Design Do’s and Don’ts for Tricky-to-Decorate Spaces

From long and narrow “railroad car” apartments to teensy studios and rooms that seem to be all doors and windows, every home has its own design challenges. But awkward is the new cool and we’re embracing all the small corners, uneven nooks and shallow mantels with a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you conquer that bare corner once and for all.
So, before you take home the first thing that sets your heart aflutter, you need to consider having your sofa custom-made. And before spending the time and effort on a designer sofa, there are a few things you need to know to help you choose your sofa wisely and be certain it’s the right one for you.

  1. DO start with a fresh pair of eyes:
  2. As with the beginning of any design project, it helps to look at your space with fresh eyes. If taking a short break with a long cup of coffee doesn’t clear your mental block, consider taking every scrap of furniture out and looking at the space completely bare. When layers of stuff are clogging up your view, it can be hard to imagine setting up the room in any other way.

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  3. DON’T forget the shape of your room
  4. Whether you have a small, cramped space, a big boxed shape or an L-shaped room, remember that using smart floor planning to tame space in your home can make the world of difference.

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  5. DO decorate behind a door:
  6. That weird space behind doors that are located in the centre of walls? Well, since you don’t always leave the door open, you can utilise this space as a partial nook. Deck the wall behind it with a short console table and tall mirror for an entryway you can’t help but check out. You can also make use of otherwise wasted vertical space by creating extra storage on the back of a closet door.

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  7. Cost
  8. The cost of a sofa can get quite high when it comes to bespoke pieces involving custom sizing and upholstery options. So, what’s the rule when it comes to splashing the cash? If it’s your forever sofa, buy the best you can afford. The quality and craftsmanship is mostly in the detail that you can’t even see, from the frame to the webbing and the stitching. See your sofa as an investment piece. Whatever the price, remember to look for quality indicators such as fabric, double-needle stitching, alignment and frame.

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  9. DON’T underestimate the power of a nook:
  10. The best way to tackle a nook of any size is to find a furniture piece, or accessory, that cozies right in. Try to find a function or purpose that nook can serve, too. A tight nook is the perfect place to set up an office, and thanks to personalised wallpaper, a small desk, and vintage hanging storage, it might just be your new happy place.

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  11. DO remember spaces in odd places:
  12. While nooks and doors might seem like obvious places to start decorating, remember that there are even more ways to optimise your décor space. Look to the space above or between cabinetry. High shelves in a matching colour scheme let you show off your snazziest dishware while keeping counters clutter-free.

    The ceiling is the fifth wall of the room, and yet most of us keep them plain, paint them white, and forget about them. Decorate this with lighting fixtures and interesting overhead painting to add another dimension to your décor. The interiors of drawers are another attractive space that can add loads of visual impact at minimal expense. Start with drawer liners (solid hued for the minimalists and patterned for everyone else).

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If you want to maximise the décor in your room, why not ask a professional what he or she could do with the space? DDL’s experienced design and décor specialists has spacing solutions for every space-planning dilemma imaginable. Or visit our showroom in Kramerville, Sandton and let us help you get your own creative juices flowing.

For more information on our full-service décor and design services, or to schedule a private consultation, call us on 011 262 5225. Visit our website at to view some of our products, or send an email to

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