Decorating Tips for a Room With an Awkward Shape

Beaded curtains can camouflage awkwardly shaped rooms.

Whether you've inherited a weird protruding wall in the living room or a bedroom shaped like a trapezoid, a room with an awkward shape presents a decorating challenge. The trick is to assess the advantages of the shape, decide on a focus to feature and use "smoke and mirrors" to distract the eye, pulling it where you want it to go. You may come to think of your awkwardly shaped room as the most perfect quirky place in your home.

Sculpture New Walls

Redefine the shape of the room with folding screens, curtains and shelving. Use a folding screen to mask a bizarrely jutting wall and provide a backdrop for a seating area. Cover a wall that curves unpleasantly with floor-to-ceiling curtains hanging in a straight line. Shelving can divide a long, narrow space into two distinct areas; use open shelving to maintain a feeling of openness.

Center the Furniture

If your room shape is just too wacky to redefine, center the furniture in the middle of the room over layered area rugs. A couch, coffee table, accent chairs, a side table and at least two lamps provide a living room island in the middle of an asymmetrical polygon. Layering the rugs echoes the unusual geometry of the space and unifies the look. A bed can look great in the center of a bedroom; add a decorative screen behind it to create a headboard. Place a vanity on the other side of the screen for a dressing area.

Light Focal Points

Lighting is everything in an awkwardly shaped room. Wherever you place a light, you create a new three-dimensional shape with the light bulb as its center point. Scrap the overhead fixture, replacing it with pendant lamps over seating, dining and reading areas. Put them on dimmers so that you can adjust them easily. Table lamps next to the bed, on kitchen islands and even on dining tables make a room feel intimate without lighting up the walls.

Make the Shape Work

Play up an intriguing awkward shape by calling attention to what you find interesting about it. A wall shaped like a parallelogram takes on a sense of humor when you wallpaper it in boldly contrasting stripes. A concave curve along one side of a room can feel right on when you adorn it with a curved rug and circular throw pillows. Place a tall, narrow mirror at the end of a hallway that becomes shorter and shorter as you approach it. The fun-house effect can make you smile while the mirror adds light that keeps the hallway from feeling claustrophobic.