Living room corner ideas – 10 ways to breathe life into an awkward space

These stylish living room corner ideas ensure every inch of space is pulling its weight

a large living room with a fiddle leaf fig in the corner
(Image credit: Jean Bai and Rina Movsisyan. Design: Blaine Architects + Marshall Interiors)

The right living room corner ideas will ensure that no space in your home is wasted. By utilizing extra corner space, you can do anything from introducing simple decorative objects like plants to creating an entire bespoke seating area.

A 'dead corner' is also a great spot for adding extra storage, whether it's built-in hidden cupboards or an open-shelving display spot. Really the options for making use of an awkward corner are more plentiful than you might think, and should be factored into your living room ideas when first designing your space. 

From bold-print cushions and floor lamps to ultra-cozy reading nooks, we've rounded up a host of ways to spruce up a sparse corner to create another level of ambiance in your living room.

Living room corner ideas to liven up an underutilized space

1. Add an oversized houseplant

living room corner ideas large fiddle leaf fig by Kitesgrove

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

Weaving nature into our decor has been an increasingly popular interior design trend over the last couple of years, and introducing oversized plants into bare corners is one of the most stylish ways to do it.

'A fiddle leaf fig tree is time-tested and always works to fill an awkward corner space in a room,' says Kim Armstrong , owner and principal designer of Kim Armstrong Interior Design

The fiddle leaf is also celebrity-approved, with the likes of Meghan Markle and Mila Kunis displaying them in their homes.

Another popular choice is the black olive tree (bucida buceras), fast becoming one of the most fashionable houseplants after it was recently spotted in Gwyneth Paltrow's ultra-chic home. Another plus? It's also one of the best trees to grow in pots.

2. Create interest with a sculptural floor lamp

living room with wooden sculptural lamp by Joshua Smith

(Image credit: Joshua Smith Inc/Lance Gerber)

Consider adding in floor lamps that have a sculptural aesthetic to elevate a corner space into a place that's stylish as well as practical.

Corner floor lamps make a lovely living room lighting idea, and offer a perfect blend of form and function.

'Lighting in the corners or far edges of a room is also a good tip for creating a sense of space in the evening,' says Niki Wright, Founder of lights&lamps.

3. Set up a bureau or work space for multifunctional style

bureau secretary desk in the corner of a living room

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

There's something extremely satisfying about transforming a dead space into an area that works at double capacity.

Not only does an elegant bureau look ultra-chic, it's also a great spot to use as a makeshift small home office idea if you don't have space for an dedicated workspace.

And the idea is interior designer-approved. Kim Armstrong, of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, for example, says: 'I think a secretary desk can look really cute tucked away in a corner. It can really stand along on its own, or be paired with a chair and a nice floor plant.'

4. Fashion a cozy reading nook

a reading nook and drinks trolley by Kitesgrove

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

A reading corner is one of the coziest solutions for an awkward space. You can really go to town by installing a sink-in love seat, layered with blankets and cushions for extra snug levels.

You can also elevate a reading nook with other accessories; try adding a chic fully-stocked drinks trolley so you can easily enjoy an evening tipple without moving from your comfy spot.

A built-in cupboard is also a great idea for stashing things away in, while also serving as a spot for pretty vases, art, books or a lamp.

5. Introduce a pop of color with an accent chair

a yellow accent chair by ercol in the corner of a room

(Image credit: Ercol)

Blend practical with pretty by placing a chic chair in a living room corner space.

This can work to offer a separate space for a snooze, catch up on the weekend papers, or some mindful me-time. A good armchair is an essential piece of how to design a living room, after all. 

There are also plenty of creative opportunities to add an accent chair that injects color or pattern into the room. And opting for a designer classic, like an ercol (pictured above), is always a fail-safe option.

6. Assemble a small stylish seating area 

dining table in the corner of a room

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

Creating a separate bijou entertaining space in a corner is a great way to optimize space; it's the perfect spot for a board game if other members of the family are happy watching TV.

And Mark Lavender, principal designer of M. Lavender Interiors, agrees. 'Some ideas for a dead corner space include creating a small sitting area with a fun chair set style paired with a small accent table and floor lamp,' he says.

Make like the owners of Divine Savages, whose living room is pictured above, and further 'zone' the space with a cool printed wallpaper.

'Our own Deco Martini living room wallpaper formally zones part of the room and adds a dose of personality through print,' says Jamie Watkins, co-founder of Divine Savages

7. Make the most of the space with built-in storage

living room with alcove storage by Mylands

(Image credit: Mylands)

In the stunning Sloane Square apartment of interior designer Laura Butler-Madden, the living room corner space is maximized with an attractive arched storage solution that allows for the display of treasured items as well as hidden storage.

