, why not?

And what about those outside corners? They deserve some love, too. Wraparound frames can be a fun, fresh way to display art and personal photos. Sadly, the frames above don’t seem to be available in the U.S. yet, but in the meantime, here’s a DIY.


Want to combine art and storage? This shelf, designed specifically for corners by Berlin’s Fundamental Group, was inspired by fractals. “What happens when we take a cube, and scale it by half, and then by half again?” explains the group’s founder, Stephen Malloy. You can hang several shelves together, including their smaller model, or lay it on a table. (It comes with special hooks that screw into most wall types.)


If you're looking for a home office that doesn’t take over the room, we have two words: floating shelves. They give you extra storage without the visual weight of a standing piece of furniture, and can be painted to match your wall color to further recede into the room, according to interior designer and organizer Caroline Clarke. Add a fold-down wall-mounted table, like the Norbo from IKEA, and wall-mounted baskets for supplies, and presto—your corner is a cubicle, albeit way nicer.


Turn your kid into a star by transforming an unused corner into a stage. It looks like an elaborate setup, but all you really need are those tent-type curtains (here’s a DIY for a similar look), and perhaps a pink microphone. Bonus: when your little one is done playing, toss all the toys and books behind the curtain and, presto, all tidy.


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