While architectural oddities such as sloped ceilings, strangely shaped walls and, of course, alcoves can pose a decorating challenge, looking at them as opportunities to flex your design creativity may help you enjoy the challenge more. Alcoves can be more versatile than their diminutive size might suggest. Consider how you use the rest of the room and what types of spaces -- such as office space -- the room is lacking to get an idea for how you should use your alcove.
Jungle Reading Nook
Create a lush, verdant reading nook that will evoke a relaxing tropical vacation if you love to read and enjoy plant-filled environments. Paint the walls of the alcove a sunny yellow as a nod to the tropical sun. Install a waist-high bookcase for your favourite books. Set a reading lamp on top of the bookcase and arrange a cushy reading chair so that the bookcase makes a convenient place to set your tea or glass of wine. Line the top of the bookcase with colourful blooming plants. Fill the rest of the space (minus enough space to walk to the chair) with pots holding ferns, palms and orchids.
Make your alcove into a tidy, private office if you work from home or often have reason to work on the computer at home. Paint the walls a restful pale green or a creativity-stimulating purple. Move a desk and an ergonomic chair into the alcove. Install shelves above the desk (if space allows) for storage of oft-needed items like dictionaries and extra paper. Alternately, if the alcove is too narrow for a desk, install a wide, sturdy shelf at waist height and use it as a minimalist desk surface.
Exotic Bed Alcove
Scoot your bed into the alcove and install vibrantly coloured, luxuriously textured curtains across the opening to create a feeling of privacy and exoticism. Start by painting the inside of the alcove a colour that contrasts brightly with the rest of the room, such as a deep sapphire blue or mandarin orange. Outfit the bed in jewel tones and sumptuous fabrics such as silk, velvet or high-thread-count cotton, then scoot the bed into the alcove -- sideways if the whole bed fits, or only the head of the bed if the alcove is very small. If only the head of the bed fits, tie the curtains back to the side.
Arrange a spare, serene meditation nook in your alcove if you enjoy meditation or have always wanted to create space for it in your life. Paint the walls and ceiling white. If the floor is wood, consider adding a small rug for comfort. Outfit the alcove with a single sitting cushion, a small table with a timer (if you use one while meditating), a statue or fountain, and an incense burner.