What do you do with all those blank walls, weird corners, awkward hallways and empty entryways that make up the "spare" decorating spaces in your home? Those spots that need something -- but you don't know what.
Your home's spare space is actually a great opportunity that allows you to be creative, show off your personality and add designer elements to your home.
Foyers and entryways are often the largest and most obvious spare spaces for decorating, particularly in modern home designs. These foyers are actually a great way to combine decor and function.
A bench or even a small loveseat will provide you and your guests with a place to take off shoes or just sit while your rifle through your purse looking for your keys. Add a nice boot tray underneath to store shoes and keep dirt off your floor.
While I love entryway tables to put keys, mail or display some nice objects, I'm not a huge fan of teeny tiny, purely decorative tables. I much prefer a piece of furniture that's beautiful and functional. Consider one with drawers or multiple shelves to provide some storage or at least more surface area.
But if you're going with a non-functional table, try to personalize it. Every home on the block can have a table with a bouquet and some candles, so add things that are personal to you or your family. If you like to read or write, add a old-timey typewriter and place a candle or picture frame on top of old books. If you're a traveler, integrate pieces you've collected overseas with a framed map. If you're also a little bold, you may even fashion a "table" in a spare space near a door opening by stacking up some vintage-style storage trunks.
For large blank walls, try the massively trendy photo or print galleries. They add depth and character to a blank wall in a unique and beautiful way, and at the same time can reflect an interest or collection you have. (But edit carefully: these gallery walls can easily become gaudy if you don't arrange them with care.)
Pick a theme for your frames and then pick out quite a few different looks. They should have at least one unifying characteristic: all wood, all black, all thin frames or all matted pictures. You can play instead with the size of the frames. I love having one or two oversized photographs that dominate the landscape, surrounded by other smaller frames.
You also want to keep the space between them relatively uniform. Define boundaries as well. If you're hanging pictures in a space where there's room to grow, make sure you still have clear borders so your gallery doesn't look unfinished.
Another way to tackle blank space is to create a niche or nook.
"Niches are hardworking elements," said Chicago-area designer Cathy Zaeske, of Your Favorite Room. "They add storage or display opportunities, create a focal point, add architectural detail in often very vanilla spaces and add another layer of depth and dimension. This option isn't as complicated as it might seem at first and can easily be done with the help of a handyman or a carpenter."
If you want to increase functionality in a long, blank space like a large hallway, look for thin, low dresser. You can combine multiple dressers to create a streamlined look that also doubles as storage. Decorate the top of the dressers with family photographs, lamps or fresh flowers and hang artwork or mirrors over the dressers to create a completed look.
Remember that anything you put into a spare space shouldn't create a crowded look. If a table is too big or the wall space is too cramped, scale back. It's sometimes best to leave a spare space empty rather than stuff it and lose all functionality.