Fun bookends and a colorful brass and glass-blown lamp work together to create a space that's oozing with personality, while on-trend bouclé armchairs offer a cozy spot to soak it all up. Customized solutions are also make a great small living room storage idea.

'A built-in storage area with closed arched doors is a great way to utilize space and still make the corner stylish and functional,' says Lindye Galloway, founder and CCO of Lindye Galloway Studio. 

8. Showcase vignettes and objet on display shelves

living room with display shelving by Mylands

(Image credit: Mylands)

Put your cool collectibles on show by adding an open shelving unit or built-in open shelves to a living room corner space.

You can either choose to leave this living room shelving idea as a feature on its own, or incorporate seating and lighting to add function to the area, too.

'Another option would be to place a bookshelf or display shelf and perhaps add a recessed ceiling mounted light fixture or a library light fixture to the book shelf,' suggests Mark Lavender. 'This could go a long way towards brightening up the corner.'

9. Fill the corner with color and print

living room corner ideas with tasselled printed floor lamp, orange chair and printed cushion by Divine Savages

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

Maximalist? You should view a living room corner as the perfect place to be creative and show off your personality with bold, bright pieces.

Using Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue as a backdrop, Jamie Watkins, of Divine Savages, went to work showcasing strong prints, colors and curios on one corner of his own lounge.

'Fill it with all the color and pattern you love so that its bursting with the layers of your personality,' he says. 

'We used Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue as the backdrop, perfect for highlighting our growing collection of eclectic artwork - it really helps to make these pieces pop.'

He then added an orange accent chair, and statement tasselled floor lamp and cushion in matching punchy prints, and brought the Hague Blue living room together with a patterned rug. 'We finished with a gorgeous graphic-print rug from Anthropologie,' he says. 

10. Incorporate a cool coffee table

Living room with black chair and floor lamp by Rockett St George

(Image credit: Jane Rockett)

A bare corner is the ideal place to position modern living room furniture such as a cool coffee table or side table that you can dress up with books or lamps.

'I love creating style spots with side tables and have a collection displayed around my living space,' says Jane Rockett, Co-founder of Rockett St George.

'My home was a pub in its former life and as a result we have a large open plan living space with lots of corners that needed to be considered when adding furniture to the room. 

'So, I opted for side tables and have dotted these around the space to house table lamps and create soft pools of lights that achieve an atmospheric glow, that you simply can’t get from overhead lights.'

She adds: 'I also use my corner side tables to display books, candlesticks, oversized vases of pampas stems and of course, scented candles. 

'For any living rooms with large, awkward corners that mean your side table would be completely lost, a coffee table is the answer and by pairing this with a gorgeous armchair, you can create the perfect cosy spot for me-time, whether that means reading a magazine or enjoying a glass of wine.'

What can I put in the corner of my living room?

'If there’s a corner to fill in your living room, make a statement with a gorgeous piece of furniture,' says  Juliette Thomas, founder and director of Juliettes Interiors. 'From a chaise longue or accent chair to an elegant bureau or drinks cabinet, make the most out of the space by adding useful furniture or storage essentials.'

You could also choose to go the decorative route and add large plants, art features, or a plinth with a vignette or ceramic vase on top.

living room with an orange accent chair and blue wall by Kitesgrove

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

What do you do with dead corner space?

'If you have a corner space that is too small for furniture, opt for a decorative approach with either a statement floor lamp, tall decorative candelabra or a few indoor plants, which can really brighten a room and add a fresh and summery feel to a home,' suggests Juliette Thomas, of Juliettes Interiors

She adds: 'Don't forget to group in odd numbers to ensure your scheme is balanced and has visual interest.'

And Kim Armstrong,  of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, suggests creating a cozy chill-out zone, commenting: 'Try adding floor pillows and a hanging terrarium - it's a great way to make a corner feel full and cozier.'

living room with floor lamp and Palm Springs print by Maestri Studio

(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Nathan Shroder)

What do you put in an awkward corner of a room?

Plants, plants, and more plants, says Jane Rockett, of Rockett St George. 'Plants are my secret weapon for any awkward corner in the living room,' she explains. 

'Choose a beautifully bold planter (either something patterned, black or gold) and introduce to the corner of your living space to add purpose and a healthy dose of gorgeous greenery. 

'When it comes to finding the perfect plant, go big if you can afford to and make a real statement of the space. Alternatively, you can place your plant on a side table for extra height or introduce a collection of three houseplants - all styled at different heights - to the corner of your living room to create the same impact.'

If the space can’t be used for artwork or plants, then add a few shelves or a handy cupboard to store everyday essentials.

'In an awkward corner of a room, sometimes it’s best to build in some shelving or storage with a simple up or down lighting scheme to add atmosphere and to highlight a favorite accessory,' says Juliette Thomas. 

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